This week I take on Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.
- Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge for topic: book published in the decade I was born (1970s)
- Book Lust Challenge
What You Should Know:
- This is a well known and loved spy novel from the Cold War era.
- There is a movie
I considered finding discussion questions for this book, but decided not to do that. Why? Well, I am a not really in the mood for discussion questions. Most book clubs have that meeting where they just want to talk about something totally unrelated to the book. I am having that kind of a week.
That’s not to say things are bad. In fact, things are pretty good right now. I am working on publishing a book. I am in the middle of editing another book. I am beginning to re-write 2 others. Then there is a new issue of Mill Pages in development and I have a story included in that. I am in a good place with my writing. I am in a good place with my reading. I weeded a number of books from my personal collection and have cleared a bunch off the To-Be-Read shelf. I am even weeding off the shelves from my permanent collection.
Work is good. I just got back from a state association conference on Cape Cod where I spoke to get more librarians involved in editing Wikipedia. I am getting ready for a trip to Orlando for ALA, moderating a panel at the conference, a visit to the Florida family, and a trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter park. I am working on some big projects this summer.
So, this book should not go without mention. It came off my waiting list just as I was feeling overwhelmed with boredom thanks to David Copperfield (even Richard Armitage can’t save Dickens). I thought I would enjoy it more than I did. I started listening on my 2-hour drive home from Cape Cod. I just couldn’t give it my full attention. Not because I was distracted, but because the story didn’t grab my attention.
It may have been the reader: Frederick Davidson. Davidson, who was the stage name of David Case, read a ton of books when he was still alive. He has a very distinctive voice and was especially known for a nasal British voice. Sometimes the voice worked, but this time it didn’t. To be fair, he read ALL the Flashman books I listened too and he was perfect. I have a bunch of other audiobooks on my wish list that he has read. I am familiar enough with his voice so it seemed odd that he wasn’t right for me this time.
I think another reason I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I thought was that I don’t think I like spy books. I like spy shows and spy movies. They move far faster than a book. This book deal so much back story, that it slows the pace of the action. Also, there is no real action to speak of. There is a lot of men talking in rooms about what they have discovered. I felt similarly with the Bourne books. I want a spy story to have a certain pace and a book can’t do that.
Media Tie In:
I saw this movie before I read the book. It was long enough ago that I forgot some details about it. I enjoyed the movie more than the book and I think I am pretty clear as to why in the discussion. Bonus for the movie: the cast, which includes: Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, and Benedict Cumberbatch. No, it doesn’t move at the pace of a Jason Bourne movie, but it is about the deception of a traitor, not the chase to not die. This one
Who Will Like:
- People who like spy stories, but not necessarily the chase.
- People who like Cold War era stories
- People who liked the movie – the adaptation was well done and true to the book
Other books read this week:
- Alice, Let’s Eat: Further Adventures of a Happy Eater – which is both included in Book Lust and a book I added to the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge. I may discuss this next week.
- Young Men and Fire – About the Smoke Jumpers and the Mann Gulch Fire in 1949. Jumping out of planes to fight fires is a real thing and wow! WOW!