This week’s reading:
The Female of the Species, Joyce Carol Oates
Wild Seed, Octavia Butler
Mind of My Mind, Octavia Butler
Clay’s Ark, Octavia Butler
Patternmaster, Octavia Butler
The Two Minute Rule, Robert Crais
Remains, Mark Tiedemann
Black Maps, Peter Spiegelman
Death’s Little Helpers, Peter Spiegelman
Lesson for the week: when Octavia Butler isn’t being irritatingly heavy-handed about Gender and Race and Sexuality and History and Other Important Issues To Consider, she actually has impressively profound things to say about the aforesaid Important Issues To Consider. The “Seed to Harvest” series is (mostly) well-plotted and thoughtful, and it makes its points without hammering you with it. (Hi, Lilith Iyapo. No, I never liked you.)
The other lovely surprise was a pair of recent mysteries from Spiegelman, in which the protagonist comes from a wealthy banking family in New York City. While he gives in to a number of irritating PI tropes, most egregiously the “My wife was murdered because I used to be a copy and now I must be cold and professional” one, the hero has depth, wit and an appealing inner life. What’s even better is Spiegelman’s spot-on sense for the many cultures of New York City, and his ability to create interesting and complex cases. The writing’s generally good too, and I’ll definitely read any further entries in the series, particularly if Spiegelman learns to lay off the cliche.
I’m off to read for a bit before Shabbat starts, so, my friends, Shabbat Shalom! I’ll see you Saturday night with my creative act for the day.