Sam Bauman: New book, two classics are great reads for seniors

Seniors often begin reading more as they age and seek more sedentary pursuits. Here are three selections seniors will enjoy, one new and two classics.

Todd Borg of South Lake Tahoe has written 11 of his Owen McKenna Mystery thrillers and all have rightly been best-sellers — not only around Tahoe, the locale of the books, but also nationally. His novels are on sale at Costco and other bookstores. He has been named thriller writer of the year.

With a Borg thriller, it’s like sitting down in front of a fireplace on a stormy day, knowing you’re in for a good time. His cast is always headed by ex-San Francisco cop Owen McKenna, now a private investigator, and his assistant, Spot, a big Great Dane who has his own national dog fan club. Also on hand is Street, Owen’s scientific lady.

The new book, “Tahoe Chase,” also includes a 92-year-old former Olympic skier named Joe, who hires Owen to look into the death of his wife from a fall from their balcony. Joe is a master of origami paper folding, which plays a major role here.

Also involved is a French woman in an abusive relationship who is determined to prove her backcountry skiing abilities. Owen tries to help her break free of her tormentor.

Then there’s a new ski resort coming — or not — and some excellent skiing scenes and a bizarre boating scene. It’s all about people enjoying or hurting Lake Tahoe, told in clear, mostly curse-word free prose, little overt violence and lots of love.

Borg is at his prizewinning best here. It’s a tale well-told, with good suspense and an upbeat ending. On Aug. 18, Borg will be signing “Tahoe Chase” at 8:30 a.m. at the Red Hut Cafe, 4385 S. Carson St. No, he won’t have Spot along for paw printing.

Two classics I stumbled on at the library are J.D. Salinger’s “Franny and Zooey” and Ed Abbey’s ironically titled “Good News.”

Salinger has been out of the news since his death, but novels about the bright Glass family live on. “Franny” is mostly dialogue between Franny and her brother Zooey, along with the intrusive Mama Glass with her consecrated chicken soup.

The story is about a prayer that Franny is hung up on and how it has meaning. She’s been out of things and it’s Zooey’s job to mend her. He does, and it’s beautiful.

Abbey’s dystopian novel “Good News” is about a Southwestern town in the wake of world disaster in which a fascistic chief runs a military operation that rules the town. An old cowboy rider with a .44 pistol rides into town and gathers an assistant. Together they find students hiding out from the chief’s motorcycle black shirts.

Abbey, who died at 62 in 1989, was hailed as the Thoreau of the disaster of modern America (including his classic “The Monkey Wrench Gang,” a real comedy novel).

As the chief prepares his army to invade the rest of wrecked America so those insisting on individual freedom are eliminated, the old cowboy Jack Burns and his Indian friend Sam work to halt his march.

Both of these old books were brought to my attention by the diligent staff which often digs out forgotten books that deserve our attention. Above and beyond the call of duty for library staffers. I may start sharing my movie reviews with them.

Sam Bauman writes about senior issues for the Nevada Appeal.


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