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Are Some Of Your Friends Dog-Eared?

Oct 9, 2007
Books are like candy. Not everyone likes the same kind. I like mysteries - the more twists and turns in the plot and the redder the herrings, the better. What I don't like are writers who take the mystery out of mysteries by summing up all the clues in the last two pages. If the butler did it, I want to follow the clues - not be treated like a clueless reader.

John's genre of choice is self-help. "Is Your Working Identity Unknown?" "Recreating Yourself - Again", "The Lowdown on Being Highly Effective" - the authors of the self-help genre are riding the wave of success across the country; but they often benefit more from the sale of their how-to works than the readers do. If I wrote How to Write a Self-Help Book, I wonder if it would be a best seller. If I wrote A Man's Guide to Understanding His Wife, I wonder if John would buy it.

My mother-in law is blind and listens to best sellers on tape. I've tried to listen with her, but the melodic voices remind me of listening to bedtime stories and I fall asleep. Friends catch up on their reading by listening to CD's while they drive. Unfortunately, my car is too old to have a CD or cassette player. If I want to listen to a mystery while I drive, I have to ask Cousin Walter to come with me.

According to the seventeenth century poet, John Wilmot, we should choose an author like we choose a friend. On a recent vacation John and I chose to read the same friend. When we discussed it, we noticed people were listening. In the future we won't discuss a Jackie Collin's novel unless we make sure the people around us know we're discussing characters - not friends.

However, books are more than friends. They're also flower presses, coasters, something to put under your child's class trip permission slip when you sign it and more.

Books can even be dangerous. I'm referring to the pile of bound reading material that's growing on top of John's file cabinet. One wrong move and the precariously piled collection of going-to read-as-soon-as-he-has-time will topple and spread the word by cascading into the dining room.

Reading is a broadening experience. That's why I do a lot of my reading on an exercise bike. I don't want to broaden from the bottom up.
About the Author
KNIGHT PIERCE HIRST takes humorous looks at life.
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