We rarely go to the State Fair, but we do love to see the cows, pigs, and horses.
We also go to free bluegrass concerts.
And in 2001, we saw Bob Dylan. Despite the terrible venue–uncomfortable bleachers, Bob a tiny figure on a video screen, kids getting busted, and the smell of spilled beer–Bob gave it his all.
Sherry Thurner at Late B(l)oomer has described her State Fair experiences in a lovely post about the end of summer. She begins:
Labor Day weekend has always meant the symbolic end of summer for me. Since I was a Walworth county farm girl, that meant the fair. The end of August seems to me to be the perfect time for a rural fair, since now is the high season for produce. I still enjoy wandering through the agricultural building to see boxes of dented seed corn, onions, apples and various squashes. Then there are the tall tall stalks of corn, and the giant pumpkins. I also like looking over the floral displays, the little centerpieces all centered on some theme. Who makes centerpieces any more? I didn’t see what I used to enjoy when I was a child, row upon row of gaudy gladiola spikes and giant dahlias. Perhaps they were in another building I missed. There is a lot to take in at the fair.
It will make you want to go the State Fair.
2. What’s on the nightstand? This is a game we love to play.
At The Millions, novelist Sonya Chung charmingly describes her book choice process. She begins,
As usual, you’re talking with your friend about books. “Have you read it?” she asks. “No,” you say, “but it’s on the nightstand.” It’s on the nightstand. That’s code for, I’ve made mental note of it. Or It’s on my list but not a priority. Or even, I actually own it, and I’ll be reading it next. Regardless, for me, It’s on the nightstand has always been metaphorical — an abstract and elastic category of Books I Hope To Read.
3. The Daily Glean considers “wild, wacky, and outré book titles.”
Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop: And Other Practical Advice In Our Campaign Against The Fairy Kingdom by Reginald Bakeley. How Tea Cosies Changed the World by Loani Prior. Raising Witches; Knitting Historical Figures; How to Make Love While Conscious; A Popular History of British Seaweeds. If none of these titles tickle your fancy, then perhaps one of the tomes illustrated below will. They’re from the ongoing “Weird Book Room” feature at Abe Books. And if you really want to delve into the arcane, have a look at The Toast’s ‘100 Actual Titles of Real Eighteenth-Century Novels.’ Among the offerings: The Book!! Or, Procrastinated Memoirs. Atrocities Of A Convent. He’s Always In The Way. Horrible Revenge, Or, The Monster Of Italy!! How It Happened That I Was Born. It Was Me, A Tale By Me, One Who Cares For Nothing Or Nobody. The Male-Coquette; Or, The History Of The Hon. Edward Astell. Memoirs Of An Old Wig. A Modern Anecdote Of The Ancient Family Of The Kinkvervankotsdarsprakengotchderns. The Peaceful Villa, An Eventful Tale.
4. Pages & Proofs, the Abebooks.uk blog, considers Camus’s The Plague.
“Should we all be reading The Plague by Albert Camus? NPR (National Public Radio) in the United States thinks so as the Ebola outbreak continues to dominate news headlines.”
5. Julia Alvarez has won the National Medal of Arts. She wrote at her website:
On July 28th, 2014, I was at the White House to receive the National Medal of Arts from President Obama. I was thrilled, but overwhelmed with big feelings. As I said to any number of people: by this stage in life, we know that we don’t get to be who we are without the investments and contributions of so many people, hundreds of “invisible hands,” helping us along the way.
I’ve always loved her books.
I never read The Plague as literal, more as an allegorical infection…..
It’s an existentialist classic! The NPR article is good; the link for it is at Pages & Proofs. I should have supplied that link, too.