Monday, October 17, 2016

Evanston: the virtue of losing it

        Most of the books I buy these days, I buy through the inelegantly named BookBub.  I believe it was Larry in California who told me of BookBub, and I thank him even though it costs me $30 or $40 a month.  
        After you create an account and specify genres, BookBub sends an email each day with several ebooks on sale, usually for $1.99 or $2.99, though once I paid $3.99 and some are free.  
        In the past month I bought 14 books from Amazon via BookBub.  Obviously I haven’t yet read them all.  A few turn out to be mistakes, but the loss is insignificant, and many have proven to be great finds.  Several that have been offered I didn’t buy because I already own them, such as a biography of Catherine the Great and Beryl Markham’s, WEST WITH THE NIGHT.
        A couple of days ago I bought a novel, A FINE IMITATION, which has the following quote at the beginning:  Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.  —Charles Mackay.
        My return to the United States has made me think that the herd has indeed gone mad.
        During my fifty-five days at sea between Darwin and Durban, the world had news of me via the Yellowbrick tracker, but I had no news of the world.  This was quite a satisfactory arrangement.
        When I reached South Africa I became aware that my age related hearing loss, noticeable for the past year or so, has become more severe.  Alone on GANNET it didn’t matter, but now too often I can’t understand what people are saying.  I’ll get a hearing aid, but probably not until next year, after, hopefully, I have completed the circumnavigation.
        Having been more than half blind for several years and now becoming deaf, clearly I am losing touch with reality.  Reality being what it is, I don’t mind.


        Kathleen Saville, who rowed across both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans with her late husband, Curt, has another excellent quote at the beginning of her book, ROWING FOR MY LIFE, to be published next year.  I have written of Kathleen and Curt here before and was sent a prepublication copy.
         It is easier to sail many thousand miles through cold and storm and cannibals, in a government ship, with five hundred men and boys to assist one, than it is to explore the private sea, the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean of one’s being alone.  —Henry David Thoreau