Teasing the Boundaries

May 22, 2016

Our dear friend Rick, a retired California appellate court judge, and his librarian wife Linda, gave Peter this set of books as a high school graduation gift.


So nice to have learned, wise friends.

It came with a typed letter, with explicit instructions from Rick about the exact order in which to read these books.

Unliterary me was not familiar with Lawrence Durrell, who wrote this particular set of four books–the so-called Alexandria Quartet–in the late 50s/early 60s, and the entire series was even on the short list, it was later learned, for the Nobel Prize. Durrell palled around with Henry Miller and Anais Nin, so says Wikipedia, and was all kinds of respected for his writing, which is said to be sophisticated, poetic, masterful. These books follow a love story from a variety of perspectives, set in WWII Egypt, and are exotic, erotic and memorable. “Breathtakingly inventive, written in sensuous, shimmering prose, blazing with emotional intensity and intellectual fire, hailed as modern classics.”

Rick says: essential reading.

I’ll go with that. And it seemed to pique Peter’s interest.

It sounds heavy for a guy who doesn’t read many bookish books.  Peter does read and explores endlessly, but almost exclusively online. I always admired him deeply for his curiosity. There is no question he is an intellectually driven guy.. but not typically in that curl up with a good literary masterpiece kind of way.  So we shall see.

I’m thinking maybe I’ll dive in first… the description sure appealed to me.

In any case, I thought it was a very fine and thoughtful gift, and hope that it will inspire Peter to broaden his scope a bit. Tis what college is about, eh?


Now, having said that Peter is not a great reader of books…. quite unusually, when I came home yesterday, and on and off since, I noticed Peter with his nose buried in a mountain climbing novel… with another on the table beside him. Inspired, likely, by his intention to do some backpacking and climbing this summer with Solly. It was quite a surprise to see him sprawled out, Jeremy-style, actually reading a book. A book with a cover. And pages. So last century.

So… maybe… maybe he does a little reading this summer. Maybe Rick and Linda’s gift will light a little fire.