Saturday, January 31, 2009

What's out there

More and more hyacinth rosettes appear, but it's too soon to peer down and be able to see buds, if any. There are leaves now for three different varieties of species tulips. One wild sunflower from last year hangs on with a blossom or two. We see three lantana flowers on very sparsely leaved plants. In outdoor pots, chicory, two kinds of milkweed, kalanchoe, a hardy chile, and a couple of other items provide flowers. Fennell everywhere has new shoots and a few flowers. Two surviving geraniums love this weather; they are vigorous and producing flowers that are large and bright. The cardinals are singing and bubbling again. Except for a couple of items in pots in very exposed places, I can't think of anything that's been frost-touched. A couple of hyacinth beans are still in bloom, but most have lost their leaves and closed down production, leaving plenty of seed-pods behind. There are buds on some of the Montopolis and Bastrop narcissi.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Cigar boxes and flying red horses and rainbows in puddles

Can you tell that I spent a lot of time at a gas station when I was a kid? My favorite cigars were White Owl, and I loved that box of wiper blades on wheels. My free treat from the iced vending chest was Tru-Ade. I still don't like carbonation. Who could resist jumping up and down on the hose that made a sound inside so that a service station could live up to its name? I still love pyramids of cans and stacks of tires (Leal's comes to mind). And one of my most firm beliefs is that the world would be a much better place and schoolkids would know much more about all sorts of things if the maps were still there and they were still free.

Friday, January 23, 2009


There won't be actual sumptuary laws, but people will be ashamed of, or perhaps even fearful of, displaying evidence of expensive consumption in public. That's a prediction of a trend if the economy continues to worsen.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

When the tv goes dark

It's now less than a month until February 17, when countless people will arbitrarily lose the usefulness of their televisions. There are those who react with disbelief when you mention that many Americans still do not have computers, or if they do that they don't access the Internet, or if they do that they use a dial-up connection to manage it. They are the same people who are incredulous that some households receive their television signal without use of cable or satellite services. Those viewers will be deprived of the value of their televisions entirely or, in the alternative (as law pleadings like to say), they will be forced to incur additional expense. We have been perfectly happy with our 13-inch tv set. I think it was our second color television and the third bought-new tv for this household. Even the next size up takes too much space. When the signal fails, we will borrow entertainment from the library to view using the tv screen. What will we miss? The occasional sporting event that has not gone over to non-network broadcasting, plus Spanish television (but we can catch up on the evening soaps courtesy of the library). The last English-language evening shows that we regularly watched were Roswell and Smallville. I've never been able to watch tv with undivided attention, but must read. I was too old to acclimate when regular viewing was first available and have lived too long at various times without electricity or where, although there might be audio, video was a snowstorm.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I've been entertained lately by the rabble-rousing names of American newspapers right from the beginning. There weren't many who owned a printing press in those days, so the number of papers was quite small. Most of them were weekly, I read, because it took about that long to set four pages of type for broadsheet and then get the papers printed and distributed. I've also been reading about Harriet Martineau. Mentioned somewhere along the line was that among the periodicals that published her work were two I haven't seen: The Monthly Repository and Once A Week. Not all that long ago, older libraries had bound volumes of all the important nineteenth-century and early twentiety-century periodicals. Now, they've probably all been disposed of or, when kept, relegated to the "rare book" departments and no longer shelved in the open stacks.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Glovers' glee

I'll be very interested in learning tomorrow whether anyone took any specific notice of Mrs. Obama's beautiful green gloves (probably nobody will mention Mr. O's, which obviously were not of the one-size-fits-all variety). It's sad that the department stores stock beautiful leather gloves in both subtle and bright colors, and they're always marked down at the end of the season (for me! just for me!). I wore my bright-yellow ones to death. I suppose that no gloves are made in this country these days; just as with prescription drugs, we probably must import them. My mother used to take us twice a year to the V*** Glove Shop to be fitted for cotton gloves and for leather ones. Oh, those scallops! Of course, there were also string-knit gloves trimmed in leather (for driving), plus leather gloves that were not for dress and immaculate kid gloves in the various lengths proper for evening occasions. This was a nineteenth-century survival, to all appearances, and one of the two elderly spinster sisters would measure and then advise on the proper gloves. There were forms on which to display the gloves, and I suppose they were ancient as well. I remember that the tiny shop also sold fine ladies' handkerchiefs. Perhaps they sold silk stockings also. Sometimes I can't believe how much of our childhood was straight out of the ninettenth century.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Those little slips that aren't really lists

