Sunday, 20 July 2014

Number 27

I go to Waterstones – a rare event in itself – and turn left into Fiction. I start to scan the shelves, and think about what my criteria should be for choosing a random novel. After five minutes, I decide the book should:
  •         be by a writer I've never heard of
  •        have no clues what it's about on the cover.
It's trickier than I thought. There are too many books, and most are either by familiar names, or obviously thrillers, romance, historical, etc, and so give too much of a clue. So I decide to focus on a limited area. The Waterstones Book Club bookcase seems perfect. Guess which one I eventually choose.

Did I say 'Scroll down?' No I said 'Guess' It's your own time you're wasting.

Yes – well done! I choose the blandly named, blandly covered All that is by James Salter, whose name could only be more bland if it was John Saltless. I open it and take a photo*. 
The first paragraph isn't promising. The only thing I can think of to do based on it is throw myself into a fast-flowing river at night. I quickly rule this out for safety reasons. I decide to cheat and use the first two. So, what have I got to work with? A tier of iron bunks ... hmm ... hundreds of men with their eyes open ... nope ... an endlessly-throbbing engine ... I briefly consider cheating by just looking through all the novels until I find one with an opening paragraph that includes a cheese sandwich or a short bike ride, but decide to plough on.

Okinawa is the only thing. I make a list** of some things I could do:
1. Learn exactly why they're arriving in Okinawa, and what happened. I have some images in my head – flame-throwers ... a posed photo of men forcing up the stars and stripes near Okinawa. YouTube. 
·        2. Find out what's unique about the island – I think it has the longest-lived people for a start – and its basic history.
    3. Learn some phrases in Okinawan.
    4. Cook an Okinawan recipe.
    5. Look at an online Okinawan newspaper and see what's going on there. Get Google to translate the news in Japanese. I know there's a US base there, so there might be online news in English.
    6. Find out the five best things to do in Okinawa if I ever visited.
    7. Read the book.

*The staff and several customers look worried. Photographing pages of books in a bookshop seems to disturb people.
**Staff now talking to manager and pointing at me.


Molly Potter said...

Or move to Okinawa.

Molly Potter said...

I think 'We are completely besides ourselves' would have been easier...

Molly Potter said...

I'm already doing it....completely besides ourselves me

jim_greenan said...

I'll try to take your advice there, Molly - bit hard to decode the second two.