Who's asking: Richard Bostwick, Hallowell, ME
Indeed I have. I first fired a gun in March 1990, when the man I was dating took me out to a skeet shooting range. His gun was a 12-gauge shotgun, and I was not strong enough to control it. I was nervous about handling the gun and did not pull the stock against my shoulder hard enough; it kicked up and hit me in the face, where I'd cracked my cheekbone on a New York street curb two weeks earlier (long story for another time). It was loud, it was painful, I didn't hit anything, and it put me off guns for years.
Last summer, I had a very different experience at a gun club in Worcester, MA. I spent the day at a gun safety program sponsored by Sisters in Crime/New England, and fired seven different weapons at a variety of targets (nothing living). I had a great time, and it turns out I'm a pretty good shot. I'd like to go back to a firing range one of these days, though I don't see myself becoming a serious gun hobbyist.
As producer of Lucky Stiff -- in which a character fires a cap gun randomly throughout the show -- I bought my first-ever cap pistol, as a prop. At the end of the production, rather than submit my $5.87 (gun and ammo) receipt for reimbursement, I decided to keep the gun. I'm not sure whether or when I'll ever fire it again -- the noise would scare Dizzy -- but it's such an out-of-character thing for me to own that I'm glad to have it.
What I Read This Week
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. No spoilers here; I'll just say that I started reading around 9:00 a.m. last Saturday and finished just after midnight, with only short breaks to walk the dog and switch over laundry. Sometime before the end of the book I was crying so hard that Dizzy came over to check on me, but seldom have I felt so completely satisfied with the end of a book or a series.
Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects. I'm late to this book, which many hailed as one of the best debuts -- one of the best crime novels, period -- of 2006. The hype is justified, and while I would never use such a stupid phrase as "transcend the genre," I would say that people who might not otherwise read crime novels should consider reading this book. Camille Preaker returns to her hometown to investigate the murders of two young girls who are found with teeth missing from their mouths, and winds up plunged into the worst dysfunctions of her childhood. What's stunning about this book is how unflinchingly honest it is about girls and women, and the terrible things we do to ourselves and each other.
Chris Grabenstein, Whack-a-Mole. After the darkness of Sharp Objects, I needed a little reassurance about human nature. The answer: the third adventure of John Ceepak, a New Jersey police officer who does not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do. Ceepak and his partner (and narrator) Danny Boyle discover evidence of a serial killer at work in the resort town of Sea Haven. Dormant for years, the killer has returned to his work, and wants people to know what he's doing. Ceepak and Boyle are good deeds shining in a naughty world; Boyle, standing in for the reader, is appropriately upset by the violence he encounters. This remains one of my favorite series.