Saturday, July 27, 2019

The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson (1959)*****

Jed came over on Wednesday, and we went to TKC Thursday to see the vascular doctor, Dr. Patterson, who said he will get with Dr. Stein and they'll decide whether to do an angiogram to see what's wrong with my painful leg.

Wednesday evening Jed and I watched the movie, The Haunting (1963) starring Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson and Russ Tamblyn, the first movie that was based on Shirley Jackson's book. It's a somewhat scary movie, but nothing to compare with the book. Some of the characters were different; Richard Johnson played the doctor/psychic-researcher, Dr. Markway, who in the book is named Dr. Montague, and Eleanor Vance is changed to Eleanor Lance, for some reason. I read the book again, from Wednesday to this morning (Saturday), careful not to read the horrifying parts alone at night.

Dr. Montague of the book is a cherubic little man with a very stupid wife, and Luke Sanderson is the romantic interest quarreled over by Eleanor and Theodora.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Murder on Shades Mountain, The Legal Lynching of Willie Peterson, by Melanie S. Morrison***

A black man accused of murdering two girls on Shades Mountain, a rich suburb of Birmingham, Alabama in the 1930's,  keeps insisting that he's innocent, convincing a lot of people that it's true.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Furious Hours, by Casey Ceb****

This is our book club selection for August, so I'll wait until after
the August meeting to post any remarks about it.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Dispatches from Pluto, by Richard Grant***

The author and his girlfriend buy and move into an old house in the Mississippi delta. They have funny and sad experiences in the "drafty old house," and making friends with black and white neighbors and acquaintances. This was our book club selection for June.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

A Light in the Attic, by Shel Silverstein**** - A Review

"Last night, while I lay thinking here,
Some Whatifs crawled into my ear
And pranced and partied all night long
And sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?"

Review: This book was written and drawn by Shel Silverstein, a good writer and drawer This is a good book. I like it very much.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

A Canticle for Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller, Jr.****

This novel was first published in 1969. I thought I had read it many years ago, but I was mistaken. The book is in three parts, the first part taking place more than a thousand years after civilization on earth is mostly destroyed by nuclear warfare in the late 1900's. The population includes monstrous beings made by radiation fallout. Most of the action takes place in a Catholic abbey in the Utah desert.
A monk finds an ancient repository of writing and illustrations from 20th century America, and thus begin efforts to rebuild civilization.

After several hundred more years, the people have got the world back pretty much as it was before destruction, and have developed advanced machines and weapons. And so--you guessed it--nuclear wars break out and threaten to destroy the world. Fortunately, several extraterrestrial colonies have already been established on other planets, and a space ship is ready to take the current citizens to outer space just before the world is destroyed.

The text of this book is larded with Latin phrases, mostly from the Catholic ceremonies and readings. I remembered a few words of Latin and a few prayers and quotations.

I really enjoyed the book. The first section is rather amusing, until the major monk, Brother Francis, is shot through the head with an arrow.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Becoming, by Michelle Obama****

My sweet Sister Susie gave me this book for my birthday. It is extremely well-written, easy to read. I enjoyed it very much. The First Lady certainly had experiences of hard work to achieve her goals, as well as family tragedies like most other people. As she evidently has one of the best husbands in the world, and two lovely children, one wishes her a continued long, blessed and happy life.

Today in the mail I received a brand new copy of A Canticle for Leibowits, (copyright 1959), as I sold my old copy back when I was selling on Amazon. I have received so many free books lately through Amazon and Amex, that I almost feel like a cheapskate. But I guess they are the results of all the books I bought and paid for, before I paid any attention to the information about "points"

An old book that I've read most of recently is Black Elk Speaks, by John G. Neihardt. I've never read this whole book, frankly because it is so sad to read. This time around, I wrote a poem, "Black Elk Speaks of the Death of Crazy Horse," which I entered in the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (NFSPS) 2019 Founders' Award contest. I also read it at our most recent poetry group meeting.

Also at the poetry group meeting, Ramey read a really wonderful poem about birds, which I think was new. And other members contributed good poems. It was good to see Spurgeon again; he never reads, but just listens.

