Finished the Joan Didion book. Whose last chapters were a real bear.

How, how could she just have left the matter of her daughter’s recovery up in the air like that?  Her daughter, who presented at a New York hospital with the exact same symptoms as self’s sister — though over a decade later, perhaps treatment had advanced — and who was diagnosed with the same illness, “walking pneumonia,” made it out of the hospital six months later (but in what condition, Joan does not specify). She might not have been fully back to her old capacities, but at least she survived. While self’s sister, the mom of niece G, died. 11 days after admission. Cause of death: sepsis.

Anyhoo, self finished the Didion book. Remembered Ying saying that she “liked” it (How? It was sooo depressing! Yet this was one of the first things self and Ying talked about, when self arrived in Tel Aviv last year: how much Ying liked this book).

And now self is on to her next book, Charles C. Mann’s 1491, a historical account of the Americas before Columbus.

Self still has a number of student pieces to comment on, so this short post will have to be all for now. But self really has to get this one off her chest: What is up with this weather? It is cold, cold as in self-needs-to-wear-socks-and-wool-sweater-around-the-house cold. There is no joy in self, this spring day . . .

The Honesty of Joan Didion

I remember despising the book Dylan Thomas’ widow Caitlin wrote after her husband’s death, Leftover Life to Kill. I remember being dismissive of, even censorious about, her “self-pity,” her “whining,” her “dwelling on it.” Leftover Life to Kill was published in 1957. I was twenty-two years old. Time is the school in which we learn.

      — from

The Year of Magical Thinking

A Most Gorgeous Channing

This has been a most gorgeous day.  Why?

Because self has been to see gorgeous Channing Tatum in “Fighting.” (Dear blog readers, the pictures of him in April 2009 Vanity Fair do not do him justice.  What self means is: why should anyone want to see this actor decked out as if he’d just stepped from the pages of The Great Gatsby, replete with two-toned shoes?? He should be gritty and shirtless —  as often as possible)

Terrence Howard is in the same movie, and that makes two gorgeous guys for the price of one movie ticket.  How lucky is that?

Also, script was not stupid.  Which we have much to be thankful for.  As self knows from sad experience that when there are two gorgeous men appearing together in a movie, rarely does anyone bother to ask if the script makes any sense (Not so fast, self!  Have you forgotten Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen?  With Clooney and Pitt and Damon?  What about Bourne #1?  With Clive Owen as assassin in a field?  Once again, self digresses)

The only thing self wanted to know was:  why are there so many scenes with Tatum alone in a subway car?  Is he constantly riding the subway in the wee hours of the morning?  And how can someone fight like he does and not chip a single tooth?  Though self has to admit it would seriously detract from (female) movie-goer’s experience to have to look at Channing Tatum with missing teeth.

Anyhoo, after watching the movie, self was in such a good mood she was practically longing to get back to Joan Didion’s uber-intellectual parsing of the grief experience in The Year of Magical Thinking. (And, as soon as self is finished with the Didion, the next book on her list is the very exciting Charles C. Mann book on the world “before Columbus”, 1491.  Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned)

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