We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Carl Hiassen has a new book out, Chomp, for young readers. Other of his books offer hilarious south Florida black humor for grown-ups.
What did I just begin reading? Mark Twain's 1867 Innocents Abroad. Since we're taking a pass on a Europe trip this summer, thought I'd read about what ship cruising was like right when the concept was invented - his trip was advertised as a "pleasure excursion." From the blurb:
Innocents Abroad began as a series of travel letters written by Mark Twain mainly for the Alta California, a San Francisco paper that sponsored his participation in the trip to Europe and the Holy Land in 1867 aboard the steamship Quaker City. On the excursion from New York to Palestine they traveled a distance of over 20,000 miles by land and sea through France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Morocco, Russia, Turkey and Egypt. Through his humorous and insightful writings, Twain describes countries, nations, incidents and his amazing adventures.
What do you mean "It ain't littercher?" Stand The Innocents Abroad up against The Great Gatsby: Twain had better style, could make you care about the characters, and had a better eye for people. I had to read Gatsby in high school(*) and have never cared to re-read it. Innocents I've read 6 or 7 times and liked better each time.
(*) I had to read Pride and Prejudice too, and I've re-read it a couple of times since, so my claim isn't just a matter of "had to read it" dislike.
"The Innocents Abroad" may or may not be lit, but it supplements anyone's historical education, particularly MT's description of the Holy Land. MT's experience in the almost entirely vacant, devastated, impoverished, mostly unlivable void that is now the modern and thriving land of Israel puts to rest the bizarre leftist/Arab mythology of the area.