But they float around and they should be on a list or in some way disposed of, whether by being pitched into the trash or saved somewhere, just so long as those little scraps will disappear. There's seems to be a bit of time for mini-chores like that today. So I checked some of those genealogical sites and have found that, in the little cemetery that contains to many relatives from so many generations, next door to one of the farms, all the gravestones have been photographed and had their carvings transcribed. Checking that cemetery for an on-line presence is crossed off; now I want to download the pictures and transcriptions that I don't already have. I remember when the grass there used to be taken down with a scythe by a man already over 80 years of age.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Catching up

It was funny to see my name and e-mail address in the YLR. At least that part's not on line. That's funny=a bit peculiar, not funny=ha ha.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Best-selling author forced to "make due"

Ann Patchett used this language in the Wall Street Journal and it was not corrected before the paper went to press. The language remains in the on-line version.

Friday, January 16, 2009

More every day

These are the short and sturdy beauties that we've been enjoying for a while now. They and some paperwhites that continue to bloom are the first bulb appearances this season. This is not a sharp shot. Since the demise of my favorite toy camera I've been trying out another, very slightly newer one. The old one was a Concord EyeQ Mini, and this is a Concord 1500 at the lowest resolution (the highest resolution is 1.3 megapixels.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sign of the season

We've lost only some hyacinth beans that had already made seeds and a couple of nasturtium seedlings in pots exposed to moving air. So far this season, there's been the barest partial skim of clear ice on the shallow drinking basins for the birds, in a shady place. But it was funny go get no water from the hose when I went to sprinkle the seedbeds. First, I noticed that the handle for the on-off valve wouldn't move. Then, when I removed the variable nozzle, I found that the interior was filled with ice. This must have been left in a shady and exposed place.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

August 1982 to unknown date books read

There came a time when I stopped noting the date that I finished reading a book. August 3 was the last date noted. I didn't carry on much longer than that with the record contained in this recently unearthed composition book. Here are all the remaining listings:

