February 27th, 2007

Books

Too Many Books...

Way behind on my book reports...

I continue my mostly chronological journey though the Nero Wolfe canon with Rex Stout's Too Many Cooks and The Red Box, the fifth and fourth Wolfe books, respectively. (Read out of order because I didn't realize I owned a copy of Box until I was almost finished with Cooks. My hardcovers are on shelves, but the paperbacks are still mostly in boxes in the attic, alas.) The two books are an interesting contrast given that they were written one after the other.

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Books 03

More Books...

The movie version of Steinbeck's Cannery Row is one of my all-time favorite films. It's funny, and sweet, and melancholy, plus there's baseball and science. I probably identify way too much with Doc. The book is much the same, except for the baseball. I'd never read it before, and I liked it a lot. There's not much of a plot here, just a meander through the lives of the characters who live on Cannery Row, but that's fine. Now I need to find a copy of Sweet Thursday to get the rest of the story.

The Story of the U.S. Air Force, by Robert D. Loomis, is a blast from the past, a book my airplane crazy self read over and over as a kid. It's part of the Landmark series of children's books, and covers the history of the USAF from the Wright Brothers up through the late fifties. It's like visiting a very old friend. (Loomis also wrote a similar book on American fighter pilots that I need to find one of these days.)

Finally, there's Red Harvest, Dashiell Hammett's first novel. It features the Continental Op, the hard-boiled detective with no name. He's 5'6" and 190 lbs., not the usual shape of a tough guy, and he's ruthless as hell. After he solves the murder of one of a small city's leading citizens, he's hired by the victim's corrupt father to clean up the town. He does this by setting the various criminal factions against each other, and dozens of bodies start to pile up. There are several mysteries along the way, but he clears them up almost too easily, but they aren't really the point. It's more like a procedural in the way he goes about his business.