November 26, 2021
November 22, 2021
The perspective from the ground was equally stunning. One young man, Colin Perry, eighteen, was on his bicycle when the first wave passed overhead. "It as the most amazing, impressive, riveting sight," he wrote later. "Directly above me were literally hundreds of planes, Germans! The sky was full of them." The fighters stuck close, he recalled, "like bees around their queen."
The day was warm and still, the sky blue above a rising haze. Temperatures by afternoon were in the nineties, odd for London. People thronged Hyde Park and lounged on chairs set out beside the Serpentine. Shoppers jammed the stores of Oxford Street and Piccadilly. The giant barrage of balloons overhead cast lumbering shadows on the streets below. After the August air raid when bombs first fell on London proper, the city had retreated back into a dream of invulnerability, punctuated now and then by false alerts whose once-terrifying novelty was muted by the failure of bombers to appear. The late-summer heat imparted an air of languid complacency. In the city's West End, theaters hosted twenty-four productions, among them the play Rebecca, adapted for the stage by Daphne du Maurier from her novel of the same name. Alfred Hitchcock's movie version, starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine, was also playing in London, as were the films The Thin Man and the long-running Gaslight.
It was a fine day to spend in the cool green of the countryside.
The dust burst outward rapidly at first, like smoke from a cannon, then slowed and dissipated, sifting and settling, covering sidewalks, streets, windshields, double-decker buses, phone booths, bodies. Survivors exiting ruins were coated head to toe as if with gray flour. Harold Nicolson, in his diary, described seeing people engulfed in a "thick fog which settled down on everything, plastering their hair and eyebrows with thick dust."
November 20, 2021
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November 19, 2021
November 12, 2021
November 10, 2021
My husband and I are educated people, and I can't tell you what a whoop we got out of it when we heard the story--untrue, it developed--that Joe Biden would get back in the race, too. Was that silly or what? "Ted Kennedy's next!" we both shouted. "Nixon," I screamed. "Like the T-shirt says, he's tanned, rested, and ready." (Written after Gary Hart dropped out of the 1988 race for the presidential nomination.)
The problem is that we would love absolute certainty on all aspects of this issue. We are a nation raised on True or False tests. We want doctors to give us the answers, which shows how short our memories are. After all, it was the doctors who told us that smoking wouldn't kill you and amphetamines during pregnancy didn't do a bit of harm. We want to know precisely how this disease spreads and why some people who are exposed get it and some don't and whether being exposed means inevitably getting sick. First we hear that the biggest argument against transmission through casual contact is that health-care workers don't get it. Then we hear that health-care workers have gotten it. And we don't know what to believe. All we know for sure is that getting sick means dying, at least so far. (Not about COVID-19, but AIDs)
I still read constantly: if my kids ever go into analysis, I'm sure they will say they don't really remember my face because it was always hidden by a book. Obviously this is in part because I like books. But another reason is that I like to be alone. I like to go deep inside myself and not be accompanied there by anyone else.
November 6, 2021
Baptiste (Season 2) - The beginning of this new season is very confusing, but it eventually all comes together. Quite good.
November 5, 2021
November 2, 2021
The Sewing Room by Rev. Barbara Cawthorne Crafton (3/5)
The Oregon Trail by Rinker Buck (2/5)
Dog Songs by Mary Oliver (2/5)
Blue Horses by Mary Oliver (4/5)
Felicity by Mary Oliver (4/5)
A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver (4/5)
Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh (second reading 2/5; first reading 4/5)
The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff (1/5)
I read quite a bit of poetry this year, focusing on Mary Oliver's collections in April during National Poetry Month. I found some gems in her works, but my favorite nonfiction read of the year is On Island Time by Hilary Stewart.
This year's reading goal is to focus on the books I own, but have gone ignored for many years. My list for Nonfiction November is comprised of about 50% old and 50% new-ish titles. Of course, I'm beginning with one of the more recent releases rather than the oldest. ;)