Books around the Globe and through Time

I can imagine a vacation no better than a world tour of the greatest libraries.

Inspiration: https://www.expedia.com/postcard/posts/23-spectacular-libraries-you-wont-want-to-leave

When I have the time, money, and a companion as nerdy as I, I’ll disappear down those dusty halls. Too bad the Library of Alexandria is no more.  (Turns out that library was dedicated to one definition behind the name of my blog: the Muses.)

 

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Conundra

Conundra: plural of conundrum.

This word is worth posting because I didn’t know it existed! How can you get worse than having a conundrum? By having multiple of them, apparently. Also, the term feels quite feminine as it ends in “a”. And it also makes me want to say The Conundra in the Tundra.

Final thought: “conundrum” can mean something other than I had ever heard before and it’s delightful: a riddle whose answer is or involves a pun.

I think “Conundra” should be the staring role of a play, in which she is a very problematic woman, *unsolvabley so.

* Yes, I just made up that word.

Puritans and Prigs

I can take no credit for the catchiness of that title. It’s the name of a chapter in “The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought“. It’s written by  Marilynne Robinson published in 1998, and I enjoyed it immensely, at least this chapter (as that’s all I’ve read). This is no post on the things I’ve learned but instead a list of words this author employed that I had to look up. She has quite a vocabulary! (Although I can’t say I’m always a fan of the at least semi-academic style of writing she uses. Any writing that feels academic feels that way because it’s poorly written. And I promise I don’t have strong opinions.)

  1. hypertrophy – 1) abnormal enlargement of a part or organ; excessive growth. 2) excessive growth or accumulation of any kind.
  2. ersatz – (of a product) made or used as a substitute, typically an inferior one, for something else; not real or genuine.
  3. inveigle – persuade (someone) to do something by means of deception or flattery.
  4. palmy – 1) (especially of a previous period of time) flourishing or successful. 2) covered with palms.
  5. lapidary – (of language) engraved on or suitable for engraving on stone and therefore elegant and concise.
  6. solipsism – the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist.
  7. steppe – a large area of flat unforested grassland in southeastern Europe or Siberia.
  8. anomie – lack of the usual social or ethical standards in an individual or group.
  9. frisson – a sudden strong feeling of excitement or fear; a thrill.

I can’t imagine how long this list would be if I actually read her whole book, as opposed to one chapter. I hope to read more about her/by her – she felt delightfully curmudgeonly.

Book: Less Than Nothing

Less Than Nothing

I ran into this book over Christmas vacation and want to read it. 1000 pages and all. Of course I found myself in the philosophy section. The difficulty in all this is that I couldn’t actually tell you what distinguishes Hegel from any other philosopher, and I don’t have the breadth of understanding in philosophy that would be best for reading this book. No matter. Why not start in the deep end? And why such interest? Besides a fact I can not currently explain – that philosophy holds a dear place in my heart – this author is just good: precise word choice, varied/rhythmic sentence structure, and style/personality which permeates/soaks through his thoughts (from my reading of the first few pages and from the reviews of others). Written style tends to compel me as much as content itself. So, should I actually read this book or learn about Hegel (or discover that my previous claims were wrong), I will post back.

To Get Home Before It’s Dark

A dearly loved poem, written by Grandpa.

Once I was young and active, and now I am getting old.
My body, once warm and dynamic, now becomes so cold.
I was a child around children, now older folks are near
To be my close companions, to share and help and cheer.

Once I loved to travel distance, and see all kinds of sights.
But now I want to stay close by and be at home at night.
I loved to travel here and there, and life was such a lark,
But now my aim is always to get home before it’s dark!

I took a wife and enjoyed life and worked with all my strength.
We built our home with beauty, going to any length.
We worked and played just every day, resting so sweet at night.
With sparkling eyes we bought supplies and did that which is right.

Then came a child into our home, and then arrived her sister.
And, oh, we were so happy; we hugged and cooed and kissed her.
Now I’m a child again, as I play with our sweet family,
And wife and I again games play, so very warm and happy.

The years roll by, grandchildren come; then quiet is our home.
They’ve moved away, makes long my day, as o’er the earth they roam.
Now since I’m old and weary, and have of life a spark,
I’ll keep Heaven on my mind to get Home before it’s dark!

– Rev. Marion R. Thomas