Reading a book for the second time

Small Vices

I’m currently reading Small Vices, by the (regrettably) recently-deceased Robert B. Parker. I’m pretty sure, 250 pages in, that I have already read this book; but (a) I can’t remember how it ends and (b) every Spenser novel I’ve ever read is so completely brilliantly wonderful that I still enjoy them even after repeated consumption.

Here is an excerpt from Spenser’s description of my current home. I think it’s perfect:

One of the oddities of life in Southern California was the sense of timelessness that set in. There were no real seasons in California and each day was about like the last one. People were probably startled out here to find that they’d aged. For me the days were barely distinguishable, a repetitive sequence of effort and sweat and exhaustion and failure, briefly interrupted by sleep and food. Drinking some of the local wine each evening became more exciting than anything I’d imagined.”

I think I’ve read 28 of the 40 Spenser novels. In anticipation of their eventual end, I started pacing myself dramatically a decade ago. When I learned of Parker’s death I decided to limit myself to no more than one new one each year. Yesterday I started reading Small Vices thinking that I hadn’t read it yet and now am glad that it means I’ll get to read another in 2010.

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