March 1st, 2008

poetry

Poet's Corner: A Happy Birthday

A Happy Birthday

This evening, I sat by an open window
and read till the light was gone and the book
was no more than a part of the darkness.
I could easily have switched on a lamp,
but I wanted to ride this day down into night,
to sit alone and smooth the unreadable page
with the pale gray ghost of my hand.

Ted Kooser (born 1939)

A very happy birthday to my Grandma Hickman, who turned 92 today. She told me on the phone this evening that my nephew Matthew has trouble wrapping his head around the idea of anyone being that old. She's still in remarkably good health; walks with a cane and is currently suffering from sciatica, but is otherwise healthy.

books

Book dump: February 2008

These are the books I read in February:

Travels With Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck
I envy Steinbeck for having taken this trip. I've taken one long driving trip -- a thousand-mile circuit of California (with a side trip to Nevada) -- and I harbor dreams of doing others, such as driving the full length of U.S. 1, so the idea of driving around the entire country in a truck camper sounds very appealing. I'd leave the dog at home, though.
 
What's So Funny? by Donald E. Westlake
I love Westlake's Dortmunder novels, and while this doesn't quite reach the heights of my favorites (The Hot Rock and Good Behavior, if you must know), it's still very funny and a worthy addition to the series.
 
Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life by Steve Martin
A quick read, but an entertaining one. I was very interested to learn that Martin was once romantically involved with Stormie Omartian, the Christian author with the porn star's name.
 
John F. Kennedy: An Unfinished Life, 1917-1963 by Robert Dallek
A very good biography. I liked the parts about the 1960 Presidential election best, but that may just be because we're in the middle of another very interesting election.
 
Deadly Beloved by Max Allan Collins
After far too long, Collins' greatest creation, Ms. Tree, returns in a new prose novel. I think it's Collins' best work in quite some time, but Ms. Tree has always brought out in the best in Collins; his one Edgar nomination was for a Ms. Tree short story, "Louise."