Food Fight!

When Sarah Winchester died there was enough new lumber stacked outside the San Jose mansion to build an entire second mansion and then some. I sit here looking over my built-in bookshelves, contemplating how high the yet-to-be-read books would stack after I get moved out to the old folks home (or even worse).

images.jpgRealistically, I could be sixteen years old and the number of books I might want to read still would be daunting .. well, yes and no .. when you’re sixteen the idea that you won’t live forever is never considered. Can I get Dad’s car on Friday night? Will my cow-lick ever lay flat? Is that a zit on my nose? When your brain is full of important questions like those, who has time for mortality?

Continue reading

My Control Room of Reading

download.jpgI’m sitting here in my office library with several current reading projects open on various electronic devices. On my new iPhone I’m gradually reflecting on the horrendous stories of Russian troops caught in the ill-fated Afghan war (The Zinky Boys by Svetlana Alexievich); on my iPad I’m reading both Ace Atkins last Spenser novel, Black Magic and slowly enjoying the more demanding Henry James novel, The Portrait of a Lady (split screen is so handy); and on my old iPhone, which doubles as a go-to-bed radio, I am enjoying an entertaining novel, Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta. Yes, I watched the HBO series and my impression is that the series is much like the book except Kathryn Hahn is delightful and well worth lusting after.

Continue reading

What’s On Your Plate?

DQ.jpegI’m considering adding books in Spanish (and maybe even French) to my lists. It’s not so much that I’m reading a lot more Spanish fiction but rather that my slow, fumbling march through fiction in a language other than English is absorbing more and more of my time. If it takes me ten times as long to read Bolaño or Cervantes might suggest that I will be reading far fewer books each month. Then again, is that a problem?

Way way back in the past history of this world (often referred to as The Sixties) I read Tarzan en la Selva. As a Senior in High School my family hosted a student from Peru and I spent much of the day immersed in Spanish. But when I matriculated on to the university I was coerced into thinking that a knowledge of Spanish was insufficient for advanced study in literature so I switched to French. This had three results: first, I learned enough French to pass my language exams for graduate school; second, my mind replaced engrammatic knowledge of Spanish words and phrases with the French equivalents, and finally, I twisted my little gray cells around the two languages such that I was never confident speaking either.

Continue reading

Lest We Forget

51I+TJjcZgL._SX305_BO1,204,203,200_Well, maybe it’s not that important to remember but each day I publish a new title that catches my interest and, despite the odds against it, I just might read one of these days. Actually, I probably read two or three of these books eventually and if you read two or three of these books and if … well, chances are someone, somewhere will contemplate reading one or more of these books so the suggestions will not be in vain.

Although I am currently reading a lot of detective stories, I tend not to include them on the suggested reading lists. After all, they tend to be simple entertainments that breeze by before the little gray cells get ruffled. Unfair? Probably. Remember, one of the main criteria I use for selecting the suggested reading is that the title catches my eye: with detective stories and mysteries, all the titles are designed to catch my eye. Luckily I tend to read digital copies of these texts: can you imagine if I was selecting reading suggestions based on the lurid, half-naked artwork that adorns so many of these novels? I still have dreams about Mickey Spillane’s I, The Jury.

Continue reading