I recently finished Tom Robbins' Jitterbug Perfume, Penelope Fitzgerald's Bookshop, Kevin Dwyer and Jure Fiorillo's True Stories of Law and Order: Special Victim's Unit, and Angela Rixon's The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Cat Breeds.
Jitterbug was titillating. Never having read any of Robbins books before I have to admit I have not been a fan of the contemporary novel. Characters in them often seem bored with themselves and I'm left wondering: "If your character is bored with himself and you sound bored with your character, why should I be interested?" This novel, though, is different. Personally, portions of it were an affront to my sense of morality; yet, I realized "Erleichda, Erleichda" was meant for me too. You'll have to read the book to know what that means. (Robbins doesn't appear to be a fan of Christianity). I am; however, one can't fail to appreciate the completeness of what Robbins creates. It's nice to read something with an actual point of view. His characters operate outside the bounds of morality--that's the point. "The universe does not have laws. It has habits. And habits can be broken." There could be too much of a good thing in reading his novels one after the other, but I will return to Robbins in due time.
I'm not sure that I liked The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald. The story feels like it's over before it has begun. The characters are considerately crafted, but what a downer. She artfully recreates the backbiting and constant gossip of a small town where the inhabitants attempt to keep things the same or control all things at all costs. How dare anyone attempt to elevate themselves without their permission? It was very well-written, but I can't say it was enjoyable to read about people behaving horribly.
True Stories was a quick read. Can't say it was incredibly good or bad. It was what it purported to be: summaries of the real crimes that inspired SVU episodes. This one was a gift from my mother in law. Given what I do, I can't say I'm surprised that she thought of me when she came across the book. Plus, we do share a love of SVU and old Law and Order episodes. The book doesn't really provide any substantial insights, but simply provides easy-to-read, brief summaries of the criminals and their crimes.
Angela Rixon's book was quick and cute. Love the kitties.