Tuesday, May 24, 2016

How can you bring yourself to confess your low tastes in mysteries? Deploring Baldacci and remembering Ida Costner.

Some writers you read because they are polite.  Long ago I whined to Lee Child that his books were in print too fine for me to read. He emailed back that I was absolutely right and the next books would be in bigger print. He told the truth and I will read anything he writes because he was such a polite man.

The only reason I would read Stuart Woods, of course, is that he is a sailor (don't care about his flying). He is terrific when you have a half hour flight, or was, before half hour flights turned into 5 hour hassles. I took several weeks to write READING "BILLY BUDD"--13 July to 24 August 1988-- so I envy the man who can dictate a new Stone book in 24 working hours spread over three days.

This is if you cannot get a new Gerald Hammond novel, always the perfect length, between 180 and 200 pages.

What was I doing checking out more than 400 pages David Baldacci is GUILTY of? A good question and I am sorry you asked. At least I can say that I did not read it all. I stopped when a man (Will  Robie) discovers that his father has another son by a new wife.  So this grown man has a toddler half brother? Oh no, oh, no! The new wife identifies the child as hers and "your father's, which means he's your stepbrother." The man corrects her, sort of: "Technically." Then (I flipped through but might have used Amazon as a concordance) on 204 the stepmother (our hero's age) identifies her little son as "Will's stepbrother."

Well, families are so blended now a Kardashian has no idea whether or not a given woman is her regular biological mother or an ex stepmother or former in-law, so we give up the concept of stepmother.

Anyhow, this reminds me of Ida Costner, Mother's aunt, who married an Edwards whose late wife was a Stewart, a cousin of Ida's. Ida had many more children, and when one of the sons was dying he said he wanted his brothers and sisters to take anything he left. Someone asked him if he meant his full brothers and sisters or all of them, including half brothers and sisters. He was dying but he was not ungrateful to Aunt Ida. "I can't tell the difference," he said.

Has any stepmother received so profound a compliment as Aunt Ida did?

One of her brothers is Kevin Costner's great grandfather, another is my grandfather.

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