You’ve heard of a misspent youth: Formative years during which too much time was invested in pool halls or at pinball machines instead of improving one’s mind or good character. I suppose I’m guilty of a life of misspent reading. Oh, yes, I’ve read Twain and Steinbeck and Hemingway. But those are American authors who specialized in amusement or adventure. What of the Russian master novelists or French poets? Where on my bookshelf does one find Dostoyevsky or Dickens or James Joyce or Virginia Woolf? They are not there. No, too much of my reading life has been devoted to anthologies of newspaper comic strips (“Bloom County,” “Doonesbury” and the magnificent “Calvin & Hobbes”) or magazines (“Wired,” of late, even if the designers infuriate me by placing gray text upon black backgrounds and other deliberately provocative infuriations). But as evidenced by most recent birthday, my wife is determined to rescue me from myself. Donna is a master of the themed holiday — last Christmas, my presents were Kentucky-themed. For my birthday, she gave me a bag full of gift-wrapped books. I chose to unwrap just one at a time, then devote myself to that volume. The first selection I […]