Wednesday, May 2, 2012


It’s been a month since I indulged my bibliophilia at the Library annual sale. What’s happened since? Well, I’ve read four books. If I continue at my present rate, it will take me about three years to read all 141 of my selections. And that doesn’t allow for new offerings by my favorite authors – Stephen King, Sarah Addison Allen, Lawrence Block, Mark Wolfgang. Those I can’t pass up. So I’m set until at least mid-2015.

And what about those four? How were they, you ask? Someone asked. I’m sure I heard a query. Anyone? Anyone?  All right, I’ll tell you.

First up was A FLASH OF GREEN by John D. MacDonald. I picked this because I thought it was a Travis McGee story. Alas, despite the color in the title, it is not. This green refers to the environmental connotation of the word. South Florida. Developers. Corruption. Resistance. Greed. A typical Florida tale. Except this one was written in 1962. Fifty years later, we still have the same problems. I enjoyed A FLASH OF GREEN. It was a really interesting look at life in the early Sixties. 

An aside – I learned recently that JDM originally named his famous detective Dallas McGee, but he changed it when JFK was assassinated in that city. I think Travis is a better choice anyway.

Next, GODS IN ALABAMA by Joshilyn Jackson. Based on a review in a magazine, I picked up Ms. Jackson’s latest, A GROWN UP KIND OF PRETTY, and enjoyed it enough to make JJ one of my new favorite authors. So I quickly snapped up this one when I saw it. (I have one more by her, but I’m waiting a bit to get to it. Anticipation, you know.) So far, the two I’ve read are set in the South with families who appear dysfunctional on the surface but who have a deep and abiding love for each other. If you like really quirky characters with unique plots, this author is for you.

I am reminded of one of my favorite Julia Sugarbaker quotes – “In the South, we do not keep our mentally ill in the attic. We put them right in the living room with everyone else.”

Hard to tell the difference sometimes, isn’t it?

THE MYSTERIOUS AFFAIR AT STYLES was next. Written in 1916, this is the first published novel by Agatha Christie. In it she introduces us to the inimitable Hercule Poirot and his “little gray cells.” Having watched many episodes of the PBS series, I had no trouble picturing the manor house, the little village, the cast of characters. I thought I knew whodunit only to dismiss that subject until Poirot brought me around again, just as astonished as Hastings. I loved this book and am glad we have more of Ms. Christie to enjoy in the next four years.

The book just finished over the weekend is A FORTUNATE LIFE by Robert Vaughn. Having been obsessed with The Man from U.N.C.L.E. in the ninth grade, this was a must-read for me. Even though my teen crush was on Ilya, Napoleon was not without his appeal. His early life is very interesting. He talks about growing up the son of actors and about all the amazing people he knew in Hollywood in the Fifties and early Sixties. For example, he dated Natalie Wood. He encouraged Jack Nicholson not to give up before he made it big. And he dated a Kennedy. The second half of the book spent a lot of pages on his political beliefs and endeavors. More than I wanted to know. But it’s his book, isn’t it? He gets to decide what to put in and what to leave out. 

There was no mention of his most recent gig – hawking lawyer services during daytime court shows.  

Too bad he didn’t get a plum role later in life like Ilya did. 

So that was April. What lies in store for May?  So many choices...