Pandemic Books

By a weird stroke of luck, every book I’ve bought to read during the pandemic has been absolutely perfect, and just what I needed except one. Gore Vidal’s 1876. I bought it because I’ve always loved his books, but this one felt … pointless. I think I got halfway through before I just couldn’t give it anymore time. It wasn’t adding up for me. I switched to Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life and gobbled that one up in every free moment I had.

Now I have to pick what I will read next. The contenders:

Kate Atkinson’s God in Ruins (the next in a series, Life After Life was the first).
Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence.
Yoko Ogawa’s Revenge.
Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents.

For the curious, these are the books I’ve read since the pandemic began. I just realized I only skimmed the James Baldwin book. I specifically got it in hopes of reading about what life was like in NYC in the 1960s and 1970s for people of color, and there was only a relatively small amount about that.

– Life After Life by Kate Atkinson.
– 1876 by Gore Vidal (but not finished).
– No Name in the Street by James Baldwin.
– Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson.
– The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa.
– Never Let Me Go by Ishiguro Kazuo.
– The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton.
– Fire in Paradise: An American Tragedy by Alastair Gee and Dani Anguiano.
– The End of October by Lawrence Wright.
– Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor.
– The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro.
– The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel.
– The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn.

A doorway on Leroy Street, a favorite block of mine near where I live. I almost moved to Leroy Street. It would have been my first apartment in the City, but there was some problem with it that I’ve since forgotten. Leroy Street is such a beautiful and magical block. The only downside is there’s a ballpark, a playground, and a city pool (where I swim when it’s open) across the street. So, it’s noisy during the summer. Honestly, I like the sounds of playgrounds and ballparks and I don’t think that would bother me. (I also don’t mind traffic noise. The sounds of trucks, cars, and sirens never bother me.) But I love how they’ve just let the vines grow over this door. How do they clean the windows though?

Bali is giving Bleecker a hug!

I love it!! Cats getting along with each other is one of my favorite mood lifters. So today started out well. Uh-oh. Did I just jinx the day? Does anyone believe in the jinx? Everyone gets mad at me at work when I say things like, “Wow, today has been a nice slow day, hasn’t it?” That is always followed by a chorus of, “NO! You just jinxed it! Stacy!!”

Democrats vs Republicans — It’s the Hatfields vs the McCoys

I did a quick check of how my Trump supporting friends were doing yesterday and saw that one of them had posted about a letter from Ted Nugent to Biden, ranting about how dare he call for unity after … and I stopped reading quickly.

First, Ted Nugent cannot lecture anyone about unity and civility. And I thought, no one who supported Trump can lecture anyone about unity after the last four years. Trump did everything he possibly could to sow discord in our country. For eight years before that republicans said that all they cared about was making sure Obama never had a win, not whether or not what he was trying to do was good for the country (these were the republicans in congress, and I hope they weren’t speaking for everyone, but they were speaking for some).

When I start fuming like this on any issue, not necessarily political, what I try to do is imagine myself having this conversation with one of my oldest friends, but I imagine them on other side of whatever it is I’m fuming about. Then I ask myself, how would you discuss it with them? I wouldn’t attack, although I would probably still rant. But I’d expect to be listened to, and I would listen to their rant as well. The important thing is, in my imagination at least, I realize that I definitely do talk differently to them, and if I expect to get anywhere, I should talk to everyone as I would with my friend.

And so I did this with the whole argument about unity. Here’s what I realized. Why go on about who rejected unity first, or was the worst about it? Is that really useful? Like the Hatfields and McCoys, you’re never going to come to an agreement about who started it. Or whose side has the biggest assholes, or caused the most damage. I’m not both-siding it. I’m just saying we’re not going to agree. I do realize some people want to battle to the death and never give up. But not everyone. I hate all the hate. There’s got to be people who didn’t vote for Biden who feel the same. In my imaginary conversation my friend and I agreed we would never agree. Instead, I asked, “How can we fix this?” So if I ever work up to courage to try to start this conversation, I would skip what I said above about Trump and how Obama was treated.

Biden has a lot of experience working effectively with people on the other side of the aisle. I’m allowing myself a little bit of hope. I also think if he can do the things he wants to do, people who didn’t vote for him might be happy with the outcome.

A picture from a New York City snowstorm in 2016. We’ve only had one snowstorm this year, and it didn’t compare. (Another reason to be happy about Biden. Climate change.)

Blizzard New York City, 2016

Hi! And, I really don’t understand people, it seems.

I haven’t posted in a while, I realized yesterday. There’s been so much going on I don’t know where to start. First: Thank you, Georgia! You saved the day again. Second: How on earth can any reasonable person still support Trump (I know why racists and others support him, but not decent people)?

Third: I really don’t understand why McConnell passed on proceeding with a trial. If the trial happens when the democrats are in control, it will be a real trial, unlike last time. They will call witnesses. They will search for and examine evidence. They will investigate the possibility that some senators had a hand in this riot.

I could see McConnell being fine with destroying Trump, but his fellow republican senators? If the trial happened now, he could have ended it quickly, like last time, without actually doing anything.

Last, I’m attending a zoom funeral shortly. Another friend has died (not COVID). Another decent, wonderful human being is gone. Fucking death. Too much death. Give us a god damned break already. I was telling his widow (I hated typing that) I loved how he followed my blog and would ask specific questions about my cats. Not simply “how are the cats” (which is fine, by the way, I am always touched when people ask) but he would ask, “how is the behavior issue going,” or he’d ask about whatever health issue they were experiencing at the time. We went to all the Loser’s Lounges together and I don’t know how I’m going to feel the first time, and every other time he’s not there. I think it can’t help always being sad.

I took this picture because it was genuinely cold out that day and people were still sitting outside to eat.