2017-12-27 / Editorials

Don Lively

READ ON

What's on your nightstand?

I don't mean that five shot Saturday night special you keep there to protect your assets.

I mean what book is putting you to sleep at night or keeping you reading deep into the darkness.

Did you get any books for Christmas?

Allow me to let you in on a little secret.

I have something in common with author John Grisham.

Also with James Patterson.

Patricia Cornwell.

What characteristic, might you ask, does your lowly, local scribbler have with the above group of writers?

Well, I'll tell you.

They all time the release of their latest books to take advantage of the Christmas Holidays which pretty much guarantees a boost to early sales.

Yeah, I did that too.

Twice.

Granted they have all sold gazillions more books than I have. Any one of them probably sold more books at one book signing than I have in my life.

I suspect they would titter at my two little tomes.

That's okay though cause I have something they don't.

I have you.

Apparently, somebody out there is still reading me based on a nice little bump in sales I've had over the last month.

Thank you.

One of my favorite parts of the Holidays is the abundance of new books by my favorite writers.

I often discuss books with my siblings and some of my cousins. My sister SherryLuLu and my cousin Angie Angie convinced me a while back that we are too old to waste our time reading bad books when there are so many good ones out there. Before that I had a personal rule. If I started a book I had to finish it. No matter if it drug on and on with no direction or character development. Even if picking the book up caused me heartburn I made myself soldier on. Surely it would improve.

Nope.

On more than one occasion I finished a book totally unsatisfied and disgusted at the wasted effort.

A few weeks ago I started a book for which I'd read several reviews, all positive. My first clue that I might not finish it was when I'd go an entire evening without reading a word from it. I knew from the reviews that the protagonist was a quirky fellow. Normally that would be a plus for my reading tastes. I don't enjoy predicable heroes. Then, when I was about halfway through the book I realized that I didn't care one whit what happened to the oddball central character.

I didn't care if he solved all of the mysteries in his perplexed world.

I didn't care about any of his weird relationships with his weird friends and associates.

I didn't care if he lived or died.

I pitched the book in the trash and never looked back.

Then I went to the bookstore.

Let me add an addendum here, and a confession.

I don't possess a library card.

There, I said it.

There's a reason.

I don't just read books, I devour them. I also don't take very good care of them. I read my books while I'm eating lunch at my desk. I read while I'm sitting on the porch scratching my muddy yard dog's muddy belly with my free hand. I read after getting into bed. None of those activities are good for the physical health of a paper and glue book. My books end up dog-eared and coffee stained and taco sauce smeared and ripped.

Librarians frown on that sort of treatment.

So I buy books.

Lots of books.

The real thing, not the modern downloadable e-books that are all the rage these days. To me, the feel of a real book with pages to turn beats a digital device that requires "swiping".

There's nothing like waking up on a rainy Saturday to realize that you have absolutely nothing to do except read, especially on a day when you've already started a great book and you can't wait to get back to it.

Right this minute there are at least six new books that I can't wait to start.

Those writers never disappoint me. They always make me glad I took the time to read them.

It's my hope that you will always have even a fraction of that happiness from reading my scribblings.

And, here's fair warning.

My next book will be ready in 2018.

You asked for it, I hope you'll like it.

Read on.

Don Lively is a freelance writer and author of two books of Southern Humor, Howlin' At The Dixie Moon, and, South O' Yonder. He lives in Shell Bluff. Email Don at Livelycolo@aol.com.

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