One of the best reasons to join a book club is that you end up reading books that you would have never chosen. Most of us get in a rut – we read the newest books by our favorite authors. We tend to stay with a particular genre – historical fiction, literary fiction, science fiction… whatever.
Snobbism is rife in the literary world: if the book isn’t literary fiction, it is thought not to be worth reading. How silly. The best way to break out of your habit is to check out the discard shelf at your local library. It doesn’t necessarily have to be “a keeper.” Look for a “good read” that you can pass on after reading it.
Prior to coming to Mexico, I chose several discarded books at the Westcliffe Library. One was by Dean Koontz, author of One Door Away From Heaven, 2001. I had never read Koontz, but checking the publication date, I see that prior to 2001, he wrote 38 books!
The characters are well-developed, the plot tight, the dialogue sharp, the humor grounded, and the suspense compelling. The reader must keep reading. In terms of building his characters, Koontz is the master of the slow reveal. Chapter after chapter he tosses the reader another small hint as to the back-story and the characters’ motivation. The bio-ethics bit in the middle is polemically tedious, but all in all, the book is a most excellent beach read.
Koontz’s first paragraph is thought provoking: “The world is full of broken people. Splints, casts, miracle drugs, and time can’t mend fractured hearts, wounded minds, torn spirits.”
- Brainstorm ways in which people are broken.
- Feature a broken person in your morning pages today.
- Or… do you agree with the content of Koontz’s first paragraph? Why or why not?
In terms of eating fish, it is hard to know what fish to eat. The fish is either endangered or eating it will upset the ocean’s food chain. If the fish is farmed, that too is a risky business.
So I’m walking along the beach… watching the surf suds the shore… watching the sandpiper stay five yards ahead of me… wondering why sandpipers are always ahead of me and not behind me… wondering if the vibration of my feet hitting the sand induces sandpaper edibles to squirm when I meet a young man. Nice six-pack! A tattooed message in Gothic type runs horizontally between the six-pack and his low-riding shorts. I’m tempted to read the tattoo, but I think twice.
Fat and sassy gulls are screaming at us. They are bigger than a Sunday roasting chicken. There’s a lot of meat on those bones. I ask him if he knows of anyone eating seagulls. He can’t believe that he has heard me correctly, so he asks me to repeat the question. I repeat myself. No, he replies. He thinks they would taste like fish. I tell him that I have tasted (my husband ate; I tasted) puffin. He says, “If I want to taste fish, I’ll eat fish.”
And I experienced one of those ah-ha moments. If we ate more sea birds, we would lessen our impact on the fishing stock.