Tag Archives: Coto de Caza

Tom Clancy (1/2)

by James Yount

One of my favorite authors, Tom Clancy is a master craftsman specializing in the genre of technologically detailed crime, espionage, and military science thrillers. Best known for penning a litany of bestselling novels, including The Hunt for Red October, Clear and Present Danger, Patriot Games, and The Sum of All Fears, Clancy boasts distinction as one of the most successful writers of the modern era, his novels serving as the inspiration for a number of highly profitable big-budget Hollywood films. Also penning several non-fiction books focusing on the United States armed forces, Clancy exhibits a capacity for translating extremely complex subject matter into layman’s terms. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Tom Clancy enrolled at Loyola College, earning a degree in English Literature in 1969. Following the completion of his undergraduate coursework, Clancy set out to pursue his long-held dream of joining the United States military. Rejected after failing a mandatory vision test, Clancy reprioritized his career goals, entering into the insurance industry. For over a decade, Clancy devoted his professional energy to his insurance agency, concurrently developing the framework for his first published novel, The Hunt For Red October. Released in 1984, The Hunt For Red October introduces Jack Ryan, a fictional CIA agent who appears in several of Clancy’s other books. Several years after it landed on bookstore shelves, Hollywood optioned the rights for the literary smash hit, filming a big screen adaptation starring Alec Baldwin and Sean Connery. Written prior to The Hunt For Red October but published three years later, Patriot Games garnered accolades for its exciting and engrossing plot, the storyline following Jack Ryan as he thwarts an assassination attempt targeted at the Prince and Princess of Wales. The film version of Patriot Games stars Harrison Ford as Jack Ryan with Samuel L. Jackson in a supporting role. In the years that followed, Clancy went on to pen many other popular books including The Cardinal of the Kremlin, Clear and Present Danger, The Sum of All Fears, Debt of Honor, Rainbow Six, The Teeth of the Tiger, and Red Rabbit.

Tom Clancy (2/2)

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J.D. Salinger

by James Yount

One of my favorite authors, J.D. Salinger died earlier this year at the age of 91. Salinger had lived outside of the media spotlight in his Cornish, New Hampshire, home for several decades before losing his life to natural causes. Born in New York City, Salinger showed remarkable promise as an actor during his early high school career, but was discouraged from pursuing his interest in the arts by his father. After finishing his final two years of high school at the Valley Forge Military Academy, where he first began to write extensively in his spare time, Salinger enrolled at New York University. He dropped out of college at the end of his freshman year and briefly moved to Europe before returning to the United States and continuing his education at Ursinus College. Again, Salinger decided against formal higher education and instead took evening writing courses at Columbia University. He subsequently published his first short story, The Young Folks, in 1940. Over the next few years, Salinger worked odd jobs and continued writing, unsuccessfully submitting a number of stories to The New Yorker. When the United States entered World War II, Salinger was drafted into the Army, where he befriended Ernest Hemingway, who was already a wildly popular author. During the war, he primarily worked with counter-intelligence divisions as an interrogator. Although none of his later stories dealt directly with the war, its influence on them is often highly apparent. Salinger’s major break came in 1948 when The New Yorker accepted “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” for publication and offered him a contract for the right of first refusal on his future stories. As a result, almost all of Salinger’s work was first published in The New Yorker. “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” introduces the Glass family, who became the central focus of most of Salinger’s published work. The Catcher in the Rye, likely Salinger’s most popular work, was published in 1951. The semi-autobiographical novel follows the exploits of 16-year-old Holden Caulfield after he is expelled from an exclusive New England boarding school. Two years later, Salinger published Nine Stories, which featured seven works from The New York and two previously unpublished stories. In the 1960s, Salinger published Franny and Zooey, Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, and Seymour: An Introduction, all of which revolved around the Glass family. Although these novellas were his last published work, Salinger apparently wrote extensively during his years of isolation in New Hampshire. His death is certainly a terrible loss for American literature, but hopes remain high that a great deal of his unpublished work will soon be found in bookstores around the nation.

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The Active Kid becomes an Active Adult

by James Yount

Physical activity has always been a big part of my life. I was an energetic kid and I was lucky enough to be able to channel that energy into sports at an early age. I started swimming when I was five at a day camp near my home, and I’ve been competing in water and on land ever since. In high school, I was an All-American swimmer, and when I was a sophomore in college, I held the national record for the 200-yard freestyle. I continue to stay active; I find that physical activity is also a great form of entertainment. I’ve run at the beach in California and around the Central Park Reservoir in Manhattan, and I’ve been lifting free weights since right after college. The activity helps me to stay in shape for the things I really love to do: rock climbing, hiking, and paddle boarding. Not only does rock climbing take my mind away from the bustle of daily life, it also releases stress. When I climb, I have no choice but to focus on the six-foot square in front of me. It’s a great break for me. Although I love my job, I need to spend time doing other things in order to perform my best. I imagine I will continue to be just as active in later life as I have been since I was five years old. It’s a big part of who I am, and it will continue to play a role for many years to come.

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