I finished up my 50th book of the year - Denis Leary's Why We Suck - an extremely irreverent look at life - as you would expect from Denis Leary. I checked this out of the local library and have marveled over the last few years at some of the books that libraries have on the shelves. It takes a lot to offend my sensibilities and Leary's language is certainly not going to do it. In all honesty, that's pretty much how I talk as well. However, I can't imagine this book and many others that I've gotten from the library in recent years even being on the shelves years ago. Times have certainly changed. I'll let you decide if that's for the better or worse.
I read a variety of things last year, some who-dunnits/mysteries, history stuff, biographies, and a little more of this and that. Two of the best in the biography department was the one about Emile Zatopek and the Louis Zamperini one about his life after the war years. I also enjoyed Lost Horizon that I was lucky enough to find in one of the free book stands in downtown Indy. Re-reading Blue Highways was a pleasure as well.
I'm trying to decide now if I want to continue on my quest to again read fifty books in 2018. I haven't had much difficulty the last few years achieving the goal. Actually, since I started keeping track in 2011 there's only been one year, 2014, that I didn't read at least 50. Adding the totals of the past seven years, I've read 352, so I've averaged 50 per year. I don't pay much attention to page count normally. As long as a book is less than 500 pages, I'm game. However, I'm thinking that for 2018 rather than trying to knock out a book per week, maybe relax a bit and change my approach.
I do have a big fat biography on Henry Ford I'd like to dive into. No way I could finish that in a week - or maybe ever. Lots and lots of pages in that one. I also want to read and re-read some things in particular: Jack London, Mark Twain, Arthur Conan Doyle and Melville's Moby Dick. If I remember correctly, that one's a good 500+ pages. I'm thinking also re-reading The Razor's Edge would be time well spent. That's probably my favorite book. Maybe see if I can find the movie version of the book starring Bill Murray, rather than the older version with Tyrone Power. It's not a typical role that you would associate with Bill Murray but I watched the movie years ago and would like to see it again - especially if I'm going to be reading the book again. Maybe try something else by W. Somerset Maugham also.
I'm also going to be taking a class or two at the college which will cut into my reading time and getting my ham radio license is a high priority for the upcoming year, which will require some study time. So even though I should have more free time coming up this year, maybe put the 50 book thing on hiatus and just take it as it comes. It's not like I'm going to stop reading. That'll never happen.
To all of you out there, read. Read to your kids and get them reading on their own. Go to Dover and buy yourself a few of the cheap classics to stockpile for when the electricity quits flowing, along with a few candles or a decent lantern. Moveable type - it's one of the greatest, if not the greatest invention of all time. Even greater than indoor plumbing and the cordless drill. And, once again, some of the greatest advice ever to young people from the now defunct Starlet Showcase blog:
Anyway, here's my advice: read a book, read lots of books, keep your face washed and don't worry about your complexion too much, don't give your teachers a hard time, don't be late for everything, always use condoms, get plenty of sleep but not during class, and if you go home with someone and he doesn't own any books, don't sleep with him. That's basically it. Have fun.