Wednesday, May 07, 2014


now finished: re-reading Alibi through Evidence of Sue Grafton's alphabet mysteries series
now reading: Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff & James Norman Hall
The Anchor Book of Chinese Poetry: From Ancient to Contemporary, the Full 3,000-Year Tradition ed. by Tony Barnstone with Chou Ping

now listening: My Story by Elizabeth Smart with some ghostwriter dude, Chris Stewart, I think? 

Yes, a lot going on. It's all different though. These past couple years I've had one audio book going pretty much all the time, which I listen to while on walks, or exercising, or commuting on buses with no working lights (ahem, that happened in Korea sometimes). They take me forever to get through, especially back when I had crappy headphones. Now I have good headphones, or should I say ear buds, that actually stay in my ears while I'm running, but we're training for the 25K River Bank Run (three days from now!) and I listen to music playlists, not books, during my long runs, so I still only listen sometimes, and ... yeah. The poetry is because I dabble, reading a poet or two per day, slowly working my way through the entire history of Chinese poetry. (Just kidding. A sampling.) My actual book-book at the moment is Mutiny on the Bounty, which I did read years ago, but about which I remember next to nothing, so I'm re-reading it and then am going to watch the Oscar-winning movie from the 1930s, and just for kicks I'm probably going to read the next two books in the Bounty trilogy as well.

But let's address my other little ongoing project--Sue Grafton. I have a serious question about that series. No, this isn't about their implausibility or weird characterization or whatever other little flaws impede a reader's enjoyment of them. This isn't about how I'm probably going to blaze through the alphabet as I've set out to do, despite my finding that F Is for Far-Fetched. The question I have is one that came up as I was perusing some Goodreads reviews of E Is for Evidence. Several reviewers mentioned that they were working their way through the series, that they were thinking of giving up, that since Alibi the books have gone downhill, and comments like that. And then...and then... brace yourselves!!...and then, a reviewer of E Is for Evidence named Ed writes: "Every few months, I've been checking out a Sue Grafton alphabet title. 'E' now makes for eleven, according to my Goodreads account, that I've read."

WHAT?! E is for eleven??!

Seriously, E-is-for-Ed, that is basically just like stabbing me in the heart with an icicle. You're reading them out of order?!?!

I don't understand how Ed can do this. How can anyone not read this series in order? I mean ... FIRST of all, I can't just read mystery series out of order, period. This is a big part of my entire problem with reading mysteries in the first place. Every time I browse them, just as with all those times at Borders when I would touch and shelve them, I look at them and get intrigued by them and make mental notes to get around to reading these authors one day but I can't just plunge in anywhere!! I have to start at the beginning, duh, obviously!!!! And if the first one is out of stock, or it takes too much effort to figure out which one in a certain series is even the first one (note to authors and especially publishers: that really sucks, by the way. Just make it obvious on the cover of the book, please, thank you), then forget it, can't try out that author that day. This is why we like Goodreads and authors' web sites that tell us clearly "Ellie Hatcher #1" or "Anna Pigeon #6" or whatever. Waaaaaaaaay back in my early Borders days I accidentally read Nelson DeMille's The Lion's Game, a Detective John Corey book, without having read Plum Island, which is the first John Corey book, and I have been traumatized ever since. I still think about it every single year when I read my annual Nelson DeMille. It's pretty terrible that that happened.

But..but...but, Ed. Ed! With the Sue Grafton alphabet mystery series it's TOTALLYF******OBVIOUS, dude! It's the alphabet!!  It is totally completely thoroughly 100% designed to be achingly obvious what order they go in. Only Janet Evanovich's One for the Money Stephanie Plum series could be possibly more obvious. But I don't think so. Some of Evanovich's titles are cleverly familiar phrases, at least, and you could be forgiven for seeing a random shelf with, say, High Five and To the Nines and not realizing it's even a series and that those are book #5 and book #9. But the Graftons!! Oh my god! A Is for.., B Is for..., C Is for...  It's clear! It's so clear! To anyone! There's no way you didn't know! Alibi, Burglar, Corpse, Deadbeat, Evidence, Fugitive, Gumshoe. You knew! You knew, Ed! And you chose to read them out of order?!?!

I mean, I really couldn't do it. Like, couldn't. I actually could not read those out of order. If someone was all like: Hey, have you read any of the Kinsey Millhone mysteries? and I was all, Nope! and they tossed L is for Lawless my way and said, Here! Try this! I would be like No! No! No! Get it away!

How could you just do that? How?

My god, please tell me that you people out there understand the gravity of this situation.

1 comment:

Jerry said...

I completely understand your disbelief. That is one of those sacred things about reading a series for me. While I know with some series, it matters more than others (and there are some series like Gore Vidal's Narratives of Empire series where the reader gets to choose whether to read by chronological setting order or order of publication), I can't imagine reading any series out of order, especially if I intended to read the entire series. I guess this Ed is taking a Doctor Who approach to the series, a temporally disjointed jaunt through the life and times of Kinsey Millhone.