Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Lincoln Lawyer

I'm always game for a lawyer book. Any John Grisham I can get my hands on gets devoured very quickly, so since he hasn't come out with a fiction book lately (he wrote a very upsetting, but good non-fiction book, "The Innocent Man") I went on the hunt for someone else who writes lawyer fiction. Did John Grisham invent that genre, by the way? Hmm, I might have to look into that. Anyway, Michael Connelly is a worthy substitution. He writes a series for his character Harry Bosch, an LAPD detective, but this is about Mickey Haller, a criminal defense attorney. When you think of criminal defense attorneys, you probably imagine those ethically-challenged people from Law & Order who will defend baby killers if they get paid enough. Mickey sees the law less about innocence and guilt and more about manipulation and tactics. He defends drug dealers, bikers, gangsters and general purpose bad guys. Mickey is certainly no Sunday School teacher, but he loves his ex-wife and daughter and tries to do well by them. When they are targeted by a truly evil person, he's got to rethink his theories on guilt. I thought it was interesting how he justified his career choice and the fact that his office is his Lincoln Towncar was fun. The suspense was palpable and I thought it was a riveting read. Now I have to figure out what is the first book in his Harry Bosch series.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Did you know there was a new Lemony Snicket book? I've forgiven him his abysmal ending for A Series of Unfortunate Events. Well, forgiven, but not forgotten. I read this book despite his previous mistakes and it was a good laugh. "Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid" by Lemony Snicket is a collection of thoughts and sayings concocted by the pessimistic and paranoid Snicket. I mean pessimistic and paranoid in a good way, really. His radar for treachery and despair is very sensitive, but at least he can make it seem really funny. Snicket is an acquired taste, I think, as some take his dark outlook too seriously. Lighten up and enjoy the gloom!

As I sat reading it, I tore little bits of paper to mark my favorite ones. Soon, I ran out of paper and forced myself to narrow it down to the really good sayings. I'll share some of them with you, just to entice you and get you to read it. The book is organized by topic, including: home, family, school, work, entertainment, literature, travel, emotional health, affairs of the heart, a life of mystery, the mystery of life, an overall feeling of doom that one cannot ever escape no matter what one does, and miscellaneous.

I used to have a bunch of selections from each chapter here until I realized I needed the publisher's permission to reprint them. Oops! If I'm ever inspired enough and have my laundry done early enough, I'll get the permission and post it. Until then, read something else!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ignore the laundry

Having responsibilities has put a serious cramp in my reading habits. I used to be able to dive into a book and ignore everything around me until I finished. No longer. I became more aware of this recently when we were going to be moving to a new house and the daunting task of packing was my ever-present dread. The last time we moved I didn't have to pack, so I was seriously putting off doing it, knowing that it was going to be a big job and I was going to mostly do it myself. My mental to-do list length was in the league of "Les Miserables" (unabridged) and it was stalking me. Everywhere I would turn, there'd be that list. In the shower, in my car, hiding behind the ice cream in my freezer. It was getting to the point that I was considering getting a restraining order against it, but I figured since I created the list myself, a judge might look at me funny. Well, he wouldn't be the first.

Finally, I started on my list and was getting things done fairly quickly. After an hour or so of working, I'd reward myself with re-reading the Ender's Game series by Orson Scott Card. Sitting there in my rocker while my children played, oh so contentedly contemplating the nature of intelligence, I would start to fidget. I could hear my brain shouting at me, like someone screaming outside of a sound-proof room. Muffled, yet you can tell it's bad news. I would stop reading for a second to listen to my brain and it was screaming, "You have ten million more boxes to go! Get off your duff!" I'd shut the door on my brain and get back into the book, but I had already cracked the door and the screaming was easier to hear. Shoot! I'd throw my book down and stomp off to garage for more boxes, complaining to my brain the whole way. "I've got two weeks to go! I'll work on this tonight, after the kids are in bed. Would you leave me alone, for cryin' in the mud?!"

That's pretty tame compared to the other way my responsibilities are ruining my fun. Once again, I'd be rewarding my good behavior with a book when I'd hear the theme from Jaws. Da-dum...da-dum...da-dum......da-dum da-dum da-dum DA-DA-DUUM!!! I'd whirl around and I am not kidding, the laundry basket had moved two inches closer to me. Can't I be lazy in peace? Oh, to be a teenager again, with a mother to ignore so blissfully and no sense of impending doom, or killer shark laundry piles hunting me while I justify my lack of gumption! Sometimes it doesn't pay to be responsible. At least now I'm moved in and I can check out the new library near me. Oh wait, there's four billion boxes in my house for me to unpack. Da-dum...da-dum...da-dum...