This is Day 27 in my 30-day blogging journey.
Background on this experiment is on Day 1.
A handful of years ago, I was part of an online book club.
It’s the only book club I’ve ever been a member of.
As one might imagine, some people read at a faster pace than others, and much like it would be with music, movies or art, the taste of each member can vary wildly.
One of the members suggested a book called “The End Of Innocence” by George J. Leonard.
I went to Amazon to find it and found a very inexpensive copy for Kindle but an obnoxiously expensive paperback.
If memory serves, it was well over $300 for a paperback copy.
I love books and, while I don’t mind reading a Kindle version, I’d much rather have a physical copy to hold on to.
However, that secondary price was well beyond what anyone would have been willing to pay for it.
The member of the group spoke so highly of it that I decided to just get by with the Kindle version.
Like her, I very much enjoyed the book but it’s not a light-hearted read.
I started looking around at different places on the internet where I could learn more about the author and maybe, just maybe, I could find a physical copy that was more reasonably priced.
I ended up on a rather primitive website that gave some background on the author, who also happens to be a professor at San Francisco State University.
It was difficult to discern if A) Dr. Leonard was still alive B) if he spent much time updating the information on his site.
Nevertheless, there was an option to contact him.
So, my inner fanboy submitted a message hoping that I’d get lucky and might be able to reach him.
I expressed my gratitude for writing a great piece of work and that I had been unlucky in finding a decent price on the paperback copy. I wasn’t sure if he would have any information where I might be able to purchase any copies from him.
And then, I promptly forgot about the correspondence.
Several weeks later, I received a package in the mail with two copies of “The End Of Innocence” in paperback.
In one copy, was the inscription: Author’s Gift, 1st Paperback Edition, 2019. For, Jason Leenaarts. From, George Leonard, Best Wishes.
I sent another piece of correspondence thanking him for the gift with another offer to pay for them, which he declined.
In a manner of paying it forward, I sent the other copy to the friend who had recommended the book to the club.
And then, I got back on Amazon to order his other two novels: “Beyond Control” and “The Ice Cathedral”, both of which were very good but darker subject matter like “The End Of Innocence” had been.
Of course, you don’t have to take my word for it on “The End Of Innocence”. A reviewer, John Bartlett, wrote: “I downloaded this by Reddit referral and am blown away. This book should be required reading in every high school in the U.S. Previous readers compared it with “To Kill A Mockingbird”. That is accurate on many levels, including the brilliance of the writing.”
To Dr. Leonard, thank you for making a fan (actually, two fans) very happy. The generosity doesn’t go unnoticed.
Should you be looking for something to read, might I suggest any of his aforementioned books?
4 thoughts on “Beyond The Book Club”
Yes that’s me who recommended this fantastic book about growing up in Long Island, NY in the 1950s. I may even have been in the author’s classes though I don’t remember him. It is a pity he will not see this special review of his stand-out book… I too could not figure out his website. I do know (via Facebook) a classmate of mine from that high school era, and she knows the George Howard, so I will pass on this review of yours, Jason, and ask her to forward it to him… This book made such an impression on me, in many different ways, about my childhood, and about Long Island towns and various populations at that time…
So you DO recommend the other two books? Can you say any more about them? I’ll go look them up. … Etana (Carol) Finkler in Florida
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I was “hoping” you’d see this one. Of note, on the back of the paperback of TEOI, is a reprint of a review by one C.E. Finkler. I thought that was pretty neat! I do think his other two novels are worth checking out. You’ll have to let me know what you think about them and thank YOU for telling me about his work!
I don’t think I can post an attachment here, but I will email it to you. I wrote to my high school classmate, and she replied the next morning, that she will forward this link to the author, George Leonard.
Wow, I just looked at the back of the book for my comment! Now I wish I had written something more substantial, because the book deserves conversations of substance.
I don’t know if I can copy/paste Amazon’s description of the book here, but for any interested readers who see this blog, I’ll try:
AMAZON: ““The turning point in my youth, which gave me the direction of my life, was the murder of my elementary school teacher, Birdsall Snow; which I, as a boy, witnessed.
Mr. Snow was the gentlest soul I had ever met; and he died a hero. No one had expected it of him. The town, and my parents in particular, considered Snow a fool—indeed, a clown . . . He was a failed priest; he spoke with an English accent from a boyhood in private English schools; he seemed to love nothing but teaching and his students.
It wasn’t just Mr. Snow dying that changed me… It was who Mr. Snow was and the way he died that so changed me. It was seeing such an absurd, unheroic person accept so brave a death.”
In the tradition of To Kill A Mockingbird, comes the new novel … (snip) … The unforgettable novel of a childhood in the Fifties in a sleepy town on Long Island’s Great South Bay and the crisis of conscience that rocked it. Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, The End of Innocence takes readers to the roots of human behavior – to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos.