Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Here Be Monsters

I think that many of you who love the outdoors, the mountains, or rural living are probably readers.  After all, you're reading this blog, and probably many more.

I'm not a big reader.  I was when I was a kid, I just about lived in the Waterford village library all summer long.  Most of the books I enjoy reading, even back then, are "how to" books.  How to build a house, how to fly fish, how to... well... when I was maybe eight or ten, I noticed a book high on shelf that was about sex.  I looked around.  No one was near.  I reached up for it, opened it, and...

"Would you like to check that book out, David?" asked Mrs. Lavender, the librarian and possibly the nicest lady I've ever met.

"Um... I dunno what it's about.  I guess not."

Mrs. Lavender smiled and put it back for me.

I've read novels that interest me, usually about sailing in the South Pacific or the North Pole (Tristan Jones) or something.  Not too many novels.  Maybe it was because of a bad experience with an English teacher in 10th grade.

We were assigned to read "The Red Badge of Courage" by Stephen Crane.  It was about symbolism in writing.  I'll never forget the question on the test.  What does the dead fish in the swamp symbolize?  I wrote what I thought was a very insightful and reasoned answer.  When I got my paper back, my answer was marked wrong.  My hand shot up.

"Yes, Mr. Gibson?"

"You marked my answer about the dead fish in the swamp wrong."

"That's right.  Because it's wrong."

"How do you know?  The only person who really knows what it symbolizes is Steven Crane, and he's dead!"

It didn't go well for me in that class after that.  Nor in any other classes, for that matter, because I started questioning things.

But I digress.  Sorry.

We don't have cable or satellite or over-the-air TV here.  We feel we don't need it.  But we've had so much rain lately (it rained again all day today!) that I'm getting bored watching old westerns even.  I noticed a book on the bookshelf - "Here Be Monsters" by Jamie Sheffield.  Jamie was the best man at my daughter's wedding last fall, and he was just about to publish this, his first book.  I ordered it for Pam as a gift.  She loved it, and demanded that I place an order for any upcoming sequel.

Well, I pulled the book off the shelf and opened it mid-morning.  I finished it late in the afternoon, all 282 pages.  I've never done that in all my years of reading, even as a kid.  Rather than me trying to describe it, here is the back of the book.

Like all good books, it is based on the experiences of the author.  Well, all except the gruesome parts, I hope.  But it's based in Jamie's world, the Adirondacks, and include some of his activities, such as camping in the dead of winter, sleeping in a hammock.  And I'll bet there's no symbolism in there at all.

I'm sure that many of you are avid readers, and love mysteries and detective novels.  I don't think you'd be disappointed with this one.  It's available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle versions.

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