Books acquired: Too many.
Books read: “There’s a Country in My Cellar,” Russell Baker; “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court,” Mark Twain; “California Crazy and Beyond,” Jim Heimann; “The Computer Connection,” Alfred Bester; “Comic Book Culture,” Ron Goulart; “Confessions of a Crap Artist,” Philip K. Dick; “A Case of Conscience,” James Blish; “Counter Culture: The American Coffee Shop Waitress,” Candacy A. Taylor; “10 Minute Clutter Control Room by Room,” Skye Alexander; “The Batcave Companion,” Michael Eury and Michael Kronenberg.
Nurse, give me 10 cc’s of books. Or 10 books with two C’s in the title. Yes, from my groaning shelves of unread books, for April I chose 10 books with a couple of C’s in the title. No real reason, other than to make a game of it and to entertain you here. Most were books I’d been meaning to get to and a theme sort of coalesced.
Ten books in one month is also a personal best. Woo-hoo! (Maybe for “Books read” I should also have written “Too many.”) The first two, by Baker and Twain, were the longest, and they were 99 percent read by the beginning of April; in fact, I started Baker’s collection of columns in January. The rest were read throughout April.
Ten is too many to discuss here individually, but they include newspaper columns (Baker), a literary classic (Twain), science fiction (Dick, Bester, Blish), architecture (Heimann), comic book analysis (Goulart, Eury and Kronenberg), nonfiction (Taylor) and (gulp) self-help (Alexander). (It wasn’t all that helpful, either.)
Readers of this blog, i.e. you, might particularly enjoy “California Crazy and Beyond,” which is about mostly L.A.-area roadside architecture — restaurants, gas stations and such that resemble a recognizable object. The 909 example pictured is the Wigwam Motel in Rialto, in which the standalone rooms look like tepees.
(The book’s bibliography, by the way, cites a 1997 article I wrote for the Victor Valley Daily Press, days before changing jobs to come to Ontario, about a building in Victorville shaped like a lighthouse. This book was published in 2001 and I bought it at Powell’s Books in 2007. Nearly four years later, I find my name in it. I’ve really gotta catch up on my backlog.)
Another book some of you might like is “Counter Culture,” an ode to “lifer” waitresses at coffee shops and diners around the country. Turns out many of them love their jobs and keep working into their 60s, 70s and 80s not because they have to (in most cases) but because they think the activity keeps them young. It was illuminating and touching.
Some of these books I’ve owned a long time. The Blish and Dick novels date to my teenage years, the Twain to my college years and the rest to various later dates, the Batman book, from December, being the most recent.
The letter C must be fairly common in titles because even after reading almost 2 percent of my backlog in one month, I still have four unread books with a couple of C’s in their title. If April had had 31 days (or maybe 40), I might’ve gotten to them.
For May I’m returning to a smaller number of books with a greater variety of letters.
So what have you been reading, readers?