Snippets

I just read Sally Rooney’s first book, Conversations with Friends, and those who told me that it was well written and memorable were right. I thought about self-indulgent whining for days.

Most of my life I have read a lot, but I retain less of those books than I would like. I thought making a list might help me, and I now record every book I finish. I am reading Shalimar the Clown by Salman Rushdie. When I read about the twenty-four-course-minimum banquets it seemed vaguely familiar, but all the rest of the novel seemed fresh. I was glancing over my completed book list yesterday, and I saw that I had read Shalimar the Clown four years ago. Is there a point to my reading so much if I retain so little?

          “This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.” Dorothy Parker.

          Americans who are following politics should admire how resilient we New Yorkers are. We have survived in succession the mayoralties of Rudy Giuliani, Michael Bloomberg, and Bill De Blasio.

          “But politics never ends, because ambition never rests.” Richard Brookhiser, John Marshall: The Man Who Made the Supreme Court.

President Trump had objections to the South Korean movie Parasite. I assume that with the subtitles his lips got too tired.

I wondered about the line in the program that said the singer was “voted a Downbeat Critics’ Poll Rising Star Vocalist for four consecutive years.” Is there a limit on how long a person is a rising star? Apparently four years of rising is not enough. But Thana Alexa who is that singer was marvelous in the performance I saw at the Birdland Jazz Club the other night as were Caroline Davis, Carolina Calvache, Endea Owens, and Alison Miller on sax, piano, bass, and drums. (But since this performance, I attended a legal conference concerning neuroscience, and I learned that one of the panelists was “recognized as a ‘Rising Star’ Super Lawyer in New York in 2011, 2012, and 2013 and as a Super Lawyer in New York since 2015.” Maybe that is how it should be: three years of Rising, a year off, and then full Super status.)

          I tell myself that I miss running, but I concede that the compulsive running that I did in my thirties and forties gave me aches and pains. I was constantly sore. Unsolicited advice told me to stretch—some said before I set out, others after the run’s completion–but I never did. I thought that an easy pace at the beginning of the run was the best way to loosen up. Over time the soreness, especially in my knees, was constant, and towards the end of my running phase, I realized that I was hanging on tightly to bannisters to descend stairs because of knee problems. I knew that it was time to think about quitting.  When I saw a doctor for a routine physical, he told me that I was running too much. He said, “It just depends at what age you want a knee replacement.” I gave up running a bit later. I had a knee replacement when I was seventy.

          “In a dream you are never eighty.” Anne Sexton.