Books, Fiction: September 1981

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NYT Best Sellers (Sept, 8, 1981):

1. Cujo, Stephen King

    Movie: Yes

    Author Alive: Yes

2. The Third Deadly Sin, Lawrence Sanders       Movie: No

    Author Alive: No (d. 1998)

3. Noble House, James Clavell                             Movie: Yes (NBC miniseries)

    Author Alive: No (d. 1994)

4. Gorky Park, Martin Cruz Smith

    Movie: Yes

    Author Alive: Yes

5. The Glitter Dome, Joseph Wambaugh        

    Movie: Yes (made for HBO)

    Author Alive: Yes

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Random thoughts:

 

I read Cujo and Gorky Park when they came out. I didn’t like Cujo. The ending sucked. In fact, although I had read most of his books up to then, I pushed the pause button on King novels until The Tommyknockers in 1987 (didn’t like that either).

 

Gorky Park, on the other hand, was a great read and the movie was excellent as well. I had previously read and enjoyed Martin Cruz Smith’s Nightwing (bats run amuck), which was also made into a movie, so it was an easy decision to pick up Gorky Park.

 

So, how would these books fair if released today by a previously unknown author? I don’t think Cujo would cut it. Apologies to the billions of Stephen King fans. Gorky Park? It’s pretty dated. It’s about the Brezhnev era Soviet Union and I’m not sure the sable fur industry would resonate much with today’s readers.

 

As for the others, I never read them. I don’t even recall The Third Deadly Sin, not having ever read any of Lawrence Sanders’s books. I purposely skipped reading Noble House, since my mother liked it, which immediately counted as a strike against it back in those days, and also because it was 1,200 pages long. Didn’t have the patience or the time to invest in a story that long. Still don’t.

 

As for The Glitter Dome, I do remember scanning reviews at the time. I found out it involved the seedy, dark underbelly of LA, loser cops, and child pornography, which didn’t sound appealing at the time. So I passed on it. I did watch the HBO movie at one time and wasn’t too impressed.

So, what the hell did you read, Van Brunt?:

Mostly nonfiction. I was a student and read a lot of books recommended by professors. One book sticks out in my mind from 1981: Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number, Jacobo Timerman. A powerful autobiography that greatly affected me at the time.

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