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Sanctuary, etc.

2013/09/18

I have read only 2 books in full since I last posted.  The first was The Art of the Steal’ by Christopher Mason.

The other was ‘Sanctuary’ by William Faulkner.

Steal’ was about the price fixing scandal involving Christie’s & Sotheby’s.  I’m surprised I didn’t read more about it when it happened.  There are a plethora of books and longreads on it now.  It was interesting, satisfying.  I always like to read about what really happened.  It’s been a few months so of course I don’t remember the details.  Couldn’t tell you the name of 1 character.  But I know I enjoyed it.  I read it in a weekend.

‘Sanctuary’ was interesting.  It was easier to read than As I Lay Dying, but not as satisfying,  At one point I felt the prose was just too flowery and laughed out loud.  Seriously, our 8th grade English teachers would have fussed about some of those run-on sentences, too many adjectives.

One thing I did find quite interesting in the book is the realness of southern towns that were gritty, city-like back then.  Almost Dickensonian, not that I’ve ever read anything by Dickens, although I was the maternal Mrs. Bedwin in “Oliver” in high school!  I wish our public transportation was as good now.  I’d love to live in a place where I could hop on a train and get to another part of the state.

My cousin, Virginia, who passed several years ago, was coming of age during WWII.  I know this is after the period of this book, but she would talk about traveling from Sanford to Belhaven on the train as a girl.  I read a book that said the car companies bought out the railroad companies and pulled up all the tracks.  Now we have the interstate!

But I digress.  I know I must read more books.  I have been reading a lot of long-form magazine articles, which is a great way to absorb information and enjoy good writing at the same time.

Okay, will blog more often.  I will leave you with a pretty picture, because I like visuals.  Here is one of the countryside in western Hanover County, VA.

Riding by a field

Riding by a field of wheat

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today at Goodwill.  $1 ea.  I wrote a post about each one, with links to them–all 5, w/ authors & why I got the book.  Then WordPress refused to post it, and there was no draft saved.  Sooo, I shall tell you about ea. as I go along.

I’ll leave you with a picture.  I went to Sweden with my friend, Stephanie Joyce.  While there she purchased a piece of luggage, and I took this pic of her.  I thought she looked futuristic.  The hotel was contemporary, with lots of cool lighting.  Click on Stephanie’s name to go to her website.  She is an artist.  I looked at her site for the first time in awhile & it took my breath away.  Anyhoo, here it is:

This is what I started last night. It is excellent. Just wanted you to know. Can’t link because I’m on my Nook & haven’t figured out how to copy paste. The prose is a bit stream of consciousness, but easy for me to understand. Has something to do with how I think.

Emmanuel Carrère The Mustache & Class Trip

Philip Weiss American Taboo: A Murder in the Peace Corp

Lawrence Schiller  Into the Mirror: the Life of Master Spy Robert P. Hanssen, Perfect Murder, Perfect Town; Cape May Courthouse, American Tragedy (some of these are collaborations with other authors.)

Vincent Bugliosi Helter Skelter, And the Sea Will Tell, Outrage: the Five Reasons OJ Simpson Got Away With Murder

David Sheff Beautiful Boy

Matt Birkbeck A Beautiful Child

Jack Olsen The Bridge at Chappaquiddick

Salinger: A Catcher in the Rye

Frank Conroy Stop Time

Tom Grimes Mentor

Wm. Faulkner As I Lay Dying

David Cullen Columbine

Nancy Schoenberger Dangerous Muse-The Life of Lady Caroline Blackwood

Joseph Wambaugh Echoes in the Darkness, Fire Lover

M. William Phelps Every Move You Make

Amanda Vaill Everyone Was So Young: Gerald & Sara Murphy: A Lost Generation Love Story

Julie Salaman Facing the Wind: A True Story of Tragedy & Reconciliation

Joe McGinniss Fatal Vision

Catherine Crier Final Analysis: The Untold Story of the Susan Polk Murder Case

Ann Rule Green River, Running Red; The Stranger Beside Me

Joyce Maynard Internal Combustion: The Story of a Marriage and a  Murder in Motor City; At Home In the World

Jon Krakauer In the Wild, Into Thin Air, Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith

Mary Karr The Liars Club, Lit: A Memoir

John Berendt Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

 

 

 

 

 

Ayn Rand

2011/09/05

I’ve felt confusion about Ayn Rand ever since I read ‘We the Living’ and ‘The Fountainhead’.  I was a teenager when I read both.  At the time I didn’t know about Rand’s philosophy of ‘Objectivism’.  I think there was something about it on the flap of the book.  I also read ‘The Fountainhead’ around that time.  My mother is a big reader, and she told me about the film made from the book, and she loved both.

I approach reading, film from an artistic perspective, I think.  I’m not sure.  I just know I didn’t understand objectivism at all.  I was curious about it, and, based on ‘The Fountainhead’, I had the idea that it was about being true to one’s art, not altering it for the sake of others.  I could relate to that.   In fact, I loved ‘The Fountainhead’, and being entertained is my goal, usually, when I read.

‘We the Living’ seemed to me like a historical novel about the Bolshevik Revolution.  I read it during the Cold War, when Communism was the resident evil in the US.  I sort of understood her anger.  On the other hand, not being born into a life of entitlement and upward mobility, I was confused by it as well.

That, perhaps, is the crux of my issues with Rand.  Her views are anything but objective.  They are entirely subjective.  The corporate takes the place of government in creating wealth.  Like communism, if no one were greedy or power hungry, pure capitalism would work.  We know that is not the case.  The group has to have a consensus for the better of all, and the group has to be diverse.  Not everyone had her extreme ability to view the world in black and white.  She experienced her views and opinions, it seems, as the only acceptable reality for all, rather collectivist in my view.

Naturally curious, I read everything I came across that pertained to Rand and Objectivism.  I really wanted to understand Objectivism, but I’ve always been confused by the labels in Philosphy, and while I think I can grasp ideas easily, philosophy is difficult for me.  I think it means different things to different people.

By 1987 I was fairly knowledgeable about Objectivism, but not enough to explain it to anyone.  I say this because when Alan Greenspan became chairman of the federal reserve that year I was concerned.  I read of his relationship with Ayn Rand.  I read of him living at her home with a group of devotees, although I can’t find a reference to that at the moment.  I read of his participation in a group that read ‘Atlas Shrugged’ while she wrote it.  In 1987 and onward I was concerned that someone who had such a close relationship with Ayn Rand was in charge of the Federal Reserve.  It felt very unbalanced. I was only 24, so what did I know?

I tried to read ‘Atlas Shrugged’ but it didn’t engage me.  I’m lazy when it comes to reading.  If my interest isn’t piqued in the first 10 pages I put it down, especially with novels.  Fantasy is my least favorite genre in books and film.

Anyhow, those are my thoughts on Ayn Rand.  Just her position as a guru obviates her position as an Objectivist.  I haven’t read everything she wrote, but I read 2 books as a teen and they entertained me.  I felt a romantic admiration for Howard Roark, the hero of ‘The Fountainhead’.  I admired him for being true to his art.  I was also attracted to the modern art element in his work as an architect.  It impressed me more as a book about art and ideals rather than politics.  I guess I’ve always been a little political, even unconsciously.

I’m going to see if I have anything interesting to share with you.  Oh, here’s a photo of a great uncle with a ‘friend’, ca. 1922, I think.  Love it that he was able to enjoy his life.  At least I hope he did.  He died young of natural causes.

 

 

 

Postscript

2011/09/03

In this post I talked about 4 books I’d read, and 1 I was in the process of reading.  I did read Frank Conroy’s ‘Stop Time’, and it was excellent.  To me, it was like Holden Caulfield meets Tom Sawyer.  I also finished ‘Mentor’.  ‘Mentor’ blew me away, and I recommend it above all the ones I spoke of in that post.

3 of the 1st 4 books and ‘Mentor’ were lent to me by a woman at work.  She was a resident.  Sadly, she passed on soon after I wrote the post.  The sad thing about her passing was she didn’t die of natural causes.  She was a vibrant, kind, humble person.  She was very able, didn’t have organic brain disease, and I think she was in her late 80’s.

She had a car accident.  From what I’ve been told, her chest was crushed and she, like many elderly people, couldn’t tolerate anesthesia.  If she could, surgery would have given her a good chance at life.  Instead she died, slowly.  I felt terrible for her and her family.

I’ve worked at this assisted living facility now for 9 months.  I love my job.  However, I haven’t quite mastered how to deal with the constant grief.  On average we probably lose 1 person per month.  It could be more, I’m not sure.  The longer I’ve worked there, the more I knew these people who passed.  I try to have good boundaries.  I don’t become excessively emotionally involved with residents, although I’ve become very fond of many of them.  I need to learn more about self-care in this field.  I’m not bad at self-care, but I’ve noticed some depression creeping up, despite being medicated!

I’m going to leave you with a picture of my family ca. 1971.  We had gotten our first 2nd car, a VW beetle.  In this picture are my oldest sister, Lynn, older sister, Betsy, my brother, David, me, and my Dad.  An introvert, I know my Dad must have felt “crowded” at times.  This image certainly is a perfect example!