been a boon in disguise. Without the interruption of
television and the internet, I was able to fully
concentrate on the written word. Boy, did I read a
I finally read Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird."
Set in fictional Maycomb, Alabama during the height of the
Great Depression, Author Harper Lee fictionalizes her
childhood as the daughter of Lawyer Atticus Finch.
The first half of the book is a series of short
stories detailing Scout, her brother Jem, their best
friend Dill (a composite character based on a young
Truman Capote) and the monster that lives on their
street, Boo Radley.
The second half of story deals with Atticus Finch
defending an innocent black man on the charge of
raping a white woman. In this section of the book,
Scout, Jem and Dill learn about the true villains of
society, racism and ignorance.
Harper Lee’s prose is precise, while her narrative is
leisurely. Despite the adult nature of the subject
matter, Lee retains the innocent from the children’s
eyes. Given the tension of these storm filled days,
perhaps it is best that we recall the wisdom of
“You can never really understand a person until you
consider things from his point of view- until you climb into
his skin and walk around in it.”
© Harper Lee 1960, 1988, “To Kill A Mockingbird” page 33
“Elwood’s Blues” is the literal transcripts of the
long running radio program, “The House of Blues” radio
hour that was produced by Ben Manilla and Dan Aykroyd,
alias Elwood Blues of the Blues Brothers Fame.
“Elwood’s Blues” functions as both a historical
document of American Music and as an entertaining
anecdote about eccentric people. As Elwood Blues,
Aykroyd interviews Blues luminaries such as B.B. King,
Ray Charles, Bo Diddley, Koko Taylor and Charlie
Musclewhite. These contemporary Blues artists
discuss their quirky recollections of performing with
Sonny Boy W9illiamson II, Muddy Waters and Junior
Wells. In turn, the Rock Royalty of Aerosmith, Led
Zeppelin, Carlos Santana and ZZ Top discuss how these
same musicians influenced Rock, Jazz, and Latin Music.
If so inspired by “Elwood’s Blues,” one can tune into
“Sunday Blues with Dar” on 88.5 WKPX FM radio to
listen to authentic blues from 10 am to 1 PM.
My final book of the week was Jose Prendes’ novel,
“The Harbinger,” a horror fantasy and philosophical
thriller. “The Harbinger” was a Halloween treat
recalling the madness of Edgar Allen Poe and the noir
vision of James M.Cain.
On the verge of death, a man makes a deal with a devil
to become a “Harbinger.” The devil’s harbinger helps
set the stage for the four horsemen of the apocalypse.
Told as a first person narrative, the
harbinger-in-training performs murder, adopts a
possessed doll as his spiritual guide and is chased by
Joshua, a hellhound on his trail.
Written when he was 17, Prendes varies the tone
between gruesome terror, Vargas eroticism and deadpan
humor. Though “The Harbinger” is an appropriate
Halloween Read, the book raises some great “meaning of
life” questions, but retains the tongue –in-cheek
humor worthy of Arch Oboler and Stephen King.
In the last week, I have witnessed two groups of
people; those who complain and those who solve
problems. One can curse the darkness or light a
candle to read a book, or three books or “The