When I was an unformed youth I revelled in reading novels dealing with war and heroism, the more jingoistic the better. Vietnam cured me of this aberration. Prison stories about hardened criminals carving Swiss Army knives out of a bar of Lava soap once held my interest. A dime at Q cured me of this fascination .. wait .. was it Folsom or maybe just a bad dream? Shoot, I even wasted a year or two reading Science Fiction.
One summer I read that a notable and prolific author of genre fiction would often pay his rent by scratching out formula romance stories. So I went down to the magazine store housed in the old railroad station and bought one of every romance magazine on the racks (it was an impressive stack). Then for months I read each of the stories planning for my inevitable success. I did write two stories but my career in lusty narrative never took off. I did, however, read enough gawd-awful prose to last a lifetime. As an acquaintance once reflected: You have to read the bad stuff so you can identify the good stuff. I refer to this as the Colley Cibber conundrum.
Reading, be it for enlightenment or entertainment, can open whole new worlds.
For instance, I have some awareness of gay literature and as much as I might desire it, I will never be a lesbian myself. But when it comes to deeply felt emotions and societal branding, I look to gay literature since horse operas in space just won’t deliver. Although, an outer-space war started by a prison break using a dildo carved out of Ivory soap might catch my eye.
Last month I suggested reading the following books. As usual, I have read very few myself but in each instance there was something about the author or the text, even the picture on the cover, that intrigued me and caused me to add it to my future list. Note: availability or cost was not considered.
- 08-01-20 – The Trial of Dr. Faustus — Martin Allen
- 08-02-20 – Temporary — Hilary Leichter
- 08-03-20 – The Mirror and the Light — Hilary Mantel
- 08-04-20 – Collected Stories — Elizabeth Bowen
- 08-05-20 – You Are What Your Grandparents Ate — Judith Finlayson
- 08-06-20 – The Blade Artist — Irvine Welsh
- 08-07-20 – Other People’s Money — John Kay
- 08-08-20 – Scorpionfish — Natalie Bakopoulos
- 08-09-20 – Zinky Boys — Svetlana Alexievitch
- 08-10-20 – Forty Days of Musa Dagh — Franz Werfel
- 08-11-20 – Interior Chinatown — Charles Yu
- 08-12-20 – A Theory of Human Motivation — Abraham H. Maslow
- 08-13-20 – A Monk Swimming — Malachy McCourt
- 08-14-20 – Hellraisers — Robert Sellers
- 08-15-20 – Telephone — Percival Everett
- 08-16-20 – Rising From the Plains — John McPhee
- 08-17-20 – Tales of Madness — Luigi Pirandello
- 08-18-20 – Birthday Girl — Haruki Murakami
- 08-19-20 – Notes From an Apocalypse — Mark O’Connell
- 08-20-20 – Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife — Bart Ehrman
- 08-21-20 – Zucked — Roger McNamee
- 08-22-20 – How I Won the War — Patrick Ryan
- 08-23-20 – Harlot’s Ghost — Norman Mailer
- 08-24-20 – The Soul of an Octopus — Sy Montgomery
- 08-25-20 – Saving Agnes — Rachel Cusk
- 08-26-20 – The Last Girl Guide: Diary of an Apocalypse Survivor — Karen Wrighon
- 08-27-20 – The Idea of the Brain: The Past and Future of Neuroscience — Matthew Cobb
- 08-28-20 – God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything — Christopher Hitchens
- 08-29-20 – Why Can’t a Man Be More Like a Woman?: The Evolution of Sex and Gender — Lewis Wolpert
- 08-30-20 – Bad Advice or Why Celebrities, Politicians, and Activists Aren’t Your Best Source of Health Information — Paul A. Offit, M. D.
- 08-31-20 – Perfect English Grammar: The Indispensable Guide to Excellent Writing and Speaking — Grant Barrett