Impinging on consciousness:
- We got an interest rate of 11 3/4% on our loan assumption for our new house
- Proposition 9 didn't pass; so I have a raise coming.
- The two-month's long period of overcast skies and spring fog has suddenly cleared to an explosion of sunlight and warmth.
- Last night I slept on the couch, because E_ wanted to go to sleep early and wouldn't let me read in bed! First time we have slept apart in our marriage.
- All night long, I listened to the dog and rabbits scrambling in the yard.
- I have been reading a biography of J. R. Oppenheimer is listed [which lists?] the books the [that?] Oppenheimer testified were the greatest influence on him. My try at this game:
1. Story of Philosophy--Will Durant
Read in Junior yr in high school as part of extracurricular course on philosophy. I loved the book and the asking of philosophical questions.
2. (Collected) Poetry of Robert Graves.
Read, I think, following my senior year of high school. First poet with whose work I identified. At the time I thought I understood it. By my 2nd year of college, I had memorized 2 dozen of the poems.
3. Sunday edition, New York Times.
I began to reserve the [a] copy of [at] Clay's newstand beginning my sophomore year in high school, under the influence of Mrs. M_ F_ [my English teacher]. I read it avidly (I loved that ads for Steuben glass art in the magazine.)
4. Alexandria Quartet--Lawrence Durrell.
I read Justine my freshman year in college, followed quickly by the other volumes. I read Justine four times and all the other titles twice. I carried, in my pocketbook, quotations from the books, which I would read when I could, as, for instance, when waiting for a bus or train. While waiting to relieve myself of my virginity, Durrell's novels gave me my first understanding of women and love.
5. Language, Truth, and Logic--A. J. Ayer.
Read as part of a course in analytical philosophy my 2nd year at UNH. It made a profound impact on my thinking, without the least diminishing my love of poetry.
6. The Greek Way--Edith Hamilton
Read my sophomore year as part of a course on ancient history.
7. Portrait of the Artist--James Joyce
Read my sophomore year, or maybe, freshman year as part of my friendship of R_ A_, with whom I roomed my second year.
8. Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Science by E. A. Burtt
Read in graduate school.
9. Book of Common Prayer--Anglican [American Episcopal] Church
The prayer book probably was in my hand more often than any other in my childhood through high school.
10. Origin of Species--Charles Darwin
Studied first in grad school, and frequently since then.
- Reading the Oppenheimer biography awoke dreams of atomic disaster I had as a child. Yesterday I was possessed by the fantasy of flying to Switzerland, living in a cottage in some remote--and safe--valley, reading, and tending a summer garden in fragile glacial soil.
See also my second list of most influential books, compiled in 2009.