Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Learning From Louis L'Amour

Our book club choice this month is Education of a Wandering Man by Louis l'Amour, writer of 84 novels  Many of his  novels have been transformed to the big screen.  Lots of lessons to be learned from this writer.

He believes in historical accuracy. He says we should not have to second guess history because the facts are fantastic enough.  Because he believes in historical accuracy,  he read books about other cultures and traveled to the places he wrote about.  He wrote without using any obscenities and without spicing it up with sex scenes.

He describes himself, in this book, as a writer of the frontier, not a western writer, and  says his stories are about passing through or settling wild country.  He obviously admired the western pioneers because they chose to leave everything behind, break  the mold and start afresh in a new country with new problems. They did what L'Amour did,  moved from home and faced one challenge after another.  Man, he says. seeks a means to exist and is always striving to improve his situation. At the time of writing this memoir, he had an interest in the frontiers of outer space. His novel Walking Drum, he says, was about the frontiers of knowledge. 

I like this quote on page 156, "Education is everywhere, prompting one to think, to consider, to remember."  Interestingly, L'Amour felt he had acquired a lot of knowledge about Indonesia, Malaysia and China  and wanted a job in Naval Intelligence, unfortunately, he was turned down because he had no college degree.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Japanese writer: Keigo Higashino

I stayed up all night to read the Japanese novel, Naoko by  Keigo Higashino.  It was quite fascinating; held my interest from beginning to end. I came across this writer because his other book, Devotion of Suspect X  was our book club pick last month.   This novel touched on the supernatural.  The protagonist's wife, Naoko, and daughter, Monami, were involved in a bus crash.  Heisuke thought he had lost his wife but found out that her spirit was occupying his daughter's body.  He then realized that in fact he had lost his only daughter.  Yes, a little confusing and a very creepy situation.  Interestingly, there is a name for  a situation like this  metempsychosis.  The whole story was about Naoko and Heisuke maneuvering through life; elementary school, puberty, junior high and high school; while keeping this huge secret.  There was a very unusual twist to the plot towards the end.  I have watched movies about people switching bodies but this concept of  occupying a dead person's body was different.  I understand there is actually a movie based on this book.

I did not like the reaction of Heisuke in the end. It was too similar to the reaction of one of the protagonist's at the end of Devotion to Suspect X.   I also didn't like that there was no resolution for Heisuke after so many years of living life with this secret.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Happening at the Jacksonville Public Library

Here is what's happening at the Jacksonville Public Library:  Budget cuts.  I am sure you are not surprised by this move by Mayor Alvin Brown to save money.  True, budget cuts are happening all over but here is what you can do to show support for the library.  Also, check out the library advocacy blog.  Every little bit helps.