Monday, February 1, 2010

The Fires of Spring by James A Michener

I lived on a steady diet of nothing but James A Michener in my early 20's. Loved him - and still do. He has a special talent for describing the details of a locale so vividly that you can smell it and hear it and feel it against your skin - it's almost like you'd really travelled there. Which of course, I couldn't afford to do in my early twenties (or, let's be realistic, even today.)

Then, I pick up "The Fires of Spring" at a yard sale bargain box (my cover is just plain red - doesn't that cover just look like dime store trash!!) and I read this:

"Reading and travel are the two best things besides people. Travel is best, but some books are very great. You should read all the books you can get before you're twenty. If you don't need glasses by the time you are thirty, you can consider your life wasted."

ps. I got glasses at 26. ;-)

"Maybe books are best, because you don't have to have money to read. And there's this difference too. A man can travel all over the world and come back the same kind of fool he was when he started. You can't do that with books."

(The Fires of Spring, J.A. Michener, pg 40)

I love how he says that - with all this book club study, we can tell ourselves that we are a little less fools than we were before we started. Reassuring, eh?

And again: how about this for a motto?

"... if you did not read when you were young, you might never catch the disease and then what would be the use of living?" (pg 119)


  1. I have never read dad always did...that seemed enough of a deterent for me. Your quotes make it seem very interesting and more literary than I ever thought. Of course, the cover makes it look like a tawdry romance. Intriguing.


  2. Poor Michener has a bad rap (especially among young female readers)... It was actually my Mom who got my into Michener. She told me: take your time with this author. Read and little and let it "sit" in your brain for a while - then read a little more.

    The other author that I find this true of is Doris Lessing (although she has the bad rap among male readers) - some authors write so densely that you need to read them in bites and let those bites digest before you take another one.

    My solution is to read two books at once - a bit of Michener, and then something else.

    Anyone else have an author like this?

  3. I tried to find this book at the library today, and Mitchener would not come up in the library catalogue, no matter how I entered his name. Bizarre!

  4. Chandra - try with no "t" in it. :-)

  5. Haha, I don't remember what I did now...but that might have been the problem! :o)


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