Rabbit, Run by John Updike

Fiction It is more than 30 years since I first read this book, yet I still remember the feelings, the location of where and when I read it. Rabbit, Run was quite a revelation to readers in those days. One of the first non-pornographic books to use the F-word, the C-word, and to give detailed descriptions of sex; not just the details, but brought it down to earth, into practical realms. It was not the “swearing” that made Rabbit, Run popular, it was the descriptive passages, the conflict, the foolish actions of the characters that caught our attention. It is not a story of people from Wall St, the FBI, or Harvard. It is a story of ordinary people — just like those who live in your street. You might not like them, but they are real people. The story is set in 1959 in Pennsylvania. The protagonist, “Rabbit” Harry Angstrom, is not particularly likeable, nor is his wife Janice. This is not a story about heroes, but about defective humans. In the first few pages we find Janice, pregnant, sitting at home watching The Mickey Mouse Club, drinking, smoking, with the house in a state of disorder. Their toddler,… Continue reading

– Hunters and Collectors –

I have most of the works of the classical composer, Sibelius. In fact, I have two or three different versions of most of his works. Last night I went to listen to his 5th symphony, and to my surprise I could only find one version. I knew I had another, but it must have been put into the wrong folder, perhaps with Shostakovich or Stevie Wonder. I put on my only mp3 version, and immediately found that it had been recorded from an LP record with a scratch on it. Rotation clicks could be heard: click, click, click. How damn annoying. This set me off to find another version, but none showed up on my PC. So then I started looking at music sites. Amazon, I found had many versions: different conductors, different orchestras, different countries, different decades. I was off hunting for the best version. I felt the thrill of the chase, which of the “best” versions would I capture? The reviews were a mishmash, I could not tell which was best. Should I buy all of them? I was actually listening to the music all the time I was searching, hunting. Then it occurred to me,  I had… Continue reading