Several years ago, I read a book about the history of NASCAR. I couldn't tell you why I picked it up in the first place, but I found it fascinating. I am not a fan of NASCAR, but I will admit to a certain interest in the subculture. Part of this, no doubt, can be traced to the fact that the race was always on at my parents' house when I was younger. In fact, due to my father's propensity for putting the same thing on every TV in the house so he can watch it as he putters around, it was often hard to get away from it.
When Janet Evanovich's Metro Girl came out in 2004, I snapped it right up. I was (and to a lesser extent still am) a big fan of her Stephanie Plum series, and I would have read just about anything she published at that point. I remember liking it, certainly well enough to buy the sequel, Motor Mouth. And now that I think about it, it might have been the impetus for my reading of the NASCAR history.
Some time ago, I lent it to my dear friend N, who returned it to me Saturday night at her New Years Eve party. I shoved it in my bag, then was grateful to have it as the Metro was predictably slow and I got bored en route to my second event of the evening...and also on the way home. Thus, Metro Girl was my first book of the New Year.
It was...look, it was a Janet Evanovich book. Many years ago on a message board, I described the difference between Stephanie Plum and Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone series thus:
I find the Kinsey Millhone books entirely plausible--I can see the events happening. Stephanie Plum, because the books include so much comedy, is less plausible. Evanovich tends to go for the big pratfall, which is why I enjoy her books. They always make me laugh, whereas the Sue Grafton books are more no-nonsense.That's not just true of Stephanie Plum-the Barnaby and Hooker books are the same. There are weird coincidences and ridiculous turns of events and dramatic explosions...sometimes literally. You can't take them seriously. That's fine-I read the Plum series because they make me laugh so hard my stomach hurts-but Evanovich has patterns, and she sticks to them. She has turns of phrase that she uses over and over again. I find the more of her stuff I read at once, the more obvious and irritating it seems to me. And lately I've been reading a lot of her stuff. After I finished Metro Girl, I picked up Motor Mouth right away, but I only got about a chapter and a half into that one before I hit my saturation point.
It is not great art, but it will keep its slot on my bookshelf. It is beach reading, which is a totally valid thing to be. Plus, Sam Hooker has an obnoxious sort of charm to him. Though if I have to read about someone angling out of a car again...
Book 1 of 2012