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Tuesday, January 31, 2006 at 1:24 PM

Free Speech. Who's Speech? And Where Are They Keeping Him?

So I am in the middle of reading On Liberty by John Stuart Mill. Well, not really in the middle, more like at the beginning. Yes, it is another short book. But it takes longer to read, as it is a bit denser than your average novel. If you have the patience for Victorian phrasing, it's not too bad. If you give a damn about free speech, it's important to read. An interesting thing about his approach is that he considers government action as well as social censure. So far (I've just finished the Intro. and gotten into Ch. II), he basically points out that social customs are rather arbitrary. Because they vary so widely with time and culture, none of them can make claims of absoulute truth. This is why it is so important that everybody have thier say. It could be that the crazy guy on the corner is actually proclaiming the Truth with a big T. He might even be the only person on the planet with this insight. And if we suppress him, then we may be suppressing the progress of the whole race. Ah yes, I am feeling the well-spring of my UU upbringing just come gushing up.

By adriennelibrarian at 1:24 PM

Tuesday, January 24, 2006 at 1:15 PM

5 Weird Things

"The Rules: The first player of this game starts with the topic "five weird habits" and people who get tagged need to write an entry about their five weird habits as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose the next five people to be tagged and link to their web journals(only if you want to). Don't forget to leave a comment in their blog or journal that says "You have been tagged" (assuming they take comments) and tell them to read yours."

I was tagged by Shaw.

1. I entertain my coworkers by making sound effects as I read things that either greatly please me or piss me off. Sound effects change with mood.

2. When creating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, the peanut butter must always be spread first. Crusty jelly gobs in peanut butter is gross.

3. I take out way many more books from the library than I could possibly read in a lifetime. Actually, I continually collect more books than I could possibly read in a lifetime. There are several piles of books in my living room, bedroom, hallway and bathroom because the shelves are all full.
But they all look so interesting....

4. When I'm cooking, I listen to an old fart AM station that advertises for retirement communities and funeral homes on the shelf radio in my kitchen that has got to be 35 years old and has a 4 track player in it. Vive Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters.

5. When I take my son to a playground, I feel compelled to try out all the slides.

Nobody else I know with a blog would probably interested. Go to Shaw's site. He can probably hook you up with tons.

By adriennelibrarian at 1:15 PM

Sunday, January 22, 2006 at 12:01 AM

Miserable sex

Generally, I do not like sex in the novels I read. It irritates me. Usually it consists of gratuitous, titillating descriptions which have little to do with the plot line. "And then she reached for a certain part of his anatomy..." Hubba, hubba. I know what sex is like, you don't have to tell me. So it is unusual that I picked up Rapture by Susan Minot. But I was impressed that the jacket flap was straight forward about sexual content. More or less it said, this book is about these two characters having sex one afternoon. I appreciate when people and dust jackets are up front.
I read it. This is another short read. Better than Amsterdam. Mostly she writes like a novelist, which is an okay thing, as the book is a novel. And writing like a novelist can produce lyrical descriptions or penetrating insights, and in them you can recognize a bit of truth. What is a little different about Minot is that she captures lines here and there which are very honest. I think that's pretty rare. For example, there's this part describing Benjamin's perspective of meeting Kay for the first time. The paragraph is concluded with this sentence, "He wanted to keep making her laugh." There's no fifty cent words or artistic adjectives or similies or metaphors. No allusions to great literature or nature or philosophy. Just a simple expression of desire that somehow carries with it the excitement and anticipation of someone new.
So these two, Kay and Benjamin, are having sex the whole book (or not, if you use Bill Clinton's definition.) The uh, blow by blow descriptions are very short because the rest of the book is taken up with flashbacks of their entire relationship - alternating with the his and her perspective. {Apparently, this is a popular format? I would like to know since when. It's very annoying at first because it means I, the reader, have to work. Jeez.} Anyway, as far as the plot and character development is concerned, I think she does a very good job of depicting the sorts of games people play with themselves. You know, those rationalizing, justifying, second-guessing sorts of games. Oh yes, this is a really happy book.
I guess I am a bit of a simpleton, because partly how I judge a book is if I like the characters. These two are not necessarily people I would want to hang out with - but Minot does an excellent job of relaying thier motivations and miseries. Unfortunately, I can relate to some of it, so they can't be all bad, right? Which reminds me of another most excellent quote from this book, "The only things truly in the past are things completely forgotten." I am still trying to decide if this would be worth reading again, and if I have to think about it, the answer is probably no. But not bad for a few hours worth of somebody else's psychological and emotional convolutions.

By adriennelibrarian at 12:01 AM

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 at 4:48 PM


I need to get a new pic, don't I? He certainly doesn't look six in that picture, and neither do I.

By adriennelibrarian at 4:48 PM

at 4:30 PM

And what did you get for Christmas?

One of the best quotes I have come across in a very long time, I actually found in a book given to my 6 year old son, written by Jay Leno - How to be the Funniest Kid in the World.

"Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy." -- Albert Einstein

Oh, by the way Allison, I am still suffering with that one. Get it? O-HI-O? Get it? Yeah, thanks. Thanks a lot.

By adriennelibrarian at 4:30 PM

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