Alister MacLean’s Force 10 From Navarone is another old hardback I bought at the Senior Thrift store in Pine, Arizona mainly as decoration for my bookshelf. But like Casino Royale and Sands of the Kalahari I end of enjoying them more off the shelf.

Published in 1968, this version’s pages are yellowed; it is stamped Mesa Public Library, and there are remnants inside the cover of where the library checkout card was placed at one time.

This one is all World War II espionage, double agents, espionage, heroic man figures. Very untrendy but, like Ian Fleming, the writing is crisp and the story moves quickly. The chapters are denoted by date and time from Thursday 001-0600 to Saturday 0200-0215.

But this genre takes me back to the books I was reading in middle school. On her Saturday grocery trips, my Mom would stop at the Baltimore County Randallstown Branch, I can still see the building at the corner of Old Court and Liberty Roads… but so can Google:

Panoramio photo by hfhidalgo

Panoramio photo by hfhidalgo

For a few years, Mom would encourage my reading by picking out novels at the library for me (she was getting them for herself too). I don’t remember her saying quite how she chose (I think the cover was a key factor), but a lot of them were the spy / espionage genre. I remember reading John Le Carré, Ken Follet, Jack Higgins, Robert Ludlum. I remember the excitement of seeing what she brought back for me to read.

A favorite memory was where he judgment may have lapsed. I teased her about this in her later years, and she denied to happened. One title she picked for me I think was because she thought it had to do with the Watergate Scandal. But the novel by one D.M. Perkins was out of the usual genre– It was Linda Lovelace’s story, Deep Throat (I will leave it up to the reader to learn more about her life).

Let’s say when Mom asked her middle school age son how he liked the novel she got, he fervently said he did. That’s my Mom.

A fun tangent I found was looking up some information about Linda Lovelace, born in the Queens as Linda Boreman. Apparently there is a computer language called Linda that was named after her. Oh those funny computer scientists, it was a nod to the language Ada being named for Ada Lovelace.

According to Wikipedia:

Linda is a model of coordination and communication among several parallel processes operating upon objects stored in and retrieved from shared, virtual, associative memory.

I’m guessing those objects were often retrieved from “deep” memory ;-)

Just another life tangent.

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. My mom did the same thing. She used to stop by the usedbookstore in Phoenixville (it was inside someone’s house) and picked up horror, fantasy, and sci-fi (I was a sucker dystopian novels) books. Later, in HS, she’d get me poetry, Milton and S-peare, cuz I was a nerd.

    Thanks for sharing this memory A.

  2. We lived a ways outside of town, waaaay pre-television, and a trip to the Wenatchee branch of the Chelan County Library was a weekly ritual for the entire family.

    The gods in their wisdom chose my elementary school to pilot a speed reading with high retention program, and I was the fastest in Lewis and Clark Elementary.

    So I burned through a dozen books a week–every animal book known to humanity–yes, Felix, ALL the Jim Kjelgard books (Big Red, etc.), and ai was into the adult shelves by sixth grade. No science fiction, no fantasy, no Linda Lovelace, no comic books, no Westerns (although I loved my Aunt Nan’s collection of Zane Grey novels).

    In spite of never having discovered any of these “boy” genres, as they were considered at the time, there were plenty of other books–books enough and TIME ENOUGH to read them all.

    That’s what I’m loving most about retirement is the luxury of time to read and then to write about what I read, which I have been doing on
    Although in spite of the name includes writing about whatever the heck I I have been reading. Just for the joy of reading and writing.

    Thanks for this trip down memory lane…

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