These days I never have strong enough opinions to write a whole blog post, so here’s a grab-bag of stuff that has caught my attention over the past couple of weeks:What I’ve been reading: “The Girl on the Train,” by Paula Hawkins. I liked it a lot. It deserves all the hype it’s been getting. It probably also deserves the incessant comparisons with “Gone Girl” — unreliable narrators (three of them), whose stories interweave to form a murky but well-crafted whodunnit. It’s better than “Gone Girl,” really, and will soon be a movie, too. Forget Scandinavian noir, which has now been done to death as a genre. I think this is the new face of crime fiction.
Speaking of crime fiction, female writers are really coming to dominate the genre, aren’t they? Maybe it just seems that way, because they’re the ones producing the most original characters and ideas, while the most popular male writers — John Sandford, James Patterson, Michael Connelly, Lee Child — stay atop the bestseller lists with series characters and formulaic plots. Nearly all of the best books I’ve read recently have come from women. Hard to imagine a time when a new female author had to have a male nom de plume to get published, but it wasn’t so very long ago.
And speaking of non sequiturs, I am looking forward to the Super Bowl only because it will finally end this tedious discussion about “Deflategate.” Two things: Slightly under-inflated footballs can in no way account for a 45-7 score differential. The Patriots could have been playing with medicine balls and they still would have won. Secondly, when can we stop attaching the threadbare suffix “gate” to every pissant scandal? I used to love that sort of shorthand when I wrote headlines for a living, but it’s past time for something new.I do not like the Super Bowl. I do not like Marshawn Lynch, even though I appreciate his unwitting effort to highlight the essential emptiness of Hype Week. He’s going to sell a lot of hats. Probably he will also get somebody to write a book for him. And this being America, somebody will buy it.
My best advice to Marshawn: Put some of that money into conservative investments. You’re going to need it when the concussions add up and your brief football career draws to a close.Speaking of fame-addled dullards, wasn’t it great when Sarah Palin made such an ass of herself at the bizarrely-named “Freedom Summit” in Iowa last week? Truly a memorable performance, and one that should forever relegate her to place on the national stage a couple of steps below, oh, Dennis Rodman. Next stop: Celebrity Apprentice!