Raku pigeons by Glo Coalson look down on me from a bookshelf in my library.
I’ve worked for the Texas Vital Statistics Section for about a year and a half now. Working in the office that houses all of the birth and death certificates issued by the State of Texas since 1903 introduced me to the existence of the Texas State Library & Archives Commission. We kind of work hand-in-hand with them, though they have other historical documents relating to Texas History. While our records are secure, private and confidential, from what I hear the records in the TSLAC are open to the public. I read online that there are rules that must be followed in order assist in the preservation of the documents. I’m certain that there are clean white gloves involved. (Thrilling!) But, all of this is just from what I’ve read, and a slightly overactive imagination.
The fact is I’ve never visited. There’s no particular reason I haven’t. I work M-F 8-5, but I do get days off. If I really wanted to visit (and I really, really do) then I could have made time for it. And, I shall. I have a rough plan in mind to visit this place, the LBJ Library and the new library in downtown Austin. That sounds like a delightful field trip.
A little over a week ago I was around the Capital at the Texas Book Festival. It was a headrush of an afternoon, but as we walked there we passed by the Texas Archives and Library Building. Alas, they were closed. We thought they might be open to host authors, but they were not. We peeked in the windows. I read the inscriptions in the granite on the buildings. I got my picture take outside, but I still have not been able to go inside. So close I could almost smell the old paper.
Some day I will go in and discover the histories that they keep of our great State of Texas. I will learn, and I might never leave. Some day.
I'm finally reading Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. (Listening to the audio book, more precisely.) I've always known I'd like it, but I thought I wasn't ready. Now I am.
The mystery is intriguing, but what I'm really enjoying so far is the prose about the weather. Northern Sweden in January. I'm listening to it in Central Texas in September, a time when it's barely under 100°, and I feel like I need to get under a blanket.
That's some good writing.
Let me take a moment to review a book that I loved.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Nothing is as perfect as it seems.
It never is. Jillian White finds this out when the facade of her fantasy life is shattered by the murder of a woman named Anna, the local estate agent. Little by little the reader is pulled into Jill's world and her thoughts. (view spoiler)[It is written in first person, so we have the advantage of knowing what the narrator is thinking. However, she has the advantage of only telling us what she wants us to know.
Weycombe is like a cousin to Girl on the Train. Though Girl is more intense, Weycombe is more sinister. If Girl on a Train is on one side of Weycombe's family, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is on the other, and here is where I let the bomb drop. I don't plan on having a review without spoilers.
The thing is, being so deep inside the mind of Jill is a little unnerving. There is a transformation throughout the book, and it doesn't get any more comfortable. At first Jill is in a rut, a huge rut that she can't get out of and that threatens to get tiresome. While Rachel from Girl is lost in alcoholism, Jillian is simply lost. She has lost her job; she has given up on trying to find another one. She spends her days wondering around the wealthy village of Weycombe, wasting away her life while her marriage falls apart. Not unlike with Rachel, I tended to want to throttle Jillian for her decisions.
But, she becomes energized with the idea of the murder of Anna, a woman who used to be her friend. She takes copious notes and eventually she states what we have been suspecting for a while – that she is planning to write a novel based on the murder. (The job she lost was with the BBC, so she's right in her niche.) That the murder of someone she knew could inspire her paints Jill in a less favorable light, even as it is she telling the story. As she becomes more interested in the investigation she becomes obsessed. She uses her feminine guile and American-ness to get information from the detective, and she talks with people around town, making small talk and then rushing to write everything down.
This invigorated Jillian is more pleasant, though. She is sure of herself and her talents. She has a purpose. She wastes no time on the illusion that she can save her marriage; in fact she hides her industry from her husband – willing him to stay out all night so she can get work done. All the while, small clues keep popping up, things that would have been more natural had they been told in a more chronological way. Some things seem to be important, and yet mean nothing... until later. She talks with a former colleague and the energy of her profession continues to return. She even talks to her Member of Parliament (MP) and is not intimidated when he calls her local police to
In the quaint village of Weycombe with its scenic backdrop, we see this woman, Jillian, slowly raise her head to look at us, then she keeps turning her head to look toward the sky, and she continues turning. Then we are looking at the back of her head, but there is another face there, and it is only beginning to lift itself to look at us. It is another Jillian with another version of the story we just heard. And we learn that this more well-adjusted woman is more sinister than we had been led to believe. (hide spoiler)]
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Carmela wants me to read Agatha Christie's Cat Among the Pigeons to her this weekend.