"Just" reminded me of something that struck me while watching "Gunsmoke" on TV. I don't  know what some of those old shows would have done without the words "just" and "well." Almost every sentence that either Matt Dillon or Doc Adams spoke started with "Well," and when they started saying "just," it seems they couldn't quit.

Lately I get a "ghost" on every photo that I post on the blog. It's a mystery.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens*****

What a wonderful book!  I have admired and remembered Delia Owens for many years, since I read The Cry of the Kalahari, which she and her husband Mark wrote. They had met and fallen in love as college students, and planned to get married and go to Africa. That is exactly what they did. The part of the Kalahari desert where they settled was practically unknown to the outside world; the animals had never had contact with human beings before, therefore were not afraid of them. The couple would wake up some mornings with lions and other wild animals sleeping around them.

But this is about a novel, Where the Crawdads Sing, our book club's April selection. It's about one of the loneliest characters in all of fiction, a girl called Kya who lived in the swampy marshes of part of the North Carolina Atlantic coast. When she was a little girl, her  mother and all her siblings abandoned her to the "care" of her brutal father, who died a couple of years later. That's all I'm going to write about the book now, except to repeat that it's a book about solitude and loneliness and how they can affect a human being--and to say that another good title for this book would be Firefly.

Monday, March 11, 2019

House of Rose, by T.K. Thorne***

T.K. Thorne is a former police captain in the city of Birmingham, Alabama. She is also a fine novelist who has received awards and honors for her writing. House of Rose is her first venture into the genre of mystery and fantasy. It's a good story narrated by the protagonist Rose Bright, and it  introduces three hereditary and mysterious "houses," with two of them being at odds with each other. I said "introduces," because at the last page of the book, you just know a sequel is to be anticipated. The story blends the realistic details of police work with magic. This is our selection for the March book club meeting.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Camille Claudel: A Life, by Odile Ayral-Clause****

Camille Claudel, 1864-1943, was a headstrong, difficult person from her childhood. She also proved talented for sculpture at an early age. Her mother always resented her, but her ineffectual father loved her. Her younger brother Paul was her friend and confidant, but a very religious Catholic, he eventually decided that Camille was probably "possessed."

The famous French sculptor Auguste Rodin accepted Camille as his student, and soon fell in love with her, although he had another mistress whom he would not give up. Camille's strong personality eventually showed signs of mental illness, chiefly paranoia, a strong persecution complex. She broke with Rodin and became obsessed with the idea that he, and others, were stealing her works and plotting against her life.

Her family committed her to a French asylum in 1913, where, at the request of her mother, she was restricted from seeing or communicating with anyone outside the asylum for long periods. Rodin continued to have strong feelings for her the rest of his life, but in his old age he married his mistress Rose, and they honeymooned in an unheated government house. Both died of pneumonia within the first year of their marriage. When Camille died, possibly from malnutrition, in 1943, she was buried in the asylum's cemetery.

Ten years later, her brother Paul requested permission to move her remains to her home village of Villeneuve. The reply he received was that her burial place had been reclaimed for the needs of the Cemetery Department. The bones of all the interred individuals had been exhumed and  transferred together to a communal grave. Camille never returned to her beloved Villeneuve. Of the communal grave, of her bones, there is no trace.

Camille Claudel, 1878

Friday, February 8, 2019

The Secret Garden, by Susan Patterson****

Lately, I've got several books for "free," by using my Amazon and
Amex points. I really like this book. I would love to make a container garden, but I probably won't attempt it. I've been trying to finish our book club selection for next week, but I just can't seem to get into the story. It's hard to believe I haven't read a book since Christmas, except for this Secret Garden one. Uh--I did read the January book club selection, Oh My Stars.

One of the books for free that I've got coming is a biography of
Camille Claudel, the sculptor who was Rodin's assistant and lover,
who some say really surpassed Rodin in skill and aesthetics. Her work is very personal and some of it erotic or suggestive of the erotic, so in her late 19th-early 20th century time, she was mostly ignored.

I finally replaced my old sofa, and now I'm trying to hang some art
and stuff on the living room walls. I've called Pat to come and help me, as I want to hang the bigger pieces high.

 I found the sofa on sale at Rooms To Go online. That's not a bug under the red table; that table is on black casters. The picture in front of the green lamp is of GMR in his "cowboy" costume. I've never been able to make out what he wrote around the edges of the photo.

Yesterday I was "meditating" upon things that people have said that hurt my feelings. After going over (and over) a few of them, it suddenly occurred to me that I have thoughtlessly hurt several of my loved ones by exercising my big mouth. I went over the examples, cringing all the while, until I got tired of the subject.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Oh My Stars, by Lorna Landvik***

This is our January 2019 selection for the book club. It's a good book, about a girl who overcomes a handicap, with a little help from a bunch of new friends. I finished reading it this morning, and then slept the rest of the day. I see it has been raining again, which may have helped me sleep so long.

Well, "So long, 2018." It has been a good year for me; I wish all my kin had a year as pain-free and relatively worry-free as I did.

Yesterday I went to church with my two sisters, and after church they took me out to lunch in recognition of my birthday (which was December 27th). Susan gave me a brand-new copy of Michelle Obama's book, Becoming, plus some goodies. Ramey and India had already given me several cards and presents, including three pairs of cute (and warm) winter socks.

I've heard a few distant fireworks already. I look forward to reading Mrs. Obama's book this week.

One of my periodic wishes is for time to put away stuff and straighten up the house before the cleaning lady comes, which will be next Monday.

The only New Year's resolution I'm making is to keep up with the daily exercises that the Rehab people showed me. I always feel better after doing the exercises, and after I recover  the ability to stand up, breathe, and walk around.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Where the Sidewalk Ends: Poems and drawings by Shel Silverstein*****

Jed gave me this book for my birthday (yesterday), and I read it last night and this morning. We had a wonderful Christmas and birthday celebration. Jed came over on Christmas Eve and stayed through Thursday (my birthday). We ate good old home-style meals at Cracker Barrel one day, then did a lot of cooking, and a couple of sandwiches from Sonics. Sister Susan invited us to her house for a delicious Christmas Eve dinner with her, Andy and Jesse. I didn't have a chance to do much shopping except online ordering, and couldn't find anything to give Jed. So I've got two drawings/paintings lined up to finish, and if one of them turns out okay, it will be his delayed Christmas present.

I received several pretty Christmas and birthday cards, plus a couple of online cards. Here are some of them:

   I made the Christmas stockings and the quilt many years ago.


I saw on Facebook a post by
President Obama, listing some
of the books he read in 2018.
One of his favorites was
Washington Black, which was
our book club selection for December.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Washington Black, by Esi Edugyan++++

This is the book for our next book club meeting. It's very good, about a young slave named George Washington Black, and the three male owners of the plantation in Barbados where he is born. One of the three brothers, Erasmus Wilde, lives on and runs the plantation, and he is brutally cruel to the slaves, especially to Kit, a woman who takes care of Wash. Erasmus' two brothers, Christopher (Tisch) and Philip, come to the plantation, and Wash is told he must belong to Christopher. He is afraid of what life with Tisch might be like.

The story is full of good things as well as tragedies. I enjoyed reading it.

Jed came over for Thanksgiving, and Susan had invited us to have Thanksgiving dinner with her, Jesse and Andy. As always, she served a fabulously delicious meal.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

The Life and Adventures of Nat Love****

The book I'm reading now is The Life and Adventures of Nat Love, the autobiography of a former slave. After the War, Nat's father rented land from the "old Master" and the family started farming and raising tobacco. But after a year or so, Nat's father and older sister died, leaving him a young boy as head of the rest of the family. At age 15 he took off up the old Chisholm Trail to become a cowboy, Indian fighter, rodeo champion, and towards the end a Pullman conductor.

But Nat Love tells of life as a slave before he started all those later adventures. One way the slave children had fun was staging rock fights, in which two groups threw rocks at each other until one side ran away. Reading about that reminded me of something I think of now and then: Doug and I engaged in at least one rock fight that I remember.

Some of the Walker children hid behind a big sheet of roofing tin, up on the bank between their house and our storm pit, and piled up their rocks to throw. Doug and I hid behind a big metal wheelbarrow beside the well, across the clay road from the Walkers' bank, and gathered up some rocks to throw. I don't think anybody got hit. I was just practicing trying to throw hard enough to hit their tin barrier, but I dimly remember accidentally hitting someone who was out in the clear. Or maybe I dreamed it.

Jim and Doug and I used to catch tiny little fish in a creek and cook them over an open fire creekside. What fun we had!(?)

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Circe, by Madeline Miller****

This is a novel based on mythology, set in the period of the Greek & Trojan wars.. Circe, a goddess and a sorceress or witch, is the least favorite daughter of Helios (the sun). Some of these characters were Titans, or children of Cronos (those whom he didn't eat), and the others were Olympians, descendants of Zeus. Circe and her family were Titans, who were not very friendly with Zeus and his descendants.

Because she tried to help Prometheus when Helios had him flayed and bound to a rocky crag, Helios burned her to a crisp, but being immortal, eventually she healed and was restored to her former self. The next time she displeased Helios, he exiled her to a deserted island, where she lived for many thousand years and had lots of lovers and adventures.

She cultivated many plants for her potions, and some of the plants, fungi, etc., are known today for their healing properties. Circe healed a lot of people as well as turning others into pigs and monsters. Her healing spells and medicines are called pharma in the book, which reminded me of something the evangelist Jack Van Impe said once. He said that in the Bible, where it says that in the last days a lot of people were doomed because they wouldn't give up their sorceries, that the original Greek word was pharma. Van Impe said that this indicated that modern people wouldn't stop taking drugs, which sounds reasonable. Jack Van Impe is still living, a very smart man in his eighties. He had memorized some thousands of Bible verses, though Wikipedia says that various illnesses and old age have made him forget some and have to struggle to remember some others.

In an addendum the author gives a list of the characters and tells who they are and their places in the Trojan wars. A lot of these gods and goddesses have counterparts in Roman mythology. I believe Chronos, Circe's grandfather, was the equivalent of Saturn in Roman myths. Hermes, the messenger, was Mercury, and the Greek Herakles was Hercules in Rome.

Very interesting book.

Monday, November 5, 2018

The Humans, by Matt Haig****

This is the selection for our next book club meeting. I read it over the weekend. It's sort of a tear-jerker, which is to say I gave up and started shedding tears on page 100. The extraterrestrial messed  up a marriage and shirked his mission, and the old Riemann theory got put on the back of the stove without a solution, again. The E.T.'s teen-aged "son" is an appealing character and worth saving from falling off the roof. All in all, the book is very good reading. The other Matt Haig book we've read was How to Stop Time, also a good book.

Tonight is supposed to be dark and stormy.

Jed spent the weekend in New York, visiting friends.

Tomorrow is mid-term election day. It's almost scary, thinking what if the current administration wins again.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus,by Mary Wollstonecraft (Godwin) Shelley****

I had never read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. It's very good, more like science fiction than horror. Shelley wrote this book when she was nineteen years old, and the grammar, syntax and story development are near perfect.

On Saturday, 10/27, Jed, Pat and I went to the Alabama State Poetry Society meeting in Birmingham. I hadn't entered any of the contests, but Pat did. She won a third place prize, and glory be! She won the big contest, the ASPS first prize for her poem "Rain Crow!" Made us all proud!

Carrie the nurse came yesterday and discharged me from rehab. Pat phoned and reminded me that our poetry group is hosting the Birmingham Arts Journal staff at the Leeds Arts Center. So I got ready quickly and went to the meeting. An email from Joan had told me to bring a poem to read, so I read "Lost Roads" at the end of the meeting.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

I'm Thinking of Ending Things, by Iain Reid***

By the end of the book, I had vaguely figured out what was going on. It's a painful book, good writing.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green****

A very good book. Funny, philosophical, and tragic. I finished reading it tonight.

Jed drove me to the Whitaker Clinic to my appointment with Dr. Gruman. We discussed my changing to Dr. Russell at UAB Leeds, and Dr. G. agreed it was a good idea. We exchanged "I'll miss you"s.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

More of the Same, With a Little Twist

Spent two nights in the urgent care clinic. By the time I got there, the breathing problem had cleared  up, but Dr. Gruman wanted them to run all my breathing, heart, etc. tests over again, which they did.  They also signed me up for rehab and home health care and I don't know what all. Then they put me back on all the former meds, including an inhaler which consists of a little plastic case of powder to be inhaled, which didn't help before, but maybe it will this time. I know it sounds ungrateful, but that's probably because in a way I am. I'm sort of glad I went, though. This time I was a perfect patient. I didn't say one cross, sarcastic or profane word to anybody. Man, I was sweet!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018


Woke up with shortness of breath, so I guess I'll go to the ER when the doctor calls me back.

Still have back and rib pain from the fall.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Random Harvest (1941), by James Hilton*****

James Hilton
I finished reading it again today. This is another of my "best novels ever written," and this might really be the one. The story is set in England in the 1930's, and the atmosphere when Hitler is rising to power is so much like our situation in the U.S. today. "These are the last days," he said to me once. '"We are like people in a
trance--even those of us who can see the danger ahead can do nothing to avert it--like the dream in which you drive a car towards a precipice and your foot is over the brake but you have no  physical power to press down."'

In the course of the book, Charles Rainier loves two women, and I am never quite sure that the one who wins is the right one for him.

The character Rainier seems very similar to the hero of an earlier Hilton novel, Lost Horizon. They both recover from amnesia. They both want what neither can have: a quiet life, more spiritual than physical. However, the end of Lost Horizon may not have been the end for Conway; he might have made it back to Shangri-La--which, itself, existed under a shadowy threat for the future.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

How much more?

Tuesday night I fell and bumped my back. Prayed the Jesus Prayer till daylight, then spent all day yesterday being driven by my sisters from one clinic to another, as I couldn't get in touch with my doctor to ask him what I should do. In severe pain most of the time. The final opinion was that I may or may not have a small fracture of a rib or something, and I should take Tylenol. Don't know if I should continue all those other medications on top of the Tylenol, but I'm doing so. For the time being, I'm tired of trying to ask medical opinions.

Thanks to the Tylenol I did sleep several hours this morning.

Marlowe's Mephistopheles may have been wrong, but it sure feels like Purgatory.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Vachel Lindsay, Poet

Apropos of the the Congo River, I like Vachel Lindsay's poem "The Congo: a Study of the Negro Race." Lindsay died in 1931; he didn't know such words were politically incorrect. I love "the cake-walk princes lean" and the "hats that were covered with diamond-dust," and "coal-black maidens with pearls in their hair."


"Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, BOOM!
A roaring, epic, rag-time tune
From the mouth of the Congo
To the Mountains of the Moon.
Death is the Elephant,
Torch-eyed and horrible . . .

"Mumbo-Jumbo will hoo-doo you,
Mumbo-Jumbo will hoo-doo you,
Mumbo-Jumbo will hoo-doo you."

Sometimes I get so impatient with the spacing, I just give up.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World, by Maya Jasanoff****

"Tumbling down the rapids from Kinshasa to the Atlantic, the Congo River bursts out of Africa with such force that you can see its sediment churning into the sea for hundred of miles offshore, tinting the blue ocean brown. That was the first violence Konrad would have witnessed as he approached the Congo Free State on the Ville de Maceto in June 1890." - TDW p. 186

Joseph Conrad was born in 1857 and died in 1924. He was born Josef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski, in Poland which was part of the Russian empire. Early in his adulthood he went to live in England, became a naturalized British citizen, and considered himself an English writer. He worked as a sailor, holding various posts, for twenty years, then quit to write full-time. He married a Miss Jessie George; the book says she was homely, but her photograph is lovely.

Conrad's major novels were written after his retirement to England. They included Almayer's Folly, Nostromo, Lord Jim, and Heart of Darkness. His only "best-seller" during his lifetime was Lord Jim, which was immensely popular soon after its publication.

One Saturday morning in August 1924, Conrad went to see a house that he was thinking about moving to. He had a bout of chest pain during the trip. He went to bed with the doctor's diagnosis of indigestion. His breathing became difficult, and he was placed on oxygen. Next day he felt well enough to get up and sit in his chair; Jessie was laid up in the next room with injured knees from an earlier accident, and she and Conrad called to each other from their rooms. Then "everyone in the house heard a thump. Conrad had fallen dead from his chair...." He was buried in "the kind Kentish earth." TDW

A quotation by the author regarding Heart of Darkness: "Anyone could be savage. Everywhere could go dark."

Joseph Conrad's works that I have read:
The Secret Agent
Lord Jim
An Outcast of the Islands
The Nigger of the Narcissus
Heart of Darkness and The Secret Sharer

Conrad and his cousin
                                                                                         Jessie George Conrad
                                                                                             From a Getty image

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Turtles All the Way Down, by John Green****

To me, this seems the most complex and interesting of all the John Green books I have read. The four teenagers, Aya, Daisy, Davis, and Noah react in different ways to the disappearance of Mr. Pickett, the boys' billionaire father. Aya's father died several years earlier, and she knows something of what the boys are going through. She sympathizes especially with Noah, Pickett's younger son, who grieves for his father, whereas Davis the older son knows his father's darker side and has moments of being glad the man is gone. Aya and Davis love each other, at least as good friends, and their relationship is affected by Aya's lifelong mental problems. Daisy is more practical minded than her friend, and she tells Aya to forget about the search for Mr. Pickett, but Aya refuses and eventually finds a solution to the mystery.

This is a wonderful book. It's strange that the most recent two books I've read were both about a disappearing person and an obsessive searcher who solves the mystery.

Jed came over yesterday. He brought me the John Green book, and I read it last night and today. Yesterday we drove to Moody and explored a large, very nice retirement community. I've been thinking about whether I should give up my house full of junk and stairs in favor of an orderly and patterned residence for my late years. So far, the answer is "no," but who knows what I'll think tomorrow.

Leaving Time, by Jodi Picoult****

"Ghoulies and ghosties and ill-tempered beasties, and things that go bump in the night." Jenna is a teen-aged girl whose mother disappeared ten years earlier, and Jenna keeps searching for her. She is aided in her search by two people she meets, Serenity who has been a real working psychic but thinks she has lost her abilities, and Virgil who worked with the police when Jenna's mother disappeared. Jenna's mother, Alice, was a professional scientist and writer, working with African and Asian elephants, and some of the pachyderms are real characters in the story.

This is our book for the August book club meeting. I think this it's a very good choice. I've read two other books by Picoult, Nineteen Minutes and My Sister's Keeper. I think it's impossible to say which is the best of the three.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Outside the Magic Circle****

The Autobiography of Virginia Foster Durr

"Life has a strange irony. You fight for something--like the right to vote in the South. Give the Negroes and the poor folks the right to vote. And you win. And then they elect George Wallace."

Mrs. Durr's exasperation and many other attitudes abound in this excellent [my opinion] account of politics in Alabama, roughly from the 1930's through the '60's.  I say excellent, because it is readable, un-put-downable.  The last section of the book really spoke to me, because I lived through some of it, and it mentions several of the characters I knew, sympathetic and otherwise.

Southerners love nicknames. A choice one in this book is Dinkydonk, a daughter (Constantia) of Jessica Mitford. Jessica herself was called Decca.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Three Books

I spent yesterday reading the book club selection, Missing Isaac, by Valerie Fraser Luesse. I would give it three stars for a debut novel. This was a good read, except for the vast number of characters. I kept up with the four main characters, but only toward the end did I get a hold on who was who among the others. Isaac and his mother were the only ones I was sure were black.

When I finished that one, I took up The Hobbit where I had left off. All day I had not turned on the television or the computer. In the late afternoon I tried to get online and couldn't. The I found that the TV and the phones were out. Looking out the front door through the rain, I saw a big limb from the ivy-covered tree lying on the ground, and the cable line lying under it. So I went up to Ramey's house and called Charter, and they came this morning and fixed it.

Today I finished reading The Hobbit, which I love a lot. And now I'm free to read my new book that arrived last week, The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World, by Maya Jasanoff. John Le Carre called it superb, and Louis Menand described it as "history, biography, and adventure story."

I can't get rid of the spaces below.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Late Arrival

I had given up on a book I ordered through Amazon. They emailed me that it had shipped on May 7. I didn't worry too much, as it didn't cost anything except a bunch of earned "points." It finally did arrive today, a hard-cover book that looks new, The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World.

I can already tell that it's wonderful, with illustrations of Conrad's family and travels every few pages. I flipped through and read a couple of pages telling about his marriage. But I didn't really start reading from the beginning. I need to finish The Hobbit before I begin another book.

This is the first book I've been excited about in months. It includes parts about Stanley and Livingstone, and about King Leopold's atrocities mentioned in Vachel Lindsay's poem. Conrad lived from 1857 to 1924.