Wednesday, August 08, 2018


 WWW. WEDNESDAY asks three questions to prompt you to speak bookishly. To participate, and to see how other book lovers responded, click here

1. What are you currently reading?  

Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life by Richard Ben Cramer. "Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you." Joe D is more than a sports legend. He's an American myth. This ambitious (546 pages!) biography attempts to deconstruct the myth and give us the man.

So far he's painfully shy, hates the humble circumstances he was born into, and yearns for "class." He is greedy. He appears unflappable. And he is amazingly good at baseball. He can hit the ball, throw the ball, outrun the ball. That ball was his ticket out of his poor San Francisco neighborhood and into the New York, and then national, limelight.

Often a bookish Marilyn* glamorizes reading on my WWW posts, but it hardly seems appropriate as I write about DiMaggio. For she was the love of his life and he was her personal hero, on a level and in a way distinct from the nation's.

*You don't have to ask "Marilyn, who?" do you? He married a myth even more enduring than his own.

2. What did you recently finish reading?  
Ticket to Ride: Inside the Beatles 1964 Tour by Larry Kane. I enjoyed this memoir of life on the road with The Lads. It gives you a real sense of what it was like at that unique and hectic time ... we're on the private (but not at all luxurious) plane with the Beatles as they traverse America; we experience the claustrophobia of the hotels, locked in with the band and their entourage; we're in the stands, listening to the screams that often drown out the music. 

Because Kane was a journalist, not a fan, his take was objective. Still, by the end of the book it was obvious that he was very impressed by John Lennon. John comes off as rebellious, curious, inventive, clever. Brian Epstein is a compelling, sad figure, too. 

I just wish Mr. Kane hadn't spent so much space on fan recollections. A couple stories about sneaking into the hotel, a few reminiscences from concert goers would be interesting and give context. But this many just dragged the story down.

3.  What will you read next?  
Maybe another biography? Or a mystery. My TBR pile is stacked dauntingly high with both.

August Happiness Challenge -- Day 7

Today's happiness: Doing it anyway. I worked out at lunchtime. I didn't want to. Once I got outside into the sunshine, I wanted to just keep walking and take myself to a nice, relaxing lunch. But instead I did the hip ab and adductor machines and about a half hour on the recumbent bike. 

I'm proud of me.


Each day in August you are to post about something that makes *you* happy. Pretty simple. And, it doesn't even have to be every day if you don't want it to be. It's a great way to remind ourselves that there are positive things going on in our lives, our communities, and the world.


Catching up

It's been months since I spoke to Henry, my dear friend in Key West. He called Tuesday night and we talked for more than hour -- most of tonight's Cubs-Royals game. (The Cubs won.)

He let me know what's new on his end: he's getting along better with his mom (yeah!) and his husband Reg is considering going back to tending bar, at least part time. The money coming in from Reg's bookkeeping assignments has been reliable, but not as good.

Henry is finishing a book of short stories with a local author he's terribly impressed with. This is an exciting development and I'm happy for him. It's just that I've read that author's work -- Henry gave me a copy of his new partner's most popular novel back on 2014 -- and I really didn't like it much. The man writes beautifully, but I didn't care for the voice of the narrator. I hope Henry doesn't remember my critique. Just because I'm not crazy about his collaborator doesn't mean I'm not excited about the collaboration.

He's very handy and he's going to advise me as I collect estimates from contractors for renovating my bathroom. That makes me happy. I'm not confident spending money on these things because I don't have any experience. It's good to know I count on him.

And I like chatting and catching up in real time. Texts are inadequate, and he's not much into email. I enjoy these long calls.