Well, it’ll soon be time
to head back to some serious reading. I recently gave myself a little break
because of the weeks of disorganization that are part of moving to a new home,
and as a little reward for having finished Geoffrey Ward’s 800-page biography
of Franklin Roosevelt’s years as a young adult. Not that the latter was a
chore, mind you--Ward does a fine job and offers real insights into FDR and
Eleanor Roosevelt. In fact, Ward, darn him, whetted my appetite to read at
least four more books about the always-fascinating Roosevelts.
Giving myself “a little
break” meant picking up the latest titles from a few authors who I greatly
value mostly for their entertainment value. This time it was Lee Child, with
his new Jack Reacher novel, and Carl Hiaasen with his funny satirical novel
Star Island. The latter is worth the price of admission for one thing
alone--the wacko character Chemo makes a return appearance and Hiaasen’s
rendering of this lunatic is better than ever. (I should say that, while
Hiaasen is one of our most entertaining novelists, he is also at the same time
satirically skewering his targets, which include the overdevelopment of
Florida, the exploitation of natural resources, nitwit pop stars, and our
celebrity culture. Subscribers to our magazine can find our How I Write
interview with Hiaasen at our website.)
Next up on the reading
shelf are a collection of Flannery O’Connor’s short stories; David Finkel’s The
Good Soldiers, a nonfiction account of his experience with U.S. troops in Iraq;
Barbara Demick’s harrowing account of the trainwreck that is North Korea; and
fat biographies of Darwin and Hitler. By the end of that group, I should be
gasping for some light beach reading, and a beach.
--Ron Kovach, senior
editor, The Writer
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