Monthly Archives: July 2011

Lee Child

OK, I confess, I’ve been on a mindless thriller spree. Somewhere over the winter my brain cells were washed out and I reverted to numbing narratives that quickly resolved and required little expenditure in terms of commitment of an intellectual type.

Lee Child was my drug of choice this time and I fully immersed myself in the trials and travails of Jack Reacher: tall, dark and clearly mysterious. To satisfy my desire for order, I decided to start with the first in the Reacher series – although one can just dive in anywhere. Killing Floor introduces Reacher and provides some basic background. It sets him up as a wonderfully complex character with a need for anonymity and a desire to avoid all sorts of commitment and responsibility. Reacher is a wanderer, aimlessly traversing the American continent and experiencing life on the fly. I found this aspect of his character fascinating and quite enjoyed how Child dealt with it as I read more of the books.

Die Trying and Tripwire were equally intriguing and wonderfully different. Reacher maintains his homelessness and finds himself in all sorts of strange situations, meeting a wide range of people. He is a problem solver, a military genius and despite his distaste for anything that involves long term commitment, he is, ironically, committed to the truth and to justice.

Running Blind introduced a gender issue into Child’s writing and this made for some interesting observations in the context of military life. The same theme was continued in Echo Burning, although this time in a non-military paradigm. I didn’t find Child’s females particularly stereotyped and this made for pleasant reading.

Without Fail was a good enough read, but I thought that Persuader was excellent. It is the 7th of the Reacher books and although I found some details repetitive, this novel certainly picked up the pace when it came to the plot and the unfolding of the ‘thriller’ aspect of the story.

Other books that I read as a part of this brainless exercise were The Enemy, One Shot, and The Hard Way. I still have 6 Reacher books to read, but my brain seems to have rejoined the land of the living, so I will leave them until I next need a vacation!

Soul to Soul, Deborah Masel

I read this book in two quick sittings. It gripped me in a way that I have not been gripped for quite some time. It appealed to me on several different levels. Firstly, the story itself is captivating. Deborah Masel is an excellent writer. She depicts her struggle with cancer with enormous clarity and honesty. She draws the reader into her journey in a way that does not inspire pity or sorrow but rather a joy for living and for experiencing all that life has to offer. Furthermore, her deep spiritual insights into life and death are so moving that parts of this book I had to read twice or three times in order to properly appreciate.

It would spoil this book for me to say much more. What you should know is that I have now searched elsewhere for Masel’s writing, wanting deeply to better understand her approach to living. And, even more telling, perhaps, this is a book that I will definitely look to reread at some point in the future.

So poignant was its message that Soul to Soul will stay with me for a long time to come.