I finished Ozeki’s The Book of Form and Emptiness last night waiting for Eileen to get back from Kalamazoo. It is an excellent book but I was slightly disappointed in the “happy ending.” It felt a little clunky and was in contrast to how the rest of the book drew me in.
My daughter Elizabeth and her family has given me these wonderful Trust Fall Quarterly Book Club memberships. I save them for when I’m looking for something to read. The books have so far invariably been good. I do like the fact that I am receiving a book in the mail that someone else has recommended.
In each box is a signed copy of a book they recommend and a clever related side line item. Usually there are some interesting information on an enclosed sheet. As a bonus in the last book I received (the one on the left pictured above) there was a galley proof of Wole Oyinka’s Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth
This is a perfect choice for me. Apparently the extra book was a random choice from 2021 fiction titles. Galley proofs are not for resale. But they can be given away.
Last night after finishing The Book of Form and Emptiness, I decided to dip into Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth.
I recognize Soyinka, but more as a playwright and poet. I noticed a volume of his poetry in my library but haven’t checked for a play yet. But I liked that his bio says that he was “twice jailed in Nigeria for his criticism of the Nigerian government, and he destroyed his U.S. Green Card in 2016 when Donald Trump was elected president of the United States.” Sounds like my kind of guy.
So far it is a romp and I am enjoying it immensely.
In addition I am reading Anthony and Cleopatra by Shakespeare for the first time. I read essays on this play by Harold Bloom and Emma Smith. I reached for Bloom and Smith about a third of the way through the play because I didn’t quite understand why some of the action was taking place. These authors helped me understand much that I was missing including the fact that Cleopatra (played by a man) bemoans the prospect of her story being told in a reenactment of humiliation: “I shall see/ Some squeaking Cleopatra boy my greatness/ I’the posture of a whore.” V.ii.219,220.
That’s cool. And probably a weird moment when acted in the Globe theatre.
Anyway, Cleopatra is better understood in terms of modern celebrity and posturing of same. Excellent stuff as usual from the hand of the master.
I got up this morning and made bread. Eileen and I had some for both breakfast and lunch. It makes the house smell great.
I broke down and put up on Facebooger an entry about Edison’s death. Eileen pointed out that many of the people who have had contact with him might need to be notified. It seemed the easiest way though I found the idea of parading my grief a bit distasteful. I had many, many supportive comments and over a hundred “likes.” Social media is such a weird environment.