Beautiful Sentences: Idra Novey

When she drifted from the kitchen to the living room, he followed, his hope rising like dough inside him.
Idra Novey, Those Who Knew.
 
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Dewey Decimal Project: 583.22 MOO Pawpaw: In Search of America’s Forgotten Fruit

When I wasNewImage younger, my father took the family to Paw Paw Woods in the southwest suburbs of Chicago in search of pawpaws. We found a paw paw tree, but it had no fruit. I don’t know whether we had come at the wrong time of year or if the fruit had already been collected or if it was a year that the tree was not going to be bearing fruit.

It was with my father’s obsession in mind that, when I spotted this book on the shelves I decided it would be the next book in line for my reading through the Dewey Decimal system.

Moore provides an engaging account of the natural and cultivational history of the pawpaw, the only tropical fruit to be found natively in temperate North America. Unlike other formerly wild fruits, there has been little success in domesticating the pawpaw. A number of cultivars now exist, but commercial growing has yet to be successful at the scales necessary to make the pawpaw anything more than a niche farmer’s market fruit.

I happened recently to be passing through Ann Arbor and thought we might stop by Zingerman’s Deli to try the pawpaw ice cream that was mentioned in the book, but alas, it is not, as Moore claims, a year-round offering, but only available during pawpaw season so there was no pawpaw ice cream to be had. Instead, at the end of September or beginning of October, I’ll grab my dad and drag him to Paw Paw Woods in search of pawpaws.

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Beautiful Sentences: Tom McAllister

The deepest miseries come from our capacity for remembering; if everything can be wiped away with a single swipe, then nothing has to hurt.
Tom McAllister, How to Be Safe.
 
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Beautiful Sentences: Idra Novey

Her unease with her body had made his mouth dry, breaking down whatever it was in a man’s mind that kept his longings separate from his regrets.
Idra Novey, Those Who Knew.
 
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Writerly resolutions: July Status

NewImagemade good progress on the novel this month. The net word gain was 4,400 words, but I made good progress writing and rewriting chapter 13 as the diagram on this page shows. I think part of the progress’s secret was that with the exception of just one day, I managed to do some work on the novel every day of the month. August is starting a bit shaky in that respect.

Short story–wise, I’ve been a bit less productive. I’ve shelved the new story I was working on since I realized I’ve  lost the narrative voice.Also, I still am not sure where the story wants to go.

The new story I’ve been working on to replace it has been slow going as well, but it’s partly a mix of not taking it up and when I do take it up, I’m finding myself deeply involved with the language on a word-by-word basis.

The old story that I’ve been working on has been another bit of slow going. I’m finding that it needs a lot of work to be what I want it to be, but I feel more confident that I can do that work now than I was before I workshopped it.

Beautiful Sentences: Tom McAllister

Middle-aged men saw news of the shooting and thought: The world needs me now. They put on their capes and swooped in to the rescue, but when they got there, they found out they had no superpowers. They were just sad men in capes. So they got angry and looked for a woman to blame. They were terrified and they wanted to dress it up as courage, and they spewed hate into the world in hopes of drowning out the threats.
Tom McAllister, How to Be Safe.
 
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Dewey Decimal Project: 573.3 SPE Piltdown: A Scientific Forgery

The 570s are general NewImagebiology which includes evolution which includes the Piltdown man hoax. Since it was mentioned in passing in <cite>The Last Human</cite> and I knew very little about it, when I spotted this book on the shelves, I decided it would be my next read.

It should be a great book: a fake skull was planted in a gravel pit in England, the cranium of a human with the jaw of an orangutan, a hoax that managed to go undetected for several decades despite the misgivings of some contemporary paleontologists. The mystery becomes who was the perpetrator, and unlike some mysteries examined by book authors, Spencer claims to have a definitive answer to the question.

This perhaps is the downfall of the book. To level a charge of who the forger could be, Spencer felt obligated to document his argument extensively and as a result, the book reads drily and ends up being dull. Spencer does do a good job of making his case, but sadly fails at creating a compelling reading experience.

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Beautiful Sentences: Idra Novey

She had assured him she’d told no one about her trips to his apartment, but she was a girl, and girls were feline, always purring up to one another with their secrets.
Idra Novey, Those Who Knew.
 
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569.9 SAR The last human : a guide to twenty-two species of extinct humans

The 560s areNewImage paleontology. I could have gone with the “sexy” choice and read a book about dinosaurs, but I remembered hearing about this book on Science Friday and decided it was worth taking a look at.

On the surface the concept is appealing: vignettes speculating on life of some now-extinct species of humans and pre-humans alongside illustrations of reconstructions of the likely appearance of these ancestral species.

In practice, the organization of the book made this promise unfulfilled. The vignettes are not preceded with the species identification which instead comes at head of the second and longest section on each species, a rather technical description of the fossil remains and what is known about the contemporary ecology for the species. I’ve never read any professional journals of paleontology, but I imagine this is what they would read like.

The illustration or illustrations generally come during this section or after it, which is a loss, since it would be nice to have it with the vignette to enable visualizing the text better.

Overall, a bit of a disappointment, but I’ve ended up knowing a lot about hominid paleontology that I hadn’t before.

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Beautiful Sentences: Tom McAllister

I’m not sure what obituaries are for. You can tell people’s stories, but nothing you do is complete or accurate. It’s just a list of people they used to know and jobs they used to do. We spend so much time trying to be effective mourners, but we have no idea how to do it. Even elephants are better at mourning.
Tom McAllister, How to Be Safe.
 
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