One of the few fears that can really grab hold of me, especially before a long plane ride or (as was currently the case) a time of enforced inactivity, is that I’ve read all the really good books. A book that is well-written, thought provoking, and can immerse you in its reality is so rare. During this recent period, I had very little that fit this description. So I opened a book I hadn’t read in 25 years, Particle and Luck, by Louis B. Jones. Would it hold up? It does, and has snared me in the life of Mark Perdue, the archetypal absentminded physicist and his quirky journey around the Marin and the Berkeley campus. Here are a few excerpts. Continue reading “The exemplary sentence”
This week I started Louis B. Jones new book, Radiance. I’d been waiting eagerly for it. It’s a rare treat to enter the world of someone who thinks deeply and articulates his thought beautifully (poetically!) while moving you along a compelling story line. Here are two passages.
The first is about the strangeness of women, via the narrator’s teen-age daughter:
“…he hadn’t known what a girl’s graces were until Lotta, nor felt how over years his world was gradually changing shape so that females’ natural secret regnant ascendancy became more impossible to ignore, not until Lotta, not until he’d started watching a girl take shape from earliest infancy, the fineness of discernment, as well as a soreness, which amounted to a discriminating kind of electromagnetic force, all superpowers in comparison with boys’—and how hard that all was for them, the amazing unremitting meanness of their competition, their fundamental sad practicality, then the encroaching ineluctable weird song and dance of their inferior competence.”
The second describes a carpenter’s belt his wife is wearing:
“The new tool belt from True Value was red, redder than any valentine, its tough nylon webbing lustrous with that almost-lanolin stuff that synthetic hardware-store fabrics have when they’re brand-new and still faintly cense the factory warehouse perfumes of polymerized thermo-plastic.”
Here is a man who is paying attention and has the vocabulary to wake you up and see what he sees. And we’re only at page 13! I could go on, but it would be better if you bought the book and supported this kind of writing.