2 — . . . Unite!
Yes, I’m a reader. I’m always reading something.
I get a daily newspaper. I subscribe to magazines. I’m on the last chapter of A Distant Mirror by Barbara Tuchman, about the withering of the flower of chivalry in fourteenth-century Europe. I love submersing myself in other worlds, in different times and places. Alice in Wonderland is one of my favourite books. From time to time I am dipping into Self-Reliance, by Ralph Waldo Emerson, on my Kobo e-reader — a nineteenth-century perspective on the life worth living. Last night I was skimming My War Gone By, I Miss It So – I’d already read it – about a journalist’s experience in one of the Balkan Wars of the twentieth century. This skimming was in the nature of research for my new mystery novel, Geraldton Back Doors, which I am currently prepping for publication.
I am holding off on reading The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey, and one of the books by Craig Johnson, author of the Longmire novels. Until I put my own novel to bed, I will not read other people’s mystery novels.
I used to read comics. The ones with intellectual content, like Wonder Woman, and The Fox and the Crow. Can’t find them anymore. I rarely read comic strips now. Occasionally a Dilbert or a For Better or For Worse will stir my interest, but you can’t find Peanuts or L’il Abner anymore, the strips with meaty content.
But, after a day in Las Vegas, I needed to feed my habit. I needed to read. So I went searching for literature.
Every resort has a gift shop. Well, that’s one name for it. A gift shop, or gift shoppe, sells everything from booze and body lotions to souvenirs and personal hygiene products. What is a resort? you ask. That’s the name on The Strip for a commercial bubble that houses a casino and a hotel and restaurants and bars and recreational facilities and theatres and shops, or shoppes, and sometimes a mall, which has scads of restaurants and bars and stalls and entertainment venues and shops, or shoppes. You never have to leave these small worlds, these asteroids, unless you get restless. Hence the resort named Planet Hollywood.
In the gift shoppe (Let’s call it what it is) of Planet Hollywood, I found a rack of paperbacks. Gawdawful stuff. Guaranteed to rot the mind. But then I spotted it.
A Tom Clancy novel.
I grant you that Tom Clancy writes literature, not claptrap. He writes thrillers that plunge you into worlds you will never experience in Small Town, Canada, where I live, nor in The Big Stink, Ontario, where Torontonians live. He creates believable characters doing exciting and even incredible things in hard-to-reach places around the globe. Sort of like an updated Alice in Wonderland.
When I opened the book in the privacy and comfort of our air-conditioned room, I found that I had been duped.
Tom Clancy did not write Tom Clancy’s EndWar: The Missing. That’s how the title read: Tom Clancy’s EndWar: The Missing. Tom Clancy’s EndWar: The Missing was written (And I use the term loosely) by some hack whom I will not dignify by naming who should have his writing licence revoked and should be charged and incarcerated for impersonating an author.
This miscreant created totally unbelievable characters doing exciting but totally incredible things in impossibly hard-to-reach places around the globe. The story was claptrap. The prose, crappier than the story. This miscreant was no Tom Clancy.
The consequence is worse. I shall never. Ever. Pick up another Tom Clancy novel. The real Tom Clancy is dead. The current Tom Clancy has sold out. Has sold his God-given talent and his good name for filthy lucre. The current Tom Clancy is not a good person.
So I was back where I had started.
I needed to find something in Vegas worth reading.