Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Last night I was looking for quotes for my 2021 calendar. It was so much fun that I didn’t want to stop. I guess I’m a quote addict. I’d be doing it again this morning, except for this one I found by Ray Bradbury: “You must write every day of your life.” So here we are.

My favorite quote source is Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/, because you can search for quotes and learn about new books and authors at the same time. But it annoyed me that they didn’t name the source for the Ray Bradbury quote. By morning that bugged me so much that I started to search for it. Maybe it’s not from one of his books. It might be from an interview or a magazine short story. Search, search, search. Then Ray’s voice reminded me, “You must write every day of your life.” Exactly what I wasn’t doing. This is a blog, not a dissertation, after all. So here we are again.

Reading expands my experience and writing helps me process it. They are two sides of the same coin. One of the fun things about my Kindle is that it automatically adds the books I read to my Goodreads list. Looking at that list I realized that my reading during the pandemic falls into three phases:

  1. Apocalypse. March-April: Larry Niven’s Lucifer’s Hammer (reread), The Postman by David Brin (far better than the movie), and The Edge of Collapse by Kyla Stone (where I learned was an EMP is).
  2. Context. May-July: . Spillover by David Quammen. Deadiest Enemy by Michael T. Osterholm. The Viral Storm by Nathen Wolfe. Then: Frederick Lewis Allen’s Since Yesterday: the 1930s in America, September 3, 1929 – September 3, 1939. (an effort to understand economic crises as well as viral ones).
  3. Escape. August-September:
    • Mornings with Rosemary (Libby Page). Friendship, swimming, and a bookstore made this an enjoyable read.
    • Stranger Diaries (Elly Griffith). A Gothic mystery in the cell phone era that really works.
    • Currently reading: Tehran Children by Mikhal Dekel (2019). Children escaping the Holocaust in Europe find refuge in Iran. Especially fascinating because they arrived (almost a thousand of them) only about ten years before I lived in Tehran, but I knew nothing about them until now.
    • and A Scheme of Heaven, Alexander Boxer (2020). A history of astrology and astronomy intertwined with irresistible tidbits about Stonehenge, the Antikythera mechanism, and the naming of the stars.

Sometime during that Yosemite road trip I lost my Kindle. So in August I switched to “regular books,” which has turned out nicely because I can share them with my next-door neighbor and we can talk about them while we walk our dogs each afternoon. Sort of an impromptu book club. I’m starting to list the books I want to read next in a Word Document on my desktop.

Ray wouldn’t approve, but I did get a new Kindle. There is much to explore in this strange new world.

“I shall remain on Mars and read a book.”
― Ray Bradbury, The Illustrated Man

Today’s Notable Headlines

“Mitra the robot helps COVID patients in India speak to loved ones,” By Adnan AbidiAlasdair Pal, Reuters, Sept. 16, 2020. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-india-robots/mitra-the-robot-helps-covid-patients-in-india-speak-to-loved-ones-idUSKBN2671FO

“COVID-19 Masked Snoopy balloon? Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is TV-only event,” Sept. 14, 2020. Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-macy-s/covid-19-masked-snoopy-balloon-macys-thanksgiving-parade-is-tv-only-event-idUSKBN26531H

“ICUs are nearing capacity in this French city. And it’s only September,” CNN, Sept. 16, 2020. https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/16/europe/france-bordeaux-coronavirus-hospitals-intl/index.html

Why am I doing this?

The coronavirus pandemic will be indelibly written on our memories just as the Great Depression or the Battle of Britain left their mark on past generations. It is my intention to journal the events of these days from three perspectives: as a retired medical technologist, a historian (Ph.D., 2014), and an ordinary person living through an extraordinary crisis.

You are on History’s Edge.

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