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44-D’s Book Diaries: A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

Posted by: Audiegrl

My husband picked this book up for me this week. In Northern Illinois we are used to very harsh winters, and living less that 20 miles from the Wisconsin border, he thought I’d enjoy this. He was right…Now, I’d like to recommend it to you.

A Reliable Wife: Rural Wisconsin, 1907. In the bitter cold, Ralph Truitt stands stands alone on the train platform anxiously awaiting the arrival of a visitor. The woman who arrives is not who he expects. This woman, this reliable wife, will decide whether Ralph Truitt lives or dies.

An Interview with Robert Goolrick

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The plotting of A Reliable Wife seems very deliberately crafted, as readers must constantly change their expectations of these characters and their actions. There is one surprise after another as the story unfolds. Did you think about the reader’s experience as you were crafting your storytelling, or did you write the story as you saw it?

I wanted to give readers, first and foremost, a good solid story and a reading experience that is as sensual as it is cerebral. I thought about the story for years before I started writing, then started it several times and stopped, and finally just committed myself to writing down what I had already committed to memory, the story of three figures in a barren landscape. I thought a great deal about the myth of Phaedra, and her entanglements with Theseus and Hyppolitus. So I thought I knew pretty much the whole thing.

But you’re always surprised. I was surprised at Ralph’s reaction to the knowledge that he was being poisoned. I was surprised that the brief encounter with Alice in St. Louis became, for me, the emotional fulcrum of the book. And I was surprised by Catherine’s passion for knowledge, for the comfort she takes in the reading rooms of public libraries.

You’ve mentioned that Michael Lesy’s Wisconsin Death Trip was one of the major inspirations for your novel. Can you talk a little about Lesy’s book and its relationship to your own?

Michael Lesy’s remarkable book is an examination of the lives of ordinary citizens of a small town in northern Wisconsin in