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Monday, July 11, 2011

A Twofer: Twice Told and Ice Cold

Tales That Are Twice Told

          Last week I offered my thoughts on the book The Black VeilA Memoir with Digressions by Rick Moody.  In his memoir Moody relates his life story to "The Minister's Black Veil", a short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne that was included in his Twice Told Tales.  I have read some of Hawthorne's stories, but I have never read the entire collection of Twice Told Tales, although I am quite familiar with the title.

           As I was reflecting upon Hawthorne's collection of stories I checked out what Wikipedia had to say about Twice Told Tales.  The title of the collection comes from a quote in William Shakespeare's The Life and Death of King John: "Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale, / Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man...".   This quote made me think of my Friday post where I talked about the stories we are told as children and the stories we tell our children.  These tales are told repeatedly and rarely seem to get old. 

           It has been said that there are no new plots, but only new variations on how to tell the same stories.  I think most of us can agree on this basic premise.   Yet we continue to read the new books and watch the new movies with rehashing of the old stories that we have heard before.  What makes the new telling more interesting is the way the story is told, the characters who are unique, a novel setting of time or place or both, and so many other techniques an inventive writer can use to present the story.  The real skill is in telling the old story so that it becomes your own special story that seems new to the hearer.

          What kinds of stories do you like to hear over and over again?   What twice told tales vex your ear?  What are some things you do to make a story unique to your telling of it?

A Review of ICE COLD by Tess Gerritsen

          One of the books I had scheduled for my Christmas holiday reading list was ICE COLD by Tess Gerritsen.  I finally got around to reading this book last week and wanted to offer my review of it.   This is a book I purchased last year as part of a special book club package and the review that follows is my opinion after having read it.

Ice Cold by Tess Gerritsen

Here's the story as told on the book jacket: 

          In Wyoming for a medical conference, Boston medical examiner Maura Isles joins a group of friends on a spur-of-the-moment ski trip. But when their SUV stalls on a snow-choked mountain road, they’re stranded with no help in sight.

          As night falls, the group seeks refuge from the blizzard in the remote village of Kingdom Come, where twelve eerily identical houses stand dark and abandoned. Something terrible has happened in Kingdom Come: Meals sit untouched on tables, cars are still parked in garages. The town’s previous residents seem to have vanished into thin air, but footprints in the snow betray the presence of someone who still lurks in the cold darkness—someone who is watching Maura and her friends.
       Days later, Boston homicide detective Jane Rizzoli receives the grim news that Maura’s charred body has been found in a mountain ravine. Shocked and grieving, Jane is determined to learn what happened to her friend. The investigation plunges Jane into the twisted history of Kingdom Come, where a gruesome discovery lies buried beneath the snow. As horrifying revelations come to light, Jane closes in on an enemy both powerful and merciless—and the chilling truth about Maura’s fate.
What I thought about ICE COLD:

           The jacket blurb sold me on this book and the author delivered the goods.  Tess Gerritsen's ICE COLD is quick paced edge-of-your-seat thriller from start to finish.  This was a book that I sped through because I was riveted all the way and did not want to put it down.  The action is engrossing and the story is engaging.  Gerritsen's skill as a writer of suspense is highly evident as she keeps the  story moving through realistic dialog and succinct prose that is vivid in the description revealing what is needed to carry the story.   The author's background as a doctor is evident in her occasionally gruesome, but frank depictions of wounds, injuries, and medical procedures.  Gerritsen takes us to the scene of the action and into the heads of the characters through adept writing.

           This is not a novel of exceptional literary value, but it is high caliber professional story-telling in the slickest commercial sense.  It's the kind of book that most readers will be able to get into for a diversionary reading experience.   Read it now and then see the movie--it's a novel that I would think would be made into a movie.   Actually, Gerritsen did such a great job with her writing that I almost feel like I have already seen the movie.

            Have you read ICE COLD or any of Tess Gerritsen's other books?   Have you seen the TNT television series Rizzoli & Isles which is based in the characters in ICE COLD?

              On Wednesday I will have Tina from Life Is Good on my blog as a guest.   Be sure to see what she has to say.



  1. A most enjoyable post Lee, yes many films and books are variations of some other stories but as you say it is how it is written or acted.

    I wish I had more time for reading but there always seems to be something needing doing or visiting someone.

    Enjoy your day.

  2. I have a shelf of books and poetry I've read multiple times - and they have nothing in common except the fact that each one contains something, be it an idea or a style, that gives me pleasure in re-visiting it. (Included are a collection of T.S. Eliot's poetry, a copy of the Velveteen Rabbit, and Hemingway's A Moveable Feast.) I confess to reading very little mystery/suspense, no idea why!

  3. The basic good triumphs ove evil has been told a million times, but I always enjoy it.

  4. If I liked it the first time I can pretty much read it again and again... but my mom has taken that to an extreme. She keeps Margaret Laurence's Bird in the House by her bedside and reads it and rereads it night after night. It's like a cup of warm milk. She reads different things during the day but at night it's the same thing - the bird. This is a spectacular book, by the way, a Canadian classic, and I highly recommend it. But every night? Geez, Mom....

  5. I watched a few episodes of RIZZOLI AND ISLES even though I don't like crime shows, but it stars Serbia's own Sasha Alexander :)

  6. I haven't seen that show yet. I've heard such good things about Tess G's books, but I haven't picked up one yet - I'll have to fix that. Thanks! :)

  7. Hi Lee .. I did note your reply to my comment on Moody's book - that I'd probably like it & had thought that myself from the review you'd posted.

