I wish my old man had a library I wanted to 'devour' Tony
But it's all aviation collectors type stuff
Sharlene - I've always been interested in Native American culture (my Dad's a wild west nut, although with him it was cowboy/gunslinger movies more that drew him initially) and I know the Navajo in particular have a very rich cultural background - was it their very complex language that was used for the US 'unbreakable' code in WW2 I heard somewhere? And close to where I live now there was a water pollution scandal that still hasn't been satisfactorily resolved in 20 years (Camelford), whilst the medical corroboration that people were severely and fatally ill as a result is now almost incontravertible and still no proper settlement with the Water Authority concerned and fairly justified rumours of earlier medical evidence being suppressed or completely wiped.
And in 1920/30s Australia, 'half-caste' aboriginal children were also mandatorily taken away from their native mothers and placed in orphanages (so not even a foster home) - did anyone see that Kenneth Brannagh film over Xmas about those 3 girls (two of them only about 6 I think) who ran away and lived rough and even walked for a week across the desert to get back to their families?
So truth being without doubt stranger than fiction, I can see how these books must grip the imagination even before you get onto the spirit/medicine man side of things.
I also know what you mean about brain candy with the convoluted detective novel or salacious romp that'll be in one lobe and out the other in next to no time.
Sometimes that kind of book's very readable in a sort of 'I know its bad but it tastes so good' way and actually I do have a favourite author of that pulpy 'mildly X-rated posh people having a good time' genre (Jilly Cooper
) who once saw me through a disastrous trip to a very swampy and ill-equipped 'safari resort' in Tanzania by making me laugh when all around me was going belly up. That was Rivals
for the record - about TV types trying to win the franchise for the ITV region that covered Rutshire (as in stags rutting - subtle huh!
) and sort of based loosely on the celebrity/monied 'set' in the Cotwolds. Jilly's an ex-journalist who's horse-mad (her recurring hero is now getting a little long in the tooth and has settled down to train race-horses after retiring from a glittering career in show-jumping and being an MP for a time
). Her writing's actually pretty engaging and witty, so it certainly qualifies on candy status and she's also a good researcher too so the 'fluff' does actually hang quite nicely as you zip on through. And she does a nice line in Cinderella/fella 'journeys' too.
So comfort reading has its place, although I wouldn't so readily admit to enjoying Jackie Collins
or Harold Robbins
who are also arguably great story-tellers and Robbins
work of course made some cracking movies (I'm thinking Nevada Smith
and The Carpetbaggers
more than the TV mini-series spin-offs). Funnily I wouldn't be so shy about saying I really liked Jacqueline Susann
- whose Valley of the Dolls
must be right up there as one of the
most compelling books of the 20th Century - I would however make a point in saying that I was only 16 when I got into Jacqueline and Harold.... So that was really a kind of knee-jerk protest on getting to earn my own money and not having to read set-book Dickens any more
Have I mentioned how much I loathe dear Charles...?