I’m one for putting my books into stacks so you can imagine I usually put a bit of effort into deciding what I’m going to read next. For instance I avoid punishing myself with weighty tome after weighty tome. And I usually avoid the temptation of uninterrupted volumes of pulpy, psychedelic science-fiction. So I set plans in place. I carefully consider the next book I’ll read. And then I ignore all my plans and just read whatever.
A fer instance: I just finished Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, a book best described by Nathaniel Philbrick in the introduction to my edition as reading something like “a very weird book on whaling by Shakespeare and the translators of the King James Bible.” It’s not light reading. After setting it down I knew exactly what I wanted to read. Something light, trashy, possibly garbagey. I needed a break. What am I reading now? A 150 year old travel memoir, the first published work of historian and writer Francis Parkman, the Oregon Trail .
It’s not exactly the heaviest reading but it’s not quite the trash I was hoping for. Melville, of all people, liked it, though. It apparently has “the true wild-game flavor”. And I’m liking it so far. But, again, it’s not trash. This is what happens when you run out of books when you’re at the cabin and go into town to the local used bookstore. Did I say bookstore. I meant Goodwill store where books are a dime. Yes, a dime. Amongst the mountains of used-up Danielle Steeles and V.C. Andrews I usually find a few gems. Like Parkman.
Now, what should I read after the Oregon Trail?