What Should I Read Next?

This Page lists 50 great classic novels under 200 pages. It’s a good source of potential Next Reads.

Of the 50 novels listed, I’ve only recognized a few. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is on the list and the only novel on this list that I’ve read, twice.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess is on the list. I haven’t read the book but I bought the movie on DVD to watch because I was in a Kubrick obsession at the time. I couldn’t finish watching the movie because it was too violent for my taste. Yet, I’m in a girl-is-raped-and-slashed horror film obsession at the moment.

Truman Capote‘s Breakfast at Tiffany’s is on the list. Although I haven’t read this novel, I did read his true crime thriller In Cold Blood. That ‘non fiction novel’ is about the 1959 Clutter Family Murders.

Willa Cather‘s O Pioneers! is on the list. I started to read this novel when I was in middle school (circa mid 1970s) but never finished it. That copy of her novel stayed with me through high school and collage and much of my adult life with my intent to read the novel all the way through. But, I never completed the read. I pawned it at Half Price Books for a few pennies. Years later, to redeem myself, I borrowed a copy of her Sapphire and the Slave Girl novel from the local library. I went the distance with that novel.

After reviewing the title on the list, I believe I will seek out a copy of The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares as my Next Read. It’s the shortest novel on the list! So, I bought a copy for $11.39 from thriftbooks.com. Not very thrifty.

One the the book shelves in the house. iPhone 7 photo taken by Dave O on February 20, 2021.

The Wrong Wall Has No Purpose

In my youth … meaning the early days of my first marriage and the entirety of my second marriage … I had purpose.

That purpose was to provide shelter, food, disposable spending money, education, vehicles, life and medical insurance, recreation, vacations, entertainment and a host of other needs, necessities and wants and desires for my wives and kids.

I worked hard. I worked hard when employed by others and when I tried to start my own business. I worked hard around the house to keep it well maintained and functional. I learned new skills so I could avoid paying contractors.

I also worked hard to stay in shape both physically and mentally. Although it is debatable if I succeeded.

I worked hard during those stretches of my life because there was purpose … to keep the family healthy, happy and provided for.

Thankfully, I was born into a family that had the same mind set and so I worked in the ‘family’ business for most of my career. It was great work and paid well. I believe I paid my dues and made a living to provide for my family.

Now that the family has grown and left, including the wives, the ‘family’ business sold to my younger brother and others (I was not part of the selected few) I find the nest empty and the career tainted and wonder what purpose there is now.

Other than paying student loans and marital debt there could be no purpose.

I enjoy the job I have now, even though it is with the ‘family business’ that others (including my younger brother) own. The actual work, the actual coding of web sites and development of web applications and collateral material to help the company create revenue is what I enjoy although I don’t necessarily enjoy some of the culture and few of the people.

Yesterday I started a short story about an older man who finds his ladder is against the wrong wall, a wall that he already painted. With his wife and her (maybe) lover cat calling him about the fact he already painted that wall, he day dreams about a life he didn’t pursue due to societal norms and parental expectations, he falls. During his recovery, he elects to stop working at his job (which had become torturous) and pursues the dream he had left on the shelf to conform to other’s expectations.

It could be an interesting story if I develop it and if I work at it.

But most likely I won’t. Or I will let it die a quick slow death.

Ah … such is a man without purpose.

A contrast in life and death. Photo taken by Dave O on June 29, 2018 about 7:05 am from Indianapolis Indiana.

A contrast in life and death. Photo taken by Dave O with the Nikon W300 on June 29, 2018 about 7:05 am from Indianapolis Indiana.

Flash Fiction

One of my resolutions and goals for 2016 was to ‘write more’. Specifically, I wanted to write a five thousand word short story in 2016.

With only a few days left in 2016, I’m certain that resolution/goal/objective won’t be fulfilled/completed/achieved. Add it to the growing list of things I want to do but never do.

However, I did write 100 words of flash fiction in 2016. If you think it is easy to write a complete story, with a beginning, middle and ending, develop a character, a plot and have it make sense in exactly a hundred words … it’s not.

Here it is …

Dana washes the plate for the fifth time. Out the small window she watches her husband of twenty years back down the narrow driveway. She waves. She places the dish in the drying rack and opens her small laptop. The screen shows two large simple buttons, one red, the other blue. She watches her husband’s car disappear between the neighboring homes. She hesitates but knows only one choice can be lived in. She presses. In the distance, an explosion is heard. The windows rattle as the blast wave passes. The computer screen fades to black. Dana hopes relief has come.

Bad … good … awesome? I wouldn’t know. It’s my first ever attempt at flash fiction.

Many years ago, after a bad experience with a roofing contractor/tree trimmer where he stole (or I foolishly gave him) a large deposit for roofing work he never started or completed.

There was nothing I could really do other than contact the Attorney General or take the guy to court. I didn’t want to incur any legal expenses which would probably exceed the amount I lost. So I learned my lesson and moved on.

However, in trying to assuage my desire to get back, I wrote a short story of 300 words. The gist of that story was the protagonist, in response to being swindled by a crooked roofing/tree trimming contractor, used his covert and military training to do away with that piece of human scum. It was a cool story (at least I thought) and it served to dissipate the feelings of being violated.

I hope to write more in 2017.