A Mouthful of Unsalted Soup

Psybertron blog action has retreated to book / thesis drafting behind the scenes, as most of my life is taken over by planning for two summer events – the International Society for Systems Sciences (ISS) and the American Society for Cybernetics (ASC) conferences in Washington DC in early June, and the Robert Pirsig 50th anniversary of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (#ZMM50th) events culminating in July with retracing the original 1968 motorcycle road-trip (#ZMM50thRide).

That said, I’m using available down time to read one book from my never ending reading list. “Leonard and Hungry Paul” by Rónán Hession (Mumblin’ Deaf Ro on X/Twitter), via small independent publisher Bluemoose Books. Been following them and a few other independents for a while, for obvious reasons, but remembered I really did need to buy and read one of their books. Support is more than “Retweeting”.

As usual, I’m feeling the need to capture some thoughts, only ~20% through, a kinda pre-review as I call them. It’s very good, and surprisingly relevant to my own agenda:

“the art of expression had not kept pace with technological developments”.

“the world was a complicated place, with people themselves being both the primary cause and chief victims of the complexity. He saw society as a sort of chemistry set, full of potentially explosive ingredients which, if handled correctly could be fascinating and educational, but which was best kept out of reach of those who did not know what they were doing.”

“He operated [the ‘Za’ rule in scrabble] with iron inflexibility, even though he himself was its most frequent victim”

Despite the fact the author is almost 20 years my junior, there’s a strong sense of northern spouse, parental, familial, sibling life, learning rules of the game of real life through cuts and scrapes in the schoolyard and board games in the home. Cultural references to Inspector Morse and Judy Sill as well as bookshops, and hard-backs as “special presents”. I can see why it resonates with me.

The language is beautiful, beautifully observed too:

“on the threshold between reflection and sleep, an idea came to him from the special place that ideas come from”

“[looking at] the first piece of asparagus loaded onto her fork [he spoke] through a mouthful of unsalted soup”

Excellent stuff. Guessing we will eventually find out why Paul is “Hungry” more than just that Grace is a slow eater 🙂 ? Reading on, with a reason to do so.


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