I went into an Army-Navy surplus store for the first time in years, perhaps decades, last weekend. For seven bucks I walked out with a winter cap, a USMC veteran sticker, and this book:
The Wild Blue: The Novel of the U.S. Air Force by Walter J. Boyne and Steven L. Thompson, Ivy Books (Ballantine), 1986. Not just “a” novel, but THE novel of the USAF. My dad was an airman, so I have a soft spot for the Air Force.
The book was nestled between old small arms manuals and a Navy cruise book. I pulled the book from the shelf and opened to this classic 1980s teaser page:
My, my, didn’t Kathy Kelly have a nice surprise?
Next I flipped open to a random page to see how engaging the prose is and read:
While the prose style didn’t excite me, the content did.
Not only is From Here to Eternity on my 2015 to be read short list, but a base library is discussed! I just had to buy the book after that and happily paid the $2 asking price.
During my enlistment I was primarily stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC where I enjoyed many books from the base library. It was the first library I frequented as an adult, one that I wasn’t introduced to by my parents or teachers, but it was because my parents and teachers had taught me how to use and love libraries that I ended up there.
Did you know there are base libraries? Many civilians are surprised to learn that there are libraries on military bases.
The back cover copy:
I’m not sure how soon I’ll get around to reading The Wild Blue, but when I do I’ll be sure to let you know how Kathy Kelly’s husband finally learned to please her.