Funny how you figure out some of the most basic things about yourself as you get older. My epiphany for 2013 is that I am probably dyslexic with a touch of attention deficit disorder.
Even worse, I had to ask my wife how to spell it. Bonnie is such a ravenous reader that I often have to hide my envy.
It may come as a mild surprise to those who have been reading my work in newspapers and novels for years. Writing, you see is easy. Reading, unfortunately, is hard.
When I set my hands on a keyboard and begin to write, my mind is focused on every word, its sound, its feel, its place in the sing-song of a sentence.
When I gaze upon a page of type, however, my eyes skip about like a child at play, wanting to read the end before the beginning, and I have to harness them and force them to go back and start over, and over, and over.
This requires a tough and rigorous discipline I’ve been trying to conquer since childhood. Granted, they didn’t test for such things in my day. If they had, I no doubt would have been sent to a room for special reading instruction.
That said, my reading life is somewhat limited by my attention span and my craft. As a writer, I am fairly prolific. But as a rule I don’t read other authors’ work while I’m working on a book for fear I might inadvertently steal a subtle saying without intention.
This year I’ve been between novels and free to read at large. I have read these seven books, and liked them all, no matter how long it took me to do it.
No Easy Day, A tale of the Seal Team Six and the life of the men who brought down Osama Bin Laden.
The Litigators, Another terrific legal yarn by John Grisham.
Islands in the Stream, Everybody should read at least one Ernest Hemingway novel a year.
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee’s masterpiece of simplicity.
The Great Gatsby, Great stories don’t have to be long.
Tidal Pools, A fine new South Carolina tale told by my Orangeburg friend Lawrence Thackston.
The Water is Wide, Revisiting Pat Conroy is like going back to your old church.
Bob Dylan Chronicles (Volume I), So well written I’m looking for Volume II.