Posted tagged ‘reading’

What To Do

March 28, 2020

In case you don’t know, as we get older we become more attached to our routines. In case you are new here, I am 75 … and VERY attached to my routines. Since we moved to Utah in December many of our routines have been shattered, in particular those connected to particular places and particular people. Now this, this being the COVID-2 pandemic and whatever degree of shelter in place (in my opinion a really dumb terminology) you see as prudent. Ours is probably not as strict as the most rabid would advise but it keeps us in the house much more than we are used to, particularly since we decided to limit our visits to the grocery stores. I had been using the stores to get my steps in each day when it’s cold (and almost all Utah days feel cold to this former Californian), so now I’m bundling up and walking outside. It’s actually better to be in the fresh air. But I get stir crazy being in the house and stir crazy leads to boredom and, for me, boredom leads to mild depression and depression leads to loss of interest in things I enjoy. Ouch. So it’s important for me to be conscientious in finding things to do. Here are a few that help me stay sane.


On Loving Words

December 26, 2013

I have hated the words and loved them and I hope I have made them right – The Book Thief

wordsIf you are one of the handful of readers who stop by here now and again, you know that Older Eyes is a lover of words.  Perhaps handful of readers sounds like a lament or even a complaint … and anyone who’s ever put words to a page would call me a liar if I denied a wish for more readers … but I bring it up today as evidence.  A man doesn’t write nearly a million words in four years for a small audience unless he truly loves the way it feels as the words flow from imagination to fingertips to page.  Lately, however, although the words still flow, they require more effort and bring less joy.  They feel emptier, even though, to this reader, they still read well.



February 13, 2013

hookedOn Monday night, after struggling to stay with Alice Hoffmann’s The Dovekeepers for two months, I finally gave up.  Oh, yeah, I can tell myself I’ll try it again some day but it’s unlikely to happen.  As I said in Not Just Talking, the book is historical fiction told in a narrative style with no dialog, both strikes against it given my taste in reading.  But perhaps more importantly, the story never Hooked me.  I never came to care very much about the characters and there was never an uncertain future that I just had to know about.  I’m no historian but I do know that the siege of the Masada by the Romans, which The Dovekeepers fictionalizes, ends in the mass suicide of the 960 Jews living there.  Nothing in the 299 pages I read made me anxious to know anything more.   So, last night, I started 11/22/63, Stephen King’s novel centered about the assassination of John F. Kennedy.  You might say taking on another piece of historical fiction would be a mistake, but I’ve never read a King novel that hasn’t Hooked me in the first few pages.  He has a way of quickly introducing me to likeable but flawed characters that remind me of people I know … or of myself … then subtly letting me know they are in harm’s way.   He’s also fond of killing off those characters part way through the book and knowing his good guys don’t always survive adds to the sense of dread. (more…)

Not Just Talking

January 30, 2013

dialogIn 1959, I was a Freshman at East Haven High School, taking English in the college course.   The major project in Freshman English was a term paper.  If you can believe it, I chose to write on The Basic Characteristics of Nobel Prize Winning Literature.  I based my paper on four books: Earnest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises; The Stranger by Albert Camus; Boris Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago; and Halldor Laxness’ Independent People.  Miss Miller gave me an A+, mostly, I think for ambition and organization, making her my favorite teacher (she wore tight skirts and liked my writing, what more could a boy ask for in a teacher?).  I actually read three of the books … I couldn’t make it through Independent People.  Halldor Laxness was given to pages-long descriptive passages that renewed the great narrative art of Iceland … but left no room for dialog.   Sorry Miss Miller. (more…)

Me and Stephen

June 2, 2012

I haven’t been reading enough.  No, make that: I haven’t been reading at all … unless you count proof-reading my own posts.  I haven’t been reading non-fiction.  I haven’t been reading fiction.  I haven’t been reading my favorite blogs.  It would be understandable if I didn’t love to read but I do.   It would be understandable if I was working fifty-something hours a week but I’m working about ten.  Of course, I’m posting every day, doing Morning Pages, enjoying a happy marriage, attending 12-Step meetings and sponsoring half-a-dozen guys, doing volunteer service … well, you get the point.  Who knew (semi-) retirement would be so busy?

There’s a solution I’ve used in the past.  Mr. King.  Stephen King.  My favorite author.  So this week, I downloaded the Kindle Ap onto my new Android phone and bought Duma Key, the Stephen King novel that many critics consider his best.  Friday afternoon, after finishing a little work and some chores, I settled into the chaise lounge in our backyard (something else I don’t do often enough) and put on my headphones: Amazon mp3 player, Best of the Eroica Trio, then opened the Kindle Ap.  Mr. King is on his game.  Listen to this. (more…)

Funny Books

March 23, 2011

When I was kid we liked Funny Books.  That meant comic books just as it meant the Sunday comics when we said we wanted to read the Funny Papers.   Comic books weren’t out and out banned in our house but their presence was discouraged.   If you want to read, read a real book, I seem to remember hearing, probably from my Dad.  My favorite comic book was Archie.  I could never understand why he didn’t just go steady with Betty, who was cuter than the somewhat stuck up Veronica and seemed to really love him.  He must have liked brunettes.   But this post isn’t about comic books. (more…)

Friday Favorites 3/4/2011

March 4, 2011

Monday, after I’d finished my Morning Pages in the park, I called my wife to see what she had planned.  She had errands to run.  That is different than us having errands.   Us having errands to run means specific places to go, sure, but it’s free form and leisurely, a date on the run.  My wife having errands means here first, then here … on schedule.  Still, I said, Do you mind if I come along? She didn’t.   One of our stops was the Anaheim Hills Library.    At the front of the library is a used book store that sells donated books that the library already has in it’s collection.  So while my wife looked for books to borrow, I searched through the used book shelves.  Tucked away on a cart waiting to be shelved was a perfect copy of Tom Wolfe’s A Man in Full.  On the cover was a sticker … signed by the author … and inside, there was Wolfe’s florid signature. (more…)