Monday, March 14, 2005

Weekend stuff a day late

Having so many books in progress has really become frustrating. I never feel I'm making progress with any of them, and now I'm to the point of confusing their content.

Saturday, when Franklin said, "if it be the design of Providence to extirpate these savages in order to make room for the cultivators of the earth, it seems not impossible that rum may be the appointed means," I was simply scandalized. How could he think, let alone say such a thing, when just a few pages earlier he was advanced enough to be starting a school for both white and native American children, where students were taught in both English and Indian languages? I flipped back through the book, examining the upper left hand corners, where I clearly remembered the school being discussed. Well, yes, I did remember where on the page the information was located, but not the book: Chernow writes about Alexander Hamilton's Hamilton College and Hamilton's interest in educating native Americans; Franklin, on the other hand, writes about withholding rum from "those people" until after a treaty was signed, then tsk-tsks over their party behavior after the rum was received. Much as I love Franklin, this time I thought his moral high horse was about the size of a goat.

So, anyway, from here on, I hope, only one book of a historical nature at a time. I wish I could get back to my preferred way of reading—one at a time—but with DQ and books I read with S. these days and the short story a day resolution, I don't see that happening any time soon. I am going to concentrate on finishing Byatt's Sugar and The Odyssey this week, and then maybe read Joy Comes in the Morning since I've had it checked out long enough to be feeling guilty about it. After that, I'm going to read another big chunk—if not all—of the Chernow before starting another book.

All the best bloggers were linking to an old W.G. Sebald interview in the New Yorker this weekend; consequentially, I broke down and placed a hold on The Rings of Saturn. I also placed a hold on Jeannette Walls' memoir The Glass Castle based on the Francine Prose review; it's been awhile since I've wallowed in a good dysfunctional family tale and this one seems just the ticket. Additional perk to the Walls: the homeschool angle.

I waited until R. came home this weekend before watching Closely Watched Trains. Hrabal wrote the screenplay, which makes the fact that the film left out/transmogrified all that I found ever so meaningful and profound in the book very discouraging. R. wasn't impressed, but agreed to read Closely Observed Trains anyway.

Favorite R. quote of the weekend, while listening to Steve Earle's "Warrior": "I've never heard so many Latinate words in a song before!"

Bookish linked to this Scotsman article: big-name writers retell their favorite myths in an international series.

And I thought this site was cool: FreeDictionary. If you type in a name you can find examples of how the name has been used in classic literature.

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