Category Archives: Heat

Memories of Empire

Amherst is great. A couple of weeks ago Paul & I saw John Sayles introduce his film Amigo at Amherst Cinema and answer questions after viewing.  It took him a long time to find the funding. He had to focus on a village to encapsulate a very large experience, which he wrote about in a sprawling 900-page novel A Moment in the Sun . He eventually found a portion that told a story he could fit into a space small and intimate enough to make a low budget film.

Here is Sayles on modern parallels with Amigo at Amherst Cinema.

And here is a link to his own blog post on the trip to Amherst.


More on Coral Reefs

From the BBC. Pretty pictures.

Porites coral on the Great Barrier Reef

Porites coral on the Great Barrier Reef

Externalized costs.

Dr Glenn De’ath and colleagues investigated 328 colonies of massive Porites corals, from 69 locations…. By looking at the coral skeletons, they determined that calcification – or the deposit of calcium carbonate – has declined by 13.3% throughout the Great Barrier Reef since 1990.

Such a decline is unprecedented in at least the past 400 years, they write.

Tipping Point

The Great Barrier Reef, Australia

The Great Barrier Reef

Sad news:

Coral decline warns of ocean changes: Australian scientists

SYDNEY (AFP) — A sharp slowdown in coral growth on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef since 1990 is a warning sign that precipitous changes in the world’s oceans may be imminent, scientists said Friday.

You can read more at these links: Green Car Congress and EPOCA (European Congress on Ocean Acidification) blog. Here’s an alarming snippet from EPOCA:

But on the climate vulnerable Great Barrier Reef, researchers have been surprised to discover that a tipping point for coral growth has already been reached.

In the journal Science this morning they reveal that it was reached 18 years ago, as Nonee Walsh reports.

An abstract of the article by De’ath, Lough, and Fabricius appears in Science .

Sicily on My Mind


I’m going to Sicily for a week to see championship fencing. In my carry-on bag are the following titles:

The Robb title is nonfiction, about the history of the Mafia on the island, literature and art as well. I read a similar book of his on Brazil (A Death in Brazil), which was riveting. Sciascia is a heralded crime novelist, also dealing with the Mafia. For light reading, I’m packing Lampedusa’s classic, The Leopard, about Sicilian life and aristocracy during the Risorgimento, the unification of Italy during the mid-nineteenth century.

Day of the Owl

Anne Hutchinson’s Way

My fiction group met last week for some chat on our summer travels, critiquing our manuscripts, and sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly about careers and writing.
Anne Hutchinson's Way
We got to talking about my trip to Ireland and Finland, Bruce’s upcoming trip to Italy, and Dina’s cruise to Alaska, where she traveled close to a glacier which had big chunks falling in a cascade. Disturbing, first-hand evidence of global warming.

Among the good writing news is that Jeannine’s new book, Anne Hutchinson’s Way, just out from FSG will be named one of the”Top Ten Religion Books for Youth” in the October 1, 2007, issue of Booklist. Plus a great review from Kirkus, which calls it a “complex story of faith and freedom with clarity and strength.”

Way to go Jeannine!

Books from Africa

Here are two books I’ve read recently. One is from sub-Saharan Africa, the other from northern Africa. They differ in tone and style, but both are highly entertaining:

Wizard of the Crow by Ngugi Wa’Thiong’O

This tale has elements of folklore, politics, and satire–African magic realism. The trickster meets the dictator. Corruption galore. And a real heart–a human, touching story at the core.

The Yacoubian Building by al Aswany

Grade: A+

Multiple stories about people at all levels of society, male and female, rich and poor, gay and straight, living in the same Cairo apartment building, are woven together in this masterfully plotted novel of contemporary Egypt. The characters are vivid, the pace energetic. Though the book is short, it paints a portrait of Islamic society confronting the West with depth and subtlety. The plot builds to a satisfying climax and conclusion. The style is realistic and straight-forward, with irony provided by contrasting viewpoints of the inter-related characters.

There’s an essay in me somewhere about books about Africa by non-Africans vs. books by Africans. Hope to write it soon.

Rumors of Delirium

The title of the blog comes from Emily Dickinson’s poem that begins:

A SOMETHING in a summer’s day,
As slow her flambeaux burn away,
Which solemnizes me.
A something in a summer’s noon,—
An azure depth, a wordless tune,

Transcending ecstasy.

The line is:

Or bees, that thought the summer’s name
Some rumor of delirium

Heat and delirium are themes that attract me and that I will return to from time to time.