Burgess Meredith starred in "Time Enough At Last," one of the most fondly-remembered episodes of The Twilight Zone. In that episode, Meredith plays Henry Bemis, a lover of books, who always wishes he had more time to read his cherished tomes. My circumstances are not as dire (nor ultimately cataclysmic) as the plight of Mr. Bemis, but I kinda know how the poor guy feels.
I love books. I always have. But I can't seem to find sufficient time to read lately. The fault lies not in my stars, but in my own damned and scattered attention. I find time to watch TV. I find time to waste on the internet. I find time to do a daily blog, ferchrissakes. The books keep piling up, patiently waiting their turn.
True, I've alway purchased books faster than I could read them. I used to get to them more quickly, though. Now, I haven't completed a book since Sue Grafton's Y Is For Yesterday late last year. There are so many books I want to immerse myself within. I need to dive in already.
At the top of my must-read list is Bill Kopp's Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett To The Dark Side Of The Moon. Bill sent me a pre-publication proof on pdf, but reading books on the computer is anathema to me. So I bought my own physical copy. I've never been much of a Pink Floyd fan--as a punk in the late '70s, I figured Floyd was clearly The Enemy--but I've become more interested in the band's music over the last few years. On one of my daughter's first visits back home after leaving for college in 2013, we were in the car and she noticed I was listening to The Best Of Pink Floyd: A Foot In The Door. She did a slow take, turned to me, and said, "What's been going on here since I've been away?!" Bill Kopp has expressed interest in discussing his book on a future edition of This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, so I'd best get comfortably numb, stat.
I also had to defer reading a pre-publication pdf of B.D. Love's punk rock murder mystery All Tomorrow's Parties. My intrepid TIRnRR co-host Dana Bonn was more, y'know, intrepid, so he read it and provided a cool back cover blurb: "Mickey Spillane meets High Fidelity in this musical punk noir...for any fan of Dana Spiotta's Eat The Document." See, I wish I'd said that. I bought the book instead, and it looks to be a righteous good read.
Speaking of Mickey Spillane, a stack of unread Spillane paperbacks sits in my garage, purchased decades ago. More immediately, Spillane disciple Max Allan Collins is one of my favorite novelists, and I never miss the opportunity to buy his original novels as soon as they're published. I, uh, just don't read them as fast as I buy them. Story of my life. There's one of Collins' Nate Heller books in my reading queue, and several of his Quarry novels. Summer's coming. I'll read 'em all.
I'm also going to read Michael Nesmith's Infinite Tuesday, Peter Mills' The Monkees, Head, And The 60s, Harold Bronson's My British Invasion (and I'm pretty sure there's also a history of Rhino Records buried somewhere in these towers of pulp), Jim Boeheim's autobiography Bleeding Orange, a bunch of intriguing books about Bobby Fuller, Tommy James, Lester Bangs, and Dorothy Kilgallen, a collection of old and obscure Harlan Ellison works, Vincent Bugliosi's Four Days In November, I Am Brian Wilson, Ray Davies' X-Ray: The Unauthorized Autobiography, Peter McDade's The Weight Of Sound, Mark Lewisohn's Tune In, an antholgy of short stories starring The Green Hornet, a Batman novel, and...well, look at the stacks. I have no shortage of reading material, and that's not even counting comic books and comics collections, nor various pulp prizes accumulated over more than four decades of pulp prize accumulation, nor old favorites like Paul Zindel's The Pigman, which I intend to re-read to see if my (theoretically) adult self digs the book as much as my adolescent self did in the early '70s.
It's a great problem to have, honestly. Books don't spoil. I love being surrounded by them. I'll get to them. And I'll love each and every page in its time.
But first: shine on, you crazy diamond. Wish you were here. Let's reinvent Pink Floyd.
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