Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Back to an Old Friend

The problem with having a favorite author who is no longer around is that once you've read all their stuff, it's hard to go back and enjoy their works in the same way that you enjoyed them the first time around. I'm going back to read an old friend. Dick Francis. One of my many favorite authors. I'm sure I've read Reflex before, but now that I don't remember it, I think now is a great time to go back and reacquaint myself.

The first line isn't too bad considering some of the others (see here):

Winded and coughing, I lay on one elbow and spat out a mouthful of grass and mud. The horse I’d been riding raised its weight off my ankle, scrambled untidily to its feet and departed at an unfeeling gallop. I waited for things to settle: chest heaving, bones still rattling from the bang, sense of balance recovering from a thirty-mile-an-hour somersault and a few tumbling rolls. No harm done. Nothing broken. Just another fall.

Francis, Dick - Reflex

One of the few good things about going back and re-reading novels is that I like to remember where I was when I read them, and think about who I used for the character models and what places I used for the setting. When I was younger and had a very small history of English country houses to pull from, I always used my parent's friends, the Turner's house as the setting for so many of Dick Francis' novels. It's a tudor style home and was the closest I could get to envisioning British homes.

I also like to remember who it was I envisioned in different roles. Whenever I read a Stephanie Plum mystery (see evidence of that guilty pleasure here) I have a very clear image of the real person in my life who I use in that role. She's perfect for it even though she looks nothing like the way Stephanie Plum is described. Same goes for Jack Ryan. Got me a person for that role too. I like to read these old novels and remember who I used. Usually I remember then think to myself, "What were you thinking!"