Tuesday 14 May 2013

Book Reviewsday Tuesday: ASPOL, Y'all.

        "Mingle with the good people we meet..."
                           -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:

      Jimmy Buffett.

     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.

       Like golf.

     "Talk The Dock!"


1 comment:

  1. Wow, I'm not sure I would have gotten past the comic sans. But given that our opinions on Buffett's music is similar, maybe I'll have to give it a look.