Sunday, November 15, 2015

Bookmarkin'! with Jack Pendarvis

Welcome once again to "Bookmarkin'! with Jack Pendarvis," helping YOU match the right bookmark with the right book for more than eight years. But that all ends today. So! Kent Osborne recommended that Stephen King novel and I ripped right through it in two days, though it was a big, fat novel. Nine hundred pages, maybe? And just big in every dimension. Large and bulky. So! Remember when I went to that auction of Bob Hope's personal effects? Well, that auction house keeps sending me stuff in the mail. Like, they sent me a little portfolio of promotional cards, much bigger than postcards, notifying me about their upcoming auctions. I was going to measure one for you. I was rooting around in the kitchen drawer where I thought the tape measure might be. "Where's the tape measure?" I said. To which Dr. Theresa replied, "It's probably in there somewhere." And it probably is. But I never found it. So I can't tell you the exact size of this giant card I used as a bookmark in this giant Stephen King book. But I can tell you this! This promotional card had a picture of the Beatles on it. And at some point in the book, Stephen King's narrator goes by the pseudonym "John Lennon." So that was a coincidence! And there are a lot coincidences in this Stephen King book, coincidentally! Or, as Stephen King's narrator insists on calling them, "harmonics." Huh. I even read the afterword! Stephen King talks about a Norman Mailer book on Lee Harvey Oswald that was one of his primary resources for historical research. And that reminded me that I have a giant Norman Mailer novel about the CIA around here. Chris Offutt gave it to me a long time ago (years?) because he had two copies (!). I seem to recall [somewhat inaccurately - ed.] that the book was roundly mocked when it appeared, which, as you know, makes me want to read it more. I even recall that Norman Mailer's biographer says (I think) that there is a long part somewhere in the middle that is so boring no one should ever read that part, but I can't remember what that part is about [Uruguay - ed.], so I will probably end up reading it. So, I took this giant Norman Mailer CIA novel off the shelf, and it is spattered with old coffee stains, at least I hope those are coffee stains. And I opened it and recalled that I had already read two pages of it years (?) ago, and there was my stubby little Square Books bookmark of coarse paper stock ("Square Books classic" I call it... I just decided!), the kind they used before they switched over to the long, glossy bookmarks. Now I have reread those two pages, and five more pages besides, and there have already been two ghosts, and why am I surprised? "Ghost" is in the title. One wonderful advantage of taking this fat Norman Mailer novel off the shelf is that I now have a place to put the fat Stephen King novel. So they are roughly the same size. Yet I used a huge bookmark in one of them and a tiny bookmark in the other. What a revelation! About my own divided soul. Also: any kind of bookmark works just fine. This discovery means there is no use for "Bookmarkin'! with Jack Pendarvis." This has been the final "Bookmarkin'! with Jack Pendarvis." PS Just read one more page, on which were some sentences about "the ice monarch," a fanciful creature of the narrator's imagination, as in, "The ice monarch had installed his agents in my heart." Did Norman Mailer invent the Ice King? Just 1,118 pages to go before the "Author's Note"!