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“Optimism assumes that all will go well without our effort; pessimism assumes it’s all irredeemable; both let us stay home and do nothing. Hope for me has meant a sense that the future is unpredictable, and that we don’t actually know what will happen, but know we may be able write it ourselves.” - Rebecca Solnit

June 19, 2018 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Comments are back on...

...through no effort of mine. Typepad truly works in mysterious ways. My apologies to the two or three of you who still read this blog. 

June 9, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (4)

Fading Ad: Del’s Cafe

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The former Del’s Cafe, on Ocean Front Walk in Santa Monica, California. Love that typography. The ad was uncovered during renovations which will convert the building into...not a diner, but...wait for it...a Starbucks. Sigh. 

June 7, 2018 in Photography | Permalink | Comments (0)

Summer of Classics

I've developed a (fairly recent) admiration for Eudora Welty, but other than the widely-anthologized "Why I Live at the P.O.", I've never read any of her short stories, for which she is widely renowned. (I've read her novels The Optimist's Daughter, The Ponder Heart and Delta Wedding; her memoir One Writer's Beginnings; and her collected correspondence with William Maxwell.) So, for this year's Summer of Classics, I'm reading nothing but Welty's short stories. I'm starting with her 1949 collection The Golden Apples, which is entirely set in the fictional MacLain County in Mississippi. After that, I have my eye on a used copy of Thirteen Stories (1965) at Open Books, but after that I'm uncertain. I'm intentionally trying to avoid Collected Stories or her Library of America story volume - I really don't care for story omnibuses (too unwiedly, both in physical heft and wandering theme/tone), and would really prefer to read her shorter, original collections. I'll probably be relying heavily on my public library after I've finished The Golden Apples.

June 4, 2018 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

“...airships and colloids.”

Rebecca West, on H.G. Wells’ novel Marriage:

He is the old maid among novelists; even the sex obsession that lay clotted on Ann Veronica and The New Machiavelli like cold white sauce was merely old maid’s mania, the reaction towards the flesh of a mind too long absorbed in airships and colloids.

Her biting assessment was probably correct, given how utterly the book has vanished from the literary landscape, a hundred years later. Far from being offended, Wells was intrigued, and sought her out. They became lovers, and even had a child together. West’s Return of the Soldier is high on my reading list for this year, though not soon enough to join the Guardian‘s reading group. 

June 1, 2018 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)