1. You know you're a nerd when ... you get out of the shower, while it's still running, to write down a quatrain that you're afraid you'll forget. (Yes, I'm a nerd.)
2. Some book news ...
- I don't remember when/how I first became aware of writer Karen Russell. Did I see one of her books in a display at a bookstore (remember them?)? Did I read a review somewhere? But when I retired from WRA (spring 2011), my colleagues in the English Department bought me a signed 1st edition of her initial publication--a collection of stories called St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves. I read it and was blown away. A wild imagination, an artist's eye (like Updike's), a detailed map of the human heart. I later read her first novel, Swamplandia!, which I also enjoyed, though I preferred the short stories. Then--just the other night--I finished reading her Kindle-only novella, Sleep Donation, a story about a time when insomnia is an epidemic, but scientists (and entrepreneurs) have figured out a way to take sleep from donors and supply it to the suffering. Some dark doings in this little book--but with her characteristic intelligence and painter's eye.
2. This week I surprised myself: I got back on the Airdyne exercise bike at the health club--and did pretty well. I'd not been on it since mid-November when some kind of virus delivered a couple of haymakers that landed solidly. I had no energy, and by the time the virus had moved on (to someone more deserving, I hope), I couldn't do much but walk laps for thirty minutes. But this week, starting my laps, I saw no one else was on the Airdynes, so I hopped aboard one and rode my customary 30 minutes (three sets of ten minutes), burning 400 calories--a bit below my wonted 500, but better, better, better. Rode two more times during the week, too. Crossing fingers.
3. On the 29th, we had our new dishwasher installed (we'd been waiting for weeks: Christmastime is not the best time to get service on anything). It's a Bosch (Joyce researched dishwashers thoroughly online and in Consumer Reports), and, so far, it makes our older GE (which died on Thanksgiving Day--only a year and a half old--GE failed to do a thing for us) look like a relic from the 1950s. But Time is the best test ... so we shall see.
4. Glad to see that Brock Clarke's new novel (The Happiest People in the World) got a very strong review in the New York Times Book Review today. The daily reviewer had been somewhat less than kind a few weeks ago. But this one is very positive--which is how I'd felt about the book, too. (Link to Times review.) Clarke visited Western Reserve Academy for a day in April 2008--visiting classes, speaking to the entire student body. Here he is with two of my classes that day.