Category: Books

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Big Book Bounty

When I was in high school, my cousin piqued my interested in a Dutch novel published in 1968 that debuted in 1973 translated into English. Every few months, over the past three years or so, I looked for a copy to buy, but prices are generally exorbitant; the book is out of print.

Where Were You Last Pluterday? by Paul Van Herck is satirical science fiction at its comically cringiest. The absolute absurdity of American politics and cultural currents triggered my curiosity about how-true-to-life had the hilariously nonsensical story become. Something about our reality of the absurd was once science fiction. I had to know: How prescient is the 50-year-old-plus novel?

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The Immeasurable Value of Books

The third weekend each month, the book sale room opens at the University Heights branch of San Diego Public Library. Of course, I would forget and come happenstance while walking somewhere else on Sunday about 90 minutes before closure. Inside I went, searching for older titles to take home.

Current cultural, progressive values are imposed all about us, with the greatest casualty being history and how the past is revised and censored to match these same norms. The Telegraph gives good example with Nov. 20, 2023 story (headline and dek): “Roman emperor was trans, says museum. Elagabalus will be referred to as she after claims in classical texts that the emperor asked to be called ‘lady’. Except: “Some historians believe these accounts may simply have been a Roman attempt at character assassination”.

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The Big ‘Little Library’ Renovation

Whoa, something changed with the LittleFreeLibrary located on Campus Avenue in University Heights. You probably wouldn’t recognize that this is a less-decorative rendition of the one shared in October 2021. But size still commands all other curbside lending boxes situated around the San Diego neighborhood.

My wife and I first spotted the renovated enclosure on Oct. 10, 2023, while walking along perpendicular street Monroe. The Featured Image and companions come from Leica Q2. Vitals, aperture manually set for all: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/320 sec, 28mm; 11:20 a.m. PDT.

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One Book to Rule Them All

I don’t run the hamster wheel on Amazon Prime Day, spinning round and round searching for deals and opportunity to needlessly spend more money. But hours before the annual (so-called) sales event ended, on July 12, 2023, I came upon one intriguing item among the many suggested discounts flooding my RSS feeds (If you don’t know what RSS is, return to TikTok and resume running the mouse maze to nowhere).

Need I say, since you can see what from the Featured Image? I don’t collect books, but having something tangible and non-digital to read is always smart. You got grid down scenarios, because of summer heat or threat of cyberattacks, for example. What if Russia-Ukraine escalates to global war? I will want something to read while waiting to die from radiation poisoning during nuclear winter.

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Keep It Simple

Around my neighborhood are many little lending libraries. Some are fancy, others large, then there those paying homage to something. All are wooden boxes of various types placed and placarded (as LittleFreeLibrary). Someone made them.

But why go to all that trouble? Today, I happened upon the best book sharing station ever. Why build something new, when you can repurpose something else—in this instance a fence post upon which to place a cardboard box with books. I love it! Use what you got instead of making something new.

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Bye Bye Books

You would think with so many LittleFreeLibrary boxes about the neighborhood that the owner of these books could deposit them in one. That person is learned, presumably at a local college, or pretends to be. Maybe smarty sees that the extra energy to walk a few blocks is wasted when curb depositing is quicker. Dunno and don’t really care but gotta speculate.

What a collection of titles, too. Let’s start with “how to use Tarot spreads” for “effective crisis communication”. Or “I’ll grant you that” “what happens on campus stays on YouTube”. Use “pre-sausion” and “the culture map” to locate “the CEO next door”.

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Ode to a Good Day

“She talked” is how our daughter’s nurse greeted me today. That statement upfront is so I don’t bury the lede. But behind it are several tumultuous days of disappointment and progress.

Consider this the third installment about our adult child, who suffered oxygen-deprivation following an incident that receives no explanation for now. “Our Family Emergency Revealed” and “From Intubation to Extubation” are parts one and two, respectively. Because my Facebook is deactivated (since July 2019), this post means to update relatives and any one else interested in following the saga.

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A Classic Find

As my wife and I walked along Louisiana Street yesterday, she stopped at the lending library at the corner of Mission. Annie pulled out a well-worn copy of The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Vol. IIB to show me. Interested?

Ages ago, I owned this title and earlier volumes in the series. Despite missing the back cover, I decided to take the classic anthology, which features novellas by Isaac Asimov, James Blish, Frederik Pohl, Clifford D. Simak, and seven other authors. The pages are yellowed and brittle, but hopefully fit enough for (at least) one reading.

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Turn a Page

For the longest time, I have wanted to explore Maxwell’s House of Books—and yesterday opportunity presented after Annie and I bought Bible and C.S. Lewis set at the Christian shop a few blocks away. No bookstore can be found in my San Diego neighborhood of University Heights, but La Mesa, Calif. has two downtown. Shucks. We are so denied.

You gotta love a chiding George Orwell quote warning anyone who dares to go inside. Given the state of American politics, we’re all accomplices. We entered to see 18-year-old black cat Rorschach cross our path. (Gulp, is that bad luck?) The kitty has his own calendar, which could be yours for fifteen bucks.

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Another Bible Story

I recently realized something is missing from my Harper Study Bible, which is Revised Standard Version. Verses are omitted, which greatly surprises. My go-to Good Book is a compact New American Standard acquired during the mid-1980s. In that translation, verses that scholars suspect were later added to the original text are bracketed. They are omitted, often without explanation, in RSV, I discovered earlier this week. As one of many examples: Mark 15 skips verse 28.

The 1980-edition HSB is a used purchase, from Amazon in April 2017. The seller failed to indicate that a name is gold-embossed on the cover—and not even his own. But that gotcha aside, condition was quite good. But five years later, the leather shows significant wear, cracking and separating some places. As such, retirement was an eventual destination for the book.

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A Gift with Grit

What do they say about coincidence? On Oct. 7, 2022, my wife and I watched a live-streamed presentation from the “Save the Nation Conference“, where Leah Hoopes and Gregory Stenstrom detail their investigation into election fraud in Delaware County, Pa. during the 2020 election. What sets their effort apart from others built upon innuendo and supposition: Successful collection of actual evidence.

This afternoon, when returning from a walk, I found a book wrapped in a note on our doorstep. One of my neighbors left a copy of The Parallel Election: A Blueprint for Deception by Hoopes and Stenstrom. Huh? I can’t say who was more surprised: Me, that she left the tome, or her, later learning that I was familiar with the content and authors.

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Tattered Tome

March 7, 2022, along Howard Avenue, down the block from the University Heights library, I came across discarded, open book Basta!: Land And The Zapatista Rebellion In Chiapas by George A. Collier and Elizabeth Lowery Quaratiello. Copyright 1994 and 2005.

Say what? Published by Food First Books? Self-described, the organization “has been working to end the injustices that cause hunger since 1975…Food First has published over 60 books and hundreds of articles and research reports”. Ah, okay. Mottos like “where food justice grows” illuminate the group’s progressive politics and policies.