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A Good Read or Two
By Mike Davenport, EAA 89102, Langley, British Columbia
June 2020 – COVID-19 has kept many of us inside. In the struggle to stave off boredom, I for one have been driven to my bookshelves looking for something to read or perhaps reread. As my faithful reader knows, I like to write, and maybe there is something on the shelf of interest to both of us.
To quote Stephen Coonts, author of many books, "Writing about flying is not easy." I agree but I find it fun and my goal is to do it as well as I can. What sparked this thought was recently reading The Cannibal Queen, which I purchased many years ago and left unread until now. My copy is signed by the author and as such deserved much more attention from me than it had received. In his book he refers to some famous writers of the past whose books I have and whom you may have read. The Lindberghs, both Charles and Anne Morrow. Richard Bach (I have a signed copy of Jonathan Livingston Seagull), Ernest Gann, and finally Saint-Exupery. However, the latter I do have some difficulty with, as his writing tends more to the cerebral rather than the entertaining. As a matter of fact, now that I think of it, Bach's books, Jonathan, et al are just as cerebral as those of Saint X.
My personal library of treasures.
The Cannibal Queen is Coonts' story of flying through all 48 of the contiguous states in his Stearman back in the summer of 1991. It was fun to read that this high time A6E Intruder bomber pilot had as much difficulty flying cross-country in his gas fired taildragger as I have in mine. While I've only flown in 11 states, five provinces, and a territory, he had the same worries about navigation, weather, crosswind landings, and finding gas as I do. Though as a successful writer, he has had a lot less trouble paying for said gas. I find myself nodding as I read that we have had some similar experiences. I recommend that you find a copy of this book as he brings the flights to life and puts you right there with him.
Back to the point: now that I'm retired and housebound by COVID-19, I am reading all of the books that I bought years ago and for whatever reason, couldn't find the time to read. Over the years I acquired a number of aviation titles at an annual fly-in held in Arlington, Washington, and a number of those were even signed when the authors visited the Pacific Northwest. Included in this group is Forever Flying by the great showman Bob Hoover, and also "Pappy" Boyington's book Baa Baa Black Sheep. If you don't know who these people are then you are a lot younger than me and Google will be able to help.
Stay in and stay well and enjoy the read.