Cites & Bytes @ Bailey

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Recently Heard...

Books on CD are always in hot demand in our Reading Room. Here are three I've scored lately... and enjoyed on road trips to Erie.

Fear of the Dark, Walter Mosley. I've been a loyal fan of the Easy Rawlins series and usually not too interested in exploring Mosley's other books. Changed my mind. Paris Minton, intellectual bookstore owner and self-confessed coward, and his eponymous friend Fearless Jones follow a trail of trouble that begins and ends with Minton's cousin, "Useless" S. Grant. Mosley is a master at portraying African-American life in 1950's Los Angeles and at drawing memorable characters, such as Useless' mother, Auntie Three Hearts... rumored to possess the evil eye. Fun. Paris ruminates on heroic archetypes and Fearless, like Easy, is the brave knight with a strong sense of justice and the physical ability to enforce it.

The Lost Painting, Jonathan Harr. About halfway through the first CD, I wondered "wow, could this be true?" Duh, read the cover. Read a current event now and then. Anyway, this was an absolutely mesmerizing account of Caravaggio's life and work interwoven with the modern true story of the discovery of one of his lost masterpieces, The Taking of Christ. The unembroidered narrative has all of the suspense and tension of a mystery novel, much like the DaVinci Code. No, wait, the DaVinci Code wasn't true, it was a mystery novel. Ignore my inner dialog and inability to distinguish between reality and fiction... if you are looking for a good listen, try The Lost Painting.

Lady Susan, Jane Austen. An epistolary novel! Love that term. One of Austen's lesser known early works, this brief book is quite entertaining as the manipulations and machinations of Lady Susan are revealed in a series of letters to family, friends, enemies, etc. Obsessed by making a good marriage for her daughter, Lady Susan shamelessly schemes and plots to achieve her marital ends. She's actually very wicked, but somehow charming. It seemed to conclude rather abruptly... did I lose a CD between the seats? Miss Austen?


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