Okay, my enthusiasm for my TBR shelf has cooled observably. The problem is that when I finish a book on my TBR shelf, I don’t have anywhere else to put it. It just goes back on my TBR shelf because that’s the only available storage. I need to move on selling discarded books to the Strand. I am hoping the Strand will agree to give me store credit instead of cash — they should want to, right? That would be beneficial to them as well as to me? Anyway, a TBR shelf is fun insofar as reading books off of it empties it. Once I start emptying it properly, I will be enthusiastic about it again.
In that vein, I read Case Histories at last! Kate Atkinson! It finally happened! And shortly thereafter I read Stef Penney’s new book, The Invisible Ones, kindly provided to me by the lovely Lydia of Penguin, and y’all, these are not the same book but they felt like the same book. They’re both about divorced private investigators looking into The Case of the Missing Girl, they both (spoilers ahoy) have incest, they both feature the poor old private investigator being damaged in ways that they think relate to the case but they are not sure.
If I may be permitted a small rant: What on earth is this chokehold that divorced private investigators have on our collective unconscious? Why do they pop up over and over again, alternately still being in love with their ex-wives and calling them bitches? What is with that? I don’t even like private investigators! Let alone ones with weird, uncomfortable attitudes towards women, which is the case in Case Histories and The Invisible Ones. It wasn’t so much a problem in The Invisible Ones, but I wished someone had called Jackson Brodie on some of his bullshitty thoughts about the women in the case.
Both of these books were, you know, fine. I went through them quickly and enjoyed reading them, but once I got done, I didn’t think, God damn, I really must search out more books by these authors! I don’t mind about Stef Penney, but I know that people whose taste I respect, including Teresa and Ana, have really really enjoyed Kate Atkinson. Teresa and Ana, did you have the same reaction to Case Histories? Or do you consider Case Histories to be the pinnacle of Kate Atkinson’s achievements, in which case we possibly just have different opinions about her as an author?
P.S. Since writing the first draft of this post, I most gloriously took a massive ton of books to the Strand and sold them there. The bag o’ books was awkwardly huge and heavy for the subway, but I persisted. To avoid disappointment, I told myself to expect the Strand to accept fewer than half of them, and to receive maybe $5. Instead they took all but one and gave me $40. It was wonderful. It was both cleansing (my mother sensibly brainwashed Little Jenny into enjoying getting rid of stuff) and financially beneficial.