Saturday, June 11, 2011

Jenny's Book 6: The Unlikely Spy


I picked up this book at least 3 or 4 years ago. It was actually my cousin Julie who recommended The Unlikely Spy. This must have been right around when we first moved to Chicago, and we were talking about books we'd read. Keep in mind that I just really hadn't been doing that much reading at that point. I told her how much I appreciated fast-paced and fun reads. I recommended And Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris. And I vividly remember what she said about The Unlikely Spy: "Paul and I both read it. And he said 'If every book was like that, I'd do a lot more reading." This is pretty strong praise, no?

This is spy thriller set during WW2. I like a spy novel. I like WW2. It seemed perfect for me! Of course I went out and bought it. I'm pretty sure I actually read the first 40 or 50 pages, but never got past that. The whole book is crazy long---724 pages! I could tell that it was going to be one of those books where a whole set of characters is introduced, they're in wildly disparate circumstances and places, and only over the many hundreds of pages will their stories come together. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, I'm just saying that at the time, it seemed too overwhelming.

One last funny note about this book. When my Dad was in town last summer, I gave it to him, repeating Julie's recommendation. I told him not to worry about returning it to me. But a few months ago, he mailed it back and told me I really should read it. Since it came back into my life just when we were making our TBR lists, it seemed the right time to finally tackle it.


PS I often give my Dad books for Christmas. Inspired by our conversation about great spy novels, I inadvertently gave my Dad a very funny Christmas gift last year. I picked another book by this author, Daniel Silva, along with the newest Mitch Rapp book by Vince Flynn. I wasn't really paying too much attention to the titles until I got my confirmation email from Amazon. I ended up calling it Assassination Christmas. I think you'll see why:

PPS. Sookie's in the mail. I forgot how annoyed I get when I go to the UPS shipping place across the street because they totally rip you off. So it's coming media mail rather than priority mail. Sorry!

PPPS. I forgot to tell you about another book I read in May: Tina Fey's Bossypants. This book was hilarious, fun to read, short, and sweet. I highly recommend it. Well, except for the creepy manhands cover. And thanks to 3M, that was easy enough to take care of.


  1. I don't know if I've ever read a spy novel. Wow. I'm not a very diverse reader, am I? My first historical fiction novel right now and no spy novels either. Got any advice for someone who is brand-new to the genre?

    I like, "Assassination Christmas." Bwahahaha!

    The manhands totally creep me out, too. Nice work with the Post-its. I've been wanting to read that book -- I'll have to block out the hairy arms as well. :)

  2. K,

    I can send you Tina (the post-its are still there. It's so much more pleasant without them.) Perhaps we'll just have to have a monthly book mailing!

    Spy novels are so freaking fun. I read a lot of them in the summer. Try "Transfer of Power" by Vince Flynn. It's about a CIA agent (Mitch Rapp) who saves the President from an assassination attempt right inside the White House. Good times. Perfect for an airplane ;-)

    It's funny, because I've been thinking that I'm not a very diverse reader, either. I don't know that I read non-American authors all that often. I think that might push Wind Up Bird Chronicle further up the TBR pile!


  3. Well... I *do* have a few flights coming up in July. Perhaps I need to get me some spy novel action going for those!