I was just about to welcome back my old friend the rain and announce it was time to start discussing the weather again … when he was given a battering today by 79 degrees worth of Fahrenheit sunlight. Prior to today’s intervention, we had two remarkable grizzly overcast days and I was ready to hat and scarf my way to this weather watching station and declare the season commenced. In any case CANCELLED. Cancelled. There’s nothing to be said about the sunshine that Beckett hasn’t already covered. One never sees any true variety in sunshine, it’s just up there, bright, blue and beautiful. Thus nothing to be said.
The rain however I’ve managed to fill hundreds of posts on since approx 2005 or whatever ancient date this blog hails back to.
Anyway chief weather watcher going back into her box under the table until something to actually report shows up.
Under the table winter reading has begun. I am continuing to read this Alice James biography by Jean Strouse (NYRB Classics) but there’s an awful lot of Henry Sr, (one legged boozer) who I mistook to be Henry Jr (two legged) and had to give Henry James Jr a leg back on twitter. But really why so much Henry, why so many Henrys’? Why didn’t the dad go for Harry or Hamid as a name for Henry James (the scribbler)? If he’d known how melted my head is shifting between him and H jr while all the while ONLY wanting to read about Alice for whom I purchased this biography.
All other actual Jamesians would be yay delighted to find the entire diaspora included but I want to know about Alice and since this book is supposed to be about Alice, hurry up Alice. Climb out of the pond weed and duck tails of these Henrys. It must be said though I very much appreciated the description of Henry Sr’s “vastation”. Have you ever had a vastation? I want to survey random folks at bus stops. The very next time I meet a religiously inclined street preacher or bell ringer I shall ask this question promptly.
Also being read is a book about a Bricoleur, with Bricoleur in the title, which I hope to review if as usual I can persuade “the newspapers” that a book that dissects reading is a valuable one to contemplate critically. The newspapers do not seem to concur with the titles I think could use vital contemplation partly because my appetite for the obscure is, um, long confirmed.
A roasting hot read staring at me here that I’ve been saving for the reading equivalent of a Harvest supper: a book called Postal Culture by Gabriella Romani subtitled “Writing and Reading Letters in Post-Unification Italy” published by the University of Toronto Press. The newspapers already told me negative Nelly on this one. How and ever I feel a postal essay brewing that will hopefully include this book and another from the NYRB Classics.
Here also is one of the most riveting things I read last week. You may not find this riveting so do not be alarmed if it fails to rivet. In fact it’s so riveting I cannot locate it. It was about Viral Hemorrhagic Fever and the timeline of how it strikes. I will find it and hang it here forthwith. (Postscript: Here it is. It’s a chapter from a textbook with latest info on Ebola provided by The Wellcome Trust). Note the quote below in the key points and how the symptoms are so non-specific they could present as any virus. The chapter goes onto explain the history of Viral Hemorrhagic Fever as a term first coined by Russian physicians in the 1940’s and that it may be caused by 30 different viruses from four taxonomic families. (I have no clue what taxonomic means).
“Viral HF is characterized by a short incubation period (usually 1-2) weeks followed by a rapidly progressive illness usually lasting no longer than 2 weeks. Initial signs and symptoms are usually very nonspecific and include fever, headache and myalgia, followed rapidly by gastrointestinal symptoms and, in some cases, rash and neurologic involvement. ”