Things seem at times overwhelming right now.  I have not been writing about them, though.  I wrote a piece on Charlie Hebdo which I haven’t published — it’s kind of late to do so now.  Many people said what I was going to say — and said it better.  The exercise of writing it was useful, however.

As always, I resolved this  New Year’s to write more. January is almost up, and I am far from doing so. (I also resolved to use the passive voice less often.  We’ll see how that goes.)

On the good side, I have work again, starting tomorrow.  Part-time as always (and involving a lot more walking), and once again I cannot talk about it.  We operate under what my boss calls “the Vegas rule,” — what happens at work, stays at work. He’s paranoid, but has come by his paranoia honestly. As the cliche goes, just because you are paranoid does not mean that they are not all out to get you.

The sun is setting beautifully outside.  The day has been warm, but once again we have been subject to a “spare the air” alert. There have been so many recently lately.  I wish it would rain, and soon, and a lot.  It seems odd to wish for rain when not too many years ago I was bemoaning an El Nino winter with storm after storm. You could call me fickle, I suppose.

I’ve been reading a lot (in actual books! made of paper and everything!) since Christmas. I read Snuff and Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett, and Empire of Sin by Gary Krist, which I then reread to get all of the nuances. It weaves a wonderful story of sin and the fight against it, which had worse consequences in many ways than what it purported to cure. Well worth reading. I also read The Monuments Men by Robert Edsel, the true book on which the flop by George Clooney was based.  (I may have been one of the two people in the country who actually liked the movie.) A book with art conservators and historians as heroes falls right into my wheelhouse.  I plan to read his companion book, Saving Italy, about the Monuments Men at work in Italy during the war, soon, as well as the other major book about Nazi art looting that I have heard about, The Rape of Europa by Lynn Nicholas.  I loved the documentary based on this book as well, but then so did most other people who saw it. Those books will have to wait, though: my current project (I’m on page ten) is Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood by William J. Mann.  (I have been desperately looking for my copy of The Forger’s Spell: A True Story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the Greatest Art Hoax of the Twentieth Century by Edward Dolnick. I used to own it, but cannot find it anywhere.  I suppose I may have loaned it to someone, the same way that I loaned my copy of Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow, but I can’t remember to whom.)

I lost books during the flood. The waters did not reach the bookcases, but books had fallen under my bed.  I had read all of them, and though they were good, the only one I intend to replace is Pratchett’s Thief of Time, and simply because it is my second favorite Discworld book, and I reread it from time to time.

Fewer books means more space, right?

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