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Finished reading "WILLA CATHER: Collected Stories". It contains 19 short stories by the American writer Willa Cather. She was born in 1873 and died in 1947. I am impressed with her writing and will read her novels later.

The stories in this collection were originally published between 1905 and 1948. From them I got a glimpse of that period's culture in the US. Their main characters include opera singers, actors, painters and teachers. A few Nebraska farmers too. There are references to Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera House.

Finished "a sparrow falls" not bad reading, this would make a great movie. Just imagine a sparrow with wings outstretched as it glides along oblivious to its surroundings...BADDAM... into a tree...Blop... onto the ground...story done.

Well no, nothing like sparrows...just great reading about man's greed and the height that he would go even stepping on his father to get to the top.

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Finished reading THIS LONG PURSUIT by British biographer Richard Holmes. For over 40 years Holmes has researched and written on the lives of British and French Romantic poets, writers and artists --- Percy Bysshe Shelley, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley etc.

Published in 2016, “This Long Pursuit” is the third of a trilogy that began with “Footsteps” [1984] followed by “Sidetracks” [2000]. It is an inside account of Holmes at work and includes the experiences of other biographers that Holmes has admired --- biographers of Madam de Stael, Mary Somerville, John Keats, William Blake etc.

Showing how he investigated the lives of his subjects, Holmes says “the serious biographer must physically pursue his subject through the past. He must go to all the places where the subject had ever lived or worked, or travelled or dreamed. Not just the birthplace, or the blue-plaque place, but the temporary places, the passing places, the last places, the dream places.”

This book brought out memories of my English Literature studies in high school, particularly Coleridge’s poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”. Holmes has made me adjust my reading plan for this year, so I am now including English Romantic books covering the period roughly between 1770 and 1830.


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Finished reading UPSTREAM by Mary Oliver. This is a collection of 18 essays, published in 2016, by a woman who has been described as America's best-selling poet. Mary Oliver is a winner of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, and holds four honorary doctorates.

Besides being a poet, Mary Oliver is a longstanding environmentalist. For most of her 82 years she made it her duty to be very close to nature --- woods, waterways, all kinds of flora and fauna. Reading her essays, I am amazed at her intimate knowledge of these things. I had to check Google Images for goosefish, sea robin, tautog, skate fish, black dogfish, bluefish,  spider crab, ocean sunfish, golden club plants, cattails, honey locust blossoms, merganser ducks, great horned owl, screech owl, snowy owl, etc. She pays attention to them all. "Attention is the beginning of devotion," she says. 


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