Time for Reading!

Because I know that everyone was awaiting the thrilling conclusion to Sunday’s campus printing fiasco, I figured that I’d fill you all in:

An early morning visit took me to the Card Services office of the university.  Four minutes later (if that long), I had twenty bucks credited to my printing account.

That’s it.

Sorry that it’s not the rumble-tumble production one might have expected; in truth, the whole thing went so smoothly that I couldn’t half believe it myself.  They were aware of the error and it was no issue.  Made most of my copies – there are two documents that I’m not sold on as needing to be printed – and I was out of there.  Whole episode from beginning to ending was less than an hour.

Done and finished!

This was good, too, because physically, I wasn’t up for much today.  Tired (as usual), with a dull pain in my back and side, and now a dull ache in my belly – things could have been better.  Still, I was able to get a handful of errands completed before finally coming home.  It’s cool enough (yesterday was a warm one) that I wanted to sit in my easy chair and read a good book.  I went looking for one such title that I’d recently read a review on, only to learn that the it’s not being released for a few more weeks.

Thought about getting another book that I’ve been wanting – Walter Mosely’s Charcoal Joe – but I’ve not read an ‘Easy Rawlings‘ book in a while now and might have to restart the entire series to keep up-to-date with Rawlings’ situation. I’ve never had a series suck me in as deeply as the Easy Rawlings series has, and I kind of miss that.  The first book, Devil in a Blue Dress (1990), introduced Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlings as a African-American WWII veteran, haunted by his actions in the war and desperately needing a job in 1948 Los Angeles.  A product of Houston, Texas, Rawlings lived within range of other transplants, some of whom he’d known back home.  The 1995 movie version is nice to watch (if you haven’t seen it, I won’t say more), but the narrative and power of the ‘mystery’ were horribly butchered in the process.  Subsequent novels were equally as good, but I lost interest for one reason or another, and stopped reading about ten years back.  The beauty of the series is that 20th century Los Angeles is just as much of a protagonist as is Rawlings – it’s fascinating to watch the city as it grapples with inequity, racism, poverty, and a desire to become significant throughout these novels.  As I right this, I realize that I’m definitely going to have to restart this series, and soon.

Then, there’s Ross MacDonaldI love Lew Archer!  Finding copies of the books on the shelves, however, is like looking for one-hundred dollar bills in my basement.  For a few years, MacDonald was my selfish summer indulgence: I’d buy one of his mysteries to slowly read and savor.  I loved the fact that Archer wasn’t your typical PI.  He’s older, a veteran, and despite an underlying belief in justice, he’s also a bit fed up with people’s BS.  I can relate to this guy.

I used to think of these novels as a reward for surviving the academic term.  One summer, however, the local Barnes and Nobles didn’t have any available (surprise, surprise), and truthfully, I haven’t encountered them since.  Unlike some readers, I detest old book smell, so I tend to look for recent (i.e., within the last few years) editions, if new books are unavailable.  The problem is that I must be the only person in town who reads MacDonald because I can’t find his work anywhere!

Of course, I could tackle the last few titles in Robert Parker’s Spenser series.  Like Easy Rawlings, Spenser was a favorite of mine until the plots seemed a bit mundane and repetitive – which may have been the point where detective novels were falling out of favor with me.  I’d been introduced to Spenser by accident, and thanks to a publishing clearing house in town, I managed to obtain the entire series for less than ten dollars.  But that was then, and if I were to give Spenser his proper due, I suppose that I should start his series again, too.  I see that Ace Atkins (who picked up the series after Parker’s death) has a new volumeSlow Burn – out now, too.

Another author that I’ve not read in a while:  Valerie Wilson Wesley.  Her Tamara Hayle series is unique as it deals with an African-American single mom who’s also a former Newark, New Jersey, cop-turned-private investigator.  Her first novel, When Death Comes Stealing (1994), sees Hayle trying to establish herself in her new job, maintain some parental control over her teenage son, and deal with a mystery that threatens to destroy her family.  It’s a fantastic story that I shared with a friend, who told me that she took a copy of the book to read as she waited at a hair salon.  At one point, her beautician stopped working on her haircut because she was too busy reading over my friend’s shoulder.  I’ve read all but the last two books, but again – rereading the series may be in order!

I think that I may have some catching up to do before the next term starts . . .

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