Sunday, August 12, 2012


Not yet two weeks into August, and the heat has broken.  We're having a fall-like weekend, deep blue skies, a cool breeze, an invigorating something in the air.  We're grateful for the day.

This is the kind of day Faulkner was talking about when discussing Light In August:

" August in Mississippi there's a few days somewhere about the middle of the month when suddenly there's a foretaste of fall, it's cool, there's an ambiance, a luminous quality to the light, as though it came not from just today but from back in the old classic times.  It might have been fauna and satyrs and the gods from Greece..."

"It just lasts for a day or two, then it's gone.  But every year in August that occurs in my country, and that's all the title reminded me of a luminosity older than our Christian civilization."

A midsummer night's dream sort of thing.

With this magic now in the outdoor air, I plan to spend less time reading this month.  I've already read more books this year than in any previous year, enough to fill fifty new blogs even if I only blog about the very best ones.

Certainly high on my year's best list is Cheryl Mendelson's The Good Life: The Moral Individual in an Antimoral World.  If you enjoy reading Wendell Berry and Marilynne Robinson, this is your kind of book.  Mendelson is the author of several previous books, including some novels, but her degrees are in philosophy and law and like Berry and Robinson, she seems uniquely brilliant in her analysis of the antimorality of our culture today.

It's the kind of intelligent book I wish everyone would read, yet the kind that frequently becomes "the neglected little known gem."  Her insights will surprise you.  Don't miss it.
Dinah Washington 1928-1963

On another note, the earworm of the day is Dinah Washington's version of "The Good Life."  The way we interpret the song, the words of the title are used ironically at first.  What was popularly thought of as "the good life"  was the uncommitted life, "to be free and explore the unknown."

But toward the end of the song, there is the recognition that popularly known "good life" isn't so good after all.  That it is better to wake up and learn how to love.  And what we talk about when we talk about love is not possessive love, but unconditional love.

That's probably not your interpretation, but we don't mind.  Her rendition is simply gorgeous no matter how you take it.

It's the good life
Full of fun seems to be the ideal
Yes, the good life
Lets you hide all the sadness you feel

You don't really fall in love
You can't take the chance
So be honest with yourself
Don't try to fake romance

It's the good life
To be free and explore the unknown
Like your heartaches
when you learn you must face them alone

 Please remember I still love you
and in case you wonder why
well, just wake up--
kiss that good life goodbye.
You can hear Dinah Washington sing it at this Utube link.
Sarah Vaughn's version of the song is here. 
And Julie London's version of the song is here.  

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