Lucian Truscott IV: Dress Gray
Cedric Hardwicke: A Victorian in Orbit
Rudolf Bing: 5000 Nights at the Opera
Ann Combs: Smith College Never Taught Me to Salute
Gerald Moore: Am I Playing Too Loud?
Bryan Forbes: Dame Edith Evans, Ned's Girl
Bernice Rubens: I Sent a Letter to My Love
Calvin Trillin: Floater
Gerald Moore: Farewell Recital
Lloyd Sumner: The Long Ride
Bamber Gascoigne: The Heyday
Robert Louis Stevenson: The Master of Ballantrae
Shelby Hearon: Painted Dresses
Rosamond Lehmann: Invitation to the Waltz
Margaret Kennedy: The Ladies of Lyndon
Elizabeth Taylor: In a Summer Season
Max Apple: The Oranging of America and Other Stories
Anne Roiphe: Long Division
Elizabeth Taylor: Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont
Shelby Heargon: Now and Another Time
Elizabeth Taylor: The Wedding Group
Christopher Lloyd: The Well-Tempered Garden
Mario Praz: The House of Life
Elizabeth Taylor: The Sleeping Beauty
George Reedy: Lyndon B. Johnson: A Memoir
Natalie Babbitt: Goody Hall
Elizabeth Taylor: Blaming
Robb Forman Dew: Dale Loves Sophie to Death
Carobeth Laird: Encounter with an Angry God
Stefan Muthesius: The English Terraced House
Stephen Dobyns: Dancer with One Leg
J.I.M. Stewart The Gaudy
J.I.M. Stewart: Young Pattullo
Shelby Hearon: Afternoon of a Fawn
Louise Brooks: Lulu in Hollywood
Mary Robison: Days
J.I.M. Stewart: A Use of Riches
Honore de Balzac: A murky Business
Honore de Balzac: The Wild Ass's Skin
Anne La Bastille: Woodswoman
Anthony Powell: The Strangers All Are Gone
John Mortimer: Clinging to the Wreckage
William Kennedy: Legs
William Kennedy: Billy Phelan's Greatest Game
William Kennedy: Ironweed
William Kennedy: O Albany
Robertson Davies: Tempest-Tost
Robertson Davies: Leaven of Malice
Robertson Davies: A Mixture of Frailties
John Williams: Augustus
Angus Wilson: The Middle Age of Mrs. Eliot
Rosellen Brown: Tender Mercies
David Lodge: Changing Places
Robertson Davies: The Rebel Angels
Rosamond Lehman: A Note in Music
Emily Eden: The Semi-Attached Couple
Emily Eden: The Semi-Detached House
Rebecca West: Harriet Hume
F. Tennyson Jess: The Lacquer Lady
Margaret Kennedy: Together and Apart
Ada Leverson: The Little Ottleys (including Love's Shadow, Tenterhooks, and Love at Second Sight)
May Sinclair: Mary Olivier: A Life
Ford Madox Ford: The Good Soldier
Olivia Manning: The Balkan Trilogy
Olivia Manning: The Levant Trilogy
Willa Cather: My Mortal Enemy
D. H. Lawrence: Sons and Lovers
M. V. Hughes: A London Child of the 1870s
M. V. Hughes: A London Girl of the 1880s
M. V. Hughes: A London Home in the 1890s
Barbara Comyns: The Vet's Daughter
Robert Graves: Count Belisarious
Robert Graves: Homer's Daughter
Margery Sharp: The Nutmeg Tree
Margery Sharp: Cluny Brown
Margery Sharp: The Sun in Scorpio
Suzanne Gordon: Off Balance: The Real World of Ballet
Patricia Roberts: Tender Prey
Winthrop Knowlton: Fake Premises
E. F. Benson: Queen Lucia
E. F. Benson: Lucia in London
E. F. Benson: Miss Mapp
E. F. Benson: Mapp and Lucia
E. F. Benson: The Worshipful Lucia
E. F. Benson: Trouble for Lucia
Nora Ephron: Heartburn
Henry James: What Maisie Knew
Alice McDermott: A Bigamist's Daughter
Elizabeth Bowen: Death of the Heart
A. C. Greene: Fifty Best Books about Texas
Barbara Pym: Some Tame Gazelle
William A. Owens: Tell Me a Story, Sing Me a Song
J.I.M. Stewart: Full Term
J.I.M. Stewart: The Madonna of the Astrolabe
Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, Steven Izenour: Learning from Las Vegas
P. M. Hubbard: A Hive of Glass
P. M. Hubbard: The Quiet River
Paul Horgan: Everything to Live For
Paul Horgan: The Thin Mountain Air
Paul Horgan: Main Line West
Paul Horgan: Far from Cibola
Paul Horgan: The Common Heart
Stephen Harrigan: Aransas
Margaret Laurence: A Jest of God
Alice Monro: The Beggar Maid: Stories of Flora and Rose
Beverly Lowry: Daddy's Girl
Joan Chase: In the Reign of the Queen of Persia
