Dear readers, I am so much appreciating your posts. It’s a wonderful thing to share books & lives, too.
I’ve been concentrating on my Wendell Berry book, That Distant Land, which I was 145 pages into at the start of the challenge and at the end of yesterday reached Page 360. So, whoo-hoo, 5 whole pages ahead of goal. Around Page 300, things got really tough. This is the multi-generational story of a farming community in Kentucky told in a group of collected stories. On Page 1, I met Mat Feltner at Age 5, in 1888. By Page 308 in the title story, “That Distant Land,” (1965) I knew he was a goner. Of course, Berry has made me fall for him, so I kept putting the book down in an effort to save him. But I pushed through his death. Then, on Sunday, I did the Kate thing. I lost the book at Panera Bread! I was panicked until we found it lying on the counter at the cash register, unmolested, all that time. a) People are honest. b) People are not particularly interested in reading a physical book. c) People aren’t fans of Wendell Berry. d) All of the above.
This book is full of humanity, kindness…all of that. It’s been an excellent way to end 2017 and begin 2018. I can be better to the people, animals and nature with whom and with which I share this earth. Now, on the downside, the book lacks diversity, and more than 50% of the characters are male farmers. So there’s that.
Let me tell you about the title of this post. It comes from the David Foster Wallace book, The Pale King, which I’m listening to in the car. You will think it is completely weird that a novel is centered in an IRS Service Center. Who would read it? I would. To me, DFW’s made the world of taxation positively snap with humor. My quote comes from the end of a lecture made to students in an Advanced Tax course at DePaul. Our character, a directionless, a self-described “wasteoid” university student, wanders into that classroom by mistake. There he hears the words that will change his life, setting him on a career path at the. ta-da, IRS. The teacher talks about true heroism: a life of thankless, mundane service. “Gentlemen, you are called to account!” LOL OK, you can tell me to stop with the tax stuff. I won’t be offended. Can’t afford to be.