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Book Wrangler

July 11, 2005

By Bob Patterson


Sports desks all over were reaching for their copy of A Tale of Two Cities, after the announcement was made last week about where the 2012 Olympic games will be held.  We liked the one about:  " … all of us have like wonders hidden in our breasts, only needing circumstances to evoke them."  Emotions flowed like bubbles from a popped bottle of champagne as TV crews recorded the various reactions.


Desperate columnist were searching for a copy of It Can't Happen Here, hoping to find some relevant passage such as: "And for a newspaper editor – for one who must know, at least as well as the Encyclopedia, everything about local and foreign history, geography, economics, politics, literature, and method of playing football – it was maddening that it seemed impossible now to know anything surely."  Only conservative talk show hosts can know all that.


The plans for this week's column originally called for something very clever like a review of various children's classics and then a remark about how it did or didn't apply to the adults world of today.  We intended to use books like The Little Engine That Could and then point out subtle life lessons about how, if you think you can find WMD's and then go all out to do that, your bound to succeed.  Perhaps some other children's book teaches that if at first you don't succeed, then you have a clever speechwriter change the mission statement and have the Ministry of Truth issue glowing reviews of the new speech.


We intended to locate a copy of My Pet Goat and use the old reviewer's cliché about how you can't stop reading it once you've started.


In anticipation of the task of writing such the column we sought sustenance in the form of authentic New York pizza and went to the Del Core's in the Westwood Section of LA.  Afterwards we went to The Mystery Book Store to check and see if the clerk whom we quoted in last week's column, Linda, had sent the URL for the column to all her friends, relatives, and customers, but were confronted by the fact that she hadn't seen it yet.  She had a computer there and took the chance to check out what we said.  She noted that she was referring to Suicide Squeeze by Victor Gischler when she said "high body count but a lot of fun" and not talking about Still River by Harry Hunsicker as our notes and subsequent column indicated.  We promised to rectify the error in our next column.  She asked what the next column was going to be about and we told her about our fiendishly clever plan to use children's books for a column of political sarcasm.  She immediately directed our attention to the section they have for rookie mystery fans that stocks such things as the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books and the Trixie Beldon series.


Other books for young mystery fans included:


The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown illustrated by Clement Hurd ($7.99 HarperFestival) 


It's a kids' classic.  It's not a mystery - we saw the title and made an assumption. 


Harry Sue by Sue Staffacher ($15.95 Alfred A. Knopf) 

The information on the Amazon site indicates this book is about a kid who yearns to join her parents in prison.


Sammy Keyes and the Curse of Moustache Mary by Wendelin van Draanen ($5.99 Dell Yearling Book)


A young girl detective gets another case.


Hoot by Carl Hiassen ($15.95 Alfred A. Knopf) 

He writes good newspaper columns and great mysteries for adults.

The Falcon's Malteser by Anthony Horowitz ($2.99 Puffin) 

The hard-boiled detective genre has come to children's literature. 

The Book of Bunny Suicides by Andy Riley ($10 Plume Book) is for adults and not kids.


Our plans for this week's column were in shambles by this point.  We thought of page 126 in It Can't Happen Here, where we found:  "… Doremus had felt the insecurity, the confusion, the sense of futility in trying to do anything more permanent than shaving or eating breakfast…." When we finish reading that book, we'll do a review, but as this column was being written, we were only on page 156. 


The anti-folk festival will be held next weekend in Brighton England


Alexander Pope wrote (in his poem The Rape of the Lock): "What mighty contests rise from trivial things." 


Now, if the disk jockey will play the Nirvana song, Rape Me (the Democrats new theme song?), we'll hustle on out of here for this week.  Come back again next week.  Until then have a spin free week.




Copyright © 2005 – Robert Patterson

Email the author at worldslaziestjournalist@yahoo.com




Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
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