April found me in a bit of a literary funk. Little writing or reading was done while I went into the man-cave to recharge my batteries. I'm feeling better now, and have made myself a promise that should help to fend off future episodes.
I'm not reading any more shitty books.
I always prided myself on reading a book all the through to the end, whether I was asked to review it or not. Bad books can teach, if only to show what not to do, or how not to do it. I was like the little kid with the pile of horseshit under the Christmas tree, looking for the pony.
Life's too short for that. I blew off two books in April alone. One was a "innocent man caught up in an international conspiracy" thriller, where the innocent man did so many stupid things in the first fifty pages, each blatantly calculated to make the situation worse, I was rooting for the bad guys to kill him and get it over with; I was willing to suffer a little world domination just to get rid of this guy.
The other was by a writer whose books I've enjoyed in the past. (No one likely to ever see this blog, so rest easy, friends.) A hundred pages in and I was still waiting for something interesting to happen when my review editor said someone else had reviewed it and I didn't have to. Possibly the highlight of my month.
So, April has two recommended reads; only one is literary.
The Fourth Protocol, Frederick Forsythe - An oldie but goody. I hadn't read any Forsythe in years and wanted to see if he still held up in my eyes. Aside from the whole Cold War thing, a few things are a little dated, but in general everything holds up. The characters are believable, the plot holds together, and the twists are understandable only in retrospect; he consistently surprises, never cheats. A master.
Baseball Prospectus 2010 - By seamheads for seamheads, but a lot of fun to read if you qualify. It's long, and we all have lives, but if you're geeked up on baseball (like I am), this is a good read to keep around the viewing chair for commercials and rain delays, as it can be read in bite-sized chunks.