wallander, roddy doyle, one of us is lying: what i'm reading between massive biographies

These biographies are taking me a very long time to read. The list of books I want to read continues to grow, as always, and it feels wrong to use so much time on just one title. I wish I read faster. I wish I spent more time reading. I wish I had a parallel life in which all I did was read.

Back in the real world, in between these massive nonfiction tomes, I need to read something lighter, but my lighter reads still have to be quality.

Roddy Doyle, one of my favourite authors, has written an improbable novel. Funny, smart, sweet, compassionate, with all the signature crisp dialogue and perfect understanding of human motivation that we expect from Doyle -- and then you fall off a cliff. The author pushes the reader off a cliff. It's confusing and disorienting. It's shocking.

I don't know if it works. I have to read the book again to decide. But one thing: it's a bold choice, a daring and ambitious choice. I can't imagine the Roddy Doyle of The Van or Paula Spencer writing this book. More power to him.

That's all I'll say. I'd want to kill anyone who spoiled this for me.

* * * *

I continue to read Henning Mankell's Wallander series. I don't read genre books, but I love finding writers who take the form and do more with it -- complex characters, interesting relationships, political context, a strong sense of place. Mankell does this for me.

* * * *

A locked-room murder mystery set in a high school? It hardly seems possible to pull this off, but Karen McManus does it. One of Us is Lying is a rare treat: a young adult mystery that really keeps you guessing. It's also about the media, rumour-mongering, secret-keeping, and of course, coming into your own. There's a lovely coming out story of an athlete destined for professional sports, and very credible subplots of friendships across label barriers.

I liked it so much that I'm actually going to read the next one: Two Can Keep a Secret. I very rarely do this with YA.

* * * *

Next up, The Nickel Boys, Colson Whitehead's new book. A new book by Colson Whitehead is always a cause for celebration, but when every reviewer gives it a flat-out rave, it's extra exciting.

I didn't actually read the reviews, though. I always go in cold. I'm just so happy that Whitehead is finally getting the recognition he has always deserved.

I also have several graphic novels waiting to be read, including the graphic adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank that Allan included among my birthday gifts.

When I'm ready, the next biography is Ali: A Life by Jonathan Eig.

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