Friday, August 27, 2004

Minerva Stream, in the heart of the Adirondacks

I have complained about the weather all summer to anyone who would listen and this week I have cheered each and every one of the five days of glorious sunshine and blue skies that we've had. Sure does improve the mood.

Now I'm in the midst of planning the books I'll be bringing on our annual trek to the Adirondacks. We're going for two weeks and two days--the longest stretch we've ever had up there. I'm determined to read Three Junes by Julia Glass. I own it and have put off reading it again and again because I keep finding library books that I need to hurry up and return. I've ordered Alice in Exile by Piers Paul Reid, a novel set in the days of the Russian Revolution (just love that era). I wish I had T.C. Boyle's new book The Inner Circle, but it's not going to hit bookstores until September 9, the day after we leave for the wilderness. It's about a man and a woman who participate in Dr. Kinsey's sexual studies in the--is it the 1940s? The 50s? I think it might be the late 1940s. Oh, and I'm going to read The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber, another book I own. Since not a one of these three is short, I'll bet that's all I'll have time for, especially considering the ugly fact that I think I'm going to be copyediting a manuscript while I'm up there. This project keeps being delayed. I don't want to lose the opportunity to do it because I need the work.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Workaholicism has been forced upon me for so long now that I can't remember what it's like to have leisure time. And here I sit on a Sunday afternoon, at my desk, supposedly getting ready to write about ethnic cleansing and U.S. national policy and my brain has suddenly turned to mush! I don't have a ghost's chance of making the deadline--the deadlines have been unrealistic and inhuman anyway. I got a week's extension on the last batch, so I automatically gave myself a week's extension on the second batch since I lost a week by extending the first. But still. I cannot research and write about such complicated issues so fast. I say I can't, but for the most part, I've been doing it anyway. An intercranial meltdown.

I've never been what you'd call a speedy writer anyway. I deliberate, I write and revise, then I deliberate so more.

This is all by a means of explaining where I have been since June 28th. I have been reading incessantly, but mostly about U.S. national security. And it has been fascinating to see the foreign policies of the Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Nixon administrations all fall into place. Oh, and don't forget Roosevelt and George W. Bush. It is astonishing how many of established U.S. foreign policies G.W. has dismantled. Appalling--in so short a time span.

I hope you skipped reading all that because now I'll get to the interesting stuff. What have I been reading this summer?

After the Plague, a collection of short stories by T. C. Boyle (crazy, but oh, so very good). To make matters worse, I have not been recording what I've been reading. I will do a search through my memory files and report back.

Oh, an excellent book! House of Bush, House of Saud by Craig Unger, which I read before I saw Fahrenheit 911. Unger's book is loaded with information gleaned from newspapers from all over. Using just journalistic sources, however, a reader can't be certain at all that they're accurate. Even so, if only a few are accurate, and I'm sure I can count on that, the Bush/Saudi connections are staggering to contemplate, in particular, the business connections and their ramifications for the political. If you've backed off from reading it because you find political books too dreary or too jam-packed with a boring recitation of facts, I recommend that you try Unger's book. I found that what he had to report was so compelling that I just had to keep reading.

And, I have caved in to the knitting sensation. Yes, I am knitting a sweater. I have not picked up a set of knitting needles since the 1970s, but I saw two women companionably knitting one afternoon on the comfy couch at Starbuck's and it hit me--what's missing from my work-crazed life right now is knitting! It's a very soothing pastime.