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January 02, 2012

Kindle Recommendations Thread

Now that I've got a Kindle, I'm reading again. I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations.

If anyone's new to Kindle, you have to watch it with cheapie collections of classics, like Poe, or Lovecraft, or Robert E. Howard, because some do not have functioning Tables of Contents -- you have to manually scroll through hellaciously long files, all stories in the same file without any links to their beginnings. I got burned on that on a $1.99 (incomplete) Conan collection.

Last night I downloaded the one Raymond Chandler book I hadn't read, Playback. I'm burning through it (reading is pretty fast on the Kindle), and, as everyone says, it's not just an inferior work by Chandler, but a truly weak one. Gone entirely is his amazing scene-setting and tough-guy poetry. It reads like someone attempting to mimic his style -- but also not trying very hard, because the bulk of it is just prose which, while clean and readable, is also without any color or vitality. He truly is not even trying in this one.

Plus, 60% of the way through the book, I'm really not sure what mystery I'm supposed to care about. A woman's being blackmailed for reasons unknown, and halfway through, we finally had our first body, but it just apparently walked off on its own, so I'm not sure anyone's even dead yet.

So consider this an anti-recommendation (at least so far). But if you haven't read it -- The Big Sleep is incredible. None of his later works really touch it. People claim The Long Goodbye is better but I just don't see it. It's longer, certainly, but I don't see that as a plus. The Big Sleep is short and zippy and just filled with gorgeous writing, which is a trick, because he writes in a Hemmingway-esque telegraphic style, so to convey a richness of color to a scene without resorting to flowery or emotional language is an exceptional thing.

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posted by Ace at 03:31 PM

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