Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I don't really care about genre labels. I'll read anything as long as it gets higher than an "eh" on my vague rating scale. So the whole girlfight over "chick-lit" vs. "very serious literature which just so happens to be written by a woman" just makes me roll my eyes. If it's good, read it. What's so hard to understand about that? This was on my mind as I read Anybody Out There? by Marian Keyes. I'm sure she's considered chick-lit (she was right out of the gate with Helen Fielding), but her books, especially those about the sisters of the Walsh family, have more depth than the publishers would have you expect, given their pastel, genre-approved paperback covers. Anybody Out There? is her strongest so far. Anna, second youngest of the Walsh sisters, is home in Ireland recuperating from a horrible incident that left her battered and with a disfiguring scar on her face, but unable to reach her husband. When she leaves her family to go back to New York, we discover what happened and watch Anna as she begins to put her life back together. It's good. Really good. Plain and simple.

This weekend I also read Tomb Of The Golden Bird by Elizabeth Peters. Also known as the one where they finally find King Tut's tomb. Oddly enough, for a book largely dealing with one of the greatest archaeological finds ever, it was surprisingly without drama. I'm not sure what it was, but this time around I noticed how all the dinner parties and picnics and "look how cute the little ones are" scenes have been taking over the books in the series, leaving the mystery plots to become less focused and intense. Could I finally, after some 23 years and 18 books, have (gasp!) grown out of Amelia Peabody? Or is it just that the books aren't as good any more?

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