I have been leaving this extremely popular element out of my posts for a while! Today's book is "Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology," edited by David Ulin. It was a cool birthday gift from my brother, who is also named David, but was not involved in editing the book. I love the idea - I can finally quit compiling a mental list of authors to read in order to Understand L.A. (uh, James Ellroy?) and just dive into this collection. The excerpts are arranged chronologically, and while this is helpful, I'm still back in 1915 and it sort of feels like reading a textbook, as most of the selections from that era are essays of some type. I can certainly cope, but it's a bit dry after my last books, "Dune" and "Dune Messiah." Rereading them was a great way to fulfil my summer sci-fi quota (I still need a Greg Bear to top things off) and lay some groundwork for reading about a desert city. Would the rape of the Owens Valley have occurred if the Chandlers had thought to invent stillsuits? Probably not.
Today's plant: My adorable Pinguicula, which is blooming and looks like this. I'm not convinced it's the same type of plant - the one in the photo is probably temperate, while it seems reasonable to guess that a random Ping bought in L.A. would be a Mexican variety - but the flower is similar. Although mine is infinitely more beautiful, of course. The last time I got a Ping to flower, the whole plant immediately rolled over and died, so I'm trying not to get too attached. We have a well-meaning gardener who likes to shower my plant rack with the hose, dousing my fragile carnivores in toxic, mineral-loaded tap water. I have asked him not to.