Weekend Reading: I, Hogarth and Huge Secret

i-hogarth-1-copyIt’s an honorable tradition amongst librarians to eke out our salaries reviewing books. Some of us get so addicted to the steady stream of reader copies and not very much money that we can’t imagine life without either, leading us to go years without reading anything not arriving in a padded envelope and to spend far too much on our beer, the right-sized use of the monthly check. We have had to read and review a great deal of awful stuff in our lives, but sometimes we get sent wonderful early books by new writers, and the tradition is to keep sending us that author as he or she cranks them out. That’s how we came to be followers of – Oh, damn. We can’t tell you. The latest from …………, which is like and not like his earlier stuff which was like itself only occasionally, won’t be out until fall. So we have to sit the particulars of what makes ……….. yet another work not to be missed. Sorry. Remind us this fall. Or buy us a drink.

Our other reading was the brief but v.v. entertaining I, Hogarth by Michael Dean which is very much out and which you may stop in and get if Scripsi has chopped up the cover and stuck the info in the back. We took it home fresh out of the box and zipped through it after finishing the above unnamed and liked it a lot. Dean quickly captures the antic feel of William Hogarth’s famous engravings, but reminds you that he was a painter first. This is one to read with the laptop at the elbow so you can look up works by Hogarth’s chums and other associates which is how we came on this fabulous dog by the French sculptor Louis-Francois Roubiliac who also sculpted Hogarth and their pal G.F. Handel.

-Nemo Wolfe

Extended Weekend Reading: Life After Life

Many many demands were made on our time over the weekend, greatly interfering with our reading. There was, for example, lunch with A. McC. Smith, something put together by the Junior Library Foundation where the jolly and prolific author showed up in a kilt, the connection of which to his Rhodesian birthplace escaped us. The lunch was at Nicholson’s where the fish and chips used to be reliable, but the reliability seems to have moved over to the dessert department. We had to bolt our wee bread pudding as we had limited time to climb to the Western Hills to haggle with the auto wallah over the price of a new vehicle for the Wolfe pack, a transaction that left us enraged but equipped with the next decade’s transportation. Then there was the demonstration drive for the Aged P. on Sunday morning, so we didn’t get back to Life After Life until Sunday pm which was maddening. But now we have finished it and think Kate Atkinson to be one of the five best writers alive. What a wonderful book. Like nothing we’ve ever read but like much we have read. Gorgeous snippets of plot knit through layer after layer of time – a bit like tuning through a radio band where every station is playing a different story about the same person. Where are the American Mantels and Atkinsons? Are they all bank vice-presidents and lawyers?

-Nemo Wolfe