Books acquired: “Who I Am,” Pete Townshend; “Walkable City,” Jeff Speck.
Books read: “Silverlock,” John Myers Myers; “Tales From the ‘White Hart,'” Arthur C. Clarke; “The Woman in Black,” Susan Hill.
Only a three-book month here. Is that better or worse than a three dog night? Regardless, all three of my reads last month had significance for me.
“Silverlock” I’ve owned since the early 1980s but never got around to reading. For one thing, it’s 500 pages; for another, the hype that helped sell it — separate introductions by SF heavyweights Poul Anderson, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle — also inhibited actually reading the thing. “You’ll get drunk on ‘Silverlock,'” “an odyssey of the human spirit,” etc., etc. I could never bring myself to read it, yet I could never bring myself to sell it either.
Now that I’m back to taking my bookshelves seriously, I read it, and you know, “Silverlock” was darned good, a picaresque adventure in the Commonwealth of Letters in which nearly every character is taken from literature or legend: Don Quixote, Paul Bunyan, Robin Hood, Leatherstocking, the Green Knight, and dozens more. Great fun, and recommended if you’re well read, or if like me you can fake it.
That book consumed nearly four weeks. I managed to squeeze in two short books on vacation, a collection of scientific shaggy dog stories by Clarke, told by a tall-tale spinner in a London pub, and Hill’s Gothic horror novel, set in England, from 1992. I liked both of those. (The latter was made into a slightly creepy, slightly silly movie in 2012.)
They meant a little more to me because in London two years ago I’d stumbled across a White Hart pub in the vicinity of the one Clarke frequented; research shows that this one is modern and Clarke’s hangout was really named the White Horse, but no matter, I wanted to read the book ever since. Hill’s book I bought during that trip at Foyle’s; I used the receipt as my bookmark. Happy sigh.
Clarke’s book was bought used at a Bookmaster in Arizona some six years ago, and “Silverlock” came from a used bookstore of my youth, the Double R Book Nook in Olney, Ill.
All three books have a color in their title, and I have so many more of these that April looks likely to have more “color books.” I’m wrapping up a yellow and have started a green, with a red, a blue and an amber in the wings, and a white, a black, a gold, another blue and another green probably out of reach unless April has 60 days.
Of my two acquisitions this month, the first was a birthday gift and the second was bought at BookPeople in Austin, my first book purchase of 2014. I’m trying to cut down.
What have you been reading? And has anyone read, or even heard of, “Silverlock”? It’s kind of a cult classic, hence the hard-sell introductions in my 1980 edition, but deserves to be better known.
Next month: a riot of color.