threemonkeys: (Waxlion)
I don't like those long life lightbulbs. The ones that are like mini fluoro-tubes twisted into a helix. They make good sense from an economic and environmental point of view so I have a number around my house. But every time I switch one of them on I get annoyed because they take several seconds to warm up to full brightness. When I flick the switch I want the light on now not some time later. Delayed gratification is no gratification at all. So I am not all that patient. Unless of course I have a book to read. Then time can be passed easily - 6 hours waiting for a plane at Sydney airport - no sweat. But you can't read if you don't have light.

When it comes to getting hold of books I want to read, things become a lot more complex. I browse online bookshops to see what has or is about to be released. When I see a new title from a favourite author I get filled with a desire to immediately own and read that book. A strong desire. But then I tend not to buy them immediately. The cost of buying hardback fiction usually (but not always) put me off. So I put my desires on a low light and wait until a cheaper edition comes along. Quite frequently I also wait until the book is released locally. Sometime I marvel at my patience but then I have lots of other books to read in the to-read queue.

Which brings me to The Man from the Diogenes Club by Kim Newman. A couple of people said nice things about this book (you know who you are) and Newman is certainly a personal favourite. Thus I was not able to restrain myself and after reading the second favourable comment I put an order into Amazon for this book and a few others I had been thinking about. The box of books arrived a couple of weeks later. A mercifully short transit time - somebody in shipping must like me. So did I read the book immediately? Did I at least make it the next book in the queue. No, it got stuck on the queue for several weeks while I read half a dozen other books first. I really do wonder at the way my mind works sometimes. Once I had the book I was a little reluctant to read it in case I was disappointed by it. Go figure.

No worries however. The book is every bit as good as I hoped it would be. It ranks right up there with Newman's best work. It is a series of tales featuring a common cast of characters in a world that Newman has used for much of his work. The action follows the exploits of Diogenes Club agent Richard Jeperson as he takes on the sort of strange occult related cases that the ordinary police or intelligence agencies could not possibly handle. Like most Newman writing the quirky light view of the world is counterbalanced by the darkness of the story. Most of the stories have a 1970s setting which lets Newman have a lot of fun with fashions and events and manage to be a good bit of nostalgia for his (*ahem*) older readers. It also has another big plus. Recently I have been conscious of the padding in a number of books. The Man from the Diogenes Club does not feel padded at all. It feels like a dense and substantial piece of work. Not something to delay getting into at all.

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threemonkeys

June 2015

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