The gift of an allergy flare-up prompted me to stay inside most of the weekend. Yes, cleaning was an option, but not as inviting as the promise of a two book weekend. I haven't had one of those in a long. long time.
Book #1 - The Serpent of Venice by that rapscallion, Christopher Moore. If you don't know Moore, think of Carl Hiassen twistiness sprinkled with cultural literacy. In fact, I would argue that although he is clever, and an adept plot and character builder, much of what Moore writes is lost if you happened to miss the day your high school lit teacher told you about William Shakespeare or Edgar Allen Poe.
I became a Moore devotee when I discovered Lamb, an account of the Jesus' teen years written by his best friend, Biff. Moore can be humorously irreverent, but his jokes are so witty I'd like to think even the most steadfast purists will forgive him. This new book, scheduled for publication in April of 21014, adeptly blends my second favorite Bard play with Poe's The Cask of Amontillado, with a little Othello and King Lear thrown in to sweeten the deal. A trio of cunning plotters lure Pocket, Lear's fool, into a dark dungeon promising him an evening of spirits and debauchery with Portia. Of course, it all bogus. There is no wine, and no Portia. The three simply want to rid themselves of the guy who - along with a puppet on a stick - has foiled their attempts for power and wealth.
Book #2 - I was sucked too far into this one before I took a good look at the front cover. It's the first of a
trilogy. Dang! Because I am a slow reader, I try to avoid series books. Too much of a commitment. But I was in and so I continued. Game is a techno thriller. In the opening scene, a commuter, and small time criminal steals a cell phone hoping to sell it and make a few dollars to get him back into the good graces of his occasional girlfriend. Instead, the phone rings and this message appears on the screen - "Do you want to play a game?" I was hooked. Once Henrik agrees to "play" he is instructed to complete a series of tasks that range from childish pranks to criminal acts. The games moves increase in intensity and danger and eventually threaten the safety of someone close to Henrik. The theme? Follow the rules and everyone gets hurt. This is a fast read, probably because there is an upset, and a rug pulled out on every page. Good fun.
Next on the agenda? It's time to catch up on some picture books, and to start planning writers to visit with at my trade show in October. It's always nice to catch up with Tom Maltman and Mike Perry. This year, it's in Chicago instead on Minneapolis, so we'll be getting more writers from the south, I expect. I'll let you know.