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ALARMS AND DIVERSIONS FOR THE THINKING PERSON

Forum File

Saturday, June 29, 2013 - 12:01 am

The reading list

“Like many others who turned into writers, I disappeared into books when I was very young, disappeared into them like someone running into the woods. What surprised and still surprises me is that there was another side to the forest of stories and the solitude, that I came out that other side and met people there. Writers are solitaries by vocation and necessity. I sometimes think the test is not so much talent, which is not as rare as people think, but purpose or vocation, which manifests in part as the ability to endure a lot of solitude and keep working. Before writers are writers they are readers, living in books, through books, in the lives of others that are also the heads of others, in that act that is so intimate and yet so alone.

“These vanishing acts are a staple of children's books, which often tell of adventures that are magical because they travel between levels and kinds of reality, and the crossing over is often an initiation into power and into responsibility. They are in a sense allegories first for the act of reading, of entering an imaginary world, and then of the way that the world we actually inhabit is made up of stories, images, collective beliefs, all the immaterial appurtences we call ideology and culture, the pictures we wander in and out of all the time. In the children's books there are inanimate objects that come to life, speaking statues, rings and words of power, talismans and amulets, but most of all there are doors, particularly in the series that I, like so many children, took up imaginative residence in for some years, The Chronicles of Narnia.”

From “The Faraway Nearby” at guernicamag.com

A quiz

In what year of marriage do couples around the world who divorce tend to get those divorces?

Wisdom of the ages

“The fundamental cause of trouble in the world is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.”– Bertrand Russell

Current wisdom

“My back hurts. I don't have a lot of words left. It shows the determination and spirit of Texas women.” – Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, who spent most of the day staging a filibuster before state Republicans passed sweeping new abortion restrictions.

Quiz answer

The fourth.

By the numbers

2.5 million: The people living in the newly independent United States in July 1776.

316.2 million: The nation's estimated population this coming July Fourth.

Today in history

On this day in 1776, the first vote on the Declaration of Independence was taken; and the crowds went wild.

Now you know

On average, cats spend two-thirds of every day sleeping. That means a 9-year-old cat has been awake for only three years of its life.