-Bob Marley and the Wailers
I am a reader.
Fiction, non-fiction, thrillers, romance, suspense, science fiction, horror, humour, the classics, high-brow, low-brow, I'll try it.
But I might not finish it.
Life is too short to invest time in an artless read.
(When I hear someone pat themself on the back for plowing through a boring doorstop of a book they didn't enjoy, I mutter to myself, "It isn't a badge of honour- it's a sign you need more life in your life.")
(( Of course, it could be argued that muttering to one's self about the empty accomplishments of others is a sign one needs more life in one's life. It could be argued. Not that I would.))
Sometimes, a book sneaks up on me. I pick it up, certain I'm gonna toss the worthless waste of pulp back on the shelf before the first page is turned, and four hours later wonder why I hadn't read it sooner.
"A Salty Piece of Land" is that kind of book.
I was positive, absolutely sure, unwaveringly adamant that I would not like this book simply because of the author:
See, here's the deal: I can't stand his music. It's like nursery rhymes for adults.
So, my hopes were well and truly damped when I picked up this book in my local book store's remainder rack, and read the first line:
"It all simply comes down to good guys and bad guys."
Well, it doesn't suck so far.
Within minutes I was well and truly stuck into the laid-back adventures of seafaring cowboy- on- the- run Tully Mars, Lost Boys fishing guides, the crew of the schooner Lucretia and the search for a Fresnel lens for a lighthouse in need of help.
It's a book I re-read at least once a year, usually when winter is at it's deepest, darkest and coldest, when the Dock is farthest out of reach.
ASPOL isn't Big L Literature. It's never going to be taught in ivy-covered halls. It's just a tale, told well enough, about characters that a reader can care about.
And that's enough.
If you can get past the Parrothead packaging you discover that Buffett can write more than three- minute rhymes. There's not a whole lot of art on the page but there is a ton of heart. He can set a scene and his dialogue may not always sing, but it doesn't clunk- it's obvious the man loves his characters and loves the settings and the adventures he tosses them into. Yeah, it's occasionally far-fetched, yeah, some of the characters are thin on detail, thick on stereotype, so what?
So are Hobbits and Hogwarts.
Pick up a copy. Toss it up on the bookshelf until the next rainy, miserable, holed-up kind of day. Pour yourself a couple of fingers of rum, settle into your favourite chair, and get dug in.
There are worse ways to spend a few hours.
"Talk The Dock!"