Wednesday, May 30, 2018

What I've Been Reading: Cool & Lam, Rogues & Villains, Dorothy Day, Lewis Devotional

Double or QuitsDouble or Quits by A.A. Fair
While tracking down jewels stolen from a prominent doctor's safe, Donald Lam and Bertha Cool encounter a suspicious death, lies, a custody battle and blackmail, and conflict with an insurance company over a double indemnity clause in an insurance policy.
Where have Cool & Lam been all my life? What an inspired combination for a detective agency and a great mystery with which to meet them!

I read four short stories in a row by Earle Stanley Gardner (A.A. Fair's real name) in the Big Book of Rogues and Villains. I'd never taken a cotton to Perry Mason but these featured rogues that sent me looking for more such characters. Luckily I came across Cool & Lam with big, bad tempered Bertha Cool and half-pint, clever, attractive Donald Lam. I will be reading all I can find, which won't be many as I'll have to scour used book stores for them. Not many are in reprint.

They are a sheer pleasure to read, trust me on this.

The Big Book of Rogues and VillainsThe Big Book of Rogues and Villains by Otto Penzler
Edgar Award-winning editor Otto Penzler's new anthology brings together the most cunning, ruthless, and brilliant criminals in mystery fiction, for the biggest compendium of bad guys (and girls) ever assembled.
I love these sorts of stories which for me were greatly enhanced by the fact that most of the stories are about rogues or about villains who are being foiled. I also really appreciate Otto Penzler's skill in selecting and organizing this sort of collection, especially when enhanced by his brief biographies of the author before each tale. Highly recommended, though for late night reading one might want the Kindle version as it is indeed a very big book for reading in bed.

The Long Loneliness: The Autobiography of the Legendary Catholic Social ActivistThe Long Loneliness: The Autobiography of the Legendary Catholic Social Activist by Dorothy Day
This inspiring and fascinating memoir, subtitled, “The Autobiography of the Legendary Catholic Social Activist,” The Long Loneliness is the late Dorothy Day’s compelling autobiographical testament to her life of social activism and her spiritual pilgrimage.
I felt about this very much as I felt about St. Therese of Lisieux's Story of a Soul — I liked half of it a lot. In Therese's case I liked the last half, in Dorothy Day's case I liked the first half. It told a lot about her life and the conditions of the time in which she grew up, which were really interesting and put her into a lot of context. She seems to have had an inborn desire to seek God, which I relate to, which she couldn't escape no matter what her living conditions. In the last half she spent a lot of time on personalities's stories which I didn't care about which accounts for my disinterest in that section. I much prefer On Pilgrimage for a look at daily life with Dorothy Day, especially since it is a journal account going over about a year.

However, it was definitely worth reading once and I'm glad I did.

The Business of Heaven: Daily Readings from C. S. LewisThe Business of Heaven: Daily Readings from C. S. Lewis
In The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis’s famous devil derides the Christian year as “The Same Old Thing.” To combat this, Walter Hooper has drawn from Lewis’s vast bibliography, accumulating short meditations that correspond to each day of the Christian calendar. Hooper has chosen passages that emphasize Lewis’ illuminatingly matter-of-fact approach to religion. In addition to providing food for thought, these bite-sized excerpts facilitate a yearlong journey towards achieving the joy that Lewis wrote is “the serious business of heaven.”
This is a really excellent devotional. Carefully selected excerpts of C.S. Lewis's work are organized around the liturgical year. A little C.S. Lewis every day is a great way to stay focused on the realities of Christian life.

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