Where we are in the actual world

Tue 18 Nov 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

A Summer in the Twenties cover Kelly is off to Santa Cruz, California, where she’ll be on a panel on Thursday, November 20 at 4 p.m. with Karen Joy Fowler and Kim Stanley Robinson as part of Living Writers Series (free, open to the  public from 4:00-5:45pm in Humanities Lecture Hall 206.)

Which reminded me of a thought provoking essay Robinson published on Slate recently, “The Actual World: “Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.” Robinson reminded me that people are out there in the world (offline, really? Yes!) climbing, doing show and tell with Thoreauean objects on mountain tops, and getting out into the world. Slate — despite all the stickystickycruft on their site included many great photos which made the essay come alive as well as links (ah, the internet) throughout. The one I clicked and then left open as a tab for a week or so was this “Webtext on the Ktaadn passage from The Maine Woods.” I haven’t read The Maine Woods and am not sure I ever shall but this passage challenged me more to think about humanity and the world more than anything else I’ve read in a while:

I fear not spirits, ghosts, of which I am one, — that my body might, — but I fear bodies, I tremble to meet them.

In other Small Beer book news, Peter Dickinson’s A Summer in the Twenties received a lovely review from the Historical Novels Review. Here’s a sample:

Dickinson shows us both the upper crust, with their carpeted manor houses and petty intrigues, as well as the working poor, who live in noisy, crowded conditions. Intergenerational strife abounds, as children of all classes disappoint their elders by not becoming what they were brought up to be; the exchanges are witty yet full of meaning, illuminating the shift of power away from the old class system toward something new and unproven. Dickinson conveys a lot of excellent historical material in a thoroughly engaging narrative with enough suspense to keep readers entertained on multiple levels.

Fascinating to see that the book is categorized as “Jazz Age” — since it is set in the 1920s. Given the subject of the book, it would be fun to come up with other names for the time, “Age of Labor,” something like that? Also, given that the LA Times just cut all their sick leave and vacation time, I figure it’s about time to enter another age of labor. He said, optimistically.