src07Crissy It is Friday again, and that means that another week of the Summer Reading Challenge has ended. Possibly week 4. I have lost track. In any case, this week’s two completed books were Soapsuds and Saturday. Last week’s were Triple Witch and True Lies of a Drama Queen, neither of which I mentioned at all, so I have fallen down a bit on the challenge — we’re supposed to read the books and blog about them, not just read them.

It appears to me that I ought to read two books this week that begin with R, but I don’t think that will be happening. I am still reading A Short History of Everything, and enjoying it enormously, to answer Universehall’s question. I’ve just been reading about volcanoes and earthquakes.

Oddly enough, I happened upon a lesson on that very subject yesterday. It involved questions about what sort of house one should build on the side of an active vocano. It also talked about the importance of building a strong house because of earthquakes. It was apparent that the author of this lesson didn’t know much about either volcanoes or earthquakes. Bryson mentioned that Yellowstone is an active volcano about due for an eruption, and that the last time it erupted it rained ash on the whole country west of the Mississippi. In the previous chapter, he had remarked that the earth was about due to be hit by an asteroid. In both cases, there would be little or not warning, and nothing we could do about it anyway.

At book club the other day, the ladies were telling me about bomb drills. The kids in their generation were told to get under tables in case of an atmoic bomb.I laughed. But one of the ladies said it would keep the children from panicking and running around screaming in their last moments, so it was a good thing. Bryson suggests that the last few months before an asteroid hit the earth would be extremely interesting, but I think there might well be a lot of running around screaming. Think of Y2K.

A Short History is the kind of book that I like to read a bit of and then set it aside and think about what I have learned for a bit before picking it up again. I am also back to reading Bones to Pick, an innocuous bit of mystery-cum-chicklit that I keep beginning and then giving up on. It has a ghost, completely unnecessary to the plot, and lots of characters so unmemorable that I can’t keep them straight, and two love interests who never show up but are only talked about. Maybe if I had read the whole series, I would be more interested in it. Maybe not. I may just put it away and begin Death Comes for the Archbishop, recommended to me about a year ago by Dingus and currently sitting on my unread shelf. I had intended to read Mansfield Park for Knit the Classics, and even got a copy from frugalreader, but have mislaid it and the deadline is fast approaching.Still, those could be my books for this week. Who knows?

The deadline for my encyclopedia entry is also fast approaching. I am writing about a county, a couple counties to the south of here. I sent it in on time for the first deadline, and it came back with queries from the reviewer. Had there been Klan activity there during reconstruction? What were race relations like? Things like that. It is very hard to find these things out, since there are no published documents regarding this county since the 19th century– just a few news reports. This county contains the first Southern elementary school to integrate following the 1954 Brown vs. Topeka decision, though news and court reports from the time say there were only three African-American children involved.  Census data says there are no African-Americans living there now. No Asians. Few Hispanics or Native Americans. There aren’t all that many white people. Are the numbers so small because they are racist there, or does it look racist because they are little bitty rural towns that no one much moves into?

I may have to leave it to the fact-checker, and hope that the fact-checker is a local person who can track down the local gossip and visit the local historical society and things like that. When I was doing the entry on the beauty queen, I had the good fortune to run into a friend of her mother’s, and that made all the difference.

I am a firm believer that “the weakest ink is stronger than the strongest memory,” and not one to rely on oral history, but it becomes hugely important in cases where people aren’t writing things down.

As far as knitting goes, I have finished the heel flap on the second sock, and am still turning possibilities for Erin over in my mind, but I am also thinking of making Elsebeth Lavold’s “Ivy” from the rest of the sock yarn I have. I bought two skeins of burgundy, and haven’t yet finished one in the knitting of my current socks. At the same time, I bought six skeins of gray. I was thinking that it took two skeins of this yarn to make a pair of socks, but I think it really takes one and a fraction. I don’t think that I want to make five pairs of gray socks. I love the yarn though — Knitpicks Essentials — and it could make a very nice sweater. Considering how far it goes, I think I have enough to make a sweater. So I think I will. After I finish the socks.