When younger, I was a voracious reader.
When younger, I was a voracious reader. I liked books and they accumulated in piles around the house. Happily I passed my book addition down to my children who remain avid readers.
Thankfully nowadays our books are reduced to digits that reside inside glowing screens, otherwise we’d have to move out of the house to make room. My wife Ann probably has more than a thousand stuffed inside one iPad.
I’ve always liked books better than movies. When you read a book, you do the casting and set the scenes to fit your perceptions. Movies do it for you and those representations are always different than your reader’s preconceptions, hence “flawed.”
My oldest son Bret and I started reading the “Destroyer” book series by Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir back in the 1970s. We’d buy every edition when it hit bookstores and devour it as soon as we got home.
To this day, one of my favorite books for pure entertainment is from that series titled “Mugger Blood.” Sounds ominous, but it’s hilarious. If I hadn’t long ago lost that volume I’d probably read it again after pulling it into memory typing this column.
Bret and I also read each and every Louis L’Amour western. Although he didn’t have consistent characters, they definitely carried a consistent theme. When he died, his great stories ceased.
John D MacDonald wrote a mystery series with the central protagonist named Travis McGee. I read every one of those books - more than once. To this day I don’t quite understand why I liked them so much.
McGee lived on a houseboat that he had won in a poker game called “The Busted Flush” and went about his detective efforts with a minimum of clichés and maximum of entertainment. MacDonald died so his books stopped. I’m beginning to wonder if my personal appreciation of an author impacts his or her life span.
If so I want to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to Daniel Silva. By far, he constructs the best and most interesting storylines I’ve ever read, anytime and anywhere.
I’m now about half way through reading his 16 published books about an Israeli intelligence service operative, Gabriel Allon. Daniel Silva’s name was first brought to my attention through a news story.
The newspaper article mentioned governmental factions here in the United States had heartburn with one of his recent novels. He’s apparently hit a political or intelligence nerve and that piqued my interest enough to check out his works via Google.
I’ll forevermore be grateful to that reporter. These are - without doubt - the best body of books I’ve ever read. They orbit within mid-Eastern and European politics and histories, and are so well written and constructed you “live” them more than read them. Stories are woven so tightly through contemporary realities, often you have no idea where fact and fiction separate, like a tight vine in latticework.
It’s presumptuous for me to review publications, which is way outside the scope of my capabilities. But anybody out there with an interest in books with astounding connectivity between present political realities and history should do themselves a favor and check Silva’s works.
I thought I should share my recent literary good fortune.
Otis Gardner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.