    Interesting to see where the name "Twice Told Tales" came from ...

    Ice Cold sounds a very good read - take one completely away from the moment - sometimes we need books like this.

    Thanks - Hilary

  8. Yvonne -- I found that I had to start forcing myself to read. I usually set aside 1/2 to 1 hour aside each day for reading--sometimes it goes longer when the book is really interesting.

    Li -- I'm impressed by people who can read books multiple times. There are a few I've read twice and a mere handful that I've read more than twice. I'm usually more concerned that I'm not reading enough books for the first time. And I read so doggone slow.

    Alex -- That is an age old theme that will always be popular I would think.

    Cathy -- I've never heard of that Bird book, but I agree the same thing every night!! Unless it's the Bible, which I sometimes read at night before bed.

    Dezmond -- I may have to watch this TV show.

    Jemi -- It's good fast escapist reading.

    Hilary ---Sometimes I just like to get away with escapist literature. It reads fast and doesn't require too much thinking.


  9. Twice-told tales are told more than once for a reason, no? ;)

  10. My favorite tale, the one I could read again and again, is the 'be careful what you wish for'--when a person gets it and it turns out exactly wrong... I also love underdog stories... a somewhat outcasted person righting a societal or conspiracy type of wrong. The tale I can't read: a woman who is floudering and a man solves everything.

    That book sounds pretty great! Thanks for the review!

  11. As a child, repeated tales weren't tedious but now....

    Great book review. Loved it. makes me want to read the book.

  12. Hmm the story does sound intriguing. I might have to just read this book though it's not in the usual genre I read. :P Thanks for the helpful review!


  13. Hero and Heroine are forbidden yet fall in love at the end while good wins over evil. Always a great story for me. :) Thanks so much for sharing in my celebration today.

  14. both books sound interesting will have to look for them soon. thanks for sharing

    Everyday Life

  15. Suze -- I think they are told twice or more with good reason--usually.

    Hart -- The get what you wish for is a good one and I love rooting for an underdog.

    Teresa -- There are some stories I like to hear over again, but I think I know what you mean.

    Nutschell-- Ice Cold is a fun escapist read.

    Ciara -- Unexpected love stories can be fun.

    becca -- Check 'em out.


  16. Thank you for sharing Tess's book... Your review has me very excited to read her book! Have a great evening!
    Take care,

  17. I'm glad you gave this a good review cause after reading the book jacket it sounds really good. Could you send this one with the other book you're sending? I've heard of that show on TNT, but haven't seen. Have you?

  18. Lisa FFD -- Hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.

    Emilee -- I was already planning on sending you this one. I guess I have a big enough book package to send them out to you now. No, I haven't seen the show, but I think it's on tonight and if it is I think I'll watch it.

    Lee (Dad)

  19. Ice Cold sounds like a good read. I agree that if an old story is updated with a new twist, it is still worthwhile. Though some classics should not be tampered with. Julie

  20. I read my first Tess Gerriston book last week and I fully intend to read more. Unfortunately there just don't seem to be enough hours in the day!

  21. I haven't read the book and am not familiar with the television show. I definitely will read the book now! I love a good thriller!

  22. Tess is one of my faves, ever since I picked up "Life Support" and couldn't put the darned thing down. Girl's got game.

    Joseph Campbell was spot on with his "Power of Myth." I can't read a book or watch a movie without looking for evidence of the hero's journey.

  23. I guess you want the truth, huh?! Honestly I will only read something more than once if it is the only thing left in the bathroom. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  24. hi, Arlee,
    Yes, I have read several of her books, and really enjoyed them. I am also a viewer of Rizzoli and Isles. I caught the season premiere of it last night, and it was good as usual. I also really enjoy "The Closer" which is a TNT show, along with "Memphis Beat" and because it is about Tennessee that makes it more appealing. Ha.
    Thanks for the book review. Regards to you. Ruby

  25. Thanks for the review! I'm definitely going to pick this one up.

  26. I love the good wins over evil and the weak becomes strong type stories.

  27. Julie -- I like new twists. And some original tampering with old classics can work for me just so we still have options to keep the old too.

    Rebecca B -- I need a day stretcher too.

    Paula -- I want to read more Gerritsen books now. I watched the TV show last night. It was pretty good, but there are too many commercials to wade through on TV shows.

    Bryce -- I love the story of the journey.

    Jules -- It's rare that I read something more than once.

    Grammy -- An endorsement coming from you has credibility to me.

    Mama Zen -- It's great entertainment! I thought so.

    Lynda -- Those are the ones most of us want to win. The reverse is probably not too popular, unless it's strong good guys, but even they have to have a weakness to create some kind of tension for the story.


  28. I love getting book recommendations, and now with the Kindle, it's so convenient to buy even more than I used to. Usually, the books I plan to read on vacation take up a good part of my suitcase and cram themselves into my laptop bag. Now I bring one, sleek device and I'm all set. I'll definitely be putting this on my list.
    Tina @ Life is Good
    P.S Thanks for the extra shout-out on this post :-)

  29. Tina -- I think this is the best argument for the e-readers. I usually take several books with me when I travel. I still like the idea of a library of real books to keep at home.



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