Friday, March 23, 2007

Lucifer Box, His Majesty's Terribly Good (And Most Secret) Agent

I was wandering around Borders last night night, casting my eyes over the shelves with that pleading look that says Something, please something, entertain me. Hoping that suddenly the clouds would part, cherubim would sing and beat their golden wings, and there lit as if from within would be The One Book to save me from a boring hour long commute home with nothing to read. (Death first.)

Apart from being momentarily distracted by a False Vision (buzz cut, tight green t-shirt, 501s and sneakers) sadly, no grail. I did narrow it down to two choices, a biography and a piece of escapist fiction.

[Can I just say, It freaks me out that Borders has no 'Biography' section, or at least not in the Parramatta store. Biographies are mixed in with history, science etc. I would have thought it was a popular enough genre to demand a section, and frankly their system is annoying to me.]

The biography, Born On A Blue Day is the story of 'genius savant' Daniel Tammet and his experience living with Asperger's Syndrome. Tammet's story is fascinating, about how he managed to integrate himself with the world through force of will and the support of a loving family and I was further intrigued by the fact that he is gay, and has a loving partner. (Daniel Tammet also has a blog on his website). I didn't buy it, but it'll be on my short list for the near future.

The piece of escapist fiction I settled on was The Devil In Amber, a 1920's style detective novel by author and actor Mark Gatiss (the sequel to The Vesuvius Club). The Vesuvius Club was out of stock, and I normally don't read sequels before reading the first in a series, but the second book apparently stands alone as an independant story. An adveture of Lucifer Box (esq), dashing bisexual secret agent and painter of the Royal Academy.
"I cut quite a dash. I'm afraid I rather fancy myself, but then everyone else did, so why should I be left out of the fun?"

Oh my gah you guys, this book is hilarious, or at least it is to me (YMMV). I love the style of '20s English detective novels, and Gatiss amps up the derring do-ness with a dashing protagonist that isn't adverse to the idea of bedding a handsome redheaded bellhop every now and then. As if Agatha Christie had written a camp James Bond, perhaps. I'm only part way into it and loving it so far. Fun!

Oh, and maybe those cherubim were smiling on me after all. I almost didn't buy the novel because it was a bit pricey for a paperback ($29.95), but then a nice young couple standing behind me in the queue handed me a 40% Off discount voucher that was due to expire that day (only one per customer, and they had one book and two vouchers). Sweet!

While The Fates were smiling, perhaps I should have chased down that Vision Splendid in the green t-shirt?...


Sherri said...

It is rare I can escape Borders with nary a book in hand. The two I frequent most are arranged slightly differently, but bios tend to be sectioned off -- sports bios with the sports books, celeb/movie/tv people near the DVDs, and people with a historical thing in the history. It may be that people find one huge biography section too daunting with every pipsqeek who managed an American Idol audition publishing a memoir.

I've got a few on my to-be-read shelf -- one on Jane Austen, another on Bogart, Lauren Bacall's auto, Kate Hepburn, Dorothy Parker...

The Other Andrew said...

J'adore Dorothy Parker!

"One more drink and I'll be under the host."

"Tell him I'm too fucking busy... or vice versa."

"If all the girls at the Harvard prom were laid end to end... I wouldn't be surprised"

So many great lines! I want to be her, just a little bit.

Michael said...

I think you are a little her.

yaniboy said...

That's so weird... at the beginning of the year I hadn't even HEARD of Asperger's Syndrome... then it was mentioned in an episode of House... then I read it in an interview with the chick from Bones... now you mention it... it's weird how that happens...