Sorry for the lack of postings recently. It seems whenever I get a nagging notion to write something, I’m nowhere in the vicinity of a computer or am engaged in other activity, such as taking a dump. Why this blog just surpassed 400,000 hits (Gravy Bread celebrates its one year anniversary this month; in celebration I’m making “waah, waah” baby crying noises while you smear cake over the screen) has little to do with my modest postings anyway, and almost everything to do with the good ole Mega Super Mammoth—the true traffic driver of this site.
My spare time these days is mostly consumed by reading, and never in my life have I been more voracious about it. I’m mixing up the fare to keep things interesting; I’ve got a stack of several books going simultaneously, which means I start reading a bunch of them and settle down into 1 or two (one for reading on the bus trips to and fro via work/home and another for reading in bed once settled down for the evening). I’ve started Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope, Richard Hughes’ A High Wind in Jamaica, The Long Walk (a true-life Gulag escape tale by a guy named Slavomir Rawicz), and Jon Krakauer’s true-life Everest catastrophe Into Thin Air, among others. My current committed bus read is Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi (it helps that I’ve read the Nabokov novel refered to therein), and my scary night read is Whitley Strieber’s Communion. Books I’ve polished off in the last two months are: John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces, Stanley Karnow’s Vietnam: A History, No One Here Gets Out Alive by Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman, The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles, Howard Stern: King of All Media by Paul Colford, Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and In the Spirit of Crazy Horse by Peter Matthiessen. I enjoyed all of these, but especially the Twain book, which has to be classed as a personal favorite, and was particularly enlightened by Matthiessen’s massive inquiry into the case of railroaded American Indian Leonard Peltier. Bowles’ novel of aimless Americans in North Africa was pure poetry, exquisitely evoking mood and place and making its mystifying protagonists more interesting than they are. Fifty years on, one can’t help but ponder the fate of Americans Port and Kit Moresby if they’d made this journey through Islamic country in the present climate. They probably would have had their throats cut on page one.
So, what you see here an unexpected mix of pop culture fluff, straight-up serious history, and higher-brow fiction. That’s the way I like it.
Having a Half Price Books store nearby filled with $1 clearance books (including many of the titles mentioned above) kind of feeds the addiction.
‘Til the next…