I am back from class, and it's late. I signed up for another course--this one on Seamanship. It's basic information but helpful in preparation for Sea School which I plan to attend some time in the near future. I am going to go for a Master's license of as much tonnage as I am allowed with my qualifying sea time. Most probably, that will be a 50 ton vessel. One would think that after so many years of school, that I would be sick of it by now. But it seems that I am a born student of something, whether it is marine science, marine piloting, seamanship, or the Twelve Steps.
Tonight, we talked a bit about the recent Costa Concordia wreck on the reef off the coast of Italy. It seems to eerily echo what happened with the Titanic. A misjudgment and human error resulted in a terrible tragedy, although the Concordia incident was not nearly as horrible as that of the Titanic. I've read a few books on the Titanic sinking, and every one sends chills through me.
Reading starts my day and also ends it. I read a few blogs and read the newspaper (which takes all of 15 minutes in this town) in the morning. In the evening, I read more blogs, read class material, and finish up the day with the latest book.
Reading has been a great escape for me over the years. I still lose myself in books, just as I did as a kid. Back then, it was a good way to avoid having to go to the dinner table. It was a way to separate myself from my father when he was in his cups. Now, it's a way to learn about people, adventures, and life experiences that I find fascinating. Maybe there is still the escapism in books. I don't really care. All I know is that in the few hours a day that I spend reading, I come away a better person for it.
Here's a list of what's stacked on our bedside tables:
Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond between People and Dogs by Caroline Knapp. Ms. Knapp lost her parents, sobered up and adopted Lucille who provided not only companionship but love.
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. An honest look at a genius who changed so much in technology. A revolutionary of a different ilk.
Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz. You can tell that we like reading about dogs. Knowing how dogs view the world gives me hope that humans may one day be as civilized.
Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene. Here is the question of this book: "What is reality?". Lots of information on physics for the non-theorist. That's good. String theory and its hypotheses of ten spatial dimensions and one time dimension, parallel universes, and time travel make me aware that "Beam me up, Scotty" may indeed be possible.
The Essential Rumi by Coleman Barks. Passion, sadness, love, rage, sex--lots to think about and to quiet the mind.
Greedy Bastards by Dylan Ratigan. Bank bailouts, outsourcing, corporate greed, oil, health care--I need to read Rumi after reading this. And also think about a parallel universe. Che (see below) had a solution but not one that I like.
Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs. Another type of parallel universe that isn't pleasant. Heavy stuff about an adolescent who was passed from one dysfunctional family to another.
Blue Nights by Joan Didion. Not as good as the Year of Magical Thinking, but another look at death and the fears of getting old.
Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life by Jon Lee Anderson. After 800 pages, I will know more about Cuban history, the revolution, and the enigmatic Che than I want to, but social injustice is something that interests me. I am ploughing through it, even though the sociopathic behavior and the mass murder of so many is hard to take. Not a parallel universe to Steve Jobs. And not the solution to the Greedy Bastards.
I'm getting ready to head off to read for an hour. It feels like a good night to read about dogs. Here's hoping for insight.
What books are you reading? Give a little synopsis if you want.