Sweet Trouble

Rants, raves, book reviews and one girl's thoughts on life, the universe and everything.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

T is for "Times, they are a Changin'"

I read a book this weekend. Not a exactly an unusual event in our household, to be sure. I'm not going to put it, or any of it's many sequel's up on my list because it is the kind of book that has already reached market awareness. You won't need my help to find it, heck, there are probably little paperback versions at your local grocery store.

The book was "A is for Alibi," the first of Sue Grafton's Alphabet Murders. Back in early December my Grandmother gave me F-R of the series. She likes to give away her books when she has finished them, and I usually like any book I don't have to buy myself. It is a good system for both of us. I only got around to hunting down book "A" on my last trip to the library, thinking that I should make the most of things and start at the begining. The book iself was quite surprising: the heroine was not terrible likeable, the mystery was only sort of interesting, the sideplot was filler and I guessed whodunit barely a third of the way into the book. I even guessed one of three very mild twists. On top of all of that the whole thing is very dated.

"A is for Alibi" was published in the mid-eighties, and it is very apparent. Great chunks of narrative are spent on the heroine's forwarding of phone calls, checking messages and getting sources to look up information for her. In this era of internet peole search and cell phones it all seems quite preposterous and just a little bit aggravating. All of this left me with three thoughtsdirectly concerning the books: the first was "do I really want to slog through 25 more of these?" followed rapidly by "but I already have so many of them, it seems a waste not to." Then I began to wonder "surely they must get better to be so popular" which I know isn't quite true, after all, look at success of John Grisham's books or The DaVinci Code which are all written toward the lowest common demoninator.

My other thoughts had more do with society, rather than directly with the books. We've all heard about the gently old folks who experienced so much in their lifetimes. Our great-grandparents who adapted to cars and televisions, airplanes and men on the moon. Well, I've got news for you...that is going to be us! If I can read a book that was written when I was in middle-school and it feels like itwas written in the stone ages, then that is a major clue that times, they are a changin'! Start making a list of things that you've seen adapted in just the past fifteen years and you will see what I mean.

I just hope I never hear myslf say "Well, in my day, I had to read the whole book in print. I even turned the pages by hand...as I was walking both ways to school. In the snow. Uphill."


  • At 5:34 PM, Blogger Hunter said…

    Yes, we are cavemen dressed in suits to some extent... But unlike our grandparents we've become impatient with change. Our reflexes may not be as sharp as that 11-year-old who kicks my ass at Halo on Xbox live, but I'm just as up on the tech end of things as he or she is. Maybe I'm more up on the tech because I got to see the seamy underbelly of all this silicone before it became so user friendly. When a baffled 15-year-old at the gym complains to me about connections dropping out, I can quiz her about connection speed, host reliability, RF interference and packet loss. All she knows is that she paid her $50 a year for Xbox Live and she damn well expects it to work. She's right of courseā€¦but she never lived in a time when all this was so slapped together. I still get wide-eyed stares from my younger friends when I tell them that I've built every one of home PC's. I'm not a whiz, I've just seen the technology from its raw infancy so all the pieces and parts are familiar to me. Think how a man who started with a Model A Ford might take more easily to working with modern cars. Because he's seen the base technology, he can look under the hood, see through all the superfluous extras and get to the heart of the matter.

    BTW, where the hell is my portable, wireless, real-time videophone? It's 2005 people - hel-LO!


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