Some books I’ve read recently

(or listened to)


The Orphan Master’s Son: so good, you guys, so good! I want to shove this in everyone’s face right now.

The first two Outlander books: Outlander and Dragonfly in Amber. I was watching the show on Starz at the same time, and I’d been hearing about them for yonks, as the British would say. I liked them, they were pretty well written and entertaining, even if there were some weak narrative choices (how many times can one woman get kidnapped and rescued?!). Also, there’s A LOT of sexual violence, and some of it really made me give Diana Gabaldon the side-eye. Overall, if you need something light to read that will take up a lot of hours (a plane ride, I guess?), these are your guys. The second novel is better, I think, than the first. I started the third, but have not found it as compelling as the first two. Someone called it very Perils of Penelope, and that’s true.

The Secret Place: Another month, another mystery is pretty much how it goes around here. Tana French (like PD James) specializes in mysteries that take place in formal, tightly-knight, often hierarchical groups (schools, law firms, museums, familes), and murder almost always results from the betrayal of these groups by one of their members. Anyway, this was a stronger entry than Broken Harbor, for me. I really enjoyed the boarding school setting, though I thought she only did an ok job capturing the way teenagers speak. It was very 90s, though it’s set in the aughts.

The Moonstone and The Woman in White: Wilkie Collins, where have you been all my life? You wouldn’t think that two of the very first mystery stories ever written would be more entertaining than most of what has been written since, but you’d be WRONG. Trivia: Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens were contemporaries and friends, and I think if you like one you’ll probably like the other.


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