Road Trip! When does the bus leave?
A few years ago, in the Boston Globe, Craig Fehrman wrote an amusing piece about the origins of the summer reading list in the late 19th century. He connected it to the rise of the American vacation. A growing middle class meant the advent of leisure time, and these developments coincided with the desire of working Americans to escape the increasingly routinized nature of their jobs.
The emphasis at that time was on light reading, on diversionary texts that would relieve the harried mind. Mr. Fehrman quotes from an article that appeared in the Chicago Tribune in 1872 that recommended summer books which “the idler can take with him into solitude, and read with delightful pauses, when with indolent finger upon the page, his eye wanders up some green vista, or catches some view of the distant sea, and his ear is soothed with the distant murmur of the winds and waves.” In other words, if you’re too distracted to read, bring along a book that will not make you feel guilty if you never finish it. […]
And what did it matter if you never finished any of these books, if a lot of people picked up Tolstoy’s classic summer after summer and never got through the peace part to the war part? The idea of perfecting your inner life by reading the right books over the summer was as much a chimera as the idea of the perfect summer.
Still, looking forward to that spell of leisure and self-edification got you through the winter, and it consoled you with the illusion of a replenishing pause, outside the frame of mortal space and time. The Summer Book will always be with me. Even now, as my indolent finger falls upon a page of Gibbon’s masterwork on the Roman empire (summers of 1975-76, 1978-80, 2014-15, status: pending), winter’s workaday grind and piles of snow seem far, far away.
~ Lee Siegel, The End of the Ambitious Summer Reading List. For generations, Americans used the golden months to catch up on great old books and modern must reads. What happened to that semi-sacred reading space?
Let’s hone this story down to the essentials. The peripheral details are a distraction. Or as Bertolt Brecht would say: “And I always thought: the very simplest words / Must be enough.”
It started 3 weeks ago. Her idea. First announced in a two-word text message: Hey Dad. A mere two-word sentence that is customarily succeeded with cash outflow. The three dots flash: ping, ping, ping, ping. One hand grips my smartphone, the other hand protects my wallet. Here it comes.
Let’s go Dad. Come on. Let’s you and I go. Just the two of us. Come on Dad.
She’s gainfully employed, and no longer tethered to Mom and Dad. But, she remains fully tethered to the rent-free, food-free, laundry-free and chore-free arrangement — and bathing in it guilt-free.
It will be a Father – Daughter thing. How many times do you think you and I will have this opportunity? She deftly moves her Dad into position, places his right hand on the fulcrum piece on the teetering Jenga tower, and the tower wobbles and collapses.
And as Paul Harvey would have said, now here’s The Rest of the Story. [Read more…]
The music starts at 0:54 sec of this video.
Christine Anu, 44, is an Australian pop singer and actress. Anu is arguably Australia’s most successful indigenous performer and one of Australia’s most popular recording artiste, backed by an award-winning repertoire spanning across music, theatre, dance, film, television and children’s entertainment. Her illustrious career over two decades boasts of platinum albums, sell-out musicals, Hollywood blockbusters, and high-profiled collaborations with showbiz and musical luminaries such as Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge), Paul Kelly and David Atkins.
Find this tune and her new 2014 Christmas Album: Island Christmas