I love books. I accumulate them faster than I can read them, but that's okay; very few books have fixed expiration dates. I continue to buy them and read them as whim dictates; books borrowed from the library are always top o' the queue, because those do have expiration dates. I go through periods where the only things I'm reading are comic books and on-line commentaries, and other periods where it's one book after another. I love reading. I love books.
It's National Book Week. The rules are, grab the closest book to you, turn to page 56, post the 5th sentence as your status. Don't mention the title.
Now. There are four tall stacks of books piled on top of the filing cabinet near my desk, another shorter stack atop the same cabinet, a full book case behind my chair, a row of DC Comics Archives hardcover collections beneath the shelves of encyclopedias, and still more books crammed onto two more shelves nearby. The book closest to me? Er...lessee. That stack has a comic book trade paperback collection on top, that has a pop encyclopedia, that has some CDs on top of the books, and that one has a paperback novel based on a largely-forgotten TV series. I picked one, found the page, counted down to the fifth sentence, and listed as my Facebook status:
"'But--Mr. Vincent,' the woman's strained voice came back."
"She sat down on the edge of the bed, and looked at him carefully."
"I needed that money."
"Byrnes liked to brag that 'UBC is a young network, but we don't put up with ageism,' though he neglected to mention that he could get away with paying older pros like Phillips half, or less, of what the big boys had."
"'Solve the mystery of the hand-outs.'"
"I got signatures of the first two Batman-suspects, but neither of them match Batman's handwriting!"
"There it lay and flamed."
"'I want you to meet Bobo.'"
"Startled at his wife's sharp interruption, York turned to look."
"She conceived it, birthed it, and named it Jubilant."
"Like Kelly, and Daley, Kennelly was born in Bridgeport."
"The man was plainly a hardened revolutionary who had been planning revolt against the Romans for years and had slowly been building up enough followers to make the attempt successful."
"Turning it to read the three initials, E.D.W., she shivered with anticipation."
"It's not on."
"Talk Hall is very histerical with old things wot are fakes and King Anne never slept there I tell you."
"He was tireless."
"'Well, the buttonhole job oughtta be a cinch for a mayonnaise champion,' I said."
"Then Doc's real appearance is never described in the super-sagas, and the discrepant descriptions by Dent and the other Savage writers might be explained."
"'Why don't you go on home, Scout?'"
"Sent from another planet, landed near the lake of shadows."
"As it struck, the beast voiced a horrifying scream of pain and rage; then it charged."
"'I hear him,' she cried."
"(There's another gn--and gno help either, I bet.)"
Okay. Just to spread this pure pulp love around, I grabbed a few more paperbacks from the many, many more stashed in my garage:
"Nothing could ever rob us of the pleasure of seeing Von Bork's face when he recognised us."
"Occasionally he thought he was sterile, with an inclination to be pleased rather than concerned if it was true,"
"My taste didn't run to exotic French cuisine, but the change could be different and I made a one o'clock date to meet him there."
"That would be okay."
"His face seemed bleach-white, but I could not for the soul of me make out his features or find even his eyes."
"Spade watched them burn while she put away his hat and coat."
"He tore the wheel round right-handed, and there was another shot that missed high."
And there you have it: a mix of fiction and non-fiction, comics and prose, the amputated works of Dashiell Hammet, Bill Finger, Philip Jose Farmer, Paul Zindel, Eando Binder, Harper Lee, Ian Fleming, John M. Borack, Max Allan Collins, Mike Royko, Philip Wylie, Fritz Leiber, Dave DiMartino, Mickey Spillane, Dave Wallis, Michael Moorcock, Ken Sharp, Donald Westlake, Richard Bissell, Aldous Huxley, Nick Hornby, Harlan Ellison, Lee Falk, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Elliott S. Maggin, Rob Thomas, Jim DeRogatis, Edmond Hamilton, T. Mike Childs, Mike W. Barr, G. Wayman Jones, Steve Englehart, and John Lennon, the milieus of Tarzan and Batman and The Black Bat and James Bond, Sam Spade, Doc Savage, Veronica Mars, The Spectre, and even the above-mentioned TV tie-in novel, The Invaders by Keith Laumer. I just picked that one up last week.
I have a reserve request in at the library for Sara Paretsky's new V.I. Warshawski novel; there's a new Sue Grafton due out in the summer, I think. But maybe I'll read this Lester Bangs biography while I'm waiting, or that book about The Monkees and their movie Head, or I could see what The Man From U.N.C.L.E. has been up to. Or Operator 5. Or Jim Boeheim. Or...or...or....
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