Learning Curve

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Yesterday, I finished reading all fifty years of Sofia Tolstoy’s Dairies. They begin when Sofia was eighteen and first met Tolstoy. She documented her learnings through years in a complex marriage, multiple pregnancies, mothering children, and managing Tolstoy’s intellectual property and large estate. Her dairies through the late Eighteenth Century are grinding reminders of a past when women had few (if any) choices, except to marry and practice almost total submission to the husband’s decisions. Through Sofia, a modern reader sees Tolstoy as a spoiled-rotten tyrant. In her late notes, Sofia speaks to the wisdom of absorbing a genius’s words, and not living with a genius.

Today will be another cold one, and I’ll start reading a new book: In Love, by Amy Bloom. In the NYT it was highly reviewed by one (like me) who wasn’t familiar with Bloom’s writing: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/01/books/review-in-love-memoir-amy-bloom.html

Lists of uncorrectable health conditions nowadays are ever-more consuming. World populations are aging and health conditions, once estimated unique, now are common worries. The fine author, Lisa Genova, a trained neuroscientist, writes compellingly about numerous physical/mental conditions. Genova has helped populations know the ways some key diseases show up, and over time, changes that they cause.

Amy Bloom’s husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and decided he didn’t want to live through the disease. The two researched if he might legally take his own life when he wanted. They found only one place in the world that could allow that without restrictions. They traveled to Switzerland for the procedure, and Bloom’s story is of their process, emotionally and physically.

Dear Friends: As progress, most of us have made it through two years of the worldwide pandemic. Diana

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