Today I received two of the books that I ordered recently.
One of them, "Timothy Dexter Revisited" by John P. Marquand will be put on the shelf unopened until the first of his books about that singular Newburyport gentleman arrives. I am looking forward to devouring the two in order since, as Lord Timothy himself said, "I am the first in the East, the first in the West, and the greatest philosopher in the known world." He sounds like a man worthy of attention if not respect.
I have his wonderful little book, "A Pickle for the Knowing Ones," sitting on my desk for inspiration. He was a canny and very lucky businessman for someone who declared himself a lord (although he insisted that it was popular acclaim that did so), who faked his own death in order to see who would turn up for the memorial, who kept a personal "poet laureate," and who seems so oddly disorganized and self-absorbed.
John P. Marquand fictionalized Dexter's life. That is the book that I'm waiting for. The book I just received is more of a memoir and historical piece written 35 years after the first one. It is my fancy that it is important to read them in chronological order
The second book I received today is "What I Require From Life" writings on science and life by J.B.S. Haldane. I am looking forward to reading it. Haldane is a witty and engaging writer and, whether you agree with his politics or not, time with him is well spent and challenging.
I met Haldane once in (I believe) 1961 when he visited the Stazione Zoologica in Naples. That would have made me 13 years old, just old enough to be terribly embarrassed to meet the 70 year old author of one of my favorite books in person. In addition to his political and scientific writing, he had also written a wonderful book called "My Friend Mr. Leakey" (a copy of which still sits on my shelves).
But if I start dipping into Haldane tonight, I'll have to set aside "1493" by Charles Mann with only a third of it read.
Ah me, the vagaries of distraction send me tumbling hither and yon like a crisp, dry maple leaf in an hibernal gale.