Red, Red Whine

Perhaps I will!

We’ve been Red  Zoned and despite all the confusion, misery and dislocation that this implies for thousands of us, I personally am just blown away by the superior adaptability of the English language, which has moved these words from a noun phrase to a verb phrase in half the time it takes to spit out the word “liquefaction“.

Turns out that moving from one suburb to the next is almost as fraught as the move from country to country, and I should know. Gone all our dreams for our home, gone our plans for the future, gone our little bit of paradise. Instead we join the legions of pale, sad people driving slowly down your street in search of a replacement dream.

But in the interests of taking it one day at a time, we do know one thing: we will have to rid ourselves of piles of  useless **** (insert here rude word of your choice that rhymes with “trap”) that we have hoarded over many  years.

So, where else do you turn in situations like this other than to our fantastic libraries for help? I think I know what I need right now, but I lack the energy to track it down. So I’m turning to you to suggest some reads for me. What could I be reading that might satisfy at least some of the following requirements:

  • Help me clear the clutter;
  • Make me feel that this purging is a spiritually rewarding path to take that will result in a new improved me;
  • Transport me to a world of pioneers who relocated and lived to tell the tale;
  •  Make me laugh!

I’ve loved all the recent blogs on getting back your mojo, but have to warn you that I am about as far from bouncing back as I could possibly be and that on a good day a gentle seep is about all that I can manage.

The truth is, this could have been the world’s shortest blog yet – just three little words:

Red zoned – help!

Curling up with a good murder

coverWe’re a bloodthirsty lot if our TV viewing and reading habits are any indication. A recent survey of British crime novels found that the average body count per book last year was 8.38 and it seems to me that they get through that many in a CSI episode (with plenty of .38s floating around in the form of spare hands and feet).

What is it that draws us to murder and mayhem as a form of recreation? There have been all sorts of theories. These range from the Freudian idea that we need to sublimate our own violent impulses to the more obscure idea that we want to assign motivations to other people. Kate Summerscale, author of that wonderful exploration of the origins of both real and fictional detection The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, sees it as a comforting genre in which the detective goes into a scene of chaos and lays it to rest.

I’m in agreement with her. It seems to me that the more chaotic and threatening our environment becomes, the more TV crime shows fill our screens, and crime novels fly off library shelves. Deep down we want to believe there is someone out there of superhuman intelligence/terrifyingly clever technology/obsessive dedication, who is battling to sort it all out for us.

Perhaps that is why I can think of nothing better to do in the coming winter days than to curl up in front of a roaring fire (ok a whirring heat pump) with a good mystery. Vying for my attention at the moment are, the fast paced and entertaining Surrender by Donna Malane and set in Wellington, Ice Princess by Swedish writer Camilla Lackberg and a traditional British police whodunnit Water Like Stone by Deborah Crombie.

I have some more lined up on my “for later” shelves in the new BiblioCommons catalogue and I have my eye on these lists to keep me going till spring:

Why do YOU read detective fiction?