Dozer, the bulldog

Dozer, the bulldog
Dozer: Spring training is upon us!

Backstage at Reggae on the River, 2017...

Backstage at Reggae on the River, 2017...
The author of Mark's Work

Hollyhocks

Hollyhocks
Why I grow flowers

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.
Air-borne bees

HeadSodBuster and BossLady at the coast

HeadSodBuster and BossLady at the coast
Love is the greatest power.

Beauty abounds!

Beauty abounds!
Crossing the Eel River at French's Camp

If you've seen one butterfly, you've seen 'em all, said no one ever.

If you've seen one butterfly,  you've seen 'em all, said no one ever.
Butter in the fly...

July Jewels

July Jewels
Bees to the Kingdom

My souvenir from Reggae on the River, 2017

My souvenir from Reggae on the River, 2017
Something I have always wanted...

Mahlon Masling Blue

Mahlon Masling Blue
My friend and brother.

Mark's E-mail address

bellspringsmark@gmail.com

Monday, February 25, 2013

It's a Mystery!


I am doing the A-Z challenge.  Today’s letter is M  for mystery.

It’s a Mystery!
I will be the first to admit that my current reading agenda is extremely one-dimensional.  I like mystery stories, and so I indulge in them.  When I make a comment to that effect, Annie reminds me, that after a lifetime of reading the classics, and ingesting that which was assigned to me, I deserve a break.  Whereas that makes sense to me, I also feel a little out-of-the-loop when others wax on eloquently about their lists of to-read books.

When I was a kid, and trudging back and forth from the Vine Street Library, lugging an armload of books (Where were those handy backpacks then?), much of what I read consisted of biographies and autobiographies.  I wanted to discover what others had said and done.  At different times in my life, I have taken on specific authors, and read everything I could get my hands on.  

I have been a lifelong Charles Dickens fanatic, having been assigned four of his novels to read as a freshman at Bishop Amat High School.  We were given two weeks to read David Copperfield, a feat I accomplished with time to spare.  At the time I was of the opinion that I was the only boy in our honors English class (there were no girls) to have accomplished this task.  In addition to David Copperfield,  I was required to read Hard Times, Great Expectations, and A Christmas Carol.  

Altogether, we were required to read twenty-six classics that year.  My favorite on the list?  Alexander Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo.  As a junior, I was introduced to The Epic of Gilgamesh, Beowulf, Camus, and Shakespeare.  I always felt that the education I received as a high schooler was the best money could buy.

When I was a sophomore in high school, I discovered John Steinbeck, and devoured every one of his works, my favorite being The Winter of Our Discontent.  When I revisited Steinbeck, sometime during my attendance at San Jose State, I reread the ten assigned books, and argued vehemently as Professor Cox asserted that Winter was not one of his better novels.  I couldn’t figure out where this woman was coming from; after all, Steinbeck earned the Nobel Prize, after it came out.

When I was a senior in high school, I discovered Robert Heinlein, the only excursion into science fiction I have ever experienced.  I read Stranger in a Strange Land  with fascination, my Catholic upbringing taking its first serious hit.  Later, long after moving up here on the mountain, I scoured the used bookshops of Willits, Ukiah and Eureka, keeping my list of Heinlein books with me on these ventures, trying to complete my collection.

I attended Cal Poly, Pomona and San Jose State for the entire decade of the seventies, not counting the two years I spent in the military.  At some point in the late seventies, I realized that I had taken more than a dozen English classes, including four semesters of Old English, a semester of Chaucer and four semesters of Shakespeare.  Though my major was Humanities,  I had enough for a Minor in English, without having to take a single additional unit. 

Now I am perfectly happy to read Robert B. Parker.  His protagonist, Spenser (with an “s”) is one of my all-time favorites.  I also read Elizabeth George, John Sanford, Peter Robinson, Reginald Hill, Tony Hillerman, Sue Grafton, Dick Francis and a host of others.  I remember my mom introducing me to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the original mystery writer, with his fictitious protagonist, Sherlock Holmes.  I couldn’t get enough.

If I vary from the mysteries, it is only to read isolated authors such as John Grisham or Nelson DeMille.  I can’t seem to motivate myself to read non-fiction these days.  Maybe it’s because my little pea-brain is shutting down.  Well, it’s a mystery to me, but one that I am not interested in solving.

2 comments:

  1. I agree - our high school education may have had some flaws but it was an exceptionally rich academic experience. I read so much good classic literature in high school. I, too, took a huge amount of English classes at both Cal Poly and SJSU - though my focus was on contemporary lit and not so much the classics . I could have tacked on an English minor but didn't want to tack on those classic courses....I , as you know, read obsessively but not so much the old stuff - I read a wide variety of both fiction and non fiction - always reading - but look from where we came - Robert and Pauline were both big readers!

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  2. Yes, good point. Robert and his Michner (SP?) All of us were/are avid readers. I also think that contributes to the ease with which we write. Tom has been dazzling us with his f/b entries. I wish Noel and Matt would keep up the blogging...

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