Friday, August 19, 2016

"Gravity, plus ocean current, plus wind"

The one time I felt in danger of drowning was when, as a middle schooler, I went to a place called Wet ‘n Wild. I ventured into the Wave Pool, drawn to its seemingly tamer attraction compared to the death defying twists and turns of the higher and faster water slides. I positioned myself next to one of the metal bars lining the deep end and waited for the waves to begin. Slowly the agitation quickened and the waves got higher.  Losing hold of the metal bar, it was all I could do to keep my head above water. Trying not to panic, I glanced over at the lifeguards who seemed oblivious to my plight. Meanwhile my companions were screaming in the delight of it all. Finally the waves subsided and I was able to touch bottom and climb out, thankful for the hot concrete underneath my feet.

This memory came back as I was reading Before the Fall by Noah Hawley. A plane has crashed off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. One of the passengers, Scott Burroughs, finds himself in the ocean, somehow still alive. Determined to swim to shore, he begins to set off when he hears the cry of a four-year-old boy who has also miraculously survived. Not only is it night, but Burroughs holding onto the boy, has dislocated a shoulder, fears the sharks swimming below, and faces giant waves which threaten to drag their bodies under.  The story of his rescue and the aftermath of the crash is entwined with the backstories of the other passengers on the private plane. Was it an accident or an attack? Answering this question proves as gripping as the first few pages of Burroughs’ heroic swim.

Since I’ve been obsessed with NPR’s you-might-also-like lists lately, I just have to say if you like Before the Fall, you might also like Hawley’s earlier novel The Good Father.  It too unravels a mystery of sorts. Why would a smart college-aged kid from a well-to-do family fall off the grid and assassinate a presidential candidate? This time, the character seeking answers is the boy’s father. He retraces his son’s travels across the United States, trying to prove his innocence.

And if you like The Good Father, you might also like this movie.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Mr. (and Mrs.) Holmes

You’ve seen the movies and shows. The haunting but jaunty violin music that follows Benedict Cumberbatch all over modern London. The signature intense cuts of Guy Ritchie. The unforgettable stained glass knightJoan Watson.

While you are waiting for Season 4 of Sherlock, read the original series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. 
Or look for these other modern spin-offs.

Anthony Horowitz sends Sherlock and Watson on a new case in The House of Silk. He follows it up with Moriarty which explores what happened to Sherlock and Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls. Although it’s more graphic (ummm much more graphic) than the original mysteries, the suspense is just as thrilling.

Laurie R. King focuses the plot around Holmes’ wife Mary Russell. King explains how they met with The Beekeeper’s Apprentice. If you find yourself hooked, find the complete series list (in order) here. The star in these books is the exotic locale which varies in each book.

Julian Barnes sets the stage around Sherlock’s creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in Arthur and George as he sets off to solve a mystery in “real” life. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Aha Moments

There’s always one moment during yoga when I think to myself, “Oh, this is why I woke up this early.” Having resumed a somewhat regular running routine, I keep waiting for that moment to happen during a run. I haven’t given up quite yet.

Luckily that moment comes quite often when I’m reading. If only it burned more calories.

My latest why-I-love-reading titles:

The Magicians by Lev Grossman
The Lake House by Kate Morton
Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty
Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave  

A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews