Greek Mythology Link
Quirky, eccentric, extensive, includes Biographies, a Dictionary, Glossary, and Images
Greek Mythology Link
The county bookmobile services the trailer park where my mom lives; and where I now live, taking care of her. She reads a lot and so do I, so the bookmobile is a pretty regular thing for us, every two weeks.
I also go into the main branch once in a while, though most of my reading time is spent here, online.
Without recognizing the name, at first, I was pretty excited the other day to find in the shelf of non-fiction in the bookmobile a copy of "The Meaning of Everything" by Simon Winchester. Because it was subtitled "The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary".
If I had recognized the name I might have been less excited.
I took home Winchester's "The Madman and the Professor" four years ago, tried to read it, three or four different times, and finally threw it on the floor in disgust.
You need to understand that I can read James Michener quite happily, I can read and enjoy, in fact have read virtually all of John D. McDonald. Louis L'Amour, check. My mom gets books like Barbara Stanwyck's autobiography, I read that. But also, Alice Munro is one of my favorite authors. William Gass, Paul West, Edna O'Brien, Boswell's Johnson, Henry Fielding, Jane Austen...
The point is I'll read anything, almost, provided it isn't evil. And the better it is the happier I am.
A few years ago I was living in the vicinity of a major university and I scraped up enough to buy a "friend of the library" card that enabled me to check books out. It was a love affair. I was smitten. I am a reader of books.
The OED is like a library. I am, by virtue of being a reader of books, a reader of words. The OED is the keeper, the treasury of words, the foremost authority, the warm grandmother's kitchen of my native tongue. I virtually revere it. A book about its founding approaches the scriptural.
Winchester reeks of brimstone and blood-inked contracts.
The first sentence of the second paragraph of the Prologue of Winchester's second attempt to drag the OED into the gutter begins as so:
"A great horse race on a sunny afternoon tends always to bring out the best in people, and it is probably fair to say that the concern of most in England that summer's day was not so much with historical enterprises, however great or small they might have been, but rather more prosaically..."
It continues thus for a few more lines, and indeed the book itself continues for another 270 pages, though I'll never know whether his mind returned to its rightful place in time to shame him into a workmanlike attempt at the solemn task he set himself. I stopped there.
This is the work that holds our language safe and you sir, purport to be its historian; and yet you come to the table dressed in a pinafore and playing a slide whistle. Not that that costume is wrong in and of itself, it's the context in which it's displayed. This smacks of the vanity house, or worse, the demon's glee at soiling helpless virtue.
Fie, Winchester; had it been me I would have searched high and low for a better hand and then served as needed til the job was done.
Last time at the bookmobile I picked up a few autobiographies for my mom; one I almost didn't get, because she knows nothing of baseball, and because usually sports figures hire the worst ghost writers I've ever read to pad out their stories. But a voice said take it, so I did. It was
I Had a Hammer
The Hank Aaron Story
by Hank Aaron
with Lonnie Wheeler
I was reading some Nat'l Geographics before bed for a few days, but I wanted something a little longer or deeper, and I went through the little stack of books and there it was. I expected it to be that kind of bad Sports-Illustrated hype-and-fluff, but I gave it the Reader's Prayer - that the author be not so bad it felt insulting to read or damaging to the sense.
And within a page I was in awe. First at Wheeler's unreserved intelligence, then at Aaron's brilliance in collaborating with him, and then at Wheeler's steadfast hook in to the dark world Hank Aaron's story comes out of.
Lonnie Wheeler so obviously respects Aaron that he, again obviously, puts his whole strength into the book. And he's an intelligent man, with a grasp of history and the art of literature, and more fundamental, to the American landscape as it was, as it's revealed in the real histories of the real people who lived the real lives that made it what it was. And most importantly the real people who changed it.
I'm still reading it, in fact as soon as I finish this I'm going to bed to read it some more. It's a book I'll remember, and a story that goes into the weave of stories and lives I think of when I think of why it's necessary to fight to win, not to fight back, not even to fight to defend, but to win.
I'll come back to this when I've finished reading it.
still here 01:24
Shopping at the ocean
divine, I'd suck the sorrow out and spit
its thrashing body from the window
and there, her grandfather would live
forever, there, her friend's father
would rip the cancer from his chest
and weave it into a basket, there, she and I
will see mountains...
still here 22:02
"We are supposed to stay silent. About the madness running in our bloodlines, the revolt going on in our bodies, the cancers raining down around us. About the poisoned landscape that is now America. Susanne Antonetta laces all these demons together with words that sing a terrible and beautiful song. I don't know exactly how she does it, but she sure as hell does. And we all know she is right. Know it in our bones. Know it as we wail over our lost ones. This is a report from the flesh instead of the numbing statistics. This is our neighborhood written in blood."
Charles Bowden, on Body Toxic, by Suzanne Antonetta (Paola)
still here 21:38
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