The Little Red Mustang

images-1I don’t understand.

For some time now I have been overloaded on my Twitter feed with boring, repetitious encomiums to the recent novel by Jake Tapper, The Hellfire Club. If only for shits and grins, I fully intended to read the novel but if you followed the official and unofficial press you’d be convinced the Tapper’s work was the height of literary accomplishments akin to Tolstoy or Mann.

Tapper has reconstructed the Washington, D. C. scene of the mid-fifties and, as popular novels must therefore do, is full of references to events, sites, and objects that are quintessential 1950s. The right music, the correct fashions, the mixed drinks that would be served, the favored breakfast cereals, and events right out of the newspapers of the day. It provides a nice, easy nostalgic flow the lulls the reader into just the right state for the jarring events suggested as the novel commenced.

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Am I Running Out of Suggestions?

images.pngHow many years have I been scanning new book lists, digging through my personal library, noting suggestions from the newspapers or booksellers, and creating a daily reading selection to feed my own TBR list and also to provide suggestions to other readers?

Oh, I know that more and more stuff is getting published but more and more I am losing the capacity or acumen to consistently select a new book to read just because it’d new or has a flashy cover.

Also, as my remaining years are shorter and shorter, I am beginning to look more to the classic literature I have yet to  read. I guess I could have been a ravenous reader of Stephen King but I just can’t see the value in that, especially when I have some many Henry James titles yet to read.

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Clean-up Month

download.jpgThe last few months (years even) I have become ashamed of the number of titles I have been unable to finish reading. As should be understandable, most of these titles are the fattest books or most demanding narratives, many of which are experimental and therefore difficult reading despite their size.

So I am dedicating the month of September to an attempt to go back and resume reading these books. Sometimes, as I once did while attempting to resume reading War and Peace, I might find that I need to go back to page one so as to avoid confusion and brain strain.

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Speaking of Suggested Reading

images-1.jpgSuggested Reading: What does that mean to me?

Before there were ebooks, I often added to my personal suggested reading list by slowly walking up and down the aisles at the local Big Box Bookstore. Using this technique I would be attracted by the name of the author, the splashy cover art, the brief synopsis on the inside cover, or whether the book was on too low a shelf for my rapidly aging body to comfortably reach.

When local public libraries went online, I lost most of the triggers a book in my hand provided. But the online library allowed me to have a month full of reading waiting for me with a rubber band around it sitting on a will-call shelf near the front door of the library. Generally I heard about an author or a new title, checked if the library had obtained the title, and scheduled a quick visit in the next few days.

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