J.I.M. Stewart: A Palace of Art
A.J.P. Taylor: A Personal History
T. R. Fehrenbach: Seven Keys to Texas
Paul Horgan: Mexico Bay
John Graves: From a Limestone Ledge
A. C. Greene: A Personal Country
Sigrid Undset: Kristin Lavransdatter (volumes I-III)
Margaret Laurence: The Fire Dweller
Noel Perrin: Third Person Rural
Gary Stewart: The Tenth Virgin
Kate Wilhelm: Fault Lines
Sheila Ballantyne: Imaginary Crimes
Michael M. Thomas: Someone Else's Money
Edwin Shrake: Peter Arbiter
Thornton Wilder: Heaven's My Destinatino
John Krich: Music in Every Room
Bernice Rubens: Sunday Best
A. C. Greene: Dallas U.S.A.
John Sayles: Pride of the Bimbos
David Plante: The Family
David Plante: The Woods
David Plante: The Country
Ann Tyler: Earthly Possessions
The Lisle Letters: ed., Muriel St. Clair Byrne and Bridget Boland)
Anita Brooker: Providence
James Wilcox: Modern Baptists
Umberto Eco: In the Name of the Rose
Anthony Trollope: The Small House at Allington
Shelby Hearon: The Second Dune
Ursula Perrin: Old Devotions
Reeve Lindbergh Brown: Moving to the Country
Michael Malone: Dingley Falls
Anita Brookner: Look at Me
Pamela Hansford Johnson: The Survival of the Fittest
Winston M. Estes: Another Part of the House
Winston M. Estes: A Simple Act of Kindness
Mordecai Richler: Home Sweet Home
Shelby Hearon: Group Therapy
McDonald Harris: The Treasure of Sainte Foy
Mark Girouard: Robert Smythson and the Elizabethan Country House
William Kotzwinkle: Queen of Swords
Susanna Moore: My Old Sweetheart
May Sarton: At Seventy
Fay Weldon: The Life and Loves of a She-Devil
Stephen Harrington: Jacob's Well
M. R. Montgomery: In Search of L. L. Ban
Alice Adams: Superior Women
Elizabeth Jenkins: The Tortoise and the Hare
Sheila Kaye-Smith: Joanna Godden
Virginia Woolf: To the Lighthouse
Henry James: The Tragic Muse
Frederick Barthelme: Second Marriage
John Updike: The Witches of Eastwick
Robb Forman Dew: The Time of Her Life
Leonard Woolf: The Wise Virgins
Louis Auchincloss: The Book Class
Laurie Colwin: Family Happiness
Judith Shklar: Ordinary Vices
A. C. Greene: The Highland Park Woman
Rosellen Brown: Civil Wars
Eudora Welty: One Writer's Beginnings
Peter Dickinson: Hindsight
Stephen Greenleaf: Fatal Obsession
William Humphrey: Farther Off From Heaven
Bryher: The Days of Mars: A Memoir 1940-1946
Elizabeth Tallent: In Constant Flight
Anita Brookner: Hotel du Lac
Gail Godwin: The Finishing School
ed. Patrick Bennett: Talking with Texas Writers
Eleanor Clark: Eyes, Etc.
Elizabeth Taylor: Angel
Larry McMurtry: All My Friends Are Gong to Be Strangers
Elizabeth Spencer: The Salt Line
Harrett Doerr: Stones for Ibarra
Elizabeth Taylor: The Soul of Kindness
Andrea Lee: Sarah Phillips
Alison Lurie: Foreign affairs
Wright Morris: A Cloak of Light
Alfred Duggan: Family Favorites
Santha Rama Rau: Homne to India
Bill Brandt: London in the Thirties
Lawrence Grow and Dina Van Zweck: American Victorian
Maureen Freely: The Life of the Party
Ronald Fraswer: In Search of a Past: The Rearing of an English Gentleman
Santha Rama Rao: Gifts of Passage
Hallam Tennyson: The Haunted Mind
Madge Piercy: Small Changes
Susan Cheever: Looking for Work
Anita Desai: In Custody
Paul Theroux: The Mosquito Coast
Patricia Highsmith: The Tremor of Forgery
Janet Kauffman: Places in the World a Woman Could Walk
Caryl Rivers: Virgins
Larry McMurtry: Cadillac Jack
Edward Rivera: Family Installments
Bartholomew Gill: McGarr at the Dublin Horse Show
Velda Johnston: The Other Karen
William G. Tapply: The Dutch Blue Error
Anita Brookner: The Debut
Elizabeth Tallent: Museum Pieces
Elizabeth Benedict: Slow Dancing
Mel Tillis: Stutterin' Boy
Brad Leithauser: Equal Distance
Alan Riding: Distant Neighbord: A Portrait of the Mexicans
ed. Edwin Tribble: A Chime of Words: The Letters of Logan Piersall Smith
Ruth Rendell: Tree of Hands
Alice Adams: Rich Rewards
Maggie Brooks: Loose Connections
John Sherwood: Green Trigger Fingers
Eric Wright: The Night the Gods Smiles
Bret Easton Ellis: Less Than Zero
Donald Davie: These the Companions
Rebecca West: This Real Night
Michael Delving: No Sign of Life
Eric Newby: Slowly Down the Ganges
Michael Delving: Die Like a Man
Roy Lewis: A Gathering of Ghosts
Roy Lewis: Most Cunning Workmen
Bettina Hurliman: Seven Houses: My Life with Books
Craig Claiborne: A Feast Made for Laughter: A Memoir with Recipes
Redmond O'Hanlon: Into the Heart of Borneo
Catherine Heath: Behaving Badley
ancelica Garnett: Deceived with Kindness: A Bloomsbury Childhood
Amy Hempel: Reasons to Live
Edward Weeks: Writers and Friends
Magdalen Nabb: Death of a Dutchman
A.J.P. Taylor: An Old Man's Diary
Ann Beattie: Love Always
Vera Brittain: Testament of Friendship
Celia Fremlin: The Spider Orchid
Michael Delving: Smiling the Boy Fell Dead / The Devil Finds Work
Louis Auchincloss: The Cark Lady / The Country Cousin
Penny Sparke: Ettore Sottsass
Varian Page: Furnitur Designs by Architects
ed. Maria del Carmen Millan: Antologia de Cuentos Mexicanos
Eric Wright: Smoke Detector
Doris Grumback: The Missing Person
May Sinclair: The Three Sisters
Simon Troy: Cease upon the Midnight
Don Flynn: Murder on the Hudson
Ellen Gilchrist: The Annunciation
Patrick Marnham: So Far from God: A Journey to Central America
Stephen Brook: Honkytonk Gelato: Travels Through Texas
Larry L. King: Warning: Writer at Work
Dorothy Allred Solomon: In My Father's House
Jane Gardam: After the Funeral
Robertson Davies: What's Bred in the Bone
Carolyn Osborn: The Fields of Memory
Janet Frame: An Angel at my Table
Penelope Lively: Treasure of Time
Penelope Lively: Next to Nature, Art
Eric Wright: Death in the Old Country
Anne Tyler: The Accidental Tourist
T. S. Matthews: Angels Unawares: 20th Century Portraits
Louis Auchincloss: An Honorable Man
Doris Grumbach: The Spoil of the Flowers
A. S. Byatt: Still Life
David Black: Murder at the Met
Joe Flaherty: Tin Wife
Don DeLillo: White Noise
Janet Frame: To the Island
Jane Gardam: Pineapple Bay Hotel
Janet Burroway: Opening Nights
A. R. Gurney, Jr.: The Snow Ball
Arthur Upfield: The Widows of Broome
Stanley Ellin: Very Old Money
Mel Arrighi: Manhattan Gothic
Stanley Ellin: The Valenine Estate
Barbara Savage: Notes from Nowhere
George Eliot: The Lifted Veil
Catherine Carswell: Open the Door
Mary Cholmondeley: Red Pottage
Laura Talbot:The Gentlewomen
Jane and Mary Findlater: Crossriggs
Mrs. Humphrey Ward: Marcella
Mrs. Oliphant: Hester
Vita Sackville-West: All Passion Spent
Liza Dalby: Geisha
Elizabeth Taylor: The Wedding Group
Elizabeth Taylor: A Game of Hide and Seek
Margaret Kennedy: Troy Chimneys
E. H. Young: The Misses Mallett
E. H. Young: Jenny Wren
E. H. Young: The Curate's Wife
Elizabeth Taylor: The Devastating Boys
Michael Z. Lewin: Out of Season
Paul Pines: The Tin Angel
Virginia Woolf: To the Lighthouse
Henry James: Tye Tragic Muse
Charles Dickens: Hard Times
E. M. Forster: A Passage to India
Henry James: Watch and Ward
Jane Austen: Persuasion
John Knowles: The Private Life of Axie Reed
Bartholomew Gill: McGarr and the Legacy of a Woman Scorned
June Drummond: The People in Glass House
Michael Z. Lewin: Ask the Right Question
Wm. Krasner: Death of a Minor Poet
Boris Goldovsky: Good Afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen
Haughton Murphy: Murder for Lunch
Aaron Appel: Time after Time
Rachel Bilington: The Garish Day
Quentin Belol: The Brandon Papers
Anita Brookner: Family and Friends
Domini Taylor: Mother Love
Agatha Christie: Peligro Inminente
Gene Thompson: Murder Mystery
Russell Banks: Success Stories
Marty Breasted: I Shouldn't Be Telling You This
Anne Bernays: The Address Book
John Mortimer: Paradise Postpones
Jonathan Raban: Foreign Land
Charles Jencks: Kinds of Infinte Space: Frank Lloyd Wright and Michael Graves

This run is unusual in that I recorded at least some mysteries read, which I usually did not bother to do. I think that there are a lot of Virago editions here (all those Edwardian and late-Victorian woman writers). I plan to continue with recording books read by month. I think I can find another journal around here, one kept earlier than this one, which seems to end sometime in the very early 'Eighties. It appears that I had begun to work on Spanish by reading Agatha Christie books side by side. Some Spanish translations of these were very simple and others were not. If I fool around more with GoodReads, maybe I'll post these lists up there. During this period, I was re-reading nineteenth-century classics, plus a lot of literary and theatrical memoirs.

January 1975 books read

Anthony Trollope: Can You Forgive Her?
Anthony Trollope: Phineas Finn
Anthony Trollope: The Eustace Diamonds
Anthony Trollope: Phineas Redux

These were all re-reads. The first Trollope that I ever read was The Eustace Diamonds, borrowed in New Mexico. The second that I ever read was The Warden. I owned a paperback copy of Barchester Towers for a long time before I ever read it.

January 1974 books read

I found some earlier ones:

Anthony Trollope: Framley Parsonage
Anthony Trollope: The Belton Estate
Anthony Trollope: The Warden
Theodore Dreiser: An American Tragedy
Anthony Trollope: Dr. Thorne

The Trollopes had been read before; I'm not certain about whether this was a first-time read of the Dreiser. I think it was not.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I felt very lucky to see a red-tailed hawk, so large, low enough and with the sun at just the right angle for good viewing and seeing more than the moving silhouette. It took just four beats of those mighty wings to take this mighty creature from just overhead to beyond view. I'm all but certain that this is my second sighting recently, but this weekend the view was of a shape only, with no color visible.

January 1982 books read

Laurie Colwin: The Lone Pilgrim
Ann Beattie: Secrets and Surprises
Mark Amory, ed.: The Letters of Evelyn Waugh
Joe McGinniss: Going to Extremes
Cameron Crowe: Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Fay Weldon: Down Among the Women

Monday, January 12, 2009

January 1981 books read

I remember all of these, and the Katharine S. White book is one that I own:

Van Wyck Brooks: Scenes and Portraits
Van Wyck Brooks: Days of the Phoenix
Van Wyck Brooks: From the Shadow of the Mountain
Dervla Murphy: Full Tilt: Ireland to India on a Bicycle
Katharine S. White: Onward and Upward in the Gaden
Elizabeth Heyert: The Glass House Years: Victorian Portrait Photography 1839-1870
Charles Jencks: Bizarre Architecture

The library has apparently de-accessioneed the Dervla Murphy book, one of the most popular of her many pleasant travel books. Eight of her books are still in the Austin Public Library on-line catalogue, although one is marked as missing.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

January 1980 books read

Some of these I don't remember at all:

Martin Green: Dreams of Adventure, Deeds of Empire
Paul Fussell: The Great War and Modern Memory
Richard Ansaldi: Souvenirs from the Roadside West*
Doris Grumbach: The Spoil of the Flowers
Frederick Busch: Domestic Particulars

*I hope that this was a picture book and that it included the sign for the Uranium Cafe in Grants and some of the neon along old 66. Fussell and Busch are the ones that lodged in memory.

