I love bookstores. I love books. I brought with me quite a few books to keep me occupied, and yet I can’t help myself. I stop at every single bookstore I see on the way. And I buy more books. Why? Because one never possesses enough books. I’ve also been filling my Kindle with books. One of these days I will be able to read and comment on every single one of them. Hopefully. Starrlight Books in Flagstaff is a second hand shop. It is cramped, small, and I could hardly fit in the some of the store’s sections. I love that, by the way. The Public Library in Yarnell, AZ, I already talked about in a previous entry. Lovey little place. That’s where I picked up my copy of The Associate. I stopped at Peregrine Book Company downtown Prescott. They sell new books. I bought a copy of The Country of Marriage by Wendell Berry there. I haven’t written my review of that little beauty of a book just yet. So many things to do! So many things to say! It’s hard to fuck up a bookstore, and so far they’ve all been great. The only people who seem to be able to fuck up a bookstore are Hastings and BNB. But let’s not go there. Monterey so far has two amazing second hand shops, and I need to leave this place before I run out of money. BookBuyers on Lighthouse where I found Because It Is by Kenneth Patchen, and a collection of short stories by Robert Sheckley called Shards of Space. Sheckley is one of my favorite fiction writers. And of course, there’s Gatsby Books in Long Beach. I bought a collection of poems by Donna Hilbert, which I also need to review. Seems like that whole family produces writers of quality! Gatsby Books is a wonderful place, and its owner, Sean, a wonderful man. If you’re ever in Long Beach, you’ll need to spend a few hours browsing their shelves.
Tunnel in the Sky, by Robert A. Heinlein (Ace Books 1955)
I found a paperback copy of this book at Starrlight Books in Flagstaff, AZ. I was passing through. I’ve only read one other book by Heinlein, and I found it really dated. He’s a great storyteller, though. It wasn’t until after I was halfway through the book that I looked it up online. It said that it is a “juvenile” novel, whatever that means. As far as I can tell, this is a survival adventure novel. I was enthralled through the book, though it did start a bit slow. Heinlein picks up the pace, and keeps the story going, building and keeping the action going. I respect a writer who is so good at his craft that he is able to include most of the exposition into the action flawlessly. Once you get past the set up, which like I said is a bit slow and a bit dated, the survival action story picks up and it doesn’t stop. I found myself yelling at the book a couple of time, upset with the decision one of the characters took and acted upon… as in, you fucking idiot! Don’t you know better! When a book does that to me, I’m hooked. Great storytellers make it seem so easy. Got to love it. I wish I would have read this as a 14 year old boy, rather than as a 44 year old man. I guess that’s why it’s a “juvenile” novel. It’s a fun read at any age, though. Highly recommended.
The Associate by John Grisham (Dell 2009)
This is an older book, and it has sold millions of copies. I’ve never read anything by John Grisham, having looked down on his work. I was wrong. There’s a reason most of his books are best sellers, and many of them get made into movies. They’re highly entertaining. Putting a good story together with strong characters, keeping you interested till the end, and making it a page turner, is no small feat. Difficult to do. Why did I finally read Grisham? Because I heard him on The Diane Rehm Show while driving through the desert. I enjoyed listening to him. I appreciated his tone and the way that he spoke. It was soothing. I didn’t know who I was listening to at first. My car speakers don’t work so well, and I was listening directly from my phone, and with the noise of the engine, the wind, and the road, I don’t always hear every word. He took me through an hour of driving, and made that hour much better, and so I decided that I should read him. What did I have against him before? I don’t know. I was passing judgment without knowing the subject. Never a good thing. The book lags at time, however I still had a blast reading it. I’ve got some catching up to do with this author. Nothing like a good thriller. Makes the day better.
The Man in the Black Coat Turns by Robert Bly (Perennial Library 1988)
Found this little gem at Old Capitol Books in Monterey, CA.
Mourning Pablo Neruda
Water is practical,
into the buckets
to the young
whose leaves have been eaten
off by grasshoppers.
Or this jar of water
that lies next to me
on the carseat
as I drive to my shack.
(To read the rest of the poem, please buy the book! I couldn’t find a complete version online. I had the complete version up, but more I thought about it, more I figured I probably shouldn’t. It’s a wonderful poem, and you should find a way to read the entire thing…)
That poem hits it home for me, though it isn’t that particular poem that made me buy the book, this is the poems that takes the bread. It reflects the absolute, and how absolutely absolute absolute is. Water is the representation of life, yet this is a poem about death, but also about remembering, and about how life just keeps going whether we’re there or not. It just goes, and it will continue to go long after we’re gone. We’ve possibly changed it’s course only slightly, but really it’s all so inconsequential. And some might take this to be sad or brutal or a reason to not keep going, to not live, and I feel quite the opposite. This is the reason why life is so beautiful, because it is so determined to live, to go, to go where? Who cares. Does it matter? No. The water flows, will always flow as long as there is water, because that’s what water does, and that’s what life does. One life of one being is, and flows, and goes down the river of life, the stream of life—whatever you want—and then eventually it doesn’t go anymore because that particular life isn’t anymore, and yet there is a thousand other lives to take its place… and from afar, from a distance all you can see is the flow of life, all the little particles of life interchangeable one with the other, just one great big flow of life continuous. And that is the beauty, the reason to keep going. Every once in a while, one of those particles creates a little bump in the flow for a fraction of an instance. This poem hits it home for me. Thank you Mr. Bly.
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Peace & Love
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