Saturday, October 01, 2011

Spent the morning cleaning (which I hate, and consequently suck at) and the afternoon reading (which I love, and can do very quickly). The Kindle wasn't a gift - it has given me back the gift of reading. I can't copy and paste as much of the book as I'd like - it would have to be the whole thing! But here are some of Mark Twain's nuggets:
[page 313] [* * * * There] are certain [sweet-smelling sugar-coated] lies current in the world which all politic men have apparently tacitly conspired together to support and perpetuate. One of these is, that there is such a thing [in the world] as independence: independence of thought, independence of [opinion], independence of action. Another is, that the world loves to [see] independence—admires it, applauds it. Another is, that there is such a thing [in the world] as toleration—in religion, in politics, and such matters; and with it trains that already mentioned auxiliary lie that toleration is admired, and applauded.

All the [talk] about tolerance, in anything or anywhere, is plainly a [gentle] lie. It does [not] [exist.] It is in no man’s heart; but it [unconsciously and by moss-grown inherited habit,] drivels and slobbers from all [men’s] lips. Intolerance is everything for one’s self, and nothing for the other person. The [main-spring] of man’s nature is just that—[selfishness.]
I was delighted - I think I will be able to fashion it into a midterm question!
[page 328] During my engagement year, thirty-seven years ago, a considerable company of young people amused themselves in the Langdon homestead one night with the game of [“Verbarium,”] which was brand-new at the time and very popular. A text-word was chosen and each person wrote that word in large letters across the top of a sheet of paper, then sat with pencil in hand and ready to begin as soon as [game] was called. The player could begin with the first letter of that text-word and build words out of the text-word during two minutes by the watch. But he must not use a letter that was not [in] the text-word and he must not use any letter in the text-word twice, unless the letter occurred twice in the text-word.
Whenever I run across something like the above, it makes me think of all that the invention of television has taken from us.
[page 373] What was he born for? What was the use of it?” These tiresome and monotonous repetitions of the human life—where is their value? [Susy] asked that question when she was a little child. There was nobody [then] who could answer [it; there is nobody yet.]
Here he was writing about a dinner where he met a young man whose father he had known when he was young, and it caused him to reflect on the sad life of his late friend, rather than to follow the dinner conversation. His friend had been a poet, but to earn money he'd had to be editor of a political newspaper; he'd suffered an accident that had caused brain damage, and the loss of both his poetry and editing skills; and finally he had been crushed to death in a railway accident.

Sadly, I will be done with Volume I in no time, thanks to my friend the Kindle. I am not sure when Volume II will be published, but I suspect it will be a while. But, not to worry. Margaret Atwood will have a new book out in a week or so, and that is next up.

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