Remember Desmond on LOST? He was an interesting character, but the thing I found most interesting about him was his possession, even on the island, of a copy of OUR MUTUAL FRIEND by Charles Dickens. His intent? This was going to be the last book he ever read.
I was struck by that because I also have a book I keep in reserve for the very same purpose. I thought I was the only one who did that sort of thing. Guess I was wrong.
I've never read OUR MUTUAL FRIEND. I'm not a big Dickens guy. I recognize his importance to the history of writing, but I couldn't get into anything except for A CHRISTMAS CAROL. That one was all right. The rest? Just not my thing. I can't say if Desmond has good taste or not.
If I may be so bold, I'm pretty sure I have excellent (if questionable) taste. Ever read a fellow by the name of Jim Thompson? He is, in my humble (yet bold, remember) opinion, the greatest crime writer of all time. I still haven't read all of his work. I dole it out because I know there's a finite number of his books.
Everything I've read about CHILD OF RAGE makes it sound like it's the greatest book he'd ever written. Offensive, intense, crazy. An examination of rage and racism. I can't express to you how off-the-walls awesome it sounds. Considering my brushes with death, I have the book in bubble wrap and in an easy-to-find place, so even if I'm in the hospital, I can instruct someone to find it for me.
But hell. I'm a writer. I could probably go at any minute. I've had pancreatitis. My gall bladder has been removed. My teeth are rotting out of my head. I can barely feel my feet. My vision is shot. I have the 'Beetus and high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I'm a garbage dump of a person. I expect a heart attack will get me. If that's the case, I'll probably never get to read CHILD OF RAGE. Shit, maybe Desmond and I are idiots. Who are we to say that we'll know when we're dying? Could be a toilet seat from the space station falls on me and kills me as soon as I finish this sentence. Maybe I should crack that fucker open and read until dawn.
(Good thing I didn't die right there. But the possibility of the toilet seat from the space station falling on me still remains in the back of my head ever since I watched DEAD LIKE ME.)
Fuck it. Let it ride. I'll take the chance.
Oh God! What if it's a horrible book?
It probably won't be. Thompson was a beast, and too many people I respect are saying it's great.
I'll tell you all about it from my death bed.