In the pleasure grounds

Leaves of a second kind of species tulips have appeared overnight. Mystery germination is occurring everywhere; what may be volunteers and what are results of human action this year cannot be known at this time. Peas, both sweet and for the table, are popping up everywhere, and so are delphiniums. We aim for sweeps of color, whether from foliage or blossoms, in the midst of the grass. Everything like that seems to green against the dormant lawn. We have not had a true killing frost yet, although susceptible zinnias and tithonia are no more, and exposed lantanas have dropped their leaves. There are still some flowers on some of the hyacinth beans. Each type of Johnny jump-up behaves differently, but all are now in bloom, although becoming leggy, despite being deadheaded almost every day. Our two geraniums in pots are back in bloom. So are some fennel plants, as well as a couple of chile plants in pots. The cultivated chicory that has established itself in a pot has much bluer flowers this time of year. We see mockingbirds eating lantana, cedar, and Japanese yew berries. Mourning doves and whitewings search out dropped seeds from the bennel and the wild sunflowers. Milkweed in pots (both kinds) is still in bloom and forming seedpods. Oxalis is not blooming but the foliage is thriving in this weather. Our bulbs in bloom remain old forced paperwhites that found their own way to root in the ground, plus those stubby little nystery narcissi, two to a stem. The cups of those turn less orange and more yellow with the passage of time. The flowers are lasting very well. Despite all the proliferation of bright lights, we saw a screech owl before light yesterday morning and heard one of the much larger owls this morning.


There's nothing new in today's NYT feature on Ted Nelson, but I do love those photographs. I wonder whether I'll run across any record of when I read Computer Lib; these reading logs or journals keep surfacing as we try to become better organized. Meeting my distribution requirements meant that Nelson was one semester and my Skinnerian live pigeon was the other semester; that was all, since I had four years of high-school credit for science and four for math. I seem to remember that our reading list (and this was before the earliest picture in today's article) included Margaret Mead, Ruth Benedict, Veblen, and lots of Erving Goffman, but more I don't remember. Wikipedia on Nelson seems to cover plenty.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

January 1979 books read

I still think it's funny that I remember most of the books, and even their physical qualities, but had completely forgotten keeping this record of reading, using a fountain pen, still, by the way:

James Morris: The World of Venice
Henry James: The Ambassadors
F. R Banks: English Villages
Joseph M. Grant and Lawrence L. Crum: The Development of State-Chartered Banking in Texas: From Predecessor Systems until 1970
Janet Flanner: Paris Was Yesterday
John Holloway: A London Childhood
Zora Neale Hurston: Dirt Tracks on a Road
L. E. Jones: An Edwardian Youth
Robert Gittings: Young Thomas Hardy
Eleanor Dienstag: Whither Thou Goest
Geoffrey Tillotson: A View of Victorian Literature
Willa Cather: Youth and the Bright Medusa
Melvyn Bragg: Who Speaks for England
Bette Howland: Blue in Chicago

James was a re-read, and the books that I don't remember are by Dienstag, Bragg, and Howland, although my vague recollection that the Dienstag book was probably about a trailing spouse and was also perhaps peripherally related to the Stirling Homex matter seems to be confirmed by on-line accounts.

