Did we explain to you that the Nemo-reading program has been reworked? We used to read for dollars, reviewing books for a pre-publication service which meant that we read what was sent to us, no questions asked, so we read a lot of crap and some really good stuff, but basically it was kind of luxurious because we never had to think about what to read, we just read. But we’re on our own now and have been for months, which is why the books in question here are so all over the place which readers may find jittery, but think how we felt for all those reviewing years and keep your complaints to yourself. So we don’t exactly have the book selection process down yet which is why we find ourselves with the Jared Diamond not yet finished and the A.S.Byatt not yet finished yet still capable of panicking Friday afternoon on the way out the door thinking we might find ourself with nothing to read over the weekend and grabbing The Given Day, the new Dennis Lehane, as we left which led us to neglect the Diamond and the Byatt because The Given Day is, as usual for Lehane, pretty absorbing, but it’s especially absorbing for us because it’s about cops and the underclasses in Boston in 1918-1919 which alert and faithful Stacked readers know is the moment in time covered in spectacular depth by Ann Hagedorn in Savage Peace which we stuck with to the end even though we thought she was soft on the disgraceful Woodrow Wilson. We were coming out of a long fiction haul when we read Savage Peace, so we more than once wondered how the incredible stuff Ann turned up would work as fiction, and now we know, because that’s what Lehane did in The Given Day, and we can’t help wondering if he didn’t read Annie’s book and then sat down with his head full of it and banged out his fiction version. If we hadn’t read Savage Peace, we would have thought Lehane was laying it on with a trowel, but we know he was, if anything, soft pedaling.
Both worth your time.