Sunday, January 19, 2020

Right After the Weather

I finished reading Falter, by Bill McKibben, and learned a lot! I learned more about cryonics and the desire of the super-rich to live forever than I had heretofore picked up via popular culture and Fututama. I enjoyed McKibben's use of the hookworm as a metaphor for a disease that has struck the rich: "We need to diagnose the intellectual and spiritual hookworm that has entered their bodies and attached itself to their brains." That hookworm turns out to be Ayn Rand! I was amazed at how many people in high places are hooked on Ayn Rand. I read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged as an adolescent, on the recommendation of my uncle, and now I understand him a little better. Sadly, he's dead, and Rand's influence seems not to have helped him live a better, longer life. (Cigarettes.) I guess I thought she was mostly an adolescent fixation, and people outgrew her, like I did. I guess not.

After Falter-ing, I'll need to read Dark Money, by Jane Mayer, but I don't really want to know more about dark money than Falter taught me, alas. And I discovered that I had already read the futurist and A.I. materials that might come next after these ideas. Instead, though, I turned to a novel for relief...though it grappled with difficult stuff to learn about being human, too: Right After the Weather, by Carol Anshaw. I was attracted to it because its main character is a set designer in Chicago! It was a good read.

Speaking of the weather, bitter winter has arrived! So has the first poem of the new year, which has a little snow in it. And a boombox. And Cole Porter. And that reminds me that I want to hear Harry Connick, Jr. sing the songs of Cole Porter on his new album, True Love. And to read Sontag, by Benjamin Moser, a new biography that awaits me at the library. So much to read, such a nice soft corner of the couch to read it in!

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