Gonzales commentary: A few must reads
While doing some research for this column I turned to Amazon.com, a favorite Web site.
What I don't like about Amazon is the incessant shilling for the Kindle, a wireless reading device. In other words, not a book.
Now, I am sure there are many who will embrace the technology of reading e-books. I dare say I will not be one of those early adopters.
I spend a fair share of my time reading from my computer screen, sometimes for work, sometimes for breaking news or information I can't find elsewhere.
That's the greatest strength of the Internet, its immediacy and wide range of information.
But I can't imagine willingly reading a book from an electronic device. Same goes for newspapers and magazines. I do read papers and mags at times on the Internet, but nothing replaces the feel of a newspaper in your hands on a Sunday morning, checking out the boxscores. And nothing can replace the feel of a good book in your hands, new adventures on the next page.
Reading for the fun of it is one of life's simple pleasures for me. I've been a voracious reader for as long as I can remember.
So once I got past that annoying Kindle ad on Amazon, I was able to confirm what I found at BookFinder.com, another favorite Web site.
At BookFinder I ran across what I thought was a favorite book of mine from my high school days. All I had to go on was it was written by Ernie Pyle, a famous World War II correspondent.
Once I narrowed down the search to one particular book, I went to Amazon, found the book, and was lucky enough to see it was one which allowed you to look inside. Once I started reading the first few pages, memories came flooding back to me. This was the book.
I have a stack of books at home, waiting to be read, and I am already reading one book and have another I can't wait to start on. But I just have to order the book by Pyle. As a World War II history buff, I still remember Pyle giving vivid, detailed accounts of what it was like for the ordinary soldier to serve in Europe.
I found another favorite book, "Brazen Chariots" a few years back and ordered a used copy. That book was about tank warfare in the North African desert in World War II.
Normally, my rule is to read one book at a time. However, I have tried to read two books at once a few times. However, with Pyle's book begging to be read again ( I checked it out so many times as a kid, my name was the only one on the card), there are two other books in front of it. One, I am already reading. Bill Simmons' "Big Book of Basketball" was a Christmas present, all 715 pages of it. It's a great read.
But another must-read that just came out is "Game Change" written by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin. For a political junkie, this book promises to be the best yet on the 2008 election cycle.
It took me three months to read Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol" in my spare time and it was just 528 pages. Dare I add "Game Change" plus Pyle's book, "Brave Men" and read all three at once?
That's a good problem to have: so many good books to read, so little time to read them.
As a kid, I devoured books from the school library, and sports magazines such as The Sporting News and Sports Illustrated. You could also order books at school from a company which handed out a flier from time to time. That's how "Brazen Chariots" was discovered by me.
During the summer months, there was a bookmobile that made weekly visits. You could check out a book from this treasure trove of books on wheels, and return it the next week.
Comic books were something I could buy from Denny's Drug Store. A new comic cost 12 cents, and an old one was a nickel. For me, it was Sgt. Rock or Jeb Stuart's Haunted Tank that I bought each month.
But you have to be careful what you pick to read. When I was in the fourth grade I found at the school library a cool book about a spy . I immediately checked out this book about a spy named Harry. I got home, anxious to read this exciting book about a spy's adventures.
Turns out, the book was titled "Harriet the Spy" and when I checked it out on Amazon while looking up Pyle's book, I learned it was intended for young girls. One reviewer said the book was about a young girl with an over-active imagination who spied on her neighbors and wrote down her observations in her diary.
Guess I should have checked out that title more carefully. Or, maybe not. I ended up reading the book (after all, I already checked it out). Not a bad read, as it turned out, even for a young boy.
If I had a young daughter, I would encourage her to read it.
Just not on Kindle.