Archive for March 4th, 2018

h1

Blogiversary 2018

March 4, 2018

On this 11th anniversary of Redeeming Qualities…let’s talk about rereading. I haven’t posted much for the past month or two because it’s been kind of a weird time for me, and when it’s kind of a weird time for me, I don’t want surprises. So I’ve been rereading a lot. And I love rereading. Books I’ve read before have always been a staple of my reading diet. But I always thought of it as second best, and lately I’ve been changing my mind about that. Nothing feels like reading a great book for the first time

Edgar Jepson’s various precocious child characters are such a joy to me, always. I’ll probably always love Pollyooly‘s singleminded focus on financial security best, but I’ve come to appreciate Tinker‘s detached politeness and Lady Noggs‘s righteous anger almost as much.

Since I read Mary-‘Gusta, I’m no longer sure what my favorite Joseph Crosby Lincoln book is, but Galusha the Magnificent is still a contender. Lincoln is so good at giving characters who have gone unappreciated for too long the love and admiration they deserve, and Galusha the Magnificent is one of the purest distillations of that. Also I like books that let me use phrases like “mild-mannered archaeologist.”

I recently reread all three of Geraldine Bonner’s Molly Morgenthau mysteries: The Girl from Central, The Black Eagle Mystery, and Miss Maitland, Private SecretaryThe Girl from Central wasn’t quite as good as I remembered it, but The Black Eagle Mystery was a lot better. All three books are solid, and competent, and impressive when you compare Bonner to contemporaries like Carolyn Wells and Mary Roberts Rinehart, who have the capacity to write better dialogue and more engaging characters, but don’t keep as firm a hand on the wheel. And it’s the rare detective novel that really believes that the detecting is as interesting as the mystery.

Anna Buchan gets better on rereading. I’ve been rereading her books so that I don’t get through the ones I haven’t read yet too fast, but I can’t think of one that I didn’t like better the second time around. Suspense isn’t Buchan’s friend — or possibly it just isn’t mine — so knowing what’s going to happen frees me to wallow in the characters and relationships and conversations. I think The Setons improved the most on rereading, but The Proper Place and The Day of Small Things are still my favorites overall. I want to live in an Anna Buchan book, or possibly just a house furnished by her.

Advertisements