Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cheerful Death Books Post

perdita django blur
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
For some reason, I'm reading books about preparing for death. Wow, are they ever a laff riot! Well. I don't even know how this happened (meaner people might point out here that this is a recurring theme in my life) but suddenly, my reading took a macabre and morbid turn. It started with The Wreck of the River of Stars by Michael Flynn, which I picked up at Downtown Books & News, my favorite place. This is an excellent book and I highly, highly recommend it but light fun yay party onwards it is not. So, having finished that and casting around my house for a little light reading, I decided to reread On the Beach. There's nothing like a little post apocalyptic go out with a stiff upper lip and a brandy and soda to cheer you right the fuck up, let me tell you. I finished that last night and, because why break the trend, I have moved on to the full and unexpurgated version of The Stand. So I'm really fun to be around right now and I'm much more worried about swine flu than I probably need to be. Yeah, swine flu! We're all gonna die! Or, hopefully, not, but, you know, whatever, I'm still having a party on Saturday night. Maybe I should lay in some brandy.

Actually, I have come up with some pressing questions about all this death and in particular these books, to wit:

1. What actually happens to a corpse in outer space? Does it just stay perfectly preserved like a razor blade in the pyramids or what? Does it mummify? If it mummifies, then why? Why would the water evaporate into vacuum? Wouldn't it just stay there?

2. Were people in 1963 really totally completely different than people now, or was that just Australia? I somehow have trouble envisioning contemporary people facing certain death so, um, calmly. And keeping on going to work and stuff, right up to the end. I mean, my parents, whose generation that was, were fairly phlegmatic about a lot of stuff but I think even my famously stoic mother might have lost it a bit when people started dieing around her. Also, damn, Nevil Shute: sexist much? Phew.

3. What year is it supposed to be in The Stand anyway, or, is Steven King permanently stuck in the fifties or early sixties or what? I think complaints about rock n' roll, particularly in terms of how it was, ahem, influenced by African Americans, had pretty much died out by the nineties. Also, the wearing of sachets, whatever the hell they are. In fact, given that I was actually alive and in my twenties and thirties and listening to "rock n' roll" music in the 90s, I'm sure of it.

In other, less creepy, news I took the dogs out to Bent Creek yesterday evening and despite being tempted to evil by joggers and bikers and other dogs, they were stellarly good. There's something to be said, I think, for having a whole pack of dogs: they tend to learn from each other and now that Perdita (who is a genius, I swear) has observed that Theo & Django get out of the way of mountain bikes and otherwise ignore them, she is doing the same. I was proud. I was so proud and that is awesome.

POSTSCRIPT: Not only am I morbid, I am also forgetful as fuck. I got home last night and glanced at my bedside table and thought, DAMN, I knew I'd read four books about death, not three. So, just for the record, posterity and whatever else, let it be known that in between books one and two up there, I managed to reread The Perfect Storm. Which is about . . . wait for it. . . death! Yes! Fisherman getting on a boat and never being heard from again! Also, the movie made my mother cry, because we unwisely went to see it a couple days after my father passed away and the hymn that they sing in the funeral at the end was, of course, the hymn we sang at my father's memorial service. Therefore it is etched eternally into my memory, or so you would think, just not yesterday when I was remembering all my other death books and death questions.

Yours in Bright Spring Cheer,

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