Regardless of what I say or do, I can’t seem to convince publishers that I’m not the newspaper’s pithy and erudite book reviewer.
I’m the other guy.
I’m the fellow who reviews only those paperback page-turners that can be found in the neighborhood supermarket. If it isn’t paperback with a title like “Death Rides A Pale Unicycle,” I’m not interested.
Try to imagine, for example, the fine wine critic at the New York Times as compared to the beer critic at the Kenesaw Clarion. Think of me as the beer critic.
(C’mon, how should I know if they’ve got a beer critic at the Kenesaw Clarion? This is, like, one of those hypothetical situations. Loosen up, OK?)
Despite the fact that I limit myself to intellectually challenging paperback tales of murder, mystery and the macabre, publishers insist on stuffing my mailbox with aproximately 325.5 pounds of fall catalogs every spring – new book listings that don’t contain so much as a single alcoholic, zombie-slaying private eye or benevolent extraterrestrial demon-for-hire.
They just don’t get it.
To be fair, some of the new book catalogs that find their way here do contain some rather intriguing titles and, in the interest of fair play, I’m willing to share a few of my favorites with you. Be advised, this does not constitute a book review per se, but more of a cursory glance at some promotional literature which may or may not be absolutely objective.
Here are a few you might want to look into:
* “Get A God! More Conversations with Coyote” by Webster Kitchell, Skinner House, $14. “Coyote and Web eat donuts, drink coffee and drive through the desert with the top down as they talk of Tillich, Whitehead, suffering, good and evil…”
Difficult to resist this one, eh, amigos?
* “Interdisciplinary Perspectives On Cosmology and Biological Evolution” edited by Hilary D. Reagan and Mark W. Worthing, Australian Theological Forum, $18. This collection of essays from a science and religious course programs workshop held in Adelaide, Australia, discusses, er, “historical, philosophical, theological perspectives surrounding cosmological and evolutionary biology.”
Pretty self-explanatory – probably covers everything that Coyote and Web missed on their latest top-down adventure…
* “Quest for the Holy Grill” by Donovan Kelly, Capital Books, Inc., $12.95. A little less intense than the aforementioned volume, this guide explores “50 crummy but good restaurants within rambling range of Washington, D.C.” Based on a popular column in the Washington Post newspaper, this guide also serves as “a chronicle of the on-going, ever-controversial Crummy but Good Crabcake War.”
You can bet Coyote and Web will have a copy of this stashed away in the glove compartment of their convertible.
* “There’s A Porcupine In My Outhouse” by Michael J. Tougias, Capital Books, Inc., $18.95. Described as “a lively, often hilarious tale about a flatlander’s transformation into a dedicated mountain man,” this rough-hewn slice of Americana is probably just what you need to get in touch with your inner porcupine.
And, no, I’m not making this up. These volumes should be available through your favorite bookseller this fall. I dare you to order all four…
Originally published June 2, 2002