Heaven, My Home, p. 94

“Forgiveness has a limit.”

It was a luxury black folks couldn’t afford . . .

Attica Locke, everybody.

Hopetown, Harris County, Texas

Heaven, My Home, p. 90:

  • There were no streets in this part of Hopetown, at least none that hadn’t been overgrown by time and wild grass, so there was nothing separating neighbor from neighbor back here; it was as if they all shared the same plot of land, were all one big family. In fact, Ray’s grandmother, a short, compact woman with a face bronzed and freckled with moles, came out on her front porch to receive the bag of pecans and hollered out to Mr. Page, “Eggs is gone, Leroy, Lou and her girls got ’em first, but I got a tray of redcorn pudding in the oven. We serving at six-thirty if you want to eat with us tonight.”

HEAVEN, MY HOME, pp. 5 – 6

Attica Locke! Love the atmosphere of this. Self may just have found a new favorite mystery writer.

The setting, a lake, “inlets like a tangle of snakes on the Texas side, at least the part that sat in Marion County”:

The antenna was bent halfway down, and in the pockets of silence, a deeper kind of fear took hold. He’d heard the lake went silent come nightfall, Spanish moss on the cypress trees dampening all sound, so that you could feel in this primeval lake on the edge of the state, this swamp at the edge of time, that you were the last man alive.

New Book: Heaven, My Home

p. 6:

The old man steered clear of the lake after dark, always warning Levi how easy it was for a man to get turned around once night fell if he was moving solely by the light of a weak headlamp or a shy moon. The lake was big and complex — a wetland maze that had mystified outsiders for hundreds of years.

Exciting opening!

Sentence of the Day: YOUR HOUSE WILL PAY, p. 23

Self is very slow in reading this book. Whether it’s because she’s decided to landscape her whole yard (single-handed) — The neighbors are liking the changes, leaving bags of persimmons and lemons, even two pots of young plants, on her porch as encouragement! — or because she’s shortly to begin teaching her on-line course, or because POTUS’s life hangs in the balance — she knows not. The fact remains: she’s only able to read a few pages a day.

Nevertheless! Here is the attention-grabbing sentence (Honestly, she’d have been outside again if she hadn’t just realized she was out of clean masks, and if the Century 20 were still showing first-run movies):

  • Miriam lived in Silver Lake, a hipster yuppie neighborhood, and ever since she moved there, she’d developed a biting scorn for the Valley — Granada Hills in particular.

Huh! Self actually knows a few people who live in Silver Lake. They are nice.

Oh! She also finished putting together a HUGE raised planter box in the backyard, right next to the magnolia tree. She’s emptied two bags of potting soil in it, which only filled it about a quarter of the way. About eight more bags, maybe? It’s for lettuce.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The Reading Year, So Far 2020

At the end of January, she landed on her first great read of 2020: Someone Who Will Love You In All Your Damaged Glory, by Raphael Bob-Waksberg.

February was TOTALLY GREAT! She spent the entire month reading two good books: The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison, and I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith.

The end of March brought her to Brideshead Revisited.

The end of April brought her to Leviathan Wakes, by James. S. A. Corey.

Last half of May: Caliban’s War (Book 2 of The Expanse) and Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family, by Robert Kolker.

June: Abaddon’s Gate and Cibola Burn, Books 3 and 4 of The Expanse

July: The Snakes, by Sadie Jones

End of August: The Charterhouse of Parma, by Stendhal

September: Great, great month. Read In West Mills, by De’Shawn Charles Winslow, and Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Sen. Joe McCarthy (totally absorbing, great biography) by Larry Tye.

Currently reading: Your House Will Pay, by Steph Cha.

To look forward to this month: the official launch of Caroline Kim’s collection, The Prince of Mournful Thoughts, the winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Voice of America, 1953

from Larry Tye’s Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Sen. Joe McCarthy, Chapter 6:

  • Kaplan was an engineer at the Voice of America and the liaison with MIT on the radio transmitter project that Senator McCarthy was slamming as an instance of deliberate sabotage of America’s propaganda war with the Russians. In the heat of those hearings, early in 1953, Kaplan traveled to Cambridge to talk to the Voice’s MIT advisers. Co-workers say it was a fraught mission for the anxious Kaplan, who, despite the fact that he was merely a middleman, had long worried that he might be dragged into the controversy over the siting of the towers. When he got to MIT, the researchers who could clear things up weren’t available to meet with him. Kaplan came unglued. As he was leaving campus, Henry Burke was driving down the street in his ten-ton trailer truck. “I saw him standing on the sidewalk as if he was ready to cross, Burke told the police later. “I slowed the truck. When (I) got near him, he jumped in front of it.”

Kaplan was, Tye writes, “a fragile target,” under pressure in many areas, not the least of which was a sick wife.

Sen. Joe McCarthy blamed Kaplan’s death on “sinister forces.”

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Sen. Joe McCarthy 2.0

Replace McCarthy’s name below with Trump, replace ‘the Red Menace’ with Chy-nuh and you have McCarthy 2.0. History repeats itself.

After a bruising battle in the Senate, Joe McCarthy’s primary Democratic opponent, Millard Tydings, was left “exhausted and deflated.” Instead of “muzzling McCarthy, the Tydings Committee had given him a wider stage and a louder bullhorn to name his names.” Somehow, McCarthy “made himself look more like the aggrieved than the aggressor. His murky cause had become an article of canon for Senate Republicans. His audience never was fellow senators, or even the reporters in the gallery, but … chicken farmers and grocers … Ask God-fearing people anywhere who their white knight was in the crusade against the Red Menace and there were no longer ifs and buts, it was the battle-ready Leatherneck, Jousting Joe McCarthy.” (Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy, p. 187)

p. 188: “Joe couldn’t forget a slight … Joe was the one framing the narrative.”

Lens-Artists Challenge # 115: INSPIRATION

There’s a beautiful gallery of inspiring photos on Travels and Trifles.

What gives self inspiration? Flowers. And books.

These blue flowers are so pretty. Every year, they come back, and this year the blooms have been especially profuse. They wind through the branches of the cherry trees and drape the sidewalk. No one seems to mind.

Front yard, September 2020

Self is a writer. As a writer, she finds inspiration in books. These are a few books she recently checked out from her local library:

Finally, a very special place, one that self would spend every moment of every day in, if she could: the London Review Bookshop in Bloomsbury. When she sees the orange couch, she knows she’s home.

London Review Bookshop, November 2019

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Introducing the Completely “Unhinged” Senator Joe McCarthy

  • … McCarthy came unhinged in a way unimaginable to most Americans. He ceased even pretending to care about the rights of the accused, whom he summarily declared guilty. He held one-man hearings, in violation of long-standing Senate tradition. When he was absent, his poorly trained, sophomoric staffers leapt in to badger witnesses on his behalf. — from the Preface to Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy, by Larry Tye

When self was reading the above, she had to keep reminding herself that this book was not about Trump (All McCarthy’s papers were donated to his alma mater, Marquette University, by McCarthy’s widow, “sixty years ago.” Anyone can read them.) What legacy of documents will Trump leave, self wonders, and to which university? Years from now, someone will access them and write a book, just like Tye is doing now.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

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