Category Archives: Library

The Rainbow and The Rose

Three touching and tender love stories by master novelist Nevil Shute who died in 1960.

Wrapped around the intricacies of flying, from the old cloth-covered sport and fighter biplanes to aluminum-sided piston-engine transports. And dreams of all of it that linger in the mind and heart. Worth your time and money.

The Judiciary’s Class War

“Americans have been lectured for decades about the importance of diversity, about the need for institutions that ‘look like America,’ and so on. Yet the judiciary is one branch of government that looks a lot more like an Ivy League faculty than like America as a whole…”

Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit’s, adroit analysis of the class warfare being waged by the federal courts against about half the country, inflaming existing divisions, and “perhaps even creating new ones.”

Think abortion, welfare “rights,” gay marriage, 2nd amendment restrictions, etc.

The Rise & Fall of D.O.D.O.: A Novel

This is a fun read that moves swiftly and well. Time travel was never so compelling nor witchcraft so interesting. I’ve read most of Neal Stephenson’s books and this one is just as good as the rest. Try it. You’ll like it.

Artemis

The Martian author Andy Weir has done it again with Artemis, a police procedural on the moon. The characters are sharply drawn and engaging but the real star is the Artemis moon city and the precisely correct life therein and thereout on EVAs. Makes me want to visit, if not actually live there. Can’t wait for his next one.

The 1945 USS Indianapolis

Just finished reading Doug Stanton’s book “In Harm’s Way,” about the 1945 torpedoing and sinking of the Indianapolis. And the harrowing four days and five nights of the surviving crew in the water surrounded by sharks which killed hundreds of them.

Quite a good tale, beginning with the 1968 suicide of her captain Charles McVay, who Stanton ends with explaining that McVay was driven to it by the hate mail he received every Christmas from families of the dead. Makes you think about the so-called privileges of command.

Fanny Hill’s delightful romps

Fanny Hill is allegedly the oldest erotic novel in the English language. Published in 1749, it is distinguished by the fact that it contains no bad words.

Nary a f**k or a c**t or a c**k or a pr**k. The latter two are usually referred to as machines. Or engines. And then described at, uh, length. With a rosy head.

Pornographers were a lot more inventive in those days. Nevertheless, it was, in former centuries, one of the most frequently banned books.”

No surprise there, as it is erotic as all get-out, and would attract the attention of prudes to a fare-thee-well. In fact it was banned when it was published and sold only in pirated versions. So it’s not startling that the University of London has banned it from the curriculum, fearing it will offend students. Particularly the liberal female ones. Couldn’t offend the males, not the majority of them.

I’m rereading it. And enjoying Fanny’s delightful romps as I did when I was, oh, in my thirties or thereabouts. It’s not quite as good as Anne Rice’s “Sleeping Beauty” trilogy. But only because Rice’s is more modern. Fanny Hill’s sentences are so godawful long it’s easy to lose your place. But it’s worth the effort. I recommend it. It beats “Shades of Grey” all hollow.

Via Power Line Blog

Dream advice

Had a good dream last night that ended with a pretty young woman with lots of freckles saying something like this: “Ram Dass, he is the wisest of the wise.”

So all day I kept reminding myself to go to Amazon and look up one of his books. I finally did it and bought, appropriately enough, his 2000 tome “Still Here: Embracing Aging, Changing and Dying,” Appropriate because I’m 73 and not getting any younger.

Ram Dass (birth name Richard Alpert who, along with Timothy Leary, pioneered the use of LSD for spiritual enlightenment) is now 87 years old, which makes me a baby to him, more or less. Fifteen years younger.

Yet, although I have never read his seminal book “Be Here Now,” we share a common philosophy: That we are all spiritual beings, eternal souls, living a physical existence until our physical bodies die. At which point our souls will return home. Until, perhaps, we take on another go round with the physical.

Death, in other words, is a door, not a wall. But what to do in the meantime? That’s the point of Ram Dass’s teachings in his many books. “Many of us spend our lives worrying,” he writes in Still Here, “about losing what we have. Old age offers the opportunity to shift our cares away from the physical [what he calls the “storm of youth”] toward what cannot be taken away: Our wisdom and the love we offer to those around us.”