Halfway through my reading vacation and today has been the first day, other than the read-a-thon day, that I’ve gotten to spend reading for fun. I’ve had to do quite a bit of reading for class this week. This week’s discussion is on intellectual freedom which means we’re talking about hate speech and pornography and book banning.

Today I’ve been able to spend time reading a little bit of Pinker and I dipped in to a few of the essays in Dirda’s Bound to Please. I have also finished A Life of One’s Own (more about that tomorrow). Tonight I hope to spend some time with Proust.

I’ve been listening to and watching news about the fires in southern California since that’s where I grew up. I had an email exchange with my mom today. She and my dad live in El Cajon, it’s in a valley about 15 miles east of downtown San Diego. She said the smoke is bad and ash is falling on the house. I’m not worried about my parents, their house is in the middle of the valley populated with over 75,000 people. However, my cousin who lives in the northern part of San Diego has been evacuated. She and her husband and two kids are staying at her mom’s house not far from my parents’ house. My cousin’s brother, a new EMT and firefighter, has been fighting the fires since Sunday (he’s 25, good-looking, an all around nice guy, and single! He also used to be a lifeguard–front row, second on the left–and to think I changed his diaper when he was a baby!).

Fires and Santa Ana winds are not new to California. But my parents have lived in their house, the house I grew up in, for 36 years and my mom tells me this is the worst she’s ever seen. My heart goes out to all the people who have lost their homes. Take care.

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