Friday, January 09, 2009

January 1978 books read

These are recorded in the recently recovered composition book of items read that I had entirely forbotten (the composition book, not the books):

George Eliot: Scenes of Clerical Life (1858)
Robert Graves: I, Claudius
Maxim Gorky: My Childhood
Robert Graves: Claudius the God
Elizabeth Gaskell: The Life of Charlotte Bronte (1857)
D. H. Lawrence: The White Peacock (1911)
May Sarton: The Small Room
Mary McCarthy: Memories of a Catholic Girlhood
Jane Austen: Mansfield Park
Loretta Lynn: Coal Miner's Daughter
D. M. Stuart: The English Abigail
Henry James: The Portrait of a Lady

The Graves, Mary McCarthy, Austen, and Henry James books listed above were read not for the first time.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

January 1977 books read

These are more from the record recently found, and some were re-read, not read for the first time (Hardy, Burney):

James Boswell: London Journal 1762-63
Daniel Defoe: A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain (1724-26)
Fanny Burney: Evelina
Laurence Stern: A Sentimental Journey (1768)
Thomas Hardy: A Pair of Blue Eyes (1873)
G.D.H. Cole: Persons and Periods (1937)
Edward Gibbon: Autobiography

This reading was done on weekends and during lunch-hours, mostly; reading at night is tough on the eyes and, besides, that's when people are tired.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

A map and a book

The map is of the Cibola National Forest (Grants-Gallup ranger district, as it was then), 1968. I wanted to dig it out to prove a point. It shows all the trails and dirt roads and even individual buildings. At first, I couldn't find it where I expected it to be. But I found that I had been overlooking it because it had been folded to be smaller than I thought it would be. It was right in the basket where I expected to find it and eventually did find it, and while I was searching I enjoyed looking at other maps in the same basket, including Travis, Williamson, Bastrop, and Blanco individual county maps and many others. Between my first search of the basket and that eureka moment, I read a book called Collections of Nothing (thank you, Austin Public Library). The book is really an extended essay and there are portions that are great fun to read aloud because of the author's delight in language. Anyhow, I've been inspired to de-accession some of my documentary evidence of life here in Austin as I've known it and deliver it to the Austin History Center (see Metblog entry).

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Beyond paperwhites: our first bicolor narcissi

I forget what they are called, but they are short-stemmed, with a sparkly white perianth and a tiny and very orange cup. There are two flowers on most stalks. They have maintained themselves well and most clumps have even grown. Maybe we'll divide some of those clumps one of these times, but they're doing very well as they are, so beautiful on sunny days and even more beautiful under gray skies. These join the paperwhite narcissi near the compost pile, once forced in a pot and then dumped; the first clump of paperwhites, of a similar origin, but in the side yard, are nearly done blooming.

Monday, January 05, 2009

January 1976 books read

In some cases, these are books read not for the first time:

Robert Louis Stevenson: Weir of Hermiston
Robert Louis Stevenson: The Misadventures of John Nicholson
Robert Louis Stevenson: The Story of a Lie
Robert Louis Stevenson: The Body Snatcher
Susan Ferrier: Marriage (1818)
Susan Ferrier: The Inheritance (1824)
Susan Ferrier: Destiny (1831)
Leigh Hunt: Autobiography (1815)
Leonard Woolf: Sowing
Leonard Woolf: Growing
Leonard Woolf: Beginning Again
Leonard Woolf: Downhill All the Way
Constance Holme: Crump Folk Going Home (1913)
George Gissing: The House of Cobwebs (1906)
Constance Holme: The Old Road from Spain (1916)
Constance Holme: Beautiful End (1918)
Constance Holme: The Trumpet in the Dust (1921)
Evelyn Waugh: A Little Learning (1964)

The Virago paperback editions may have been available at this time. How did I find so much time to read? There was even more in February that year.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

A forgotten record

I'll have to shelve this with the journal of books read that I knew I had kept; this is a one that I'd forgotten about entirely. It's in one of those composition books with a black-speckled-with-white cover. The pages are ruled in squares, good for doing graphs or recording counted stich patterns. At some point in August, 1982, I stopped recording the date that a book was finished, but did continue on recording titles and publication dates for an unknown period of time. If I carry on with GoodReads, I might record books read there.