Wednesday, July 28, 2010

WHY REREAD ROBERT B. PARKER?



One of my own sentences made me start to think.  The sentence is, "She is being held against her will by a man she claims to love (in some ways, probably the true hallmark of abuse)."

I have known and, sometimes, worked with abused people.  It took me several books to see Robert B. Parker's Susan Silverman in the same light I saw some of the abused people I've known personally.  And it took me a while to see Spenser himself as having to pull back from the tendency to expect to control Susan, another name for abuse.

Rereading Parker has been good for me.

So why do I reread so many older novels?  First, because I am looking for good books.  So many modern books I read somehow seem less.  

There are great modern writers, of course--Ken Bruen, Dave Zeltersman, Louise Penny, and others.

Second, Parker deserves it.  His body of work is amazing.  Yes, his writing is up and down (as I see it), but he kept on writing, and he kept on writing interesting, good stuff.  

And third, I enjoy Parker.  Even the ones I see as average, I find fun to read.

So, my wife and I are reading through the Spenser series, and we might read through Parker's other books too.

We think the books are worth rereading.

2 comments:

Erica Orloff said...

Interesting post, Joe. I think for me, some series age better than others. I don't like to denigrate specific series or authors, but realistically, some just "age" better in terms of chauvinism, or even depiction of violence or dialogue. Writing patterns change (even beyond societal attitudes).

I used to voraciously read Nero Wolf. I would imagine (don't know--would have to go dig one up) that it WOULD age well since it's a "type" of hero and type of mystery. Travis McGee doesn't age that well for me, on the flip side.

Joe Barone said...

Nero Wolf ages better than Travis McGee for me too.