Just When I Thought I Was Out, They Pull Me Back In!

images.jpgLast night I dreamed I went to the library and the shelves were all empty. I asked the librarian and she told me I had read all the books, thus fulfilling my quest. A dark shadow passed over the skylight, heading for Lonely Mountain.

An omen?

Lately I have more than once considered simplifying my life by eliminating all or parts of this web site. Those of you who have been around a long time may remember some site features that disappeared or merged with other features. One persistent urge I have is to eliminate the daily reading suggestion. After all, anything that has to be done daily tends to become a chore.

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A History of Books Not Read

images.jpgThe last few days I have been reviewing lists of books to hopefully generate a fun and educational reading list (at my age I go for fun more and more). At the same time I was slowly perusing old file folders on the computer for dead, forgotten files I could delete and save space on my two 6-TB hard drives (as if I needed it) and I uncovered a couple of lists of the books I had listed to be read but the month went by and I still hadn’t read them.

Two spreadsheets showed all of the scheduled but unread books for the years 2017 and 2018. With these documents I could generate my monthly reading lists for more than a year and still enjoy well diversified and reasonably exciting selections.

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Spring Fling

It’s out: Tin House VOLUME 20, Number 3: Spring Fling

Over the past month, Valentina had attempted every procedure, from reputable to highly experimental. She’d bathed Lenin’s body in hydrogen peroxide and potassium acetate, employed benzene wipes, adjusted the dosages of intravenous polymer, applied refined paraffin wax in a thin layer over the face to maintain the appearance of skin, even resorted to botulinum. But the corpse had ceased all cooperation. After seventy years of successful maintenance, Lenin’s body was deteriorating faster than the morticians and biochemical scientists could keep up. Patchy dark spots bloomed across the dome of Lenin’s skull. His eye sockets collapsed like sinkholes. That morning, as Valentina inspected a gray fleshy protrusion on his temple, his left ear had fallen off into her hand like the handle on a poorly made clay mug. Most worryingly, there was a new smell about him. A damp, ghoulish, subterranean stench.

—MARIA LIOUTAIA, “Preservation”

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Memories of Ice Cream

images.jpgWhen I was in High School I suffered a debilitating lower back injury that forced me to withdraw from all strenuous physical activity. I sold my surfboard, tossed my athletic supporter in the laundry, deflated my volleyball, and transferred from Physical Education classes to become a library assistant.

Working in a High School library taught me a lot about the tasks and skills needed to maintain an apparently large collection of reading materials. I look back at it now and can only smile at how quaint and primitive it all was. Needless to say, it was a time before computers (our word processor had to be sharpened regularly).

In between lettering book spines, shelving returned books, checking out new acquisitions, and even sweeping the floor, I had plenty of time to roam around the library, discovering new and interesting materials. One book I recall pulling down from the reserved shelf more than once was a big thick one full of quotations (Bartlett’s?) that when I was seventeen seemed fresh and profound but would now be considered clichéd at best.

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