Time seems to be circular instead of linear for me these days. You? Instead of moving in a straight line, it keeps looping up and meeting itself somewhere in the middle or at the beginning. Time won’t let me make sense of it, but that’s ok. I’m just observing ..
For example, a year ago today, about three hours from now, my step-father quietly slipped away after a quick month of living hell. I’m finding, though, that Daddy’s death in April of 1982 seems as fresh and recent and Bill’s feels as long ago and ancient.
I turn around and week is gone – or two, in the case of blog entries of late. Ah, well, it can’t just be me who feels this way.
My absence from The Lolly Diaries is easily explained, me being me. I fell into a rabbit hole of reading. from which I haven’t yet climbed, though I am stirring.
Yes, this is going to be one of those book posts.
First is a quick and quirky read, an older book from 1960,
We Think the World of You, by J. R. Ackerley. I bought it for John – put it in his stocking Christmas before last – but he hasn’t read it yet, so I decided to go ahead. Anyone who’s ever loved a German Shepherd, especially a skittish one, should read it. Funny, heartbreaking, uplifting and dead-on accurate in the descriptions of Evie, the dog who would not tame.
The book is a novel, but I can’t believe at least some of it’s not autobiographical.
Then I got trapped in Dave Eggers’ The Circle, which John got me for Christmas this year. I adore Dave Eggers, but this book – appreciate it, yes. Adore it, no. Couldn’t put it down, though – four days, I think it took me. Maybe five. It’s spooky and gripping and annoying for weak character development, pop-fiction thriller-style and moralistic tone, which, I’m sure, is exactly what Eggers intended.
He is, after all, a staggering genius.
And, frankly, The Circle made me consider ending this blog and is part of the reason I’ve been away. As I’ve been saying to anyone who’ll listen (harder to find since I no longer teach and have a captive audience), it’s a 1984/Brave New World for the digital age.
Can’t stop thinking about it and seeing aspects everywhere.
Then I had a quickie with President James A. Garfield, via the excellent Destiny of the Republic by the brilliant Candice Millard. My friend Shalah turned me on to this one, after I told her about Sarah Vowell’s Assassination Vacation.
Everyone who’s ever taken American history knows Garfield was assassinated, but the book is still a nail-biter, page-turner, just-have-to-read-one-more-section story. One detail, which I won’t spoil for you, brought tears to my eyes on the treadmill, which is a little dangerous.
In structure, Destiny reminds me of The Devil in the White City, another book I had trouble putting down. Perfection in 260 pages (not counting notes, etc.)
And now I’m being held hostage by Lisa Alther’s Kinflicks – her first novel, published in 1977. I ordered a used paperback copy, a British version from an “American classics” series published in the 1990s. Strange cover and British punctuation, but, heavens, Lisa Alther can write. Pop-fiction this is not, though, with almost Moby Dick-like attention to description and minute detail.
Reading it after reading her Kinfolks, her nonfiction account of searching for her Melungeon roots/ancestors makes Kinflicks doubly interesting, but that’s not required.
John is in Yakima as of Wednesday, spending time with his mother, Kitty, Marie-Noelle and the rest of the fam, so I’ve made quite a dent in the massive book. But today I’m taking a break to walk the girlies, who are patiently waiting on me to finish this post (they’re not Evies, thank goodness, though both had such wild tendencies in their younger years).
I think I have a date with the sewing machine, too. At least that’s the intention, if the Tennesseans of Kinflicks will leave me be for a bit.