The recent deaths of writers Tom Wolfe and Philip Roth provided me the opportunity to revisit more than just their books and novels, but gave me license to re-examine what I had written about them in The Book Shopper: A Life in Review (2009), this blog's namesake. Rather than force blog readers to order a copy of The Book Shopper on Amazon or wait until I drop a copy in my little neighborhood library, I have posted a few scans of a couple sidebars from The Book Shopper.
This excerpt is about my longtime friend and collaborator Dave who has been my book shopping mentor since 1979. I am proud to say that Dave and I still keep in touch. He and I even did a brief collaboration on Down & Outbound: A Mass Transit Satire (2016) as well (also available on Amazon). Dave is still a huge Roth fan and below is his account of meeting Roth at a reading in Seattle in 1993.
I am not as a big Roth fan as Dave, but I did read Roth's The Plot Against America (2010), which has regained some notoriety because of its haunting similarity to our current political climate. In the novel, the populist Charles Lindbergh is elected President of the United States instead of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and becomes somewhat of a dictator, endorsing the policies Adolf Hitler and removing many civil liberties.
I still have one book on my Roth reading list -- The Great American Novel, (1973) which is a whimsical novel about baseball.
I have been reading Tom Wolfe since college in the 1970s and you can still find a tattered paperback of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test next to my copy of Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flaked Streamlined Baby (1966). My favorite books of his are The Right Stuff (1979) about the Mercury astronauts and the early days of the NASA space program and one of his lesser known works --From Bauhaus to Our House, (1981) his slim primer about twentieth-century architecture.
Now that I live in Atlanta, his A Man in Full (1998) which I read before moving here, has more meaning to me than just as a fancy plant holder.