The Avett Brothers said it best when they sang, 'Ten thousand words swarm round my head, ten million more in books I've read, ten 'neath my bed...'
I like to read. Magazines, books, blogs, cereal boxes with puzzles on the back. Doesn't matter where I'm at, what I'm doing, I find myself reading.
I tend to hearken back to the Beat Generation of writers; Kerouac, Burroughs and Ginsberg. Bukowski, I will forever and always go back to because....well, I like to live out the drunken, womanizing world through his words. I've taken on classic authors such as Vonnegut, Hemingway, Poe, Sir Arthur Conan 'OBrien' Doyle and of course, Dr. Suess. Even Stephan King, John Grisham, Elmore Leonard and Michael Crichton have found their way to my shelves.
And, yes, I read Playboy for the articles. *wink* *wink* *nudge* *nudge*
My literary likings of late, though, lean toward mystery in the fictitious way, and mostly the Florida mystery. Intrigues me. Carl Hiassen, Dave Barry, Tim Dorsey and Jeb Bush. The latter isn't a writer of sorts, but by God, he's a mystery to me. Plus, I just like saying Jeb.
Jeb, Jeb, Jeb!!!
The question of why Florida makes for such a good background for a novel is hardly difficult to understand. Simply put, the state is a clusterfuck of dissention, discord, criminal behavior, strife and contamination. Walt's world was bulldozed by Goofy, chomping a cigar with a soundtrack of flatulent outbursts, all with a smile on his face, all in the name of more pollution and environmental atrocities!
This is funny stuff, man! And this is why Florida is fun to read and incredibly hard to write about, because the old saying 'fact is stranger than fiction' is three times truer in Florida.
Character. Geography is important, but character is what makes these books, these visionaries great, though. For me anyway.
Take for instance, Tim Dorseys, Serge A. Storms. A perfectly lovable Florida historian/serial killer that roams the byways and islands of said state. Mess with Florida in anyway, you'll find yourself on the wrong side of a history lesson and booby trap consisting of a sawed off shotgun and the rumble of the Space Shuttle Atlantis.
Another favorite character of mine is one of Carl Hiaasen's ongoing cameos, his name being Skink. Skink, is a former governor of Florida that tires of the corruption of politics and decides to leave office early to live off of roadkill, targeting molesters of the land and tying himself to large bridges in order to 'ride the storm out' of Category 4 hurricanes.
As you may well know, living through a hurricane is a goal of mine, though, just not duct taped to a metal beam of any kind.
Mystery is an easy read, not too much thought, a distraction really. And for whatever reason, late onset ADD or early onset Alzheimer's, I've found the less confusion I can steer away from, the better.
What I don't get, but admit never delved into, is the whole 'cat' mystery. I certainly hope not to offend anyone, but, isn't it enough that this world is full of those crazy, blue hair'd cat ladies? You just know their grandkids are bitching because they have to shovel up two and a half tons of cat shit out of the living room before they have a shot at collecting any part of granny's estate. And this is just every other Sunday, while the old codger is still breathing. Just imagine what they'll find when the crazy, old...er...never mind.
Anyway, maybe I don't understand the cat premise. Do these cats have soothsayer powers that help them solve crimes, at the same time completely ignoring their owners? Do they purr up against the bad guy when they detect a mischievous plot? Do they play 'good' kitty, 'bad' kitty when questioning their suspect?
Regardless, to each his own, right? If you like it, read it, because one day the written word just might go the way of the dodo bird, or the typewriter (remember those?) and all we'll be left with is kids that know how to splice a sentence together using only a keypad of a cellphone.
God help us all!