“We think we know one man very well, and something happens that shows we didn’t know him at all. That’s the sort of thing that happens in many close friendships. Think how often it happens in our relations with men and women who are not our close friends. That’s when you realize how little we know of our fellow man. Who knows me? Who on earth knows me?” –Robert Millhouser, from John O’Hara’s Ourselves to Know
Lately, I’m juggling between a few books. I’m enjoying Ourselves to Know, but it’s a tad slow at times. I picked it up at the library because it smells good; it’s an old book, with deliciously musty pages. While others pick books according to their covers, I choose them according to the scent. New books don’t smell as good, the binding glue just doesn’t entice me.
I have to find out why Robert Millhouser killed his wife, or I would’ve given up by now. Don’t worry, I didn’t give the story away; the reader knows right from the beginning that he killed his wife, but you have to read all the way to the end to find out. I’m so close!
It’s taking me a while to get through, and I keep renewing it. It takes me a long time to read a book. I’m also reading Wake of the Raven by Graham Worthington. His prose is quite elegant and lovely, painting interesting pictures of the main characters. Another book that I’m close to finishing. It’s slow going because the material is a little heavy, but it’s a good one:
Wake of the Raven is a story of the world’s corruption, of forbidden desire and its awful consequences. In 1951, Stuart seeks to repair his broken marriage, and heads back to England in pursuit of his faithless wife. He must first cross the South China Sea to Singapore, a minor step in the voyage. But when an accident burdens him with the care of a precocious girl, the journey becomes a nightmarish odyssey through storm, desire and death. The mere hundred miles or so of sea is now an impassable barrier, confining him and his bitter thoughts to a narrow strip of sand and jungle, and he is reduced to an animal struggle for survival, with nothing but the girl and thoughts of the dead to help him. Like all people, evil wars in him with good, fear with ambition, desire with conscience. But when the girl’s greater problems arouse his sympathy, it seems that good will triumph, for he unselfishly promises his help. The result is a disaster that strides towards him fully armed, with disgrace, murder and suicide clenched in its fists.
Growing Up In Northern Palm Beach County: Boomer Memories from Dairy Belle to Double Roads, by Ruth Berge, is a fascinating quick read, and I’m really loving it. I find myself giggling out loud at times:
A childhood in Florida’s charming Northern Palm Beach County creates genuine nostalgia for sun, sand and running barefoot under palm trees. Those memories include hurricanes and Hetzel Brothers Christmases, Sir Harry Oakes’s haunted mansion and James Munroe Munyon’s Fountain of Youth. The once quaint little coastal towns from Riviera Beach to Jupiter are now much larger, but the memories of s’mores and summer camps remain. Author Ruth Hartman Berge weaves memories of a boomer childhood in Northern Palm Beach County with the history of the people and the places so many loved in this glimpse into a Florida that no longer exists.
Another day, another book. What are you reading?