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Monday, April 11, 2011


I've just finished Now is the Hour by Tom Spanbauer.  I bought it at Powell's Books because it was on the sale rack for a measly $7.98.  And with 459 pages divided by $7.98, that's only .0173856 cents per page....a steal.  Considering that the new one I just started was $11.20 (20% off at Target) with 279 pages....which comes out to .0404332 per page.....a rip off.  Plus, the book from Target is crap.

Now is the Hour was about a Catholic family who lived 12 miles outside of Pocatello, Idaho, during the 1960s.  Farm family, hay growers, smokers, drinkers.  Father who was removed emotionally from the family.  Their land and fields butted up against the Indian reservation (yes sir, that's what they used to be called).  It's about this kid coming of age.  Girls, Mexicans, rosary beads, dogs, pickup trucks,  growing fond of an Indian man, naughty thoughts, church, smoking dope, discovering life for himself in spite of his screwed up conservative church family.  And especially good because Pocatello is in the heart of Mormon country, not Catholic country.  The kid itches to get out of dodge and head to the big city, San Francisco!   I really saw myself in a bit of the book -- being from Idaho and all.  I especially related to the quote from page 44:

"Niggers are like Mexicans and Indians, Dad said, only worse, a lot worse.  They aint' got no morals, and the like to get drunk too, real drunk."

I'm afraid that sentiment is still rampant today.  If not verbally, definitely within the buried places in the hearts.  I really enjoyed this book by Spanbauer.  

So I picked up a new book at Target the other day.....Men and Dogs by Katie Crouch.  It had a picture of a nice doggie on the front of it.  And the story line led me to believe that it was some story about a pooch and a family, a man, and the guy disappears....and I guess I thought that the dog helped out in some way that was going to make me cry and love dogs any more than I already do.  Alas, I was disillusioned.  Quite so.  This story is crap so far.  Objectively, I'm only about 20% of the way into it.  But I haven't read one single interesting thing yet to hold my interest.  It feels like high school, or maybe early college, years.  Girls, silly story line, simple sentences and phrases.  You know when the big word of the day is "Crestfallen" that you're in trouble.  If you're looking for depth, or lessons, or such don't bother with this one.  Remember, I haven't finished it yet so perhaps I shouldn't be passing judgment quite yet.  But I'm not even sure that I'm going to finish this.  B-o-r-i-n-g.  Here's a lovely paragraph from page 76:

"She's always envious when she enters the houses of gay men.  Perhaps it's the unbridled self-indulgence; the gleeful spending of tens of thousands on oversize Jacuzzi tubs flat-screen televisions, teak decks fitted with wet bars.  Or maybe it's the total lack of concern as to future developments.  Gone is the half-decorated room held back from its full potential because it may -- listen for the quiver of hope -- "one day" be a nursery; absent is the basement converted-to-in-law-apartment because a nanny or night nurse might have to move in.  Nor does one tend to see taste clashes so often compromising shared heterosexual homes.  No mountain bikes leaning on chintz Pottery Barn sofas, no framed photos of golf courses hanging above beds draped with floral sheets."  

Predictable, isn't it?  Perhaps sort of funny, or even some truth to it....but predictable, nonetheless.


Cubby said...

According to that paragraph from "Men and Dogs", Greg and I are in no way gay. You'd never know from our home that a couple queers lived here. I guess we were born without the gay decorating gene.

Stephen said...

Tom Spanbauer is one of my favorite witers. His book-The Man Who Fell In Love With The Moon is in my top 10 books ever. He lives in Portland& I have been tempted to invite him to dinner. I feel bad that you didn't like his book. I have not read it. The quote from Men & Dogs, even taken out of context, builds on a long held & incoorect stereotype... we are gay men who struggle to stay afloat.

You are welcome to borrow books from me before you shell out money. I have hundreds & I won't shy away from giving you an opinion.

I would love to see all 3 of you, BTW!

BosGuy said...

I've been on a kick lately going through books like I'm on vacation. What a curiously, hilarious way to evaluate books dividing cost by total pages... I love it. I'm going to have to do a quick check on the one I'm reading.

A Lewis said...

Note to Stephen: I must have misled you...I loved Spanbauer's book! It's the other one that I did not like.

bardelf said...

This is National Library Week, so don't forget all the awesome books you can borrow from your local library! (Okay, I can't help it; I'm a librarian!)

RAD said...

Just stopped in to do some reading and to say hello! MISS U! Going on holiday in a few weeks will need some books so maybe pick this one up 4 sure

Greg said...

I bought a copy of Now is the Hour from the discount rack, too. Have you read The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon by him? Excellent novel, and I'm looking forward to this one.

Annie said...

#1? They're still referred to as 'Indian Reservations' here. As a matter of fact, some friends and I are looking to take a "mtg" out to "the reservation".

#2? I find that as my mind expands, heart swells and limit for drivel lessens, there are more and more books that don't keep my attention. I used to force myself to finish a book even if I didn't like it, but now? Well just the other day I picked up a very well known author from a friend ..... read two pages (I know, I know) .... and returned the book. Just 'cuz EVERYBODY in the group has read it doesn't mean I have to. Or even want to.