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“To be sensual . . . is to respect and rejoice in the force of life, of life itself, and to be present in all that one does, from the effort of loving to the breaking of bread.”

It’s from James Baldwin and “The Fire Next Time”, but I’m not reading that, it’s quoted in “Breaking Bread” by bell hooks and Cornell West. I think I’ve jumped into the deep end. Community and bread-baking have been coming up lately. I am not sure how to do community, but I do know how to bake bread.

I’m also reading “Norse Mythology” by Neil Gaiman. I think it should have been illustrated. And Loki! Trickster Makes This World.
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The weather is broken. But a) you knew that, and b) it’s April. Some of the personal poop has passed, some is still in progress. That silly facebook thing – “so far, you’ve been 100% successful in making it” or something, has actually been helpful.

(And oh no, the cat is awake and looking at things. It can only go downhill. We use the Invisible Hand of Doom squirt-bottle method of cat deterrence. It worked maybe twice before she figured out it was us, Doing That Thing. There are days when she is bored and does A Bad Thing just so we will squirt her and she Must Run Away. Having a three-year-old-teenager-fox-sprite-creature living in your house can be hard, but it’s not boring.)

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I was over at Kmkat’s. She always puts up wonderful links, and really – I delete more than I post. She put up a link to “Chaos & Mayhem?” one of those places I don’t go to because I spend way too much time in the rabbit hole.

I accidentally clicked through on the “Extravagant Consumption: Reading Vs. Buying” link. What!? I’m actually reading the last book I bought, and the one before that, and I’m going to read the book that’s coming – but I think I’ll pass on the library book that is currently in my bed, and I kinda wish I could pass on the book Daughter lent me – but it is entertaining (although exhausting) rewriting every. damn. sentence. (YA? Paid by the word? Discuss.) And maybe I need more bookshelves, because I don’t have room for my Medieval collection (not that it’s so big – I just don’t have room).

Currently I’m reading The Morphology of the Folktale, a systemization of folktale themes and memes. I haven’t gotten very far into it, because I discovered that if you substitute “tail” for “tale”, things become much more interesting.”Before throwing light upon the question of the tail’s origin, one must first answer the question as to what the tail itself represents.” Aside from me messing with my own head, it’s an interesting book, making my minimal studies of philosophy worthwhile.

But the one before – that’s the interesting one. I’d picked it up at the library, or maybe read a short-story precursor to the novel, and I hadn’t liked it. But since I’d spent the money, and since it’s an author I generally like, I pushed on.

2312, by Kim Stanley Robinson. Amazing, like his stories are. And hopeful, which I didn’t expect. Set in 2312, of course. He calls our current era the Great Dithering. Anyway. Hopeful. Awkward, in some ways. A little forced, on occasion. I think the ending was . . . unnecessary, maybe. But worth reading. He does things, swooshing gently from one POV to another, softly, like a goldfish in still water. Parts of lists, like messages bobbing up in an eight-ball.

So I have to finish Morphology, and then Christian Materiality, and then I’ll be free! I’ve only got 20 or 30 on my headboard.

Because I feel more comfortable being a total geek here than I do elsewhere.

First things first; a researcher has been able to prove that the Persian silks found in the Oseberg hoard/stash thing were acquired through trade from, well, Persia, and that they weren’t just scavenged from Ireland. (Also, I went to find the link, but got distracted; maybe I just made it up. But if I didn’t, I’ve been telling you guys! Everybody went everywhere. Trade is the real story of history.) (Okay, found it. http://www.apollon.uio.no/english/vikings.html . I been tellin’ ya.)

Second; Man, I’m going to fail at xmas this year. I feel blocked, or something. Plus, I’m tired of arranging playdates for my ex. If he wants to see his daughter, he can figure it out. Okay, maybe I’m a little angry there. Huh.

Third; I have spared you the Melville, but that’s over.

Nor was Stubb the only banqueter on whale’s flesh that night. Mingling their mumblings with his own mastications, thousands on thousands of sharks, swarming round the dead leviathan, smackingly feasted on its fatness. The few sleepers below in their bunks were often startled by the sharp slapping of their tails against the hull, within a few inches of the sleepers’ hearts.

Come on, gang. “Mingling their mumblings with his own mastications…” How can you not? “Smackingly feasted on its fatness.” Say it with me!

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Back when our planet was habitable.

We’re going over to a campground across the bay. Today you get more social justice stuff.

I was reading Rebecca Solnit’s book, Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities. I didn’t get all the way through it. I do that to a lot of books; get to what I need to hear, and move on. Her point was essentially this; that you can’t do this sort of thing any more, because people are taking their strength back.

people didn't die

Hope is the vision that things could be other than they are. Hope gives you the strength to cut through the jungle of assumptions to get to the new world.

Hope is an ax.

I’m stealing this from Kmkat. We’ll see how it goes.

Busman’s Honeymoon, by Dorothy Sayers. The balance of giddy bliss and murder most foul was pretty excellent, and the details of the hanging plant were so realistic I can almost feel it in my hands. My brother and I shared an enthusiasm for Sayers. And Gaudy Night. (paraphrasing here) “She looked in the mirror and decided her dress was sufficiently sub-fusc.” (I hope I spelled that right.)

Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars trilogy. I was convinced the author must be a woman, the books were written so well.

And then Years of Rice and Salt, by above. And Antarctica. Because they are also well-written, tight stories.

I read a bunch of Ray Bradbury when I was young and susceptible. The phrase ‘Rocket Summer’ still reverberates. And OMG looking into the canal and seeing the Martians staring back at them! And the Martians themselves. And There Will Come Soft Rains. Sob.

His Dark Materials. Hester. Sob.

LOTR. Duh.

Gilgamesh, by Herbert Mason. Saved my life.

Kristen Lavransdatter, by Sigrid Unsett.

Growth of the Soil, Knutt Hamsun. I lent it to a friend, and told her if it didn’t capture her by the end of the second paragraph, it probably wouldn’t work for her. It didn’t, sadly enough.

And oh yeah, let us not forget Moby Dick.

100 Years of Solitude. “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.” Yes, I had to go look it up to get the words right, but I always remember “his father took him to discover ice.”

Well, that’s ten – nope, eleven chunks. Three of the chunks are trilogies, so I win! I get extra points!

Wasn’t there one of those books, like Misty of Chincoteague Island? That ends with the horse swimming out to sea? There were a bunch of horse books. And oh, geez, The Haunting of Hill House, the Reader’s Digest Condensed version. My brother read it too, and told me he got the chills when she cried out, “Whose hand was I holding?” The little white house with red shutters. Permanently altering my personal color choices.

I think I should stop thinking right now, because this probably could go on for quite a while.

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Somebody slept in my chair all afternoon. I was forced to do housework. And then when I got fed up and gently displaced her onto her own chair, she tricked me by acting like she wanted to sit in my lap, and then climbed onto the table and my laptop and lay down and went to sleep.

She’s just messing with my head. But she’s so pretty!