I was trying to think of a topic that would have some lasting value. Inspiration came just from looking around my apartment. The one thing there's no shortage of is books. Hundreds of them, and I've read them all. There's a purpose to writing this, and that's to extol the virtues and value of books and reading. I meet people all the time who either don't read at all, some who can't read, and other people who, like me, can't put a book down. Thanks to my parents, I could read and write before I went to school. That's not boasting, just a fact. I remember there was a huge discussion about Enid Blyton's Secret Seven and Famous Five books. Some English teachers wanted them banned. They weren't banned in our house.
We collected hundreds if not thousands, and they were great playground currency. If only we'd known what we know now.
I'd have made an absolute fortune. Hindsight's truly wonderful isn't it?
E E Doc Smith's Lensman series, the list is endless. Even during tours with Hunter or Demon I'd be reading. I remember being totally jealous of Hunter drummer John Crimes, another avid reader, who found a clip-on head torch so he could read while we were on the road in Europe. After a while my horizons broadened of course, but the one thing that was always a constant in my life was a book. The thought of a long-haul plane flight, even one day without something to read, couldn't be tolerated.
I'm getting towards the point of this piece now, it always takes me a long time to get there, but you know that already.
I'll mention A.J. Quinnell though. If you ever see a Quinnell at a second-hand bookshop, buy it. He's dead now, and Quinnell was a pseudonym. He lived on the island of Gozo, and his best-known work was Man On Fire. The story goes that he was invited on to the set where the film, starring Denzel Washington, was being made. He was introduced to the screenwriters, who didn't have a clue who he was.
It was explained that he was the author of the book. "What book?" they asked. They were writing a film based on a book that they'd never read. The story goes that there was a happy ending; they read the book and the film was better for it. There's no happy ending in the film however. If you ever see The Mahdi (pictured), buy it. It was years ahead of its time, and is simply awesome.