I don't know if it's the weather (which continued hot until about five minutes ago, when it started raining, yay!) or the various levels of Unfortunate Event in my immediate vicinity, but dagnabbit, I'm sleeping badly at the moment. Stress always goes straight to my sleep patterns, which burgeon forth into weird dreams, hypnagogic hallucinations, sleepwalking and my current infliction, insomnia. Tried to sleep last night from 10pm onwards. Couldn't, other than snatches of a light and uneasy doze punctuated by the cat climbing on me, and perambulation. Got up four times: (1) arose with sudden conviction I had to be somewhere and do something important; donned dressing gown upside-down, got to door before realising the urgency was entirely delusional; (2) car alarm went off randomly and for no reason, got up to check house wasn't being carried away bodily by burglars (apparently not); (3) repeat of sleepwalking episode, but with other dressing gown on inside-out; (4) random rain started, got up to close windows, whereupon the rain stopped. I think I finally drifted off somewhere around 2.30am, waking up just before 6 for no reason known to science. I am inutterably frayed today. Therefore, I shall console myself by talking about random interesting books.
This lot is all Scroob
's fault. One of the huge advantages about bloggery is the way that it acts as a sort of life record: it makes you realise precisely why all those eighteenth-century ladies wrote journals, in case they ever needed to remember the exact day on which they were so rude to the Duchess of Plin at the garden party, and who was listening. I quite often resort to my own deathless prose in order to work out when I was doing what where (although not whom), and in one of those forays recently stumbled over the comment in which Scroob recommended The Spellman Files
. I'm not sure why I didn't follow up the suggestion at the time, but I've just finished the first two books in the series and am about to embark on the third. I'm captivated, mostly by horrified fascination mixed with amusement and narrative glee.
Lisa Lutz's The Spellman Files
is a sort of demented private investigator/dysfunctional family saga, following the antics of Izzy Spellman, who has been working for her family's private investigation firm since she was a child. The upshot of her less than normal upbringing is a set of bizarre, offbeat yet perfectly logical interactions with the world: the family is basically amoral, or at least otherly moralled, completely bats, absolutely lacking in social inhibition, narcissistic, pragmatic, unscrupulous, manipulative, paranoid, very tightly knit, and hilarious. The genius is in the writing, though: the whole thing is beautifully delivered in a sort of deadpan case-report tone that makes extensive use of flashbacks, interrogations, recordings, evidence analysis, footnotes and Izzy's own OCD tendency to make lists. (The ex-boyfriend list is genius. I really have to admire a girl who can assess new male acquaintances in terms of their ex-boyfriend possibilities.) Bonus in-text fangirling of Get Smart
, which I really ought to watch one of these days just in solidarity and because CONTROL and KAOS are so magnificently silly1
, and the new Doctor Who
. I love these books. Borrow them from me. Get your own.
1 Good lord, I've just realised that Get Smart used to be on TV in Zim when I was a kid - I vividly remember its opening sequence with the long series of doors, which caused me to collapse giggling when watching the opening-glass-doors opening sequence of Hot Fuzz, which is a movie that's too bloody knowing for its own good. Also, Rowling's Ministry of Magic dropping-phone-box entrance is so a rip-off. In Hot Fuzz it's an homage, in Rowling it's a ripoff. Pay attention.