Friday, February 28, 2014

I'm Bad

But not in the Michael Jackson way. In terms of being a tough guy in leather, a weird mullet and a lot of make-up, Jackson is king. (Notice how I say "is"? His legend lives on.) But in terms of staying up with the latest authors, yes, I am bad. The proportion of books I read published in the last five years or so is minuscule. Actually make that forty years.

Does that make me less of a connoisseur if the written word?

Hell no.

I hate to declare this, but books don't get written better as time moves on. Very little that is new and exciting can be discovered in terms of putting words together. Chaucer Nailed it. Shakespeare nailed it. Hardy, Conrad and Poe nailed it. Dickens nailed something, slightly overwritten though it sometimes was. Then there was Hemingway, Chandler, Hammett - they all nailed it in a tough guy kind of way. Thompson, Caldwell, Dick, McCarthy, Bardin, Goodis - they also did some pretty hard nailing of their own. Bringing us up to King, Lansdale and Thornburg, who all did nailing of varying degrees of prolificacy.

Does that make me more of a connoisseur if the written word?

Hell no to that too.

What it makes me is someone who digs old books. End of.