Saturday, July 1, 2017
Evanston: heartwarming and charming; books read
From the heading of this entry you probably think I am writing about myself, but I’m not.
This is a long Fourth of July weekend in the United States. Most of the readers of this journal are Americans. This was a great country. The tense of the verb is deliberate. I am not by nature a member of any group. Not a Democrat or a Republican. I only believe in individuals. But you might consider this quietly: What do you think George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodor Rosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, would have thought of Donald Trump?
If you have four free minutes this weekend, you could probably not spend them better than watching this video sent to me by Chris, who accurately headed it, ‘Not gannets, but heartwarming.’ He wrote that after a Wednesday night race a boat he used to compete against “spotted what they thought was a turtle but turned out to be an osprey with its head in a polyethylene bag. They rescued it and as you can see it lived to rob more fishermen of their sport.” What a fine thing to have done. Go osprey.
If you have eleven more minutes, watch the charming short film shot on iPhone called Detour. I see on YouTube that twenty-seven people give this a thumbs down. They are demented. Five hundred and eighty-nine, including me, give it a thumbs up.
If you have a couple of hours, rent LION from iTunes. It is presently the film of the week and costs only ninety-nine cents. Most films these days are made for children, teen-agers and young adults. After all, they are the ones who go to theaters. I very seldom do. LION is about a child in India who is accidentally separated from his family, survives life on the streets of Calcutta, is adopted by an Australian family, and eventually finds his birth mother. I respect Nicolle Kidman for accepting a role in which she is far from glamorous.
LION is a movie about being kind to one another and a rare movie for adults.
Books read January to June, 2017
THE LAST KINGDOM Bernard Cornwall
THE BOYS IN THE BOAT Daniel James Brown
THE PALE HORSEMAN Bernard Cornwall
ATLAS OBSCURA Fder, Thuras, Morton
INTO THE SILENCE Wade Evans
THE HORSEMEN Gary McCarthy
THE PLAGUE Albert Camus
THE BIRTH OF VENUS Sarah Dunant
SUBMERGENCE J. M. Ledgard
NIGHT SOLDIERS Alan First
CAT’S CRADLE Kurt Vonnegut
CONFEDERATES Thomas Keneally
JUDE THE OBSCURE Thomas Hardy
SHAMAN Kim Stanley Robinson
A FINE IMITATION Amber Brock
THE SISTERS BROTHERS Patrick DeWitt
NOONDAY Pat Barker
POEMS Elizabeth Bishop
THE INDIFFERENT STARS ABOVE Daniel James Brown
WAR Sebastian Junger
THE POST OFFICE GIRL Stefan Zweig
LORDS OF THE NORTH Bernard Cornwall
THE ORCHARDIST Amanda Coplin
SWORD SONG Bernard Cornwall
H IS FOR HAWK Helen Macdonald
LIFE AND FATE Vasily Grossman
THE OTHER SIDE OF SILENCE Philip Kerr
RAGTIME E. L. Doctorow
SIN IN THE SECOND CITY Karen Abbot
WORLD GONE BY Dennis Lehane
WAR POEMS Sigfried Sassoon
CITY OF WOMEN David R. Gillham
THE WRECK OF THE MARY DEARE Hammond Innes
WESSEX POEMS Thomas Hardy
DEATH BY FIRE Anderson Reynolds
A HISTORY OF ST. LUCIA Harmsen. Ellis. DeVaux
THE STRUGGLE FOR SURVIVAL Anderson Reynolds
OMEROS Derek Walcott
SHORT STORIES Irvin Shaw
THE BURNING LAND Bernard Cornwall
FINN Jon Clinch
THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN Mark Twain
All of these were read before I reached Marathon. Atypically I have not finished a book since, though I am about to, QUEEN OF THE SOUTH by Arturo Pérez-Reverte, one of whose lines I used in the front of one of my books. I have been watching sports on television, The Last Kingdom and Breaking Bad.
Many of these books I have read before. Some several times. I would particularly recommend THE BOYS ON THE BOAT, THE PLAGUE, JUDE THE OBSCURE—the ultimate anti-Disney novel, WAR, H IS FOR HAWK, LIFE AND FATE, and as a sea story though parts are not believable, THE WRECK OF THE MARY DEARE, and all the ‘Last Kingdom’ novels by Bernard Cornwall.
FINN is a novel about Huckleberry’s father which was offered by BookBub. It is a good book and caused me to reread Mark Twain’s original for the third time. This is heresy, but I was disappointed in a novel I have long admired. The first two-thirds about Huck and Jim on the river is wonderful, but the last third when Tom Sawyer dominates the action is childish and stupid.
Good-bye, Huck. I won’t read you again.
A beautiful summer’s day here. Carol and I walked down to the lake where the above photo was taken.