I was born in a small rural town in Tennessee. My life was uneventful .Until, on a fateful school trip at the tender age of seven, I became lost in the local Library. This was a more serious problem then it might at first seem. Due to an error in paperwork, the congressional appropriations meant for a large nuclear testing facility in Nevada were instead earmarked to be spent on the construction of the Charles McCloud Memorial Library in Pikeville Tennessee. The fine leaders of Pikeville were not the type to look a government gift horse in the mouth and so they quietly went about spending hundreds of millions of dollars on our public library.
It was a BIG library, roughly two thirds again as large as Pikeville itself, and one of the only libraries in the world to have its own zip code and area code. I wondered inside for days, not knowing of the search parties scouring other parts of the library. Soon they gave up. There just weren’t enough people in Pikeville to search the whole place. After the initial fear and disorientation I began to adjust to my new environment. I learned where the water fountains and bathrooms were located. I raided the punch and cookie supplies stored in the employee lounges for sustenance. Soon I had become a feral Book child. Dressed in crudely stapled together dust jackets, and covered in book dust and printers ink, I spent my time constantly reading about an outside world of which I no longer desired to be a part.
I suppose I would have been there to this day if it hadn’t been for my business partner Louise. Louise and her husband John were in Pikeville for the annual Library sale. They heard tales of the ghost of a lost child who haunted the Library (yours truly), and decided they would check out the veracity of this tale. John, an intrepid British boy scout in his youth, soon had realized that the “ghost” was actually a real person. Using a few early Bradbury novels, rope and a Jell-O mold, John set a trap roughly similar to the Classic Burmese Wombat Trap of which Kipling wrote. I obviously fell for it.
After being taught to operate in normal society, Louise put my years of voracious reading to use by making me co-owner of Eljay’s Used Books. Where you will find me to this day.
Frank’s Favorite Titles
The Flashman Novels by George Macdonald: Fraser The Diaries of Harry Flashman
Scoundrel, Coward, Philanderer, Bully, and possessor every major honor the British Empire could bestow. These books are well written, incredibly well researched, and hilarious.
Boys Life: Robert MacCammon
Robert MacCammon’s ode to the magic of childhood. Reminiscent of Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine, this marked MacCammons departure from straight Horror into the realms of magical realism, and is in my opinion his best book.
On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers
This is one of the few books I can read again, and I do so about once each year. On Stranger Tides is a tale of
Piracy and magic complete with Blackbeard, Zombies, Ghosts, Damsels in distress, Immortality, and unlikely Heroes. The research into both the historical period and the folklore and religious beliefs of the time put this
book well above the typical fantasy adventure.
and here’s one more…
Speaking of Pirates, another favorite of mine is the non fiction work “Under the Black Flag” This book gives a wonderful overview of the history of Piracy as opposed to the view that literature and film has taken. It concentrates mostly on Anglo-American piracy with a few raids on the eastern pirate histories to round things out. Avast it’s a good read!
oh! and can’t forget…
Two cook books or rather Cookbook collection deserve mention amongst my favorites. For function nothing beats the yearly bound editions of “Cooks Illustrated ”. The magazine itself is wonderful and since they don’t sell advertising everyone should subscribe. But the hardback bound copies of the years issues are better for the kitchen environment and have the most practical recipes I’ve personally used. The other collection is any of the Better Homes and Gardens Creative Cooking series. Spooky Color photographs of some of the strangest recipes ever thought up make these cookbooks a keeper.
Frank’s Favorite Links!
The October Country
Ghost Hunting (no I haven’t caught one yet. But you should have seen the size of the one that got away!)
Celtic Music -and other off the beaten track (pun) bands and styles.
Books (Go figure!)