Donald Trump Meets Jack Reacher

Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump’s disastrous time in the White House. Also, I finished reading Lee Child’s latest Jack Reacher novel last week. The Trump-Reacher connection? There is no connection. But I’m going to make a connection. “Fake news” and all that.

First my brief review of 2017’s The Midnight Line, Child’s 22nd Reacher novel. (I’ve read 20 of them, and will eventually get to the two I missed! As Jack says, “Good to go.”)

The Midnight Line has some of the visceral action Reacher fans love — various villains get battered by Jack in innovatively choreographed ways. But this book also features a more mature, reflective Reacher — the big guy is now 57, after all — and there are poignant passages amid the page-turning excitement. Plus plenty of social commentary about America’s drug scourge and grievously wounded veterans — with the roaming Reacher getting a firsthand look at both problems while trying to locate a woman whose West Point ring he finds in a Wisconsin pawn shop. Last but not least, Child’s writing is as lean and impressive as ever, and includes the usual touches of humor.

My “fake news” connection between Jack (a good-hearted man of integrity) and Trump (a heartless man of no integrity)? I’m going to seriocomically discuss America’s Predator-in-Chief using the titles of all 22 Reacher novels. As I do that, I’ll keep in mind that Trump has boasted about sexually assaulting women, called majority-black countries “shitholes,” made life hell for immigrants, pushed awful tax “reform” that benefits only the ultra-rich, tried to yank away health care from millions, removed environmental protections, and more.

Killing Floor: Trump’s words and actions are so low there’s no floor to them. He killed the floor.

Die Trying: What happened to the woman in Charlottesville, Virginia, who bravely tried to counter Neo-Nazis the white-supremacist Trump would then praise.

Tripwire: What might keep Trump’s hair in place when he exits Air Force One after flying on a windy day.

Running Blind: If the didn’t-protect-his-eyes Trump had looked longer at last year’s major eclipse, this book title would have described his reelection effort in 2020.

Echo Burning: Sort of like Eco Burning — Trump has hurt the U.S. ecology in many ways.

Without Fail: The almost-always-wrong Trump never admits he’s almost always wrong.

Persuader: Trump has expertly persuaded everyone he’s a jerk.

The Enemy: Today’s GOP — including Trump, Paul Ryan, and other cruel far-right Republicans.

One Shot: All the out-of-shape Trump would manage to heave up on a basketball court.

The Hard Way: Democrats trying to win elections despite Republican voter suppression, gerrymandering, big corporate money, and biased right-wing media.

Bad Luck and Trouble: Nicknames for Trump’s two adult sons.

Nothing to Lose: Trump figured that was the case when claiming bone spurs to avoid the Vietnam War draft, even though he was healthy enough back then to play intense sports. His scam worked.

Gone Tomorrow: We wish. But then there would be Mike Pence. 😦

61 Hours: How long it takes Trump to read a paragraph.

Worth Dying For: No war that Trump might start with his reckless words.

The Affair: Not just one adulterous relationship for Trump while he has been married.

A Wanted Man: How law enforcement should label the corrupt Trump.

Never Go Back: The current White House occupant cowardly avoids visiting his posh Trump Tower home in New York City, where he’s loathed.

Personal: Trump takes criticism very personally.

Make Me: What Trump told his father, who bankrolled his not-self-made son’s real-estate career.

Night School: The incurious/ignorant Trump could use some schooling any time of the day.

The Midnight Line: Any repugnant sentence Trump spews out on Twitter when most of us are asleep.

Conclusion: Reacher would know what to do with someone like Trump.

I’m sure you could come up with other ways to discuss Trump via those Lee Child titles! Try if you’d like!  🙂

My 2017 literary-trivia book is described and can be purchased here: Fascinating Facts About Famous Fiction Authors and the Greatest Novels of All Time.

In addition to this weekly blog, I write the award-winning “Montclairvoyant” topical-humor column for The latest weekly piece — about the complicity of my town’s Republicans re the vile Trump — is here.

‘No Book Panic Syndrome’ Is a Novel Problem

Do you occasionally suffer from NBPS? Yes, I’m talking about No Book Panic Syndrome.

Let me explain. You’re a literature lover, and you’ve finished all the not-read novels in your home. You need to go to the library or bookstore, but you can’t get there quite yet — maybe the next day. Or you’ve ordered a title or two online, and it won’t be arriving in the mail until, say, the weekend. And (this is important!) you read books the old-fashioned way, not on a Kindle.

What to do? You can of course click on some free short stories online, and read them there. But you crave print.

I suffered from NBPS this past week. On Tuesday, I finished Louise Penny’s excellent mystery How the Light Gets In — mostly set in a small Canadian town filled with memorable characters. Two other library books I borrowed in August — Octavia Butler’s sci-fi novel Parable of the Sower and Lee Child’s Jack Reacher adventure Night School — had already been read, admired, and put aside. But I couldn’t get to the library until Thursday because of chores and car availability.

(Yes, Car Availability would make a great name for a rock band.)

Why not go a couple days without reading, I asked myself? Yeah, right, I answered — ain’t happening.

Perusing the back of cereal boxes was not a tempting option, and I had already read too much about Hurricane Irma and What a Pain Donald Trump in the print and online New York Times. So, although I’ve promised myself the past few years not to reread books I own (too many never-tried novels and authors out there), I was desperate enough to start scanning my living-room shelves. There I spotted Ray Bradbury’s R Is For Rocket, a yellowing paperback collection of 17 short stories I hadn’t read since I was a teen. Just 184 pages — the perfect length for a bridge to that Thursday library visit.

And what evocative, exquisitely written tales — about kids (as well as adults) longing to travel in space, and the occasional pitfalls of doing so; about a huge, ancient sea creature falling in love with a lighthouse and foghorn; and the classic “A Sound of Thunder” that depicts how the killing of a tiny butterfly during a trip back in time revises the present the travelers return to just enough to have a nightmarish result.

After Bradbury filled that two-day gap, I found reinforcements on Thursday when my library visit got me Fannie Flagg’s The Whole Town’s Talking, Isak Dinesen’s Seven Gothic Tales, Larry McMurtry’s The Last Kind Words Saloon, and John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. I’ll undoubtedly mention all those fictional works in future posts.

What do you do when you temporarily have no book you want to read? Do you reread something? Do extra non-reading things? Sob uncontrollably?  🙂

Or maybe the crying will happen when I get to the above-mentioned John Green novel…

I’ll end today’s post with this video of a 2017 U2 song called “The Little Things That Give You Away.” Such as suffering from No Book Panic Syndrome…  🙂

My 2017 literary-trivia book is described and can be purchased here: Fascinating Facts About Famous Fiction Authors and the Greatest Novels of All Time.

In addition to this weekly blog, I write the award-winning “Montclairvoyant” topical-humor column for The latest weekly piece, about a way-way-too-big project that became way too big, is here.