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Road Reading
Bud Emerson | Klish Way

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Membership in my book club is limited to me, my spouse and occasional fellow travelers. We meet to listen to books in our Camry Hybrid on long road trips.

Each trip is preceded by a visit to the “Books on CD” section of the Del Mar Library.

Our taste is omnivorous but we usually lean toward mysteries by Michael Connelly, Robert Parker, and some of the twisted characters and plots of Elmore Leonard. The miles go by rapidly when we try to keep up with Connelly’s LA-based Detective Hieronymus Bosch, named after the famed artist, but known more familiarly as Harry Bosch. Bosch has become an interesting character in our lives as this “bad boy” of the LAPD unwinds murder mysteries, exasperates the police bureaucracy, and entangles himself in love affairs that are sure to end up badly.

Dozens of towns go by without us noticing, as we bury our consciousness in Bosch’s fascinating mind and the unpredictable world of crime that he inhabits. It is difficult sometimes to stop for coffee or a bathroom break if Harry is desperately trying to extricate himself from some hairy situation. One unintended outcome of these stories is our growing familiarity with the geography of the greater LA area.
Occasionally, guilt overtakes us that we are investing so much time in low-brow crime stories. So it becomes time to break out our CDs from “The Great Courses,” lectures by some of the “world’s greatest minds.” Back to college we go visiting “events that changed the world.” Entering our Camry comes Louis Pasteur curing a child, Harry Truman dropping an atomic bomb, the Spanish Armada being defeated, or Confucius instructing a nation. These lectures take us back to years ago in college when my partner and I fell in love in the back seat of the car after classes listening to such lectures.


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Sometimes we may stretch into lectures on “Building Great Sentences, Exploring the Writer’s Craft.” Driving becomes a little scary listening to the soporifics of “cumulative syntax to create suspense” or “subordinate and mixed cumulatives.”
Very soon it becomes time to wake up the driver with a curious mix of humorous, deranged, and sometimes heroic characters in Elmore Leonard’s under-belly of Detroit or South Florida.

Road trips are enjoyable with our book club, often driving a little longer to get to the end of a chapter and sometimes rushing through breakfast the next day to get back to the next chapter. There’s more than one way to enjoy books.



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