Little Better Than One of the Wicked
I need your help!

Tumblr friends,

My birthday is coming and I received a sum of money to use to buy myself a present. This sum will probably buy me 3 or 4 books. I’ve already decided on Occasional, Critical, and Political Writing by James Joyce as one of the books.

But I am “kid in the candy store”ing about the other titles. So which of these should I buy:

The Library of Greek Mythology

Selected Writings of John Ruskin

Selected Poems of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester

Sayings and Anecdotes of Diogenes the Cynic

Praeterita by John Ruskin

Natural Theology by William Paley

Melmoth the Wanderer by Charles Maturin

Or, outside of the Oxford imprint (although it would be good to order them all from one place), there is:

The Secret Life of Salvador Dali

The Philosophy of Andy Warhol

Both of which I would like to own but, again, ordering all from one place saves on shipping.

Please reply with direction.

The secret to life and love from Brother Ray.

I was tagged by the lovely a-ramblinrose

The Rules:

1. List 11 facts about yourself.
2. Answer 11 questions chosen by the person who nominated you.
3. Ask 11 new questions to 11 new bloggers. They must have less than 200 Bloglovin followers. (You cannot renominate the blog that nominated you.)

Facts about me:

1.Married, two grown and moved out step-kids, two dogs, three cats.

2. Slight asthma and a food allergy to tomatoes. Otherwise healthy as an ox.

3. Majored in Theater and Minored in Religious Studies.

4. I am in the process of moving. This is the only time when I find being an avid book collector to be a detriment.

5. I be outdoors as much as I can. Hiking, gardening, etc. I live in Northern California so it seems like a sin not to. It would be like living in Paris and never going to the Louvre. Although, in spite of this, I’m hardly an outdoorsman type.

6. I usually wear a tie. Even when I don’t have to.

7. Once or twice a year I throw a huge chili feed at my house.

8. My father built the computer system for LA County Fire Dispatch. Growing up, I was the first person I knew with a computer in my house and, later, the first person I knew on the internet. Unfortunately I did not follow his career path.

9. The field of my employment is, in fact, Assisted Living (the natural path for a Theater major). I also have a personal policy of talking about work as little as possible in my online life.

10. I am an opera fanatic. You may have gleaned that from my Tumblr already.

11. I was a figure in the 1990s OC and LA poetry scene. Probably not a very good figure (I can’t stand to read anything I wrote in those days), but a good deal of my lifelong friends came from that time in my life.

Beth’s Questions:

1. First book you remember reading?

The Mister Men books.

2. Do you highlight/take notes in books?

I don’t highlight, but I take notes, underline, dog-ear, and generally thrash my books.

3. Do you take notes in a notebook about books?

No, but I always carry a notebook to jot down ideas about things I’m going to write.

4. Least favourite book?

I strongly disliked John Stuart Mill. I once threw an Ayn Rand book against the wall the first and last time I attempted to read her. I once picked up Mein Kampf to see what that was like and found it to be one of the most turgid and overwrought piles of dung I’d ever tried to read. I can’t believe anyone anywhere ever would have followed any of those three.

5. How many books have you read this year?

4. I’m working on 5. Which sounds bad but, in my defense, two of them have the reputation of being among the more difficult books in the English language. And I’m moving.

6. Which author would you love to meet? (dead or alive count, as does if you’ve already met them)

Although we have no extant works written by him, I would like to meet Socrates. James Joyce and Proust. The Bard, of course. Cervantes. Sir Thomas Browne.Wilde would be a hoot! Alexander Woollcott.

7. Do you like to review books or just read them?

I have a compulsion to review books I’ve just read. It’s similar to why I take margin notes. It’s part of how I read, how I process a book.

8. Favourite protagonist?


9. Favourite book series?

The Divine Comedy. The Bible I guess.

10. Do you check out books at the library, buy them, or both?

I prefer to own them, but I will go to the library in the pinch. I love interlibrary loans. You can get really obscure and otherwise cost-prohibitive art books that way.

11. If you have a goodreads, what is it?

I think I do, but I have no idea what my name might be or how to access it.

My Questions:

  1. What was the last book to disappoint you? Lolita. Not so much that it disappointed me. I could see that it was a great piece of writing. I just really did not want to occupy the head-space of Humbert Humbert for 300 pages.
  2. What do you do when you end up in a reading rut? Shakespeare, the Bible, the Greeks, the Stoics. Back to basics.
  3. Who’s your favorite poet? Why? That is a hard question! I love Verlaine, Shelley, Keats, John Berryman, Dorothy Parker, Pound, Blake, Milton, Baudelaire, Whitman of course, and I could go on and on. Poets are my milk. I grew up on poetry. It raised me in a way.
  4. Last book to make you cry? Native Son by Richard Wright
  5. Do you buy secondhand books?If so, do you mind if they have notes in them? I buy secondhand books but I avoid other people’s notes. I often disagree with them and find it distracting.
  6. Last book you couldn’t finish? Lolita. Although “couldn’t” is too strong. “Didn’t.”
  7. What book do you think needs a movie? Very bad books I suppose, because what movies do to books shouldn’t happen to a good book.
  8. What book inspires you? I stick to the classics because they inspire me. I am keenly aware of the brevity of life and want to fill my head with the greatest aspirations of humankind, in hopes that greatness will then come bursting out of me.
  9. Do you like William Shakespeare? If so, favorite play? I love Shakespeare. I went halfway around the world to study him and genuflect at his tomb. Hamlet is the correct answer although I have a deep sentimental love of The Winter’s Tale. I also have this deep resonance with Macbeth.
  10. Preferred place to read? Just about anywhere I am, I would prefer to be reading.
  11. It’s 2 in the morning and you have one chapter left. Do you keep reading? Of course. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.
We’re moving.

We’re moving.

I am transfixed by the image of Christ appearing in the ink.

I am transfixed by the image of Christ appearing in the ink.

My wife is making a block art print for the Tenebrae service.

Finnegans Wake 1.2

Happy Thursday night, everyone!

Finnegans Wake 1.1

Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t. 

Read More

Leonard Warren in 1952 wearing Forza del Destino costume in which he died onstage.

Leonard Warren in 1952 wearing Forza del Destino costume in which he died onstage.