Thursday, April 26, 2012

California There I Went

A recent vacation in California - Monterey and San Francisco - turned into a little vacation from crime fiction as well.  When one is in Monterey, one should really read John Steinbeck's Cannery Row.  Not only is Steinbeck celebrated on just about every street corner in town, but the book is terrifically evocative of its eponymous street, and the reader just thrills to reading about every place that she is seeing along this gorgeous stretch of California's Central Coast.  A visit to the unmatched Monterey Bay Aquarium provides the requisite fishy eduction to support the character of Doc in the book.

And then, for no reason other than I read a blog post about cooking lessons in a Sicilian palazzo and it said something like, if you liked The Leopard you'll like this, I am now reading Giuseppe di Lampedusa's masterpiece of historical fiction, The Leopard.  It doesn't complement Salvo Montalbano's Sicily AT ALL.  But who cares, it is terrific and anyone who is remotely interested in Italy should read it. 

On deck are another Ian Rankin, the latest Charles Todd, another Michael Dibdin, and Louise Penny, whom people seem to really like, writes about a Canadian chief inspector named Gamache (not to be confused with the chocolate cream, ganache).  I started the last, called Still Life, and I don't know if I was just in a bad mood or what but it was too village-crime cute even for me.  I'll try again when I'm in a more tolerant, less feline frame of mind.

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