First of all, I am a huge fan of the Library of America, an awesome organization that collects and publishes the works of America's finest writers - of all genres - in nice, hardbound volumes. I have several of their collections and I read them with the same gusto that some people express by eating chocolates with both hands or participating in group sex. I have read their volume of H.P. Lovecraft twice and will surely get to it a third time in the not too distant future.
Second, living in a remote corner of the Pacific has reduced me to getting my extraneous bits of culture from the Internet or delayed broadcasts of National Public Radio. (Hopefully the bozos in Congress will leave NPR alone - it is a national public treasure!)
Third, I regard the late Kurt Vonnegut as one of the finest of American writers, and although I have not read his complete works, I have consumed the majority of them - but none recently.
Fourth, I buy most of my reading material from Amazon.com. They are as cheap as other booksellers and have that wonderful free shipping on orders of $25 or more.
So, bearing in mind all of that preamble, I was driving to work a little over a month ago listening to NPR when they began discussing a new Library of America collection - their first-ever assemblage of the major works of Kurt Vonnegut. Once inside and seated at my computer I pulled up Amazon.com and learned that the Vonnegut collection was being released by LOA that very day - and that very day I placed my order. My complete order included a couple of other books and a movie. The movie arrived within the week, and the other books, which Amazon divided into two shipments, have yet to make it to PSC 80 - my local post office.
And I've asked, believe me I've asked! Amazon says that they are on the way, having shipped within a couple of days of my actual order - but a young man at the post office gave me better information. He said that I screwed up by requesting the free shipping. Amazon, he said, often puts the free shipping parcels on a boat for cheaper delivery.
My order, the postal clerk informed me, is undoubtedly somewhere at sea.
Perhaps it is on a tugboat headed up the Amazon. Or could it be chugging up the Congo in search of Colonel Kurtz? Is the African Queen still running?
Or is Amazon just trying to force me into becoming a Kindle user?