BOOK REPORTS

BOOK REPORTS

“WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN

THE NOVELIST AND THE LIAR? I HAVE

OFTEN WONDERED.

Amitava Kumar

 

I love to read and have done so all my life. As a young child mom would read us one chapter from a series called the HAPPY HOLISTERS every morning before getting on the bus for school.

As I got older I loved the Western fiction of Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour. In fact we have the entire leather bound L’Amour set of  books. My library grows every month. But I have long left fiction behind because I love anything and everything on American History. I just don’t do fiction anymore.

I ordered a book the other day that I thought were stories of Kansas. The problem was that the title really reflected the quality of the writing, bad!

I was always good in literature in high school but the one thing I hated was the book report. We would be given some ‘classic’ to read and then we would have to write a book report. Generally I missed the point of what the book was all about. Lucky that I could lose myself in a ‘good’ book and I was not discouraged. I can see where a lot of kids ended up being discouraged.

The teaching technique of having students read a book and render an intelligent analysis of it is reaching a bit far. Had there been some preparation about the major points I would have not appeared to be so dense. Now I write books.

The publishing process has been, apparently, developed by frustrated teachers. It is long and laborious. I now know what a bibliography in the Chicago Style is. (I used to think it was a Tommy gun in a violin case.) Of course fiction writers don’t worry about things like that.

Which brings me back to the book I just mistakenly purchased. And why I am making this book report to you. It is a book of short stories that are fiction. The thing that caused me to buy it was the word Kansas in the title.

And amazing as it seems each story is bad and gets worse as I read it. It reminds me of another book I read not long ago. The authors both are distinctive in the fact that they ‘used’ to live in Kansas. And many Kansans are enamored with leaving Kansas.

And the over riding themes are how strange Kansas people are and how strange Kansas is. I am really happy that these authors got out of Kansas and have some success. (this book even won an award). But why is it in vogue to cut down Kansas and it’s people?

I find them much more interesting than the people of the beltway. Now there is a bunch of lunatics! I appreciate those people flying over us and not stopping by. (many do during election years). I also find that when we send politicians there they don’t come back except to remind you that someone voted for them.

My advice for all of you that want to make your mark after leaving the state to get over the horrible place you think this is. Quit writing about us and then expect us to be so happy for you. Hide your shame and just blame your attitudes on New York or LA.

My book report on this book is that I will do what I very seldom ever do. In fact you can count on one hand how many times I have done this. I am throwing it away.

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