Thursday, September 6, 2018

Diary

One of the disadvantages of buying cheap used books online is that they take a long time to deliver. I have a couple on order that should arrive soon. Because I've become pickier about what I read, I am more often lacking any book that I want to bother with. For most of my life, I finished every book that I started, because I didn't have complete confidence in my reading ability, knowledge or taste; there was always the chance that a book would be of value in a way that I could not anticipate. More recently, having had ample time to survey the terrain, but still recognizing that I am not omniscient, I have become less tolerant of a writer's inadequacies and stylistic tics when they don't appeal to me, and I don't hesitate to stop reading a book if I decide that it has a significant deficiency of one sort or another. Probably my preference for clear, thoughtful prose, my distaste for literary fads, and the increasingly lower quality of editing have all contributed to my growing impatience. If you like my writing style, you may still occasionally find me too opinionated, but you will have to recognize that I make a real effort to get to the point, and, if nothing else, this is a courtesy to readers, whom I try not to torture with incoherent rambling. In any case, I am now finishing only about 70% of the books that I start, and this leaves me with reading downtime. I also have growing piles of books that I dislike and am donating to the library unfinished.

At the moment, I'm in a flurry of genealogical activity. When I first had my DNA analyzed, I was able to identify two distant living English relatives, whom I contacted, but no Armenian relatives. My closest match, other than my sister, did not reply to my email, which went to her husband. I recently figured out who she was by googling her husband and finding out his wife's name. From there I found information about where she works and who her parents are. She is an assistant professor of Spanish in California. Her father is a retired businessman who was born in England and grew up in South Africa. Her mother was born in Greece, but her family moved to South Africa in 1946. After her parents married and had children in South Africa, the family moved to Southern California in 1981. The real clincher for me was a photo of her mother, who looks a lot like my mother. It turns out that the assistant professor is the granddaughter of the next girl to the right of my mother in the Athens family photo that I posted earlier. Her maternal great-grandmother was my maternal grandfather's sister. We are still debating about who everyone is in that photo, but I think I have it figured out.

I have been attempting more stargazing, but this has been the worst year for viewing since I started five years ago. On a good night, you can see the Milky Way clearly, and that has happened only twice this year. Nevertheless, I always enjoy viewing on a clear night, and we had one recently.

It looks as if we are having the last hot day of the year, and I'm looking forward to a cool fall.

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