People ask me what kind of business I’m in, and I say books… and business is good. OK, not really. I’m just an amateur still working on mine. Well, maybe I’m an unreliable narrator because here I am yet again, writing another blog post instead of doing revisions. A new writer friend who’s also working on a memoir whom I met online first at a Writers League of Texas event invited me to a coffee shop. He asked me why not pause the blog to focus on the manuscript? I said that wasn’t a bad idea but that I can’t seem to quit blogging. Maybe he’s right. Or not. Because any guy who suggests meeting in a suburb called Pflugerville (the p is silent), but who doesn’t drink coffee and knows I don’t either, must be a little touched in the head. Just kidding, it was a pferectly pfine pflace to pfontificate about the pfiner pfoints of pfublishing and such.
Anyway, books! I’m on a sort of murder mystery kick, particularly a David Baldacci binge. My writer buddy hadn’t heard of him, probably because he’s reading memoirs like you’re supposed to. But he’s a bestselling writer with six different sets of book series, several short story collections, and 11 standalone books have been made into movies. The current series I’m on stars the fictional Amos Decker, a former football player who took a big hit and now has a perfect memory and sees colors. I like him because he’s a big lumbering oaf, has little in the way of social skills (due to his traumatic brain injury), but he’s also super smart. He was a cop but now works with the FBI. By the way, the author still has a headful of hair. Me, not as much as I used to. Stress, aging, and bike helmets aren’t good for remaining hirstute.
The phrase “page-turner” comes to mind when talking about a Baldacci. He’s good at description — what is called “showing, not telling” — characterization, dialogue, plot and pacing. Sometimes I think he gets a little bogged down in pontificating about the subject. In the book I’m on now, The Fallen, there’s a good bit about the opioid crisis. I think it’s fine for an author to have a point of view in fiction and even use it for exposition to help flesh out the story. But when it bogs it down, I think he or an editor could have cut it down from over 400 pages in the hardback.
I get these books for free, no charge from this place called the library. Someone recently asked me when I became a socialist. I said, “What? I’ve never even read Marx — not even the Clifs Notes!” Apparently because I like something that benefits the community and is paid for by taxes, that makes me a socialist. Whatever, man. To quote Seinfeld’s George Costanza, “We’re living in a society here!” A system based on sharing and society or one that’s about the cold, crass cash of capitalism, aka filthy lucre, I guess maybe I do lean that way. Who cares? We’re stuck in the latter.
Anyway, I also got a couple of Walter Mosley books. That dude is prolific. I met him once and got a book signed (I had to buy that one — the library frowns on adulterating their tomes). He was super friendly and helpful, gave me a few tips. Like write the blog AND the book. So there, take that, writerly guy! But it is a different sort of writing so I need to figure that out. Anyway, reading these books hopefully will help me improve my own writing through osmosis, even though it’s a different genre completely.
Mosley’s Easy Rawlins detective series is great not only because it’s a history lesson about L.A. in the 1950’s and 60’s, a discourse on American racism which is not pedantic yet helpful for this white dude; it’s just vivid writing that’s fun to read. Blood Grove is the latest but I’d start at the beginning if I were you. The other was his Leonid McGill series. Trouble is What I Do is a novella, which WLT just had a webinar on. Also a black gumshoe, he’s navigating the current day mean streets of New York, so he’s tough but also has a tender side.
Next up on my list are Later, the latest by Stephen King, The Art of Memoir by Ann Karr (and probably her three memoirs after that), First Person Singular and What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Marukami. Many other memoirs are on the list. But I’ll also definitely get the last in the Decker series then back to the Jack Reacher series by Lee Pace just to keep up a balance of educational and fun.
Somewhere in there along with all my biking, walking, yoga, flute, and reading, I should probably really get to work on the revision, lose xx pounds, and get a lot more sleep. And oh, yeah, generate some income. Someday the latter is going to trump many of the former but not today.
What type of books and which authors are you reading?
Thank you for visiting me on WordPress or at https://ADudeAbikes.com. Feel free to add your Likes and Comments and to Follow the blog through WordPress if you have it, or by email. Contact me on the About page with any questions. Please feel free to Re-blog and Share as long as you give credit and the permalink to this post.
© 2021 A Dude Abikes. All rights reserved.