I’m copying Bellezza’s latest post title. I did love to read her recap of the month. She inspired me to do the same.
Many years ago, I did a bit of photography on the side. I had some photo sessions with some customers, friends or friend’s friends. This picture of the blue and orange pumpkins was taken at a nursery where I went to photograph twin brothers, who were 3 years old, and their parents and grandparents.
August is the fastest paced month at home. The teens started school the 12th and 14th. Prior to that we were doing back to school shopping, and those two weeks from mid to end of August have flown. They already have their school grade portal full of grades in all subjects, and I have, bless be the Lord, my substitute portal filling up with jobs. I can’t believe we’ve been to all those meet the teacher, open house, and diverse events, and that I’ve already contacted teachers by email on different matters, and even made the beginning of some promising friendships.
Our teens need support and guidance, spiritual, physical, emotional, and academic guidance. And giving such to them, means a good challenge to ourselves, to how we fare in all these aspects of life. Now, our advice or support is only as good as how we live it and follow it ourselves. We can’t hide from their sharp eyes.
For all August, save these past few days, we’ve endured much heat. It wasn’t easy at pick up carpool for us in the car, or for them waiting at the school porch. Luckily we have well working AC systems everywhere. In fact, despite of the temperatures reaching 101, -and 103 a few days-, I always need a jacket inside some buildings.
The city where I live, in the suburbs of Houston, is overloaded with Halloween items. As Bellezza says, it’s a bit annoying, but I guess it’s a very fast pace life, and people and stores need to have those items for sale well ahead of time to reach all of us.
I do love the fall. The word pumpkin is one of my favorites, it sounds whimsical, warm, and fun. There’s many ways in which I enjoy pumpkin, in food, candle scents, decor. Last year, a friend of mine at Facebook started to collect pumpkin everything articles she could find. It made for a hilarious set of entries. There were so many wacky products that sounded or looked utterly disgusting. The extra fun part was when someone in the thread had tried the said product, and raved about it.
As for my reading, I’ve slowed down a bit since I added some easy TV watching to my days. I started watching The Great British Bake Off yesterday. And though I have the other 8 episodes, I’m exercising a self imposed restraint, and I’ll be watching only one episode per week. I’ve also watched Chef’s Line, and Million Pound Menu seasons 1 and 2. They have been interesting shows to watch, specially the latest one.
Watching Million Pound Menu on Netflix, I’ve learned a few things about the food industry. For example, the fact that many know about food, can cook successful dishes that people want to eat, and sell with profits at markets, from food trucks, or at dinner clubs, doesn’t necessarily mean they are ready to open a brick and mortar restaurant.
The investors in the show are also very different and specific. Sometimes it’s not that the idea was bad, but it did not fit the kind of money the investors wanted to make, or the type of commitment they offered with their investment. Most of the contestants did not get a straightforward deal, I think none or just one got the deal they proposed. But many got the opportunity of being mentored, or a transitional deal to prepare them for that restaurant dream later on.
I also noticed that most of the people knew quite a lot about food, and also had valuable ideas and twists on what to do, but almost none were good at cracking numbers. Not surprising, given than almost all had no experience with the business part of their proposal, and had never run a restaurant before.
Finally, it became apparent to me that millennials eat the way they live. They thrive on novelty, they embrace fades, but it was more difficult to identify a more permanent trend. Probably the concept of a permanent restaurant, that offers a menu one becomes fond of and goes back to eat regularly, is something difficult to establish among this public.
I saw though, that the contestants got publicity through the program, and many embarked in different projects related to their idea. It may not have landed them the restaurant they dreamed with, but some of them definitely kept evolving and furthering their endeavors.
Upon the value of reading. As a substitute, as a person who is 48 years old, I can’t tell you all how grateful I am for the reading I have taken upon by my own volition. Not only have I enjoyed all these books I’ve been reading through the years, but I’ve gotten to meet this terrific online community, and the ideas and education they are providing for me are a true blessing.
I got to substitute Thursday and Friday for advanced world history, and advanced American history. The students had a test one day, and the other they read articles and had a debate. The debate was titled, “Was the Jamestown Settlement a Fiasco?” I got to read the article the teacher provided for them to start up the discussion. It had a person on the affirmative, -yes, it was a fiasco-, and someone who said that it wasn’t. Another class had an article called “The Worst Human Mistake”, which referred to agriculture. Having read Cry, the Beloved Country, I could draw some connections with the article. I also remembered a documentary on Wendell Berry and agriculture I watched a few years ago.
Books and the ideas in them come to us and bring forth new ideas and connections.
Onto my current readings. I’ve put everything on hold but two books. One is Moby Dick, which I’m loving more I ever thought, and the other is a book I chose on a whim, Ubik, by Dick Philip.
I may understand why Moby Dick is either loved or hated. There has to be a few things that make you ready for it. It’s a book for older audiences, or for old souls. One can’t be too hurried in life, or the non plot oriented chapters will distract and even annoy the restless reader. I’m restless myself. But I’m also at an age where I consciously look forward to some more reflective time. I enjoy the deep exploration of some themes we find in Moby Dick. I commented at someone’s blog that I surprised myself at how much I enjoyed those chapters about sailors, or types of whales, or the nature of ships.
I don’t intend to be a critic at all, but once at sea in the book, we all know this is going to be about Moby Dick showing up. It’s going to take time, so Melville is going to take pages and pages, to make us anticipate the whale as much as the sailors, and to give us a fully fleshed picture of what’s happening at the ship, plus some needed education on what this is all about. Very clever. And, as Brona said here, Moby Dick wasn’t an instant classic as Dickens’s books, or Don Quixote. Moby Dick was written in 1851, but it wasn’t until 1920 that it achieved its deserved reputation and became a favorite to many. It’s possible that the book needed some time to find its readers.
Likewise, there might be books which haven’t been recognized as classics in our times, that will be brought to the classics category, and others that enjoy popularity and recognition, may lose status in the future.
Finally, the story of how I came to read Ubik. I was reading some Goodreads reviews on Moby Dick, in particular, I enjoyed my friend Fernando’s review. He absolutely loves Moby Dick. He is also a great fan of Dostoevsky. I don’t know how, I also saw Ubik, a book Fernando praised, and there was a excerpt from an interview to the author, Dick Philip, who was expanding on the views of Americans towards sci-fi and how they differ from Europeans. His claim was that in the States we marginalize sci-fi a bit, and tend not to give good books their proper place when and if they overlap or are seen as belonging to this genre. The genre doesn’t enjoy literary quality. While in countries like Germany, people read lots of sci-fi in translation and place it neck to neck with quality literature, -if the book meets the standards of a good book, that is-.
SFR: Why do you think your books have sold so well in foreign countries, and not as well in America?An Interview With Philip K. Dick From Science Fiction Review
DICK: Well, the first answer that comes to mind is “Damned if I know.” Perhaps it’s the general attitude towards science fiction in European countries, accepting it as a legitimate form of literature, instead of relegating it to the ghetto, with the genre, and regarding it as sub-standard. The prejudice is not there in France, Holland, England, and Germany, and Poland that we have in this country against science fiction. The field is accepted, and it doesn’t have anything to do particularly with the quality of my writing, it has to do with the acceptance of the field of science fiction as a legitimate field. Bear in mind that many, many of the English writers wrote science fiction: Ian Foster, of course we always think of George Orwell, Huxley, and it’s just natural. It wasn’t a step down, into the gutter for them to do it, and it would be here. If Norman Mailer were to write a science fiction novel — an inter-galactic novel — I doubt if he would. Saul Bellow wrote me recently, and he said he is writing science fiction, and he of course in a very fine writer, so maybe the ghetto walls will break down here. But I think it is the fact that they have a high regard for science fiction there. And I think also one of the reasons — especially in France — is that they’re aware that it’s a field of ideas. The science fiction novel is a novel of ideas, and they’re interested in the ideas. There’s an intelligentsia in Europe among the students that appreciates the ideas. You don’t have the equivalent intelligentsia here. We just don’t have that interest in books of ideas that they have there. They appreciate the philosophical and other types of ideas in science fiction, and look forward to science fiction novels. They have a voracious appetite for them.
Over the years, my interest in mystery, sci-fi, biography, etc. raises and fades, but never disappears. I’m glad I picked a book like this. Ubik is easy in terms of writing, it really entertains, but it goes deeper. Like good sci-fi, it has lots of philosophy, social commentary, humor, suspense, even history. All of it subservient to an intriguing plot, and well done characters.
I’m almost finished, but I’m trying to savor the last pages and think about it a bit before it ends. I’m very intrigued at the moment. I don’t know how it’s going to end, or if I’ll even like it or understand it. It’s been a good change of pace, and a nice addition to my reads. I can’t pass on a well written sci-fi title.