While compiling a book that's subtitled "The Best of Harry Marlin," the youngest son of the late Brownwood resident and backroads philosopher conceded that it was difficult to leave material on the table.

So the paperback book, whose full title is "I'll Get By, The Best of Harry Marlin," runs 980 pages.

And this is only Volume I.

The table of contents alone covers 15 pages.

"The book is a promise his children made to Dad before he died," Ken Marlin said in a telephone interview from his Arizona home. "It's taken a little while, because we had a lot to learn about organizing and publishing a book. But I think Volume II will come easier."

Ken is the youngest son of Harry Marlin, a Blanket native born in 1924 who was a police officer, steel guitar player, photographer and - ultimately - a weekly columnist for the Brownwood Bulletin for 11 years. Marlin's witty observations on rural life, and especially his experiences in Brown County growing up during the Great Depression and while flying 50 missions as a tail gunner over Germany in World War II, shaped a wit and way with words that prompted area readers to dub him "The Will Rogers of Central Texas."

He died May 20, 2010.

His other children are Laura Marlin of Brownwood, and Jimmy Marlin of Santa Anna.

While he was alive, Marlin compiled his articles in a series of books that were published over the decade when he was actively writing. Some of those volumes are difficult to find now, although the Blanket Museum has been a source for many of them. With the publication of these "I'll Get By" books, most if not all of Marlin's columns will be gathered into a convenient package.

"Our goal is to copyright and publish everything he did," Marlin said. "Our goal is to fulfill our promise."

Ken Marlin was almost apologetic that Volume I turned out to be so large, if only because that necessitated its somewhat higher purchase price of around $40.

"We're not trying to make money on this," Ken Marlin said. "It costs a lot to publish a book this size."

He said he had started out hoping the book could be hardcover, but instead it's a high-quality soft cover volume.

Volume I includes a dedication from the author, no doubt the most serious two pages a reader will find in it.

"This is not a serious book," Marlin wrote about his work. "Most people are too serious about things anyway."

The first article in the book, "Nothing Common About the Common Cold," is the first column that was published by Marlin in the Brownwood Bulletin. That was on Jan. 3, 1997.

Almost 950 more pages of Marlin's observations follow it. Most of them run about a page and a half in length, so despite the quantity of material, readers will probably find it difficult to put down.