Before fully retreating into my own private writing struggles, here are two resolutions for 2014 and a few book notes about 2013.
The Big Resolution: By the end of March 2014, I will KNOW that I am a writer of books OR accept the fact that my ambition and talents do not extend that far—in which case I will strive to become a brilliant blogger. Of course the book will not have actually been written by then but I will know if the will and skill to spend all my spare time writing exist.
An Important Resolution: I will no longer chastise myself for buying more books than I can read—which is not the same at all as buying too much other stuff like shoes or doughnuts or cars.
- Because anything we can do to slow the demise of real paper and print books is a worthy cause.
- Also consider that books can never ever harm you—they do not kill you with calories or high speeds and they are not produced by impoverished children in Bangladesh (at least I don’t think they are).
I will buy as many books as I want and my apartment can hold.
I read many books in 2013. The last three are worth mentioning.
On the Trail of Genghis Khan (Tim Cope), a young Australian explorer rides horseback 6,000 miles across the steppes traveled, conquered and ruled by Genghis Kahn and a Nomadic assortment of adventurers. So well written the geography, history, contemporary life and politics, and the personal journey of Cope and his little band of animals all flow seamlessly off the page and into our wanderlusting hearts.
The Last Train to Zona Verde (Paul Theroux) makes me worry that my favorite travel writer is getting ready to hang up his walking shoes. Since we are about the same age and I still have 105 countries to reach that possibility makes me quite nervous—what if I’m too old to get to every country in the world? And why do I even want to go if Theroux hasn’t written (or won’t write) about them? This book is vintage Theroux travel writing. Brilliant, thoughtful, cranky, regretful and funny.
A Delicate Truth (John le Carré) is included here because, while le Carré hasn’t been my favorite mystery writer for awhile, he is still so damn good at combining spy/mystery stories with social commentary. Perhaps a little heavy handed on occasion but always spot-on as his fellow Brits would say. A Delicate Truth might be the best of his recent books.
My Previous Book! Yes, I have written one book. You may not have heard of it. Not on the Times bestseller list. It officially resides somewhere in the darkest depths of the San Diego State University libraries where Master’s Theses go to die. It’s called the Intersection of Age and Ethnicity: An Ethnographic Study of the Relationships Between American Nursing Home Residents and their Refugee and Immigrant Caregivers. (Marjorie Neset) I’m actually rather proud of it although I suspect it is not great writing and the title could use a little work. But, damn it, it is a book.
If I can write one, I can write two.