Lately, I've been on a kick of bizarre true crime nonfiction. I was intrigued by the idea of a young serial killer (how does that work? what did he do? was he as dastardly as grown up serial killers?) and stories about major crime in the 1800s are also interesting to me since crime detection was so different back then, I'm always curious how the police manage to catch them. The story of Jesse Pomeroy was definitely interesting and I felt it tugging me in two different directions: he was definitely guilty and deserved punishment and at the same time, it seemed like Chicago had decided that this fourteen year old boy was the devil incarnate and that couldn't be quite right, either. There were some incredible images that will stay with me from that book: a man, in prison for fifty years, seeing the outside world for the first time, the strange and uncomfortable questioning of a boy who, looking back, is what we would nowadays call a psychopath. The only thing that was a bit strange was how there was clearly not enough information to fill a whole book so there were almost whole chapters that were asides. Asides that were very interesting, don't get me wrong, but had little to do with Jesse Pomeroy. I know way more about Herman Melville now than I anticipated going into this. Still, it was never boring and left me with some things that will stick with me.
Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot
I have a huge soft spot for Meg Cabot. I've been reading her novels since I was a preteen and I'm pretty sure (with the exception of her recent middle grade books) that I've read every book she's ever written. I really enjoy her style, the breezy flow of words that feel more like chatting with a friend than reading a book and make reading her novels more of an exercise in slowing down than slogging through. What was interesting about Royal Wedding is that it was the first adult novel in a series that she had original written for teens. Mia and her pals were created for a ten book series about a teenage girl who finds out she's a princess (and discovers a young actress named Anne Hathaway along the way.) Cabot is no stranger to adult novels, her Heather Wells novels are my favorite things she's written, but rarely do her series change levels within a storyline. When I was reading it, I felt like I wasn't reading an 'adult novel,' per say, but more that I was catching up with an old friend whose priorities had changed, much as mine have in the past nine years. Because that is what makes more sense about this book: the girls that grew up with the Princess Diary books are now in their midtwenties and living through the things Mia grapples with in this book (well, to an extent.) So while I don't know if I felt this book was an 'adult Princess Diaries novel', it felt like coffee with a girlfriend I hadn't seen in years and that is in no way a bad thing.