Summer Reading

I’m traveling and Sara and I are hanging out for most of June near the beach on the east end of Long Island. it’s hard to hard to work on the science fiction novel I’m writing in these circumstances, so I’m taking a break for “summer reading.” A book that’s sat on the edge of my consciousness for many decades is Jack Kerouak’s “On the Road,” written in the time of the hippies, the 1960s, I think. I got a copy, expecting just to read a bit of it to satisfy my curiosity and am finding it very engaging. Kerouak doesn’t bother much with paragraphing, much less division into chapters –– his narration just flows along. The events described are mundane, the characters unremarkable, but the book evokes life as it’s lived by a lot of people, a series of things that, with variations, keep happening day after day and what your reaction is to them, when you have a reaction rather than just having them wash over you. I’ve grown to think that being sensitive and attuned to and observing nature is important, so I’m rereading Annie Dillard’s” A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.” She lived alone for a while in a cabin near a water course of that name in the mountainous part of Virginia. She’s an observer par excellence and a very good writer to boot. The book won the Pulitzer Prize for general non fiction the year it was published, about four or five decades ago. Next up, one just published: mathematician Joran Ellenberg’s “Shape –– The Hidden Geometry that’s the Basis of Information, Biology, Strategy, Democracy, and Everything Else.” Intriguing!