Friday, October 2, 2009
R.I.P. Read the Third: Ex-Libris by Ross King
Isaac Inchbold is a London bookseller in the mid-1600s. He adores his book, his routine, and his set way and unadventurous life. All that changes when one day a widow charges him to search for an ancient and rare manuscript under dubious circumstances.
There are many book-lusty elements to this novel: crumbling paper, worn leather, alchemy, ancient ink making, the descriptions upon descriptions of fascinating libraries. Adventure is there as well: shipwrecks, poison, thievery, assassination, buggy chases, etc....
BUT, there were a few things that simply didn't work for me. Once I got to the last 50 pages of the book the plot was a drag. Basically, King employed one of my least favorite novel techniques -- the "explain absolutely everything in a conversation just in case no one picked up on it." Yes, the Scooby Doo effect -- everything is explained by those meddling kids.
Luckily, I'm completely enamored with books about books and all those literary goodies kept me hooked to the bitter, unsatisfying end. I would recommend this read only to hardcore book-nerds.
I'm set to start on Count Magnus and Other Ghost Stories by M.R. James this weekend, but -- frankly -- I don't know how much I'll be able to read. I need glasses and can't pick them up until Monday.