Saturday, December 10, 2011

Harlan Coben and Amanda Cross

In a recent meeting with other older people, a man my age said with enthusiasm how much he enjoyed Harlan Coben's books.  I had seen the name but had not even looked at the books.  I don't hear such a recommendation from men very often so I took it seriously.  I downloaded "Deal Breaker" since it seemed to be the first in a series by Coben that features the character of Myron Bolitar.  

Myron was an outstanding college basketball player and was drafted into the Boston Celtics.  But before he got to play, he was injured in a practice.  The injury prevented him from playing pro ball but not from enjoying a full life.  He graduated with a degree from Harvard Law School. He worked with the FBI for a while but became an independent sports agent representing all sorts of athletes. "Deal Breaker" is about football players.  We are now reading "Drop Shot", the 2nd Myron Bolitar story where he represents top tennis players.

I feel that I have found a special treasure when the library shelves reveal books that are not new but are very good.  Every now and then, I take a look through the shelves which can be a bleak experience of doubting that anything good will ever be discovered.  Our local public library has a large section of just mysteries.  I find that titles that have resonated with me pop into my head, especially books that I have long thought might be good but that I either never found or tried but didn't get into.  

The title "Death in a Tenured Position" sticks in my mind so I looked at Amanda Cross books.  That is the pen name of Carolyn Heilbrun, a professor of English at Columbia who wrote many books, including those featuring Professor Kate Fansler.  I didn't want to try "Tenured Position" again so I borrowed "Poetic Justice" and I am glad I did.  The book is filled with quotations from W.H. Auden, sometimes said to be the greatest poet in English of the 20th century.  I don't know much about Auden but I am reading him more because of "Poetic Justice".  

I really enjoyed "Poetic Justice" taking me back to times when I was with professors who really know and live their subject but tend to be rather ignorant of their students or of the world of technology and other subjects not on the list of things they think about. 
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