I confessed recently that I have an uncontrollable urge to read a mess of detective fiction. I recognize several strong influences, any one of which might boost Mickey Spillane ahead of Henry James on my short-term reading lists. But there are two facts that I need to recognize before I go full-out Peter Whimsey: first, I never have abandoned the fun of mystery stories like I have the tedium of science fiction (look at my reading lists: there’s a mystery or two almost every month), and second, there is so many examples of mystery or detective fiction available and being written every day — so many that no one, let alone I, would ever hope to read them all.
This is going to be a catch up month with a limited number of big fat books that have been growing old in the back corner of my library. Luckily I now have digital verions of each of the titles so I cn put my squint back in the drawer and set my concentration level to maximum as I hope to plow through a couple thousand pages and read (or finish reading) so rather challenging books
First, there’s Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. This one isn’t really a challenge but it happens to be the book I was reading when time raan out in April so why stop? Note: I’m not in love with this book and my die of boredom before the month concludes.
The second title is the oldest must-read in my library. Since I have started Infinite Jest two times in the past only to relegate it to a doorstop par excellence, I hope I can pick up where I left off without too much disruption to the narrative … wait, this is David Foster Wallace … no problem.
The last few days I have been reviewing lists of books to hopefully generate a fun and educational reading list (at my age I go for fun more and more). At the same time I was slowly perusing old file folders on the computer for dead, forgotten files I could delete and save space on my two 6-TB hard drives (as if I needed it) and I uncovered a couple of lists of the books I had listed to be read but the month went by and I still hadn’t read them.
Two spreadsheets showed all of the scheduled but unread books for the years 2017 and 2018. With these documents I could generate my monthly reading lists for more than a year and still enjoy well diversified and reasonably exciting selections.
Yet another month interrupted by a sudden trip to the hospital to recover from my annual bout of pneumonia and again they caught it just in time. I don’t totally understand: I had been coughing and there was an ache in my upper chest for the last day or so, but I ws feeling fine: strong and active. But then I lay down for a short nap and couldn’t get up two hours later.
I was weak and feverish so I was shoved into an ambulance and rushed into the hospital emergency room where I lay on a gurney for two days since the hospital was overbooked. Then several days of antibiotics and I was well enough to send home with a two-inch thick collection of papers telling me what to do and what not to do.