Sunday, December 21, 2003

It's a fine Sunday afternoon here in Austin. Blue skied and clear as they say.

I spent this morning at Thai Kitchen, reading and visiting with the owner, Toy. He is a friendly and interesting Thai man, age 60. As I was the only one in the resturant, and he has been a distant friend of the family for about 15 years now, he sat at my table and talked with me for about an hour. He talked about what it means to be married, about thai food and health, about his travels, about my family and his. He used words like "sex" and "mafia" which were interesting to hear from the mouth of a relative stranger. He asked that he and his sister be invited to Rebecca and my wedding. :)

I finished Earth Abides. Damn. That is a really great book. I really need to find another copy of it to give to LT for Xmas. He is someone whom, I think, can appreciate what a wonderful work it is.

Earth Abides by George R. Stewart
I remember reading this book previously when I was a child living in East Texas. My Aunt Terry was always great about giving me books that were wildly age inappropriate. This is one of those. I picked it up again at Half-Price Books for a few dollar, and am very glad that I did. EA is the story of Ish Williams, a young man who survives a pandemic plague that sweeps across the world, leaving only 1/10,000 alive. Stewart wrote the novel in the 1940s, and seems to have been something of a naturalist, anthropologist and sociologist. The tale follows Ish's life for the sixty years after the Great Disaster. Ish crosses the country and takes stock of the ruins of civilization, then, in the company of five or six others, begins to rebuild it. Ish, Emma, Ezra, George, and a few other survivors start a small community in the hills above San Francisco. They have offspring, form a tribe, deal with other tribes, and observe the (de)evolution of human society. The final chapter of the 300p. novel is called The Last American, who is Ish. Mankind has reverted to a pseudo-primitive tribalism. Very cool.

Anyway, the book is great. It was obviously a big influence on Stephen King's The Stand, although this work stays largely clear of the horror / spiritual implications of a global pandemic, instead focusing on the social evolution of humankind in the generations that come after. Fascinating.


Next up: Sunday dinner with the family, featuring special guest Maggie Pearl Fields. Then King Cog will be moving in tonight, which is exciting. He's broken hearted currently, but that too will pass in time.

Next up on book review: A Random Walk Down Wall Street - called, by "the only book you should read about investing." We will see.