Friday, December 11, 2015

Binge-reading Robert B. Parker

A short while ago somebody donated a pile of Robert B. Parker's Spenser paperbacks to the Lambertville Free Public Library. As occasionally happens, the library director brought them home to read before putting them in the collection or in the book sale. The stack is now on the table in our living room. Harold has read them all, and I am reading them, obsessively, perhaps in an unhealthy way. You know how it goes. There are probably quizzes on Facebook to find out how bad you're being. Is this activity interfering with your normal activities? Are your social interactions suffering? Do you find yourself growing distant from loved ones? That sort of thing.

Woman Reading by a Window by David Alison 
By way of interacting in a healthy way with my loved one, as opposed to ignoring him while my nose was stuck in a book, I went for a walk with Harold today and asked him what he thought was so compelling about Robert B. Parker's writing. Lots of things, we agreed. They move along at a brisk pace. The recipes are good. Spenser always makes something tasty to eat in the course of rescuing some beautiful woman or other. Harold himself tried to replicate one of his concoctions, something involving broccoli and pasta. But my favorite thing is the violence. Before the end of every one of these books, retired boxer-turned-private eye Spencer beats the living crap out of some bad guy. Sometimes he pounds him to a jelly and then his friend Hawk shoots him. It's extremely satisfying.

So I've read about five of these in the last two days or so. It's true that I had a tummy ache part of the time. But not all the time. And it isn't as though I had nothing to do. I should be writing Christmas cards and buying presents, to say nothing of working on my book. But I only have three more Spenser novels to go before I can let Harold take the collection back to the library.

Okay, here's the thing. I'm studying these books for technique. That's why I'm reading them. When I get all finished I will have many handy tips on how to write riveting and compelling crime stories. It isn't a vice. It's a professional exercise.

© 2015 Kate Gallison

1 comment:

  1. Of course it is! Who on earth would accuse you of anything else!!!!! tjstraww