by Lynn Wienck, The Chisholm Trail Bookstore
It’s autumn in Oklahoma, it’s winter in Oklahoma, it’s autumn, it’s winter… The weather doesn’t quite know whether it’s autumn with red leaves on trees, but with winter’s frost in the early morning. Some days, it’s cold and crisp and other days it’s warm and playful. It’s rather like potluck supper – take what comes, in any form dished out.
Like the weather, my reading has also been similar to potluck supper. I had planned to peruse several biographies, but hadn’t considered more literature nor more science fiction. The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, a literary classic, by Daniel Defoe was on temporary hold to be resumed at some future date. The science fiction books, All about Emily by Connie Willis, and John Varley’s Mammoth were not in the plan at all. Potluck supper.
The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe as penned by Daniel Defoe (1660-1731) recounts the tale of a lone survivor shipwrecked upon an island. Robinson Crusoe was industrious, using everything he rescued from the ship — tools, firearms, and grain to build his future life. When supplies from the sunken ship were exhausted, the island provided him with many required necessities. Robinson Crusoe learned to craft furniture, produce candles from goat tallow, plant crops, and make clothing. The shipwreck built the man; as he mastered his circumstances, he also mastered his own life. The book is simultaneously profound and practical.
All About Emily by Connie Willis is a novelette loosely based on the 1950 film, All About Eve. This literary approach is a switch as many films are based upon short stories or novels. A young lady, Emily is an adoring fan of well-known and cynical actress Claire, but who or what is Emily and who or what does Emily aspire to be? As a suggestion and although it’s not necessary, start with the film and then read this book. (A little research revealed that the film, All About Eve had as a basis Mary Orr’s tale, “The Wisdom of Eve” and so we come full circle.)
I’ve always liked mammoths; they look so wildly improbable with those huge tusks. I’m sorry to have missed them by only about 14,000 years — give or take a few thousand years; it’s rather difficult to pinpoint the date of disappearance. John Varley, in his book, Mammoth, discusses the woolly mammoth, the Columbian mammoth, and the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, California. Although the tale is science fiction and I haven’t finished it, the mammoth information is based upon fact and makes a nice introduction to a mammoth pun-intended science.
Have a reading potluck supper; who knows what exciting books you may discover. Enjoy, too, the last days of autumnal confusion. Is it winter or is it autumn? No one, including me, knows for sure.