It was 77 degrees Fahrenheit here today, and I planned to make my family and friends in Connecticut (where it's about 7F) aware of that fact. But then the tornado watch hit the national news, and I thought that might spoil the effect.
Still being a bit of a newby here, I scouted out convenient storm shelters and found none. I thought maybe a basement somewhere, but this is Florida, the Land of No Basements. That's because the water table lies only three inches below the surface. Golfers complain because divots fill with water faster than they can be repaired, and sand traps have to be elevated.
I went to the library to find a book to read in the shelter, should I find a shelter, and discovered with some consternation that I am becoming illiterate. I, who grew up reading the Hardy Boys and Lucky Starr & the Moons of Jupiter (written pseudonymously by Isaac Asimov), was unable to find a book I could read.
Admittedly, I only looked in the "new books" section, but I get to the library often enough that new books ought to be sufficient. Except it wasn't. For the first time in recorded memory, I came away empty-handed. Bookless. Illiterate in fact if not in theory.
The library's new books included hundreds of volumes, all involving vampires. I found Blood Lies and The Vampire Rides at Midnight and Vampires Paint the Town Red. I pulled a book promisingly titled The Betrayal, but it began, "She didn't recall when she began to hate werewolves." (There may be some fine distinction between vampires and werewolves, but does it matter?) A biography of Tom
Hanks begins with his death.
I think the dearth of decent books is Ronald Reagan's fault. When he told Mr. Gorbachev to "tear down this wall," he unwittingly destroyed an entire genre of Cold War thrillers. (Some argue that he did a lot of things unwittingly. Not to be confused with half-wittedly, which seems to describe recent presidential history. Okay, enough of that.)
Anyway, as a result of some dubious unfettering of most of eastern Europe, thriller writers are lately consigned to writing the same book over and over. To wit: Stuart Woods just wrote the 14th volume in the Stone Barrington series. Fourteen! Will & Ariel Durant's Story of Civilization required only eleven. I like Woods, but I stopped reading somewhere around volume 6. Tom Clancy wrote the classic Hunt for Red October and has since written nothing readable. In fact, he now rents out his name to others who write drivel that would embarrass Danielle Steele.
I CAN'T READ THIS CRAP.
So I may as well be illiterate for all the good it does to drive to the library. If I find a storm shelter before the big blow levels Tampa, I will have nothing to read. Pity.