Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Parental Worries and the Reading Queue

Being a parent comes with its own set of worries and concerns. My son is currently on a camping trip with his mom, which is a great thing. The worry comes in when the details of the trip emerge. They —mother and son — travelled by car from Seattle to Glacier National Park in Montana late Sunday afternoon. Mom's plan was to drive late into the night, and then to stop briefly for a rest at a motel on the way. At that point they would be a short drive to the campgrounds. Mom freely informed me that Glacier was where celebrity zookeeper, Jack Hanna, was recently attacked by a bear. (I hear that his visage is on wanted posters all through the animal kingdom.) We're also talking about a vacation spot that is most likely out of cell phone range. I don't recall Grizzly Adams texting Mad Jack, checking on his safety.

I'm sure everything is fine, and my bright-eyed, and funny-as-all-get-out son is having a blast. I just wished that they had brought along Molly, the dog. That would have at least given me a feeling of safety, knowing that the dog would protect the family from wild animals and intruders (at least Molly would attempt to protect them until she was overpowered by the larger animal and...) But I wouldn't be surprised if dogs are not allowed at Glacier National Park.

Due to the camping trip I will be seeing my son Justin a day later than usual this week. By that point I will welcome his Wii talk. At any moment, he is liable to walk up and whisper in my ear, "Daddy, I have a great idea. First: we eat breakfast. Then we go to the park. Then we come back and play the Wii game..." By the time he gets back from the wilderness he will be having Wii withdrawal. That might not be a bad thing.

On the reading front: I am more than halfway through Robert Harris's The Ghost, which is a political thriller, featuring a British ex-Prime Minister, who is obviously modeled on Tony Blair. The title refers to the Prime Minister's ghost writer, who is helping him to pen his memoirs. It's quite a page turner, even though it's in a class with Crichton, Cussler, and their ilk. Actually, it's quite well written, but I don't think Harris is attempting to convey any heavy philosophical ideas through his thriller. It certainly works as entertainment though.

Next up in my reading queue is A Very Private Gentleman by Martin Booth. I was drawn to this book, because I recently saw a trailer for an upcoming film called "The American," starring George Clooney, and it's based on this book. I was previously familiar with Booth's name as an author for his cultural history of marijuana, called Cannabis. The book A Very Private Gentleman is touted as a literary thriller. The narrator is an international criminal with a taste for the quiet life, and painting butterflies. After reading two thrillers in a row I think I'll be ready to read something a little more literary. I've been wanting to read Hardy's Mayor of Casterbridge for a while now. And then there are a multitude of other books I'd like to read before my eyes fade. Ah well. So many books, so little time.

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