I spent 4 hours on a bus back and forth to New York last week which gave me plenty of time to read. Here are brief thoughts on two books I finished on that trip – numbers 25 and 26 for the year for those of you counting in the home audience.
First, a relatively quick read novel that I found interesting but ultimately unsatisfying entitled Restless by William Boyd. It’s a spy novel (one of my favorite genres) involving a mother and daughter; the daughter discovers that her mom had been a British spy in World War II and years later fears that someone from her past has found her and wants her dead. While some character elements were interesting and one aspect of the book’s conclusion was richer than I expected, much of the plot and most of the resolution was telegraphed early on. I read a lot of these types of stories so perhaps my standards are exceptionally high, but in about the 3rd chapter I said to myself, “I hope this doesn’t turn out to be as simple as it looks like it is;” unfortunately that’s how simple it was. I don’t regret reading it, but in the end it left me unsatisfied.
My 26th book for the year, on the other hand, was another outstanding volume of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. I read volume six, Fables and Reflections, a collection of stories with different artists all unpacking encounters that Orpheus has had with various people through the centuries. The opening story had a line I found almost inspirational and that I shared on Twitter when I first read it about a man who frequently has nightmares about falling: “Sometimes you wake up, sometimes the fall kills you, and sometimes when you fall you fly.” Many of the stories were insightful, often they were funny, and consistently Gaiman’s tales of the Dream King left me thinking. Volume 7 awaits on my shelf and I expect to read it before the end of the year.