It's lucky thing I did, as I found two books I lost copies of in the fire. There was John Knowles' semi-autobiographical first novel, A Separate Peace, and a copy of Henry Roth's Call It Sleep, a book I have loved since I first read it when I was nineteen. I couldn't believe my luck in finding the Roth in particular, since I've been thinking about it quite a bit recently and really wanted to re-read it. The protagonist is a Jewish immigrant boy growing up in New York City in the early 20th century, and not only is it a vivid picture of that time and place, which has always fascinated me, but I've never read any other story that so convincingly conveys what it is like to be a small boy in a confusing world.
While I've read Roth's novel several times over the years, I only read the Knowles once, and have only a vague memory of it, so it's going to be like reading a new story for me. The copy I had was an early paperback, but the one I bought today is a later hardbound volume that includes a number of other short pieces by other writers that are about or can be related in some way to the novel, as well as a couple more short pieces by Knowles himself. I quickly read his essay about writing the novel and seeing it published, and that made me eager to read the book again.
There's good news about the weather, too. We are about to get five days in a row with highs in the mere eighties, one of them, Tuesday, predicted to get only to eighty. Even though it is expected to get back into the nineties after that, this time of year such things are not certain. We might get an even longer mild spell. Plus some of the nights will be dropping into the high fifties, which means I won't be needing the fan at all, and I should be able to close the windows before I go to sleep, which means I won't be awakened by the neighbors' cars starting up early in the morning when they head for work. That's been an annoyance for a while now.
Sadly, the very cool air tonight seems to have silenced my cricket. I haven't hear a chirp from him all evening. But I wasn't really listening for him earlier, when it was still quite a bit warmer. Maybe he'll be there tomorrow night. I'll miss him if he's gone for the season. For me, crickets are the best thing about summer.