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[Groop]Groop Summer Reading List



"One has to do idiot things from time to time, if only to assure oneself that 
one is a human being and not a robot." 
-Evan Tanner, the hero of Lawrence Block's TANNER'S TWELVE SWINGERS

Yeah, I know, people usually END their email with a quote, but this is sort 
of relevant to the topic: The Groop Summer Reading List!

Okay, I know it's not quite summer yet, but this is supposed to prepare us 
for summer reading, dig?

The idea is simple:

1) Suggest a book, series of books, comic book (single issue, graphic novel 
or series) or other reading material that you believe the average Groo reader 
would enjoy AND that you think most of the Groop is likely to be unfamiliar 
with. Stick with ONE suggestion, because forty people suggesting a dozen 
books each will probably mean none of us will get around to reading ANY of 
the suggestions. Right?

2) Give a brief synopsis, WITHOUT SPOILERS PLEASE, with just enough detail to 
suggest the basic premise of the book and entice our curiosity.

BUT THAT'S NOT ALL!

Let's make a concerted effort to actually READ each other's picks, and send 
PRIVATE critiques to each other. I stress PRIVATE so that we avoid SPOILER 
situations.

Stuff like Stan's USAGI YOJIMBO, Mark's DNAGENTS, Sergio's BUZZ & BELL or 
even popular madcap fare such as THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, 
although excellent choices, are a bit obvious. Let's get obscure, and really 
dig up some old favorites and toss out new treats to enjoy.

I'll start by suggesting Lawrence Block's EVAN TANNER series of short novels. 

Originally published in the 1960s, they are WONDERFULLY dated, and should be 
read in the order of publication (to follow) to get the most out of them. 
Block likes to collect minor recurring characters along the way, and often 
references events from previous installments in a humorous way.

Series Synopsis:

Evan Michael Tanner is a Korean War Veteran who had a piece of shrapnel slice 
away his brain's sleep center. Tanner, thus, is physically unable to sleep, 
and is awake 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Talk about INSOMNIA!!!

He meditates to rest his body and mind, and fills his abundant spare time 
learning languages, writing other people's doctoral theses for fun and 
profit, and joining lost causes, revolutionary cells and subversive groups 
from around the globe. 

(NOTE: some of what Block considered a lost cause in the 1960s - like a 
Soviet-free Serbia, has come to pass. I guess truth IS stranger than fiction. 
He even predicted the kind of strife and infighting such freedom would likely 
cause).

Then there's The Chief, head of a super-secret American Spy Agency, a 
competitive rival of the CIA, who mistakenly believes Tanner is one of his 
agents, and keeps trying to send him on missions that Tanner wants no part of.

Very funny stuff! The series goes as follows:

The Thief Who Couldn't Sleep (1966)
The Canceled Czech 
Tanner's Twelve Swingers
Two For Tanner
Tanner's Tiger
Here Comes a Hero
Me Tanner, You Jane
Tanner on Ice (1999 series revival) 

-Larry Steller AKA The Sheik Of Entropy

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