A book in a day

The Cut, George P Pelacanos

It’s been ages since I’ve been able to read a book in a day. Long gone are the student days wasted away hammering a good book and now holidays tend to be taken up with activities such as hiking, snowboarding, or drinking which doesn’t leave the necessary six or seven hours needed to do a book in a day.

You can only read a certain type of book in a day. Usually it’s from a best-selling  author who writes page-turning novels that you can quickly motor through, especially if you’ve read many of their books before and know their style well. The books also tend to be a genre fiction you have a weak spot for, such as horror, romance or, in my case, crime fiction.

On this particular day, it was the perfect storm of conditions which made me able to read a book in a day. I was getting the train to, and back from, London in a day so would have at least five hours public transport time to get through most of it. I’d also just finished another book so was in a clear position to start another.

I hadn’t set out to finish the book so quickly, it was such a good page-turner that I found it hard to put down and got to that point that I’m sure all avid readers get to, when you feel how many pages you have left and decide ‘balls to it, I’ll finish it tonight’.

The particular book I read was The Cut, by George P Pelacanos. It had been given to me by one of my brothers who had also given it to another brother before it reached me: the crime fiction habit is shared by the family.

I’ve read pretty much all of Pelacanos’ work, watched the Wire and other TV programmes and films he’s been involved in and The Cut was very similar to these past works. The main character was a tough, handsome  and sensitive ex-Marine.  From a Greek background, he knows right from wrong and has a strong moral compass that sometimes wavers but always justifiably to the character. There’s lots of talk of specific music and a focus on food, drink and cars.

I was a big fan of Pelacanos when I first read a book by him, which I guess was circa 2001-2, and he seemed fresh and different to what had come before in crime fiction. Now, I’ve read so much of his work I pretty much know what’s going to come. This is not really a criticism as there is enjoyment to be had reading or watching the familiar, or knowing what will happen. There is pleasure to be had from reading a well written story that keeps you interested in each paragraph and keeps the pages turning.

I’ve wondered before how long it takes someone like Pelacanos to write such a book (which is 304 pages long in hardback). It clearly sells well so maybe he decides if he can publish one or two such books a year and it pays the bills and keeps him and his family in pants, with the rest of the time free to pursue other endeavours then good luck to him.

Personally, I’d love to make a living from writing fiction and have such a good style that you could slide out slick and professional novels that sold by the shed load, if it meant more time doing other activites such as hiking, snowboarding or drinking.
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Posted in A book in a day, Thoughts and Things
4 comments on “A book in a day
  1. Izaq says:

    The seven ages of a reader:
    1. Someone reads to you
    2. You start to read for yourself but someone tells you when to stop and go to sleep
    3. You read for yourself and you read as long as you want
    4. You sacrifice late night reading to be fit for work
    5. You read to someone else and tell them when to stop and go to sleep
    6. You have time for reading but you’d rather sleep
    7. Someone reads to you.

  2. Fat Roland says:

    I’ve managed a book-in-a-day twice this year: Murakami’s After Dark and Dave Egger’s The Wild Things. Both of them were hardly substantial works.

    I’m spending next week off work to try and produce a book of my blog, or at least get a start on the project. I can guarantee my book will also be quite insubstantial and will probably take about six minutes to read.

    • gowman says:

      A book of your blog! Good work if you can do it. I always like those books of a single person’s newspaper column over the years. Great to dip into and nice to look back at whatever year it was an LOL.

  3. Fat Roland says:

    Sorry. Eggers’. Or possibly Eggers’s. Not Egger’s. Dammit.

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