October 21st, 2007


this is Sunday, why do I have all this stuff on my plate?

Woke up a little before noon after staying up way too late reading Ciaphas Cain: Hero of the Imperium, which I got for cheap at Borders last night on the way home from Ashburn. edminster will be amused by this, no doubt, since it was either him or his brother who first introduced me to Warhammer 40k some years ago. At the time I thought it was a relentlessly grim downer of an RP universe, and I still think so, but after marinating for several months in an endless stream of WH40K catchphrases, propaganda and quotes, I found the notion of an Imperial Commissar following in the footsteps of Harry Flashman to be intriguing. Which, as a matter of fact, it is. Cain doesn't get half the booty Flashman does, but he shares the latter's propensity for falling into horrible situations and suicide missions yet somehow emerging covered with glory. Pretty decent brain candy, and quite reasonably priced - $11.99 for a fat three-novel omnibus and interstitial short stories. I just have to remember not to pick the damn thing up at bedtime.

I was planning to lounge around the house today doing laundry, playing EVE and borrowing my niece's TV so I could watch the deciding game of the ALCS, but apparently my services are required to box up a bunch of Dad's books so Carlos can get on with decontaminating/refinishing the den. Welp.

spurs to the memory

Well, that didn't take long. There's a couple of two-foot-high stacks left, but until somebody comes up with another box that's all the packing I can do. I boxed up most of the books from the Times Reading Program and the Andrew Greeley novels, saving out a couple of the RTP books that I thought P might like or that I wanted to take a gander at myself. About half a dozen of the books were too chewed to save, unfortunately, including one of the Flashman books (Flashman at the Charge) and those were relegated to the recycling pile, along with a self-serving book by Robert MacNamara, may he roast in hell.

A couple of the books stirred old emotions - the copy of Robert Ruark's Grenadine's Spawn, which was one of the first books I went hunting for on the Internet. I remember Dad asking me about it like it was yesterday, and his shocked pleasure when he got the copy in the mail. I think he hadn't seen a copy in forty years...not nearly as popular as Ruark's Great White Hunter novels, the Grenadine Etching satires of historical novels very nearly sank without a trace. But just about everything's for sale on the Internets.

The other books that I took upstairs were Dad's collections of Andre Dubus works. I don't care much for mainstream fiction if it's not historical, but there was something different about Dubus' stories, and in fact when I left for Monterey in 1979 after graduating from Basic, I came home and packed a bunch of books; one of them was Dad's copy of Adultery and Other Choices, and I read it as obsessively as any science fiction book over the next four years. Dad knew Dubus through my Aunt Pat, since the latter two both taught at Bradford College, and in fact many of the books are autographed to my father. I never met the man myself. Like many of my favorite authors, he died before I had the chance, but that's the way it goes.