Monday, August 20, 2012
Here is another book on my List of 10 (#9) - Endangered Pleasures: In Defense of Naps, Bacon, Martinis, Profanity and Other Indulgences by Barbara Holland.
How can you not like a woman who writes on:
Obviously the best possible time to wake up is in the June of our tenth year, on the first day of summer vacation. Failing that, another good time is in winter, facing east on the only bright morning in a long string of dark ones.
Long ago, for purely practical reasons, we took to wearing a bit of something over the skin, a grass loincloth, maybe, or a scrap of tiger's hide. These tended to look the same every day, except for the grass getting dryer and the tiger stripes fading in the sun. When they wore out completely we got new ones, and I suppose others noticed and commented, and gradually the idea of variety took hold.
Being at work justifies the day. We needn't curse ourselves for wasted hours, even if we spent them all in pointless meetings or in a slow season, frittered them away with gossip, the newspapers, and computer games
Recreational talking is, along with private singing, one of our saddest recent losses. Like singing, talking has become a job for trained professionals, who are paid considerable sums of money to do it on television and radio while we sit silently listening or, if we're truly lonely and determined, call the station and sit holding the phone waiting for the chance to contribute our two cents' worth.
Those are just a sampling of the astute thoughts and opinions that Ms. Holland expresses in this book of some 66 essays. Like other essayists that I enjoy reading, she takes the ordinary, puts her own spin on the subject, and makes it extraordinary.
Ms. Holland was born in 1933 and grew up near Washington, D.C. Her other collections of essays are Bingo Night at the Fire Hall: The Case for Cows, Orchards, Bake Sales & Fairs (1997), and Wasn't the Grass Greener? A Curmudgeon's Fond Memories (1999).
She would be a wonderful luncheon companion - even though she smoked. Unfortunately, one of her endangered pleasures was smoking. She died of lung cancer in 2010.