First of all, I'm bummed to announce the passing of my Kobo. I loved that wee machine, with its book-like feel and backlit screen. So easy to read stealthily in bed without waking up the sleeper beside me. I feel guilty. Here's what happened:
I'm on the plane back from Europe, crammed and buckled into my seat. I'm watching "The Big Short" on my screen. I'm enjoying it. My trusty Kobo is tucked into the seat pocket, awaiting the end of the movie. Suddenly, the person in front of me yams her seat back, hard, as far as it will go. As far as it will go, at least, without my knees actually busting through the seat. I can no longer see my full screen because of the angle of the seat back. I can practically feel the woman's kidney against my patella. My other patella is jammed into something hard.
Do I quickly rearrange my knees by manspreading or perhaps trying to snake my feet further under the seat? I do not. I go passive–aggressive and keep my knees exactly where they uncomfortably are. HINT. HINT. There's a body here. It's broad daylight. You do not need to fully recline. We live in a society, woman. When meals are served, she sits up to eat and, fortunately, is much more judicious about her degree of recline after eating. I start thinking I was being a bit of a dick. I reach for my Kobo and realize the hard thing that had been against my knee was the e-reader. Ruh roh.
The screen was dark grey. I could vaguely see the ghost of the book cover through the grey. This didn't look good. It wasn't good. It was very, very bad. SUbsequent efforts at revival were unsuccessful. Maybe I can blame the Ms. Entitled-Speedy-Mega-Recliner because maybe it was the initial impact that did it. But I have a sneaking suspicion it was the sustained pressure of my silent, invisible hissy fit. I'm sorry Kobo. Your passing was not in vain. Next time, I'll just sigh really loudly and try to get my legs out of the way.
So, the books of March.
Satellite People by Hans Olaf Lahlum. Written in tribute to Agatha Christie, this mystery takes place in the late 60s and features the murder of a wealthy politician/business magnate by one of his 10 dinner guests. The number of suspects dwindle as they too are murdered. Given that the book was published in 2011, I couldn't quite get past some of the creepy, predatory vibe that the (adult, male) detective main character evinces against a couple of teenage girl characters. You can practically hear the rationale, "but they look so much older" or "they act so mature for their age!" -- which maaaaybe might be tolerable in a book actually written in the 60s but in a novel by a modern-day writer, nope. No thank you.
Next came All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews. Oh, so so so good. Toews is one of those writers that I try to read slowly to savour her work. I reread paragraphs just for their beauty. And yet, she's not at all "precious." Her characters feel authentic: flawed, beautiful, gifted, resentful, real. With the recent Supreme Court ruling in Canada about the right to die and many ongoing passionate discussions, it is also very timely. Yup, there may have been tears, quietly in the middle of the night by the glow of the now-dear-departed Kobo. Highly recommend.
A Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam by Chris Ewan was fun to read since I was in Amsterdam, ya see. I totally knew sorta where he was talking about.
Darned if You Do by Monica Ferris, It's a Wonderful Knife by Christine Wenger, and A Disguise to Die For by Diane Vallere were the cozies in the line up this month. All your puns are belong to me.
Smashing Saxons by Terry Deary is part of the delightful "Horrible Histories" series. My son discovered them on his cousin's bookshelf when we were visiting and then the Easter Bunny brought a box set for our house. That Easter Bunny is so smart. This one was a particular delight for me because I remember many of the characters and events from the Old English class I took and loved way back when. Of course, these books take the mickey out of everybody, while actually teaching a fair bit. Angles and Saxons and Jutes -- oh my!
You know, just because you can write a book, Amy, doesn't mean you must write a book. Yes, Please by Amy Poehler starts with an introduction that begs readers to lower their expectations for the book. Interspersed throughout is commentary about how hard it is to write a book and how unpleasant. As you can imagine, it doesn't make for a consistently fun read. I think Amy Poehler surely has a highly entertaining, interesting book in her. This one isn't it.