Random again

This will be a random post, I’m sure. I think my brain has decided that logic is for the birds and therefore has declared a moratorium on any kind of fluid writing. I apologize in advance.

First up: Running. I bought a knee brace but I don’t think I’ll be able to use it. My knee has gotten used to not having a PCL and isn’t quite ready to leave its crazy moving-all-over-the-place ways. It actually hurts with the brace on, whereas before I didn’t notice anything untoward. So knee-brace-free it shall be. However, I have discovered that the knee is the least of my problems. Breathing is kind of an issue as well. Although, really, perhaps breathing is overrated. I have never been this out-of-shape before, and I’m not enjoying it one little bit. But the only way to go is up, right? Baby steps…

Second: I have discovered two books that I just have to have. No really! They twisted my arm, bullied me, you name it. I tried to resist, but found that I couldn’t hold out. The first book that captivated me is The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective. Mr. Whicher was the detective investigating the Road Hill murder in 1860, in which a young child’s body was found stuffed in a well. Whicher suspected the killer lurked amidst the family members (and he was later proved correct). The murder horrified England, and it also inspired a wave of “detective fever” as Wilkie Collins describes it. Indeed, this case–and Mr. Whicher in particular–is seen as the inspiration for many sensation fiction novels (such as Collins’s The Moonstone and Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret). Last week I read Collins’s lesser-known anti-vivisection novel, Heart and Science, and at this point in the semester my brain is craving more mysteries/sensation fiction. This looks like the perfect book to dive into once my final paper is turned in.

The second book I’m interested in is Pearl S. Buck’s Peony. I am ashamed to admit that I have never read The Good Earth, but Peony is one that I can’t pass up (I discovered it through Nextbook, which has a review essay by Jennifer Cody Epstein here). Ezra ben Israel is the son of a Jew and a Chinese Concubine. He is married to a Jewish woman, and their son, David, has been raised as an observant Jewish youth who is, nevertheless, firmly rooted in Chinese culture. I cannot wait to get this in my hands!

Finally: I joined a couple of academic associations this weekend. How nerdy is it that I practically jumped up and down when I realized that one membership would allow me to claim a discount at Oxford UP? Oy.

7 responses to this post.

  1. Ahh, yes, the joys of joining professional organizations. I have a bunch of memberships up for renewal, so that’s the draggy part. I haven’t heart of Peony! Bad Andi!! I just recently added The Good Earth to my stacks. I’ll probably get around to that one first, but Peony sounds good, too!


  2. The title alone is enough to make me want The Suspicions of Mr Whicher! It sounds fascinating; I have read so much Victorian sensation literature, it would be very interesting to see the inspiration.


  3. Andi: I had never heard of Peony either. But I know have a copy in my hands, mwa, ha, ha! 🙂

    Eloise: I’m so excited because it’s arriving today! I’m really looking forward to reading about Mr. Whicher (although, it is supposed to be a “reward” book for finishing the semester, I will probably dive in earlier…)


  4. I’m waiting for a library copy of The Suspicions of Mr Whicher–it looks very good! I didn’t realize the connection between that case and sensationalist fiction of the time, but it makes sense–another reason to read it (as I love Wilkie Collins!). I didn’t realize it was out already, but that means my slow library will take at least another month to get it and get it ready for the shelves!


  5. Danielle: It just arrived and I’m really enjoying it. Mr. Whicher is supposed to be the basis for detective Cuff in Collins’s The Moonstone, who in turn was the basis for most detectives in fiction that followed. It’s a fun read so far! And I know what you mean about new books in the library–I’m anxiously awaiting several new books which have been in the bookstores, but haven’t yet made it into the catalog!


  6. Supposedly my library has it and it is being processed. That means I won’t see it for a good two weeks no doubt….but I will be patient, since I have plenty of other books to read….


  7. Posted by MarkD on July 22, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    Just finished “Suspicions of Mr. Whicher” a few days ago, and I want more! Besides the Wilkie Collins book “Moonstone,” does anybody have any recommendations? I’d prefer Victorian true crime over fiction.

    What I really want is Whicher’s entire casebook/history!


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