Friday, June 2, 2023

Reading George.

I read, therefore I am.

I don't watch TV.

I don't watch sports.

I seldom hang out.

But I read.

Every night. 

My way of dealing with the crap of the world is to shut off from the world the moment I can and spend time in what Dr. Lewis, my therapist of thirty years, calls my "restorative niche." I often quote Wordsworth, saying "the world is too much with us," and surely it is.

Between the resurgence of hate and intolerance, to the impending doom of man-made climate change, to a broken reality where we can barely discern the real from the fake, to the everyday nonsense of dealing with those you love or used to love, as the jingle goes, "you deserve a break today."

I often say, "I get to spend an hour a night with a genius," and leave it at that. It's way better than spending an hour on a late-night zoom call.

Here's a bit of what I've been reading lately.

The Stories of Old Towns...reminds us that everything has a political agenda. Including the rebuilding of ancient cities devastated by war, ideology and genocide. Who's forced out, who gets to stay, who's erased altogether. 

The stories and the writings and the winning of the Nobel Prize by the Columbia University professor and man who explains how the world works.

America before Europe came. Thousands of years of history before it was re-written by the conquerors.

The Great Train Robbery, 1920s-style. On the way from Beijing to Shanghai. Complete with murder, kidnapping, bribery, geopolitical intrigue, celebrities and throwing children off cliffs.

The age-old battle between the forces of religion and the forces of science. It's not just happening today. It's happened forever. And there's no guarantee the good guys will win.

Women and their foundational stories. From Pandora, to Clytemnestra to the Amazons, to Jocasta. These are the archetypes of Western thought and Haynes is about 90 times as brilliant as anyone ever.

More on women and their roles. And our fight for better.

Faulkner said, "The past is not dead; it is not even past." The same might be said about the Latin language and the people who love it. The Wall Street Journal said about this book, "If only schoolmasters had given students this kind of book first, before all that rote learning about genitive and ablative cases." 

If you have time for only one of these books, I'd recommend "Freedom's Dominion." This year's Pulitzer-Prize-winner in history. And the almost 300-year-old story of white Southern "victimhood." You'll learn more about modern America than you would watching ten episodes of "The Bachelor."

None of these are beach reads. In fact, they may leave you feeling like you have sand up your crotch. That doesn't mean they ain't worth the trip.

These books are good, instructive and, if you're wired like me, fun.


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