I lifted the rifle again and swung the tip of the barrel straight up into the air. I figured I could gradually lower the barrel at the screen, aim, and pick off one of the Japanese troops.
BLAM! The rifle fired off and violently kicked out of my grip.
"Jaaaack!" I heard my mother shriek and then the screen door slammed behind her.
"If I'm not already dead I soon will be," I said to myself.
She pounced on me. "There's blood! You've been shot! Where?" Then she gasped and pointed directly at my face. Her eyes bugged out and her scream was so high-pitched it was silent.
Fictional autobiography, Hell's Angels, history, mystery, comedy, death, horror...Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos is all and more. Full of eccentric characters, this novel follows the life of author Jack Gantos during one action-packed summer in his hometown. Meet Miss Volker, who is trying to revitalize a dying town. Meet Mr. Spizz, who polices the town on his adult-sized tricycle. Meet Jack's mother, who believes in bartering jam rather than paying cash. Meet Jack's father, who worries about the "commies" in town and who wants to build a runway in the backyard.
In addition to having a town full of loveable characters, Jack also suffers from nosebleeds that can be triggered by any excitement or surprise. Is it hemochromatosis, like Hemingway? Ugh! This is problematical, of course, since he is helping Miss Volker to write all of the obituaries.
Finally, a whole-summer grounding dampens his summer plans when he mows down a cornfield. How does he get out of it? Who is killing all of the senior citizens? Will he have to move to Florida? Read this extraordinary novel to find out!
If you have ever read Christopher Hitchens' work you likely couldn't agree with a fair percentage of his observations and opinions, but you also couldn't help but feel utterly convinced by his capacity as a writer. This man wrote with a passion for words and his abilities to frame arguments and essays in such convincing and erudite capacities was legendary. We have a sizable oeuvre of his work to admire, but sadly, his death cut short the life of an author who would have likely always found something at once stimulating and provocative (feel free to add your own appropriate adjectives) to write about.
For starters you might want to take a look at The Trial of Henry Kissinger or his anti-religion work God is Not Great, which, like most of his writing takes on some fairly controversial topics and expresses ideas and observations that could only come from the sharp and unforgiving, albeit brilliant, mind Mr. Hitchens was known to possess. You don't need to support his views or agree with anything he expresses, but you will almost certainly be impressed with his chops as a man of letters. Personally, I have my name on the waiting list for his 2011 collection of essays, Arguably.
Christopher Hitchens died today at the age of 62.
How to search or locate obituaries using library resources?
If you are researching obituaries in Bay Area or Silicon Valley, you have a variety of selected resources at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library and in the Web. Here are some useful resources from the library and Internet resources: