Pete Dexter’s novel, The Paper Boy, 1995

I stayed up last night all night to finish reading Pete Dexter’s fine novel, The Paper Boy. Set in Florida it is an exceptional study of characters turning out the only way they can. The story is backdropped against the correction of a miscarriage of justice, a small town newspaper family, poor white folk living in Florida swamps, and the mechanics and ethics of investigative journalism. But mostly it is a clear view of a handful of fascinating characters. I will never eat vanilla ice cream again without thinking of the Van Wetters. HIghly recommended. The third of Dexter’s novels that I have read, Deadwood and Paris Trout, are also fine books.

Bob Schieffer’s book

Just finished reading “This Just In: What I Couldn’t Tell You On TV” by CBS Newsman Bob Schieffer (published in 2003). What a great book. He explains a lot about American news television reporting and its evolution and a lot about American politics. Read this book and learn and laugh and appreciate a hard working reporter.

He explains things like the technical struggle pre-video tape and electronic linkage that we take for granted today in the 24 hour news world.  I wished he had written more about his time in Buenos Aires covering the Falklands War. What he does share suprised me and gave me a new if somewhat surreal view of that war.

His chapter on the coverage of the 9/11 attack is very moving.

I confess I stayed up last night and raced to the end, could not put down the book, such a well-written piece of work. Actually as you read it you just accelerate to run with the story, and begin to take the writing for granted, which I imagine would please Schieffer.