Books for the Reading

by Lynn Wienck, The Chisholm Trail Bookstore

It’s definitely monsoon season here. The ponds are full; there’s been thunder and lightning. Sometimes the storms are violent and sometimes not. The weather is never very gentle here and usually at extremes.

“Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.”

-Samuel Taylor Coleridge

And it rather seems as if water is indeed everywhere. The thick orange clay mud will soon find its way to sidewalks and roads and then stick to boots and shoes. Does anyone wear galoshes any more?

I’m just about over the science fiction marathon that strikes periodically and I’ve reverted to technology, history, art, and biography. Regarding all those home-shelf unread books: I always know there are interesting, available books; they will be ready for me when I’m ready for them.

I’ve started Elie Wiesel’s Night, an autobiographical account of the Holocaust – displacement and concentration camp life. Although first published in 1955, Yiddish, and then revised and published in 1958, French, it was not initially well received: too dark, too ugly, and a reminder of the past. This 2006 edition was a new translation from French to English, by the author’s wife, Marion Wiesel. A little preliminary research revealed dispute over whether the account is a literary tour de force or an historical autobiography. However, the work is powerful and thoughtful and captures the both the fatalistic sense of futility and misplaced optimism in the face of brutality and dehumanization.

The New York Times recently carried a nice special section on Museums (March 15, 2012) with a museum overview including articles and photographs. Although, I didn’t read all the articles, topics such as university libraries and acquisitions provided insight. I think museums are interesting and provide much in the way of cultural and informational perspective. Apparently museums or exhibitions can be on almost any topic – anything at all from history to art and ranging far, far beyond. (For example and not covered in the newspaper, I’ve visited an automotive museum, actually several of them, aircraft museums, and natural history museums which I think are fascinating.) Will I ever get to some museums mentioned in the special section – Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles? Time will tell.

So, clouds, thunder, lightning, rain, sunshine, fog, storms, and back to clouds, thunder, lightning, storms, and rain. Summer, with blistering, scorching heat, will come soon enough.

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