Whitesburg KY

Read these books

Points East

This is not a New Year’s resolution as much as a matter of necessity. To wit, I have pretty much hung up my remote control because it has become a device of sheer frustration that I can live without.

Except for a scant few programs on KET like “Kentucky Afield” and ‘Masterpiece Theatre” on Sunday nights, I find television boring.Once in a very long while the History Channel or Discovery will air a new show that has not been run a hundred times before and I find myself compelled to endure the sales pitches of the sponsors just to see what happens next. But that’s a rarity. Old dead Egyptian carcasses no longer fascinate me.And if you’ve seen one giant squid, you become more dubious from episode to episode as to the danger these things may really portend to life in the oceans.

Oh, I’m prone to watch a ball game now and then there on the tube, but I really don’t need a gadget to get me to and between the channels. It’s actually good for my back to get up and down off the sofa and change the stations on the rare occasions that I need to do so.

On any given Sunday afternoon there may be as many as two things worth watching at any given time. It’s easy enough for me to flip back and forth by squatting in front of the tube and making the decision. And when I lose interest I turn the damn thing off.

I have long since given up scrolling through 188 channels of blarney and nonsense and cussing because there is nothing to watch on television.

From my casual observation of these cable and satellite channels, it seems to take about 30 minutes of commercial interruptions to broadcast 30 minutes of stuff worth watching these days. And then they run it over and over again for weeks on end even though once was usually more than enough.

I don’t do HBO nor any of the other “premium movie” scams for the same reasons. It’s actually cheaper to go out and rent a movie you’d really like to watch on your own schedule than to pay big bucks to put up with the networks’ mostly nondescripts and try to schedule your time around the viewing. On the other hand, I don’t have Tivo, the ultimate garbage can, and have no intention of acquiring it.

So what I do, while most Americans are fighting over the remote control, is get my entertainment the old-fashioned way. No bother. No fuss.

I read. The old-fashioned way. Words printed on paper bound between covers, soft or hard, wherein I can get lost from current reality, become emotionally involved without bother, and digest the contents of the reading without anybody trying to sell me automobiles, insurance, legal advice, weight loss plans, toothpaste, fried fat burgers, cleaning supplies, or a new #@*&&!! cell phone plan.

Here’s what I’ve been reading lately and I have been far more royally entertained than anything you could possibly have seen on television because I figure most of you have actually missed anything worth watching on KET and that you don’t even tune in to the History Channel.

Emilie Richards’s Shenandoah

Album Series. Five long studies of the human condition in novel form by a master storyteller without the use of more than four of five “bad” words throughout the telling of stories that cover more than 2,00 pages of amazing prose. Each book is named for a traditional Appalachian quilt pattern but the writing is not about quilts. It is, in fact, far better drama and better captured than anything you would ever see on television.

Be advised that you should look up Emilie Richards’s website and write down the titles in the order they were written or make a visit to your library and check out

Touching Stars which starts the series, and sometime down the line you will thank me for turning you on to this historically accurate and oh so touching and wonderful feel good writing.If you are in the whodunit mode, then surely you already know P.D. James and Elizabeth George and you’ve read, as I have, everything they’ve written. But have you met Lisa Scottoline who has 14 books to her credit and the settings are South Philadelphia instead of Scotland Yard? Lisa has me wrapped around her little finger because her pages turn themselves. Scottoline has been accurately described as a cross between Erma Bombeck and P.D. James. ‘Nuff said.

Finally, I have been captured and enthralled by Alexander

McCall Smith in his The No. 1 Ladies

Detective Agency series, which is high truth presented in side-splitting prose. The setting is rural Africa, namely Botswana, and my good friends, Tom and Julie Miller, who have finally settled in Berea, spent years there and highly recommend Smith’s books.

Anyhow, the next time you get bored with television, chances are there’s a library just minutes away. Or you can always go online and buy almost anything you want to read for a couple of bucks.

But do be advised. This business of reading may often tax your mind and make you use your brain.

It’s not for everybody.

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