Wednesday, July 16, 2008

July Odds and Ends


I am reading Joseph O'Neill's Netherland, and I am enjoying it very much. It is a post-9/11 story, but told by an ex-pat Dutchman who was living in New York at the time. I'm finding that looking at New York through the eyes of a sojourner during that particular time period is very interesting.

On my trips around the web, I noticed on The Diary of Samuel Pepys that the plague is plaguing London during July in 1665, which is sobering. Every generation has its scourge, I suppose, but reading about the plague definitely de-romanticizes the times before antibiotics.

My sister-in-law, who lives in the Boston area, and who we were visiting when we went to Walden Pond in June, sent me this funny article in a Boston website about Thoreau's popularity waxing and waning over time. Apparently, we missed the annual meeting of the Thoreau Society, which gets together at Walden Pond in July. And, according to the article, Thoreau is getting popular again due to the "simplicity movement" that is going on. I've thought the same thing--Thoreau seems to make sense at a time like this, when we're all trying to find ways to be kinder to our beleaguered planet, and when modern life seems at its most complicated, difficult and dangerous...

5 comments:

Dorothy W. said...

Netherland sounds very interesting and has gotten good reviews -- it sounds like a book I would enjoy. Your mention of the plague reminds me that I'd like to read John Kelly's book on the subject, The Great Mortality, at some point.

Matt said...

The Future of Love by Shirley Abbott also revolves around the 9/11 incident. It's very well-written about two families. I'll check out Netherland as well. :)

Gentle Reader said...

dorothy--so far I'm enjoying O'Neill's writing style very much. I also would like to read more about the plague. I read Geraldine Brooks's Year of Wonders, which I enjoyed, but would like some non-fiction, so Kelly's book sounds interesting to me...thanks!

matt--thanks, I'll have to check out The Future of Love, too!

Table Talk said...

'Netherland' is on it's way to my local library for me. I'm a life-long cricket fan so I can't wait to read an American take on the sport.

Gentle Reader said...

table talk--despite knowing nothing about the sport, I'm enjoying this novel!