01 May 2004

Suffering from a Surfeit of Books (What a Way to Go)

I got a library visit in this week and and am now happily wallowing in new books. I practically devoured the first three. I started with Sue Henry's Cold Company and Death Trap, which feature Henry's heroine, independent musher Jessie Arnold, in a series of books that began with Murder on the Iditarod Trail. I had started collecting these in paperback, then got pissed off about four books ago when Henry dumped Jessie's love interest, state trooper Alex Jensen. Jessie can't seem to keep out of trouble, with or without Jensen around; in the "six months" (four books) since he left, she's been stalked innumerable times, involved with killers, and in the last book, left in a trap that would require her to kill her favorite dog, Tank, to save her own skin. Henry's next book is about a supporting character she introduced two Arnold books ago, which leaves Jessie time to--hopefully--rest up. I'm surprised the woman is not stark raving mad in a rest home by now. (Incidentally, we find out why Jessie is so self-reliant and reluctant to depend on anyone in Cold Company, but it reads as a bit of a cliche.)

I also got my mitts on a copy of the hottest fiction book of the last few months, Dan Brown's DaVinci Code. As you remember, I didn't think much of Angels and Demons, which is the first Robert Langdon book. This one is a bit less improbable. I find it surprising the sudden interest in DaVinci and his "codes." I've watched two different specials about it already. Had folks not heard of the Gnostic gospels and the theories about Jesus' family, which have included brothers and sisters as well? Also had not heard the terms "Divine Principle" or Fibonacci numbers or even "phi," but do remember this ratio being discussed in history--or maybe math--class as "the Golden Mean."

At the moment I'm in the middle of two other books, last year's highly publicized--they did a story in Time, as I remember--Walter Isaacson biography of Benjamin Franklin and Bruce Watson's great The Man Who Changed How Boys and Toys Were Made, the story of A.C. Gilbert, the man who gave the world the Erector set.