cruddy, and the secret life of houdini

i’ve been frustrated with my lack of reading lately. i kicked it into gear this week, and have read a few books, which i’ll post about later. but for all of january and into february, i only read two books. one of the reasons for this was that one of the books was 1300 pages (at least on my e-reader).

cruddy.jpgcruddy, by lynda barry.
i bought (downloaded) this book because i thought it was a graphic novel. i’d read her book, the fun house, which IS a graphic novel. and this one said it was an “illustrated novel”. but, apparently those are two very different things: this book has one illustration at the beginning of each chapter. anyhow, once i got over my disappointment, i found it was an interesting novel about a teenage girl (actually flashing back and forth between current day as a teenager and her childhood). the main character, who narrates the book, has a horrible family, and the whole thing gets a bit weird at points. her dad wanted a son, and insists on calling her clyde, and “son” during their jack-keroac-meets-pulp-fiction cross-country killing spree and money hunt. weird story, but i enjoyed it.

houdini.jpgthe secret life of houdini: the making of america’s first superhero, by william kalush and larry sloman.
the mini-review: fascinating book, too long. holy cow, i don’t have the attention span for a book this long! but it sure was an intriguing story. the authors went through the most exhaustive search of original documention on houdini ever done. apparently, there are tens-of-thousands of original letters and correspondance: the authors fed them all into some kind of computerized system where they were able to search for things. what they turned up, in addition to a very detailed story of houdini’s life, is reasonably conclusive proof that houdini was working as an unofficial agent (of some sort) for both u.s. intelligence and british intelligence. houdini’s celebrity gave him access to things — for instance, in pre-world war 1 germany — that was very helpful to the organizations that became the CIA and MI5. anyhow, interesting but long; and that’s all i have to say.

One thought on “cruddy, and the secret life of houdini”

  1. I sure wish I had one of these books tonight…it’s going on 1:30AM here and I thought reading your blog would get me to sleep (you are like the only one I know that posts at least twice a day…so I knew I could read a while…) BUT, if it makes you feel any better, I made it all the way back to the e Kings (I guess) playing cards pic that needed a caption without blinking…hence, good stuff here…

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