August 8, 2016

Essay: The serendipity of a used bookstore

What do Virginia Woolf, Robert Heinlein, C. S. Lewis and Douglas Coupland have in common? For me, it’s a used bookstore in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, where I stopped during a recent weeklong vacation in Door County — Jefferson Street Books. In our modern world, the used bookstore is an endangered species. Locally, we’ve lost many over the years, including two very good ones recently, Shake, Rattle and Read—The Book Box in Uptown and the Book Den in Evanston. Jefferson Street Books is also a very good one. It’s packed with thousands of books in well-organized and well-presented categories, not only in the small house that fronts on Jefferson Street just north of downtown Sturgeon Bay, but also in an annex in a building in the back called the book barn. It’s a year-old, and you can still smell the fresh wood of the shelves.   A particular kind of experience Buying a book at a used bookstore is a particular kind of experience. When you buy at a store featuring new books, you are basically restricted to what’s popular at this moment in time. There may be some “classics” here and there to be found, but, even in the largest […]
August 3, 2016

Book review: “The Stupidest Angel” by Christopher Moore

Christopher Moore’s 2005 novel The Stupidest Angel tells the story of one extremely clueless — albeit extremely powerful — angel who visits the California coastal community of Pine Cove to carry out an extremely spectacular miracle. Which goes, you guessed it, extremely wrong. Not to worry. He eventually carries out a second miracle to fix all the problems — such as zombies and terrors and horrors and deaths — that the first one created. It is, after all, a Christmas book. But, before you go jumping to conclusions, you need to know that, on some unmarked page before page one, Moore issues an Author’s Warning: If you’re buying this book as a gift for your grandson or a kid, you should be aware that it contains cusswords as well as tasteful depictions of cannibalism and people in their forties having sex. Don’t blame me. I told you. Well, maybe not exactly “tasteful.”   “A choir of suffering houseflies” True, The Stupidest Angel features sex in a graveyard, and an evil developer who lets nothing, including death, stop him, and a naked warrior princess who’s off her meds, and, well, yeah, a lot of elements that would be difficult to define […]
August 1, 2016

Book review: “The Long Season” by Jim Brosnan

Jim Brosnan’s books about two years in his life as a baseball player — The Long Season, published in 1960) and Pennant Race (1962) — were the first and last of their kind. The books were the first time an active player wrote about what it was like to go through a baseball season — and off-season. Brosnan, a right-handed pitcher, took readers inside the clubhouse, the dugout and the bullpen and allowed them to listen in as he and his teammates grouse, kibbitz, strategize, scheme and ponder the greater and lesser questions of life. They opened the door for many other books including the Ball Four by Jim Bouton, a scandalous tome for many baseball traditionalists, and for generations of ex-players who went into the broadcast booth to tell listeners and viewers what was really happening on the field and in the minds of the ballplayers and managers. Yet, none of those books and none of those color commentators have come anywhere close to being as achingly honest about what it’s like to play professional baseball as Brosnan. These books, covering the 1959 and 1961 seasons, are love letters to baseball. And also forthright, unguarded descriptions of the physical […]
July 26, 2016

Book review: “King Lear” by William Shakespeare

Talk about Shakespeare’s great King Lear tends to focus on the action of the play and its meaning. A self-satisfied monarch, blind to the consequences of his actions, splits his realm in two, giving half to one daughter and half to the other. To his third and dearest daughter, he gives nothing. Her sin: Failing to flatter him enough. This is a play about loyalty and disloyalty, about parents and children, about wisdom and foolishness, and about the many forms of madness — arrogance, greed, anger, ambition, dementia and pride. It is a play filled with murders and hangings and a suicide and not one but two eyes being ripped out. It is a lot like the Book of Job in the Bible in which the central character rails at the unfairness of life. It is a story about pain and stupidity and the cruelty of being a human being, prone to failure. King Lear is also a work of great literary beauty, and that’s what I want to focus on. This is, of course, Shakespeare, so we expect great poetry. Here, though, there is a concentrated fierceness to his words that make them seem like knife slashes or the […]
July 20, 2016

Meditation: Haggling with God

In the gospels of Luke and Matthew, Jesus teaches the disciples how to pray the Our Father. In Genesis, Abraham shows us how to haggle with God. It’s about Sodom and Gomorrah, and, as the story is told, God is planning to wipe the place off the face of the earth because “their sin [is] so grave.” But Abraham appeals to God that the innocent might be swept away with the guilty. And then, in a routine that could have come right out of vaudeville, he asks: What if there are 50 innocent people there? Shouldn’t you protect them? Well, OK, God answers, if there are 50, “I will spare the whole place.” But what if there are only 45 innocents there? OK, “I will not destroy it, if I find forty-five there.” But what if there are only 40…only 30…only 20…only 10? Each time, God says, OK, “I will not destroy it.” The point is that God is a soft touch. God wants us to do the right thing. God wants us to live full lives, to enjoy the riches of creation. In his preaching, Jesus didn’t talk about leveling cities for their wickedness. He told us to love one […]
July 18, 2016

Book review: “A History of Loneliness” by John Boyne

John Boyne’s 2015 novel A History of Loneliness was a difficult book for me to read, mainly because it deals with the crimes of hundreds of pedophile priests who preyed on young boys and teens, but also because it is a flawed book. Given the subject, I don’t think it is inappropriate for me to start this review with an apology. I apologize to all the victims of molester-priests and their families. I am ashamed that these men corrupted their positions of trust in the Catholic Church. I am ashamed that hierarchical leaders of the Catholic Church turned a blind eye to their crimes for so long. I am ashamed that my church which teaches love, compassion, community and strength of character was the setting where these men carried out violence on innocent children. These men sinned, and, because I am a member of a church in which they operated, I am a sinner, too. These crimes, as committed by rogue priests in Ireland, are the subject of A History of Loneliness. Its central character is Father Odran Yates, He is not one of the pedophiles, but he goes through more than three decades of his priesthood ignoring all of […]
July 15, 2016

Book review: Two very different books about the history of paper — “The Paper Trail: An Unexpected History of a Revolutionary Invention” by Alexander Monro and “Paper: Paging Through History” by Mark Kurlansky

Two new books about the history of paper — both tell the same story, right? Well, not really, and, in their differences, the books reveal much about the writing and reading of history. Consider this paragraph from Paper: Paging Through History by Mark Kurlansky: It was a macabre scene on the deserted, wind-swept killing fields of the Napoleonic Wars before the burial details went to work. Ragmen picked through the dead, stripping off their bloodstained uniforms and selling the cloth to papermakers. That’s a paragraph that will grab your attention. It opens a chapter that looks at the problems that paper mills in Europe had in finding enough rags to serve as the raw material in the creation of their product, a problem ultimately solved by the use of wood pulp. Now, look at this poem from 811 A.D. by Chinese writer Bai Juyi that Alexander Monro quotes in The Paper Trail: An Unexpected History of a Revolutionary Invention. It has to do with the death of his three-year-old daughter Golden Bells: A daughter can snare your heart; And all the more when you have no sons. Her clothes still hang on the pegs, Her useless medicine lies by her […]
July 13, 2016

Book review: Two books about maps — “Cartographic Grounds,” edited by Jill Desimini and Charles Waldheim, and “Mind the Map,” edited by Antonis Antoniou, Robert Klanten and Sven Ehmann

The stark white-on-black image on the cover of Cartographic Grounds: Projecting the Landscape Imaginary, edited by Jill Desimini and Charles Waldheim, is beautiful and mysterious. Is this Antarctica? Or somewhere within the Arctic Circle? The birthplace of icebergs perhaps? No, this map by Bureau Bas Smets has nothing to do with ice. It shows the delta that is formed by the many rivers meandering along the border between Holland and Belgium on their way to the North Sea. This is an example of a figure ground map in which everything else left out so that two elements — in this case, the black of the water and the white of the land — can be seen with hyper-clarity. Here, there is also one more piece of information displayed. There is, across the white of the land, a scattering of much less distinct splotches of gray which represent urbanized areas. This is a map that was created to help in the planning for the future development of this low-lying region where flooding has been a concern for centuries.   “Great dreams” More than 80 years ago, Gilbert Grosvenor, the longtime editor of National Geographic, said: “A map is the greatest of […]
July 11, 2016

Book review: “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis

I finish C.S. Lewis’ 1952 book Mere Christianity with great sadness, respect and hope. Across more than six decades, Lewis is talking to me and anyone else who will listen about his Christian faith. Those many years, nearly as long as my lifetime, seem a great chasm between Lewis and me — between his experience of the world and mine, between his experience of his faith and mine. That’s where the sadness comes in. Lewis writes, for instance, that “Selfishness has never been admired.” Yet, I live in a world in which, for a little more than $4, you can order a bumper sticker for your car to proclaim to the world your belief that “He who dies with the most toys wins.” He writes that “the Christian rule is, ‘Either marriage, with complete faithfulness to your partner, or else total abstinence.’ ” While I affirm the need for faithfulness in marriage, I cannot agree that, outside of marriage, total abstinence is the only choice. He writes that “Christian wives promise to obey their husbands. In Christian marriage, the man is said to be the ‘head,’ ” and then goes on to argue that this is only logical. I can’t […]
July 7, 2016

Book review: “Shaking Hands with Death” by Terry Pratchett

Shaking Hands with Death is a very small book, only 59 pages in length, and only 41 of those pages are the words of Terry Pratchett. The rest is taken up with an introduction in which Pratchett’s personal assistant Rob Wilkins explains how the book came to be. It is a sad story, lightened by Pratchett’s great humor and infused with his passion. Pratchett was the author of more than 50 comical fantasy novels, most centering on his imagined Discworld. He sold more than 85 million copies worldwide in 37 languages — or as he says in Shaking Hands with Death, “a very large number of inexplicably popular fantasy novels.” Then, in 2007, he learned that he was suffering from Post Cortical Atrophy (PCA), a rare version of Alzheimer’s Disease. He was 59, and he was very angry. Over the next eight years, he wrote and published eight major books, six of which were centered on Discworld. He died on March 12, 2015 at the age of 66.   “His fury” Shaking Hands with Death is the text of a televised address that, with the help of a friend, he gave on February 1, 2010, in which he described his […]
July 5, 2016

Trumpy McTrumpface by Thomas Pace and Patrick T. Reardon — Parts 1 and 2

PART ONE You’ve probably heard about how, in the United Kingdom, a joke got out of hand. The very prim and proper British Natural Environment Research Council came up with a stunt to get people interested in science, asking them to suggest names for a new, $288 million, state-of-the-art polar research vessel and then to vote on those names. It worked, and people started talking about names, including BBC radio personality James Hand who quipped that the vessel should be called “Boaty McBoatface.” Cue the laugh track. Except that the joke caught on, and the name was the top vote-getter. That’s the way it is with jokes. Sometimes, they get out of hand.   Egregious and embarrassing Like now, here, in the United States. You’ve heard the one, I’m sure, about the reality television star who becomes the Republican candidate for President of the United States? And they say conservatives don’t have a sense of humor. When Trumpy McTrumpface first suggested himself as a presidential nominee, the joke was obvious. In his inaugural campaign speech, McTrumpface made a number of comments that would automatically disqualify any serious presidential candidate. He has since made this his core strategy — spouting racist […]
July 1, 2016

Book review: “The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove” by Christopher Moore

“No! Bad dragon!” Molly, wielding a broadsword, has just saved two clueless church ladies from being eaten by Steve, a Sea Beast who, at the moment, looks like a mobile home. (Shape-changing is just one of Steve’s many talents.) Now, she’s chewing him out while trying to shoo the spacey women away. Yes, Christopher Moore’s The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove isn’t Moby Dick. Like Herman Melville’s masterpiece, this piece of merriment is centered around a largish fish. But, in Moore’s case, the fish is a huge, 5,000-year-old remnant of prehistory who eats whales for breakfast. Not only can he can swim in the sea and crawl on the land, but when the mood hits, he can become a she. Indeed, relatively recent, while he was a she, one of her (his?) babies — very ugly, even for a baby — was hooked by a couple of black blues singers. This resulted in one (who later, not surprisingly, was given the nickname Catfish) watching the other, Smiley (who, it must be admitted, wasn’t very good at channeling the blues, hence, the nickname), get eaten by the Sea Beast who, many decades later, was given the nickname Steve by Molly. Got […]
June 27, 2016

Essay: Hope and joy in this age of Trump

In this age of Trump, I find that, more and more, I’m thinking of my friends Neil, Ben and Jean. In this time of hate and fear-mongering, I want to tap into their hope and faith and joy for living. I’ve played basketball with Neil at the school gym at St. Gertrude parish on the Far North Side most Sundays for the last ten years, and, every once in a while, I feel the need to ask him his age. “Seventy-seven and a half.” That’s how he answered me recently after a couple hours on the court. We call our weekly Sunday afternoon pickup games “Geri-ball,” as in geriatrics. It’s for guys 35 and older although a number of fathers bring their teenage sons (and daughters) as well. (They’re great for handling fast breaks.) Many of us now are in our 50s or 60s, and we all want to be Neil when we grow up. Neil, who runs a lot of 5K races, is the oldest among us. He’s up and down the court with the rest of us and has a wicked outside shot. Sure, he’s slowed down a bit over the years. All of us have. But, when […]
June 23, 2016

Book review: “Practical Demonkeeping” by Christopher Moore

Okay. Christopher Moore is funny. Silly. Delightfully loopy. Practical Demonkeeping is the story of a man- and woman-eating demon named Catch who descends on the town of Pine Cove with his human master-slave Travis, a former seminarian who…, well, it’s complicated. The story also features Gian Hen Gian, the king of the genies, and enough wacky and goofy characters to fill an entire network schedule of weekly comedies. But these people deserve more than to be homogenized on TV. They deserve Moore, and he does his best by them. Yes, the plot of this comic novel is convoluted, to say the least. To make it into a movie, you’d have to cut out maybe two-thirds of it, and your problem would be to figure out which one-third you wanted to keep. It’s all pretty daffy.   Wonderfully odd But it wouldn’t work. Christopher Moore’s comedy is similar to that of Terry Pratchett — which isn’t to say they’re a lot alike. They are alike in the way their books hinge on their voices, their oddly wonderful and wonderfully odd way of looking at life. Several attempts have been made to convert Pratchett novels into movies, and all of them have […]
June 20, 2016

Book review: “Everything Explained That Is Explainable: On the Creation of the Encyclopaedia Britannica’s Celebrated Eleventh Edition, 1910-1911” by Denis Boyles

Pity the poor publisher. Knopf had a great manuscript on its hands from Denis Boyles, but how to market it? The solution was a book cover and title that were tantalizing in their seeming quaintness. The jacket is a sober red with images at the left side and right corners to give the appearance of the physical front of an old book. The text fonts are sober, but not too sober, as befit a title that hints at something not quite evident: Everything Explained That Is Explainable: On the Creation of the Encyclopaedia Britannica’s Celebrated Eleventh Edition, 1910-1911. The combination of the title and cover skate right to the edge of implying a book that would be terribly boring, but those words Everything Explained push the possible book-buyer in the other direction. We live in an age when attempts are made all the time to try to explain everything, but they never succeed. In our era, everything is in flux, and our understanding of everything is tentative. Is it good to be skinny or bad? How does the economy work? Whence Donald Trump? Whither democracy? The Boyles book is packaged in the hope that it will intrigue a potential reader […]
June 16, 2016

Book review: “Chicago: The Second City” by A.J. Liebling

A.J. Liebling, that caustic, sarcastic, witty New Yorker magazine writer, was no fan of Chicago as he made clear in his 1952 book Chicago: The Second City. Consider his sardonic description of the cityscape: Seen from the taxi, on the long ride in from the airport, the place looked slower, shabbier, and, in defiance of all chronology, older than New York. There was an outer-London dinginess to the streets; the low buildings, the industrial plants, and the railroad crossings at grade produced less the feeling of being in a great city than of riding through an endless succession of factory-town main streets. The transition to the Loop and its tall buildings was abrupt, like entering a walled city. I found it beguilingly medieval. Not that he was much taken with the Loop which, as a downtown, was too small and too congested for his taste: the heart of the city, as small in proportion of [the city’s] gross body as a circus fat lady’s. He much preferred New York and London with their theaters, stores, banks and office buildings “strung out” over an area a good five miles in length.   A good reporter Even so, Liebling was a very […]
June 9, 2016

Book review: “The Book of ‘Job’: A Biography” by Mark Larrimore

Job is one of the oddest books in the Bible — odd in a scary way, in an unsettling way, in a faith-shaking way. Job is a rich man who is a devout believer in God. But, up in heaven, one of the multitudes in attendance to the Most High — a being called a “satan” (an adversary, a kind of prosecuting attorney) who, in many interpretations, is identified as the Satan — tells the Lord that Job is only devout because he’s received so many blessings. This satan argues that Job will curse the Lord if he loses his blessings, so, as a test, God gives the satan permission to afflict the faithful follower in any way, except taking his life. So, the satan kills all of Job’s children and wipes away his wealth. Job responds: “The Lord has given, and the Lord takes away.” Then, the satan inflicts a terrible disease upon Job. But still the man remains steadfast in his faith in God. Then, a new worse affliction arrives — three friends who, in their turn, tell Job that he must be a great sinner to have suffered so much at God’s hand. Job, knowing his innocence, […]
June 8, 2016

Book review: “Your Friend Forever, A. Lincoln: The Enduring Friendship of Abraham Lincoln and Joshua Speed” by Charles B. Strozier with Wayne Soini

As 1840 drew to a close and during the first month of 1841, Abraham Lincoln was “crazy as a loon,” according to his law partner and biographer William Herndon. For the second time in Lincoln’s life, his friends feared that he would commit suicide. They “had to remove razors from his room — take away all Knives and other such dangerous things,” recalled his friend Joshua Speed. Twenty years later, in the White House, Lincoln himself referred to that time while discussing with Speed his pride at writing the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves in Confederate-held territory: At the time of his deep depression he said to me that he had ‘done nothing to make any human being remember that he had lived,’ and that to connect his name with the events transpiring in his day and generation, and so impress himself upon them as to link his name with something that would redound to the interest of his fellow man, was what he desired to live for. He…said with earnest emphasis, “I believe that in this measure …my fondest hopes will be realized.”   His most important friendship No figure from U.S. history has been studied and analyzed and scrutinized […]
June 6, 2016

Book review: “The Serpent of Venice” by Christopher Moore

The diminutive and aptly named Pocket — court jester of the late lamented (and demented) King Lear of Britain and then consort to the (alas) also late Cordelia, Queen of France, England, Spain, etc., and her envoy to 13th-century Venice to block an effort to launch a Crusade to recapture Jerusalem and rain profits galore on greedy Venetian entrepreneurs — is having a bad day. A really bad day. After has spent weeks of trying to kill himself, a cabal of three said entrepreneurs is trying to do that for him. Not only that, but, first, they feel compelled to tell him that, no, his lovely and beloved Cordelia didn’t die of a fever — they poisoned her. And, now, having doped him with a spiked bottle of wine, they have strung him up by chains in a particularly awkward position on a wall over an open sewer in a deep subbasement of the home of one of the businessmen. Not only that, but, as he’s watched, one of them has taken the time to build a solid brick wall to enclose him in hidden space where he hangs in the soggy dark (the water level rises and falls with the […]
June 1, 2016

Book review: “How to Read the Bible” by Harvey Cox

In How to Read the Bible, influential Protestant theologian Harvey Cox tells about a Biblical scholar who was teaching a course in the books of Exodus and Joshua. The stories of the Israelites rising up out of slavery in Egypt and finding themselves a home in the Promised Land, she told the class, are celebrations of freedom and liberation. “Yes,” said one of her students, “but what about the Canaanites?” Ah, yes, those pesky Canaanites, the people who had been living on the land before the Israelites showed up and took it. And killed them. They were the Bible’s version of Native Americans.   “Gott mit uns” This is an example of the complexity of the Bible, a theme that the Harvard-based Cox emphasizes on virtually every page of his 2015 book. The book of Genesis, for instance, is very different from, say, the Psalms or the Acts of the Apostles. Some books, such as the Song of Songs, are poetry. Others, such as St. Paul’s Epistles, instruct the reader in how to live a good life. That’s not at all the point of the Book of Joshua which is an attempt by the Jewish people to understand their special […]
May 31, 2016

Book review: “Fool” by Christopher Moore

Pocket is a randy fool. That’s not a comment on his intelligence. It’s his job. Well, the fool part is. He’s a court jester. But not just any court jester. He’s the fool for King Lear, and Christopher Moore’s Fool (2009) is a retelling of Shakespeare’s King Lear. But with laughs. There are certainly a lot of laughs in Fool which is not to say that the blood, gore, betrayal, eye-gouging, storm-raging and all those delightful aspects of the Bard’s play that you know and love are missing. Not at all. They’re there all right, as well as a violent backstory that Moore has developed that involves rape and rape — those royals have something of a one-track mind — and the walling-up of an inconvenient relative. Oh, and a goodly number of bastards. And the witches from Macbeth, and lines from The Merchant of Venice and other sacred Shakespeare works. And even reference to that great work Green Eggs and Hamlet.   Full-blooded slapstick But you’re not going to want to read Fool for Moore’s literary analysis. You’ll want it for its full-blooded, slapstick depiction of life in a 13th century Britain, filled with a doddering old ruler, a […]
May 25, 2016

Book review: “Some Recollections of a Busy Life” by T. S. Hawkins, with an introduction by Dave Eggers

T.S. Hawkins was enamored of the ability of some men to make a bull whip crack like a pistol and keep a team of oxen in order. Accordingly, he watched them closely and figured he’d caught on to the trick. [S]o giving my whip a mighty twirl through the air, I brought it back just as they did, but instead of the wonderful report I was expecting, the lash coiled itself a half-dozen times around my neck. At first I felt sure it had taken my head off, but when I found it still on, I carefully unwound the lash and swore a mighty oath never, never to try again. Hawkins tells this story in Some Recollections of a Busy Life which he published privately in 1913 and now has been reissued by McSweeney’s with an introduction by Dave Eggers, his great-great grandson. Eggers is to be thanked for giving this book new life, but I wish he hadn’t repurposed a New Yorker essay of his as the book’s 27-page introduction. It keeps the reader from getting to Hawkins right away, steals a bit of his forebear’s thunder and isn’t always accurate. For instance, when Hawkins was growing up, his […]
May 23, 2016

Book review: “The Ages of Lulu” by Almudena Grandes, translated by Sonia Soto

What’s striking about the 1989 erotic novel The Ages of Lulu by Spanish writer Almudena Grandes is how old-fashioned it is. Yes, yes, there are all those sex scenes in which the Lulu of the title is involved in dizzying combinations of coupling. And tripling. And so on. But it’s a story with a good old-fashioned moral. Actually three of them: First, husband (who is a brother figure and a father figure) knows best. Second, an adult woman left to her own devices who chases sex for pleasure is going to end up in ruins. Third, a woman just wants to be treated like a child.   “Innocence” On the final page of the novel, after Lulu has been saved by her husband from a fate worse than death or, at least, pretty bad — a dominatrix was coming at Lulu with a red-hot hook to do some mischief Pablo’s troops arrived — she is back in his bed, recovering from the welts and bruises of her final foray alone into the forbidden. I tried to pretend I was fast asleep but my lips gradually curled into a smile of newly recovered innocence. That’s not innocence as in purity. It’s innocence […]
May 17, 2016

Book review: “The Looking Glass War” by John le Carre

Published in 1965, John le Carre’s spy novel The Looking Glass War arrived at and helped bring about the beginning of the end of romantic notions about our spies being better than their spies in terms of morality and righteousness. No one pretends to believe such notions today, more than half a century later. And no one is surprised when, yet again, the sins of one side’s spies are exposed and seem pretty much as bad as the sins of the other side. Choose your poison. The Looking Glass War is a novel of profound disillusionment, As a spy in the book says before leaving on his assignment, operating during the cold war is much different than it was operating in World War II: “Nobody wins this one, do they?”   “Discover God” This is a novel of questions which, at their heart, all come down to: Why do we do it? There is, throughout the book, a lust for a faith that will not tarnish, as in this scene in which the group leader is outlining the plans of an operation: Avery knew he would never forget that morning, how they had sat at the farmhouse table like sprawling […]
May 16, 2016

Book review: “Daybreak — 2250 A.D.” by Andre Norton

I wish I could say that Daybreak – 2250 A.D. by Andre Norton has great literary merit. But it doesn’t. It was one of the first novels in the aftermath of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to grapple with the idea of what the world would look like after a global nuclear war. But it’s overlooked and ignored now, although it helped pave the way for scores of books and films that came after, such as Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. I could tell you that, to my mind, it’s the best of the more than 200 novels that Norton published during her 93-year-long life. But that doesn’t say a lot. She was never much of a stylist. No, I love Daybreak – 2250 A.D. because it’s a captivating adventure story with psychological themes that resonated deeply with me when I first read it in 1960 at the age of 10 and that still resonate with me when I re-read the book every few years or so. I refuse to call this a guilty pleasure.  Although no literary gem, it’s not a bad book. It’s a good book.   Opened a door Maybe you have a […]