REVIEWS

BOOKS

Down with guilt; for $10 you can clear your conscience and improve your mind

PHILIP SYKES July 1 1969
REVIEWS

BOOKS

Down with guilt; for $10 you can clear your conscience and improve your mind

PHILIP SYKES July 1 1969

BOOKS

REVIEWS

Down with guilt; for $10 you can clear your conscience and improve your mind

PHILIP SYKES

THERE ARE ONLY two qualifications for playing this game — an ability to read and $10 cash. It’s predicated on the assumptions that you don’t have time to read all you’d like and that you have the religious intention of catching up during the summer vacation. A further assumption is that you’ll do your catching up with inexpensive paperbacks; I imagine there are few books you fancy that aren’t among the more than 50,000 paperback titles available to Canadians. My part in the game is to start you off — by showing convincingly that a wide range of good reading can be yours for $10 — and then leave you to accept or reject my preferences and substitute your own.

People have differing motives for reading books and this is why you’ll find my $10 selections in three oddly

labeled categories. My first column is for conversationalists; current books, for them, are the raw material of talk. They range from the discreetly plugged-in type to the looming party bore who affects an acquaintance with all subjects — from Breton nationalism to the social organization of horned dungbeetles — and likes to quote references. The second column is for people who draw unaffected pleasure from good writing, new or old. My third column is dedicated to those faintly guilty people who are always striving to catch up. The immensity of literature puts them in some awe; they scurry through life with the haunting awareness that some of its treasures will always elude them.

The more enterprising publishers of paperbacks recognized long ago that most of us are pretty sloppy in our

reading habits; so they grouped their titles in sets that would encourage more organized reading. The Apuleius in my third column, for instance, is from the venerable and extensive series of Penguin Classics. Pylon is in a handsome new set of Faulkner’s lesser known novels from the New American Library. In many instances you could buy the set and still keep under the $10 budget.

Remember that many good paperbacks don’t get into your neighborhood drugstore. It will sell Arthur Hailey’s Airport (at 2,750,000 the biggest paperback printing) or Valley of the Dolls or your choice from a painted strumpets’ parade of markedly unreticent covers. It’s fine for tranquilizers. But, if you want to enjoy the summer-reading game, the place to start is at the bookstore.

THE FACILE TALKER’S TOPIC SELECTOR

COLONEL SUN

Robert Markham/Bantam .75

(TOPIC: Can James Bond survive without Ian Fleming?)

HADRIAN VII

Baron Corvo/Ballentine .95

(Have you seen the play at

Stratford?)

COUPLES

John Updike/Fawcett Crest 1.25

(Does that sort of thing go on in your town?)

PSYCHOPATHIA SEXUALIS

Richard von Krafft-Ebing/Bantam 1.65

(The classic work on aberrations

—an indispensible guide to those

New Theatre capers?)

THE STRANGE CASE OF JAMES EARL RAY Clay Blair Jr./Bantam .95

(What’s your theory?)

SOUL ON ICE

Eldridge Cleaver/Delta Paperback 2.35

(What did Chubby Checker do for the American revolution?)

MARSHALL McLUHAN

Dennis Duffy/McClelland & Stewart .95

(Could we use it for an adman’s seminar?)

THE CANCER WARD

Alexander Solzhenitzyn/Dell 1.25

(What can you expect from civil servants?)

8 BOOKS 10.10

THE INDULGENT COTTAGER'S PSYCHIC RESTORER

COCKSURE

Mordecai Richler/Bantam .95

(RESTORER: The bawdier kind of laughter)

BEHIND THE BEYOND

Stephen Leacock/McClelland & Stewart 1.95 (The courtlier kind of chuckle)

BAROMETER RISING

Hugh MacLennan/McClelland & Stewart 1.50 (Excitement)

JUDITH HEARNE

Brian Moore/McClelland & Stewart 1.50

(Insight into women)

THE STONE ANGEL

Margaret Laurence/McClelland & Stewart 2.75 (Idiosyncratic sense of character)

BRENDAN BEHAN’S ISLAND

Brendan Behan/Corgi .95

(Irrepressible Irishism)

THE HORSE’S MOUTH

Joyce Carey/Penguin 1.35

(Comic joy)

7 BOOKS

10.95

THE RECLUSIVE CALVINIST’S SECULAR STIMULATOR

THE GOLDEN ASS

Apuleius/Penguin 1.25

(STIMULUS: Lusty humor at its classic source)

ULYSSES

James Joyce/Penguin 1.95

(The celebration of Everyman)

THE ROAD TO WIGAN PIER

George Orwell/Penguin 1.35

(The compassion that reaches men in adversity)

U.S.A.

John Dos Passos/Signet 2.85

(The passion to humanize history.

U.S.A. is a trilogy that chronicles the unfulfilled promise of American democracy in this century. It consists of The 42nd Parallel, 1919 and The Big Money, each 95 cents)

PYLON

William Faulkner/Signet .95

(That unique sense of the tragic, formative but discernible in this early—1935—novel)

THE INVISIBLE MAN

Ralph Ellison/Signet 1.25

(The imaginative power that makes you a vicarious part of the black experience)

8 BOOKS

9.60