Unfortunately, I don’t read as much as I used to–at least not books. I actually spend most of my time reading, but that’s mostly on the web–techie stuff, blogs, news, and millions of emails. I don’t get much of a chance to read fiction just for fun except in my, uh, “office”. Lately I’ve been reading a book of American short stories, and there’s some really good stuff in there that I’ve never read before.
I just finished “Imagine Kissing Pete”, which is a John O’Hara novella and part of Gibbsville, PA: The Classic Stories, which is going onto my “to read” list. The story follows a couple through a troubled marriage as seen through the eyes of their friend, the narrator. The story itself is interesting enough to keep your attention, but there are little bits of commentary scattered throughout that really make it a great read:
Prohibition, the zealots’ attempt to force total abstinence on a temperate nation, made liars of a hundred million men and cheats of their children; the West Point cadets who cheated in examinations, the basketball players who connived with gamblers, the thousands of uncaught cheats in the high schools and colleges. We had grown up and away from our earlier esteem of God and country and valor, and had matured at a moment when riches were vanishing for reasons that we could not understand. We were the losing, not the lost, generation.
I’d never read anything by O’Hara, so I went to check him out on that there Wikipedia. I found even more to like about him and his writing there, like his support for Barry Goldwater and this quote from one of his coworkers at The New Yorker:
“Oh,” writes Gill, “but John O’Hara was a difficult man! Indeed, there are those who would describe him as impossible, and they would have their reasons.”
He sounds like a real jerk–someone I’d love to either drink or argue with. Either way, we’d both have a good time.