I don’t subscribe to the magazine Gentlemen’s’ Quarterly so I never actually read the publication but one news story really caught my attention.  GQ has published an article entitled “21 Books You Don’t Have to Read”.  To their credit, they do indicate what books would be preferable for each of the twenty-one removed from the “reading list”.  Let’s take a look:

  • Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
  • Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves
  • The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  • A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  • Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
  • John Adams by David McCullough
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • The Ambassadors by Henry James
  • The Bible
  • Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger
  • The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  • Life by Keith Richards
  • Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
  • Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  • Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

I was really surprised to see the Bible on the list even though this is a “progressive” magazine.  Here is the logic behind removing it and basically indicating it is of no use to “modern man”.

The Holy Bible is rated very highly by all the people who supposedly live by it but who in actuality have not read it. Those who have read it know there are some good parts, but overall it is certainly not the finest thing that man has ever produced. It is repetitive, self-contradictory, sententious, foolish, and even at times ill-intentioned. If the thing you heard was good about the Bible was the nasty bits, then I propose Agota Kristof’s The Notebook, a marvelous tale of two brothers who have to get along when things get rough. The subtlety and cruelty of this story is like that famous sword stroke (from below the boat) that plunged upward through the bowels, the lungs, and the throat and into the brain of the rower. —Jesse Ball, ‘Census’

This is one man’s opinion but certainly not mine. Eric Metaxas and G. Shane Morris of Breakpoint.org state the following relative to the GQ article: “Seldom have I seen an example of the blind leading the blind as blatant as this article.  Condemned were such classics as “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, and the “Lord of the Rings”.  The magazine’s editors describe these beloved titles variously as racist, sexist and just really, really boring. “

The average number of books each person reads on a yearly basis is twelve (12)…but that number is inflated by the most avid readers. The most frequently reported number was four (4) books per year. Of course, there’s plenty of variation among demographics. Certain groups read more, or less, than the country as a whole. Here’s what the data showed:

Educated, affluent women read the most.

Women tend to read more than men. About seventy-seven (77) percent of American women read at least one book in 2015, compared with sixty-seven (67) percent of American guys. Also, the average woman reads fourteen (14) books in a twelve-month span, while the average man read only nine.  Across both genders, readership also went up with education and income. About ninety (90) percent of college grads read at least one book a year, compared to thirty-four (34) percent of people who haven’t finished high school. Also, the more money they earned, the likelier they were to be readers. It’s hard to say whether education and income are causes of this trend, since people who go to college probably grow up reading more anyway, and income correlates with education. But the bottom line is that educated, high-earning women sit atop the reading pyramid in America.

Older people read less.

One notable aspect of the data is that people tend to read less as they age. Fully eighty (80) percent of 18–29-year-olds reported reading at least one book, compared to sixty-nine (69) percent of seniors sixty-five and older.

I was told years ago—ALWAYS READ THE GOOD BOOKS FIRST.  The classics and those authors that can really “pack a punch”.  There are several great books not on the list.  The twelve novels considered to be the greatest novels ever written are:

  • Anna Karenina
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • The Great Gatsby
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • A Passage to India
  • Invisible Man
  • Don Quixote
  • Beloved
  • Dalloway
  • Things Fall Apart
  • Jane Eyre
  • The Color Purple 

I’m really happy GQ has given us permission to read the twelve books considered to be the best ever written.  Give me hope in the future 😊

As always, please give me your opinion.

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THE GIRL IN THE WOODS

May 15, 2018


A teenage schoolgirl is found on a nature hike being taken by a group of grammar school children.   They found a severed human foot wearing pink nail polish.  Gruesome but invaluable clues that lead forensic pathologist Birdy Waterman down a much darker trail to a dangerous psychopath whose powers of persuasion seem to have no end.  Only by teaming up with sheriff’s detective Kendall Stark can Birdy hope to even the odds in a deadly game of hide and seek. It’s a fateful decision the killer wants them to make and the only manner by which Birdy and Kendall can find their way to the murderer who is ready and willing to kill again.

Details on the book are as follows:

  • Series:A Waterman & Stark Thriller (Book 3)
  • Mass Market Paperback:416 pages
  • Publisher:Pinnacle (October 28, 2014)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:0786029943
  • ISBN-13:978-0786029945
  • Average Customer Review from Amazon:0 out of 5 stars 

I always like to know something about the author so here is a very brief biography of Mr. Olsen.

BIOGRAPHY OF GREGG OLSEN:

New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author, Olsen has written nine nonfiction books, nine novels, a novella, and contributed a short story to a collection edited by Lee Child.

The award-winning author has been a guest on dozens of national and local television shows, including educational programs for the History Channel, Learning Channel, and Discovery Channel. He has also appeared on Dateline NBC, William Shatner’s Aftermath, Deadly Women on Investigation Discovery, Good Morning America, The Early Show, The Today Show, FOX News, CNN, Anderson Cooper 360, MSNBC, Entertainment Tonight, CBS 48 Hours, Oxygen’s Snapped, Court TV’s Crier Live, Inside Edition, Extra, Access Hollywood, and A&E’s Biography.

In addition to television and radio appearances, he has been featured in RedbookUSA TodayPeopleSalon magazine, Seattle TimesLos Angeles Times and the New York Post.

The Deep Dark was named Idaho Book of the Year by the ILA and Starvation Heights was honored by Washington’s Secretary of State for the book’s contribution to Washington state history and culture. His Young Adult novel, Envy, was the official selection of Washington for the National Book Festival.

Olsen, a Seattle native, lives in Olalla, Washington with his wife, twin daughters, three chickens, Milo (an obedience school dropout cocker spaniel) and Suri (a mini dachshund so spoiled she wears a sweater).

This book is the first in the Waterman and Stark Thriller series linking two ladies into a crime-solving team.  Dr. Birdy Waterman is a forensic pathologist and Kendall Stark is the Chief of Police for a very small town in the Pacific Northwest–Washington State to be exact.  The book is definitely worth buying and reading although I have several wishes I feel would be very helpful.  These are as follows:

  • I would love to see Mr. Olsen give more, maybe much more, background information on the characters. I feel he missed a great opportunity to explore their characteristics and how they came to their respective professions.  He does not do them justice but simply “plops” them down to solve the crime mentioned. Since “GIRL IN THE WOODS” is the first in the series, it would have been very helpful and would have set the stage for succeeding books.
  • Olsen is a good writer but not really a “word-smith” or at least for this novel. His writing is very straightforward with few flairs and embellishments.  There are no “trick”—memorable phrases in this book.  That’s OK with me but I feel his capabilities are there but not demonstrated in this book.
  • The ending is brief with no real explanations. It just ends.  I would like to see more descriptive information that he has given.

REVIEWS:

We are all different so I would like to give you several independent reviews of others who have read “Girl in the Woods”.

CONCLUSIONS:

As you can see, the reviews are mixed but all-in-all it is a book worth reading.  I feel you are either going to love this book or put it down after several chapters and go on to another author.  Just my thoughts.

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