I feel a little down in the dumps these days. Mrs. Cohn Zohn is still recovering from her hip replacement and we don’t go out much. And I feel like I have things on my mind, more than usual.

When I go through periods like this one, I read like a maniac. I read a lot anyway. But at times like these I read escapist literature. About 10 years ago, I read about 20 books by P.G. Wodehouse, a comic genius and a prose genius.

This time I’m reading Elmore Leonard. I have read nine of his books in the past three or so weeks. I can’t stop. None of his novels is what I’d call a great novel — although several, like Rum Punch, are very good. But in every novel there is great writing, stuff I drool for. His dialog is a model of how to write dialog. And his prose style, so lean, so American, is up there with any American writer you can name. Anyone.

So, thank you Elmore Leonard, thank you for your crooks and your sociopaths and your wise guys and your protagonists who are like cowboys even if they aren’t cowboys, and your tough savvy women. Thank you. Thank you.