February 13, 2016 10:43:57 PM
Editor's note: Rob Hardy's book reviews appear on The Dispatch website.
For about 20 years I have been writing reviews of books I have read, and sending them out to family and friends.
When we moved to Columbus, it was fun to see my reviews in our local paper.
Originally, I was sending out letters about events in my life, which was rather easier to do when we were in England and there was always something to go and see or do. This was true, too, when I was with the deployed hospital in Croatia for those five months in 1995. But otherwise, life got to be routine, which is fine with me but is also literally unremarkable. The most interesting things were the books I was reading, so I got in the habit of telling people about them.
It has been lots of fun; reading the books and learning from them is inherently a joy, but doing it specifically to let other people know what a book is about gives a special fillip to the process. I like, also, helping get the word out about books that might otherwise be obscure.
Things are changing, though. I am about to retire from my long-term job at Community Counseling Services here (having retired from the Air Force 20 years ago), and Helen and I will be moving from Columbus back to our beloved house in Dayton, Ohio, in July.
I am soon to be 66 years old, and I am realizing that I am greatly missing the reading of fiction. I still catch favorite fiction works here and there. I am always poking around in Ulysses, and I am still in charge of the page-a-week Finnegans Wake group. But I feel I need to be reading literature, mostly rereading the ones that are my favorites, in the years I have left. I have not, for instance, read Tom Jones or David Copperfield since I read them aloud to my little sons 30 years ago. The last time I read Moby Dick was in 1995; I have read it many times, but I know this one because I took my bible-leaved, unabridged but tiny version with me to Croatia. I last read Jane Austen's six novels around that time. I don't know anyone who has read all of Anthony Trollope's 43 novels, but I need to up my score. We watched Passolini's film of The Canterbury Tales a week ago, and I realized that I had only a foggy remembrance of the stories therein. And Helen has recently read War and Peace, and says I need to, and she is right, of course (Russian literature is one of my many literary voids).
So I'll still grab a book of history, science, or biography when it strikes me (and I have a current stack of books sent by the publishers that I will be reviewing in the next months), but you will someday notice an even sharper decline in frequency of reviews. It has been fun getting to all those books (and donating the review copies to the library), and I thank you for being part of an audience that has helped keep me reading and the reviews coming.
Rob Hardy's e-mail address is [email protected]
Rob Hardy is a local psychiatrist who reviews books for a hobby. His e-mail address is [email protected]
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