Skip to main content

Adult Reading Under the Shade of Trees

Herman Wouk passed away today. He was 103. He lived in Palm Springs, a place I have visited frequently since I moved to Los Angeles. That we were close at various times over the last few years is strangely delightful to me.

The first adult book I ever read was THE CAINE MUTINY. Why I choose this book is lost, but I suspect that I choose it because it seemed like a grown-up thing to read. And that was reason enough. I read it over a summer in a house that I have not lived in and that my parents sold over 25 years ago. It was the house I grew up in. 

I got the book from the library and because it was summer proceded to read it seated in a patio chair, occasionally in the garage, but also on the front lawn of our house. Midwest summers are notably terrible. August humidity in Wisconsin can be breathtaking, but I was the last generation to be an outdoor kid. More or less from 9am to 7 or 8pm I was outside getting what was a passable tan for my fair skin. And this summer I slowly read THE CAINE MUTINY under the shade of trees.

The other books that Mr. Wouk wrote that I have a connection to are THE WINDS OF WAR and WAR AND REMEMBRANCE. But not the books really. The massive TV Mini-series that sprung from them. My Dad worked nights then I would tape the episodes on our VHS deck and then he would watch them the next morning. A few years later when the whole series was out on videotape I would rent the tapes and dub copies for him to watch without commercials. We went to a local bar restaurant for trivia night on Tuesday. There was a question about William Faulkner that is not important except for its ability to now remind me of his most lasting quote. 'The past is never dead. It's not even past." Today that quote is a comfort.

Safe journey across the river Styx Mr. Wouk. I will remember you.  

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Very Best of Mr. Dennis Lehane

I thought this post would appear in October. Ya, know when SHUTTER ISLAND: THE MOVIE was supposed to be released. And then it wasn't. Something about Leo not being able to do 'press' for the movie. Doesn't really matter the reason, a February release date has one of those fancy Hollywood meanings: Not Good.

Look I'll be honest, I didn't connect with SHUTTER ISLAND. I loved the fifties setting, the haunted house atmosphere, and impending doom of the Hurricane. Even the set-up of the story was intriguing but how it played out just didn't work for me. Some interesting characters, a bunch of great set pieces, but the ending announces itself with an expected, thud that went nowhere.

Am I still going to the movie? Its Lehane, Scorsese, Leo, and Ruffalo of course I am. Anyway the list.

8. Prayers for Rain - 1999
The last Kenzie-Gennaro book follows our heroes as they investigate a guy who is terrorizing women into committing suicide. The book played like an episode o…

Time, Hand Wringing, and Cari Mora

My first question about the new Thomas Harris novel, CARI MORA is... Is this big news? My immediate reaction was to be only mildly excited. Despite the fact that over the last 10 years, Google has received the following searching requests from me: 'New Thomas Harris 2012,' New Thomas Harris 2016, etc. CARI MORA marks Mr. Harris's first book in 13 years. I should be pumping my fist. It was only when I read the brief synopsis did my interest tick up because I was thankful to read Mr. Harris had left his singular creation behind, at least for this book.
I think the easy answer is yes, this is undoubtedly big news. The reason why is obvious. THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS is the most important Crime Thriller release of the last 30 years and I don't think there is an argument to be made against it. There may be better-written books, but no other book has the impact that LAMBS continues to have to this day. I think what complicates this question is the legacy that the book left b…

The Very Best of Mr. Michael Connelly - Part 2

My August 31 post of The Hungry Detective ranked all the non-Bosch books. This list returns to take on the larger task of Mr. Heironimous Bosch. 9 Dragons made its appearance right before the Indy B'Con, and try as I might... ok I didn't try that hard... I didn't have time to read it for inclusion in these rankings.

As a quick aside I don't want to undersell any of the books at the bottom of the list. Mr. Connelly doesn't know how to write a bad book, but in my case there have been occasions where I have not connected with his work.

13. THE NARROWS - 2004
It is because I love THE POET so much that this book is at the end of the list. When Mr. Connelly is at his best his works has the precision of a watchmaker. THE NARROWS just felt forced and not worthy of the intricacy of THE POET.

12. BLACK ICE - 1993
Second book. Third read. I thought the story was pretty flat. It has been well over a decade since I read this book, but the story of Mexican drug runners(?) did not do …