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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Craig Bacon spends a Tuesday afternoon at the Lockport Public Library 
picking out books. Bacon will begin a book review column called "It's a
Novel Idea" on Tuesday. (HEATHER N. GRIMMER / ENP STAFF
Local historian and avid reader Craig Bacon will be a regular columnist for East Niagara Post beginning Tuesday with a weekly book review entitled "It's a Novel Idea."

"I have been a very avid reader for almost all of my life," Bacon said. "I could read before I went to kindergarten and I’ve never stopped. Depending on the jobs I’ve held, I could read over 200 books per year, especially right after high school when I worked the midnight shift at a local gas station. Still, with a regular job, wife and four kids, I manage to read between 90 and 120 books per year. Sometimes they’re non-fiction, but mostly I read fiction books. After spending my job doing research and reading historical books and papers, a little fiction helps me wind down."

"I tend to lose myself in my books. I’m not sure how to explain how I read, but I tend to see the whole page at once and visualize the action taking place. In very good books, my mind plays like a video of the words I’m seeing. Because of this, I read very quickly, and have a hard time putting down the book once I start. There have been many instances of me staying awake until the early morning hours just to finish what I’ve started," he said.

The deputy county historian says he finds himself at the library three to five times a week. "Some books just jump off the shelves at me and they come home with me. I have a shelf in the living room reserved for my new friends from the library," he said.

"When writing reviews, I must confess that I’ve never really done it before. There is so much I could say about each book with regard to the plot, but I don’t want to give away the entire story," he said. "Usually when reading, I check for a good flowing plot as well as good character development. Grammatical errors in an edited novel are an instant mark down. Likewise, good characters need to grow in the course of the story. Cliched mannerisms and wooden, non-evolving people can drag a good plot into the abyss of mediocrity."

In the end, Bacon is hoping that readers might pick up even the books he doesn't like. "You may love a look I hate, or hate a book I love. The best thing is just to sit back with a good book and enjoy. I hope to see you at the library sometime soon, picking out your next favorite novel."

Bacon lives in Lockport with his wife, Wendy and their children, IdaLena, Patience, Corliss and Josephine.

Look for his first review, of "The Wind is Not a River" by Brian Payton, on Tuesday.

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