Indridason, Arnaldur. The Draining Lake. Translated by Bernard Scudder. London: Harvill Seeker, 2004.
Reason read: to continue the series started in June in honor of Iceland’s National Day is in June.
One of Iceland’s well known lakes is losing water and shrinking. Scientists from the National Energy Authority come researching the phenomenon because what was a deep body of water has slowly dried up, revealing long held secrets; some more disturbing than others. One such secret is the skeleton of a man murdered thirty years earlier. Anchored down with a Russian listening device from thirty years earlier, Inspector Erlendur and his team are called to the case. The mystery of the dead man brings Erlendur, Elinborg, and Sigurdur Oli back to the college days of the Cold War and Communism. Dancing between past and present, Indridason presents his readers with a thrilling tale of espionage and the very definition of loyalty. Fans will be happy to see a little more of Erlendur’s personal life as well.
Author fact: Indridason was a newspaper man at one point in his life.
Book trivia: Indridason was inspired by the true events of Lake Kleifarvatn.
Nancy said: Direct quote from Nancy: “Optimistic readers can see hope on the horizon…in Draining Lake” (Book Lust To Go p 99).
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the obvious chapter called “Iceland” (p 99).
I have a prediction for July. I will read a crap load of books. Actually, I am cheating. It’s not a prediction because I already know I will. Case in point – yesterday my husband and I spent seven hours on the water. He fished. I read. Yesterday was July 1st so I was already knee-deep in the July Challenge list and thanks to an iPad I had five books with me. I made a decent dent in the “Boat” books:
- Jackie by Josie by Caroline Preston – in honor of Jacqueline O. Kennedy’s birth month.
- The Coldest Day: America and the Korean War by David Halberstam – in honor of July being the month the Korean War ended.
- The Book of Mediterranean Cooking by Elizabeth David – in honor of July being picnic month.
- The Draining Lake by Arnaldur Indridason – to continue the series started in June.
- Midnight in Ruby Bayou by Elizabeth Lowell – to continue the series started in April.
Others on the list:
- Black Hearts in Battersea by Joan Aiken – in honor of July being Kids Month.
- Den of Thieves by James B. Stewart – in honor of July being Job Fair month (odd choice, I know).
Early Review for LibraryThing:
- Into the Storm: Two Ships, a Deadly Hurricane, and an Epic Battle for Survival by Tristam Koten.
If there is time:
- Gardens of Kyoko by Kate Walbert – in honor of Japan’s Tanabata Festival.
- Animals by Alice Mattison – in honor of Mattison’s birth month.
- Miss Lizzie by Walter Satterthwait – in honor of Lizzie Borden’s birth month.
- Cop Hater by Ed McBain – to honor McBain’s passing in the month of July.
One of my all time favorite 10,000 Maniacs songs is “The Painted Desert” off the album, Our Time in Eden. If you have never heard it, the premise is simple. A couple is trying to have a long distance relationship. Or…one of them is anyway…While one is off in the Southwest, the other waits patiently for the time when he? she? can join the other. But, soon the patience tarnishes and the one left behind find themselves pleading, “I wanted to be there by May at the latest time. Isn’t that the plan we had or have you changed your mind? I haven’t heard a word from you since Phoenix or Tuscon. April is over. Can you tell how long before I can be there?” The underlying poison is that the partner has moved on and the answer to the question is “never.” How ironic.
Having said all that, April IS over. As far as the run is concerned, I begrudgingly ran a half mara and a 10k and despite not training for either, I am pleased with both races.
And I read a fair amount of books:
- Amber Beach by Elizabeth Lowell
- Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
- The Corner: a Year in the life of an Inner-City Neighborhood by David Simon and Edward Burns
- The Evolution of Everyday Objects by Henry Petroski
- Bogey Man by George Plimpton
- To the Is-Land: an Autobiography by Janet Frame
- Charmed by Nora Roberts
- The Venus Throw by Steven Saylor
- “Unexplorer” by Edna St. Vincent Millay
- “Travel” by Edna St. Vincent Millay
- “Wild Geese” by Edna St. Vincent Millay
- New and Collected Poetry by Czeslaw Milosz
- Deeply Grateful and Entirely Unsatisfied by Amanda Happe
Simon, David and Edward Burns. The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood. New York: Broadway Books, 1997.
Reason read: Maryland become a state in April.
The Corner is very similar to Simon’s other best selling book, Homicide: a Year on the Killing Streets. As a freelance writer he has been allowed access to the darkest and grittiest corners of West Baltimore. With Edward Burns as coauthor, Simon takes the reader on a cruel and complicated journey. Together they illustrate what junkies will and won’t do to score the next hit or blast; what crimes or capers they will commit or won’t…because even full blown addicts have their limits. West Baltimore is a shooting gallery where the drug war rearranges police priorities. It’s a harsh reality. The operative word is “real” because even though the plot line reads like a movie and the people you meet could be actors, they are all real. As readers, you get to know people and care about them. Be forewarned. It’s no fairy tale. It grips you as only a never ending nightmare could.
Quotes I need to repeat, “The corner is rooted in human desire – crude and certain and immediate” (p 57), and a couple of pages later, “For those of us riding the wave, the world spins on an axis of technological prowess in an orbit of ever-expanding information” (p 59). Here are two more, “Even heroine no longer suffices to obscure the daily insult that her life has become” (p 179), and “He knows what he likes and to some extent, he knows how to get what he likes, if God is in the details, when DeAndre’s view of the sexual world is decidedly agnostic” (p 225).
Author(s) fact: David Simon writes for the show “The Wire” and Edward Burns was a cop turned teacher.
Book trivia: The Corner has a few photographs of some of the main characters.
Nancy said: Nancy said she couldn’t go to Baltimore without first watching The Wire which was based on The Corner (p 34).
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called simply “Baltimore” (p 34).
Yes, it is now April 4th and I am just getting to this. April is slowly becoming one of those coulda, woulda months. I was supposed to run nine miles on Sunday. Instead, I had Easter dinner with the family and chilled out. I could have run on Monday but it snowed and I had Cairo. Coulda, shoulda, woulda, didn’t. April is supposed to he a half marathon (and you can see how well the training is going) and a 10k one week later. Here are the books:
- Amber Beach by Elizabeth Lowell – in honor of Lowell’s birth month being in April.
- Zeitoun by Dave Eggers – in honor of April being the month Louisiana was founded.
- Bogey Man by George Plimpton – in honor of the PGA tour.
- Corner by David Simon – in honor of Maryland becoming a state in April.
- Evolution of Useful Things by Henry Petroski – in honor of April being Math, Science, and Technology month.
- Venus Throw by Steven Saylor – to continue the series started in March for Saylor’s birth month.
- Charmed by Nora Roberts – to continue the series started in February for Valentine’s Day.
- New and Collected Poetry by Czeslaw Milosz – to continue honoring Poetry Month
- A Few Figs From Thistles by Edna St. Vincent Millay – see above.
- “Wild Geese” by Edna St. Vincent Millay – see above.
If there is time:
- To the Is-Land by Janet Frame – in honor of Anzac Day in New Zealand.
- Jargoon Pard by Andre Norton (I had to request this one through interlibrary loan so I’m not sure it will be read in time to be in the April category.
Simon, David. Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1991.
Reason read: There is a book festival held in Baltimore every September.
Question: What happens when a reporter, already on the Baltimore police beat, is allowed to have unlimited access to the city’s homicide unit for a full year? Answer: Homicide: a Year on the Killing Streets, a 600 page play by play of what it is like to work a murder from start to finish. From the first report of a cold body to (sometimes) solving the case, Simon was there to witness and document every little moment. He followed various detectives as they got the call, examined the victim for cause of death, poured over the crime scene for clues, canvassed the neighborhoods for reluctant witnesses, stood over autopsies waiting for more evidence, paced the halls in hospital emergency rooms impatient for first-hand accounts from survivors, went on death notifications, stared at their murder boards trying to put the pieces together…These police officers portray the grim reality of crime but they also share moments of humor, sarcasm and a genuine love of the job. I found myself liking Detective McLarney and thinking it would be cool to have a beer with him.
Probably the hardest cases to read about were young Latonya Wallace and police officer Gene Cassidy.
Line I liked, “A heavily armed nation prone to violence finds it only reasonable to give law officers weapons and the authority to use them” (p 108).
Book trivia: This is an informal reporting on crime in Baltimore. No index, photographs or footnoted references.
Author fact: At the time of publication David Simon was a reporter with the Baltimore Sun. He took a leave of absence to write this book. In the time he took him to write Homicide 567 additional murders occurred.
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the obvious chapter called, you guessed it, “Baltimore” (p 34).
Gur, Batya. The Saturday Morning Murder: a Psychological Case. Translated by Dalya Bilu. New York: Harper Collins, 1992.
Reason read: March is supposedly the best time to visit Israel. Also, the murder in Saturday Morning Murder takes place in March.
The story begins early one Saturday morning. Shlomo Gold arrives at the Jerusalem Psychoanalytic Institute to find the dead body of senior analyst Eva Neidorf. Although she was about to give a much anticipated lecture, someone has murdered her with a single gunshot to the head. So begins The Saturday Morning Murder: a Psychological Case, Gur’s first make-you-think fictional thriller starring Chief Inspector Michael Ohayon. [Note: Gur published a collection of essays in Hebrew two year before this translated publication.] Since this is our first introduction to the Inspector, Gur builds Ohayon’s personality with much detail. Early on we learn he is a heavy smoker and doesn’t like talking to the press. He drinks his coffee like an addict and takes it with sugar. He has no problem remembering names, hates to be unshaven and drives a Renault. He is a thirty-nine year old father and has been divorced for eight years. He is involved with a married woman and wanted to get a doctorate at Cambridge. But, back to the review. Gur builds this mystery through the characters she introduced. Don’t worry about trying to remember them all. Gur tries to throw you off the scent by making you think any of them could be the killer. When the whole story is finally revealed it isn’t this big out-of-left-field moment. If you are paying attention you definitely can see it coming. Despite the transparency, this was a great read.
Author fact: Gur died in 2005.
Book trivia: I would have recommended a second editor to take a look at Saturday Morning Murder. There were a bunch of typos and other mistakes throughout the book. I should note that these mistakes did not in any way detract from the story!
BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter “Crime is a Globetrotter: Israel” (p 61). Note: Pearl lists them out of order. I read the last published vbook Bethlehem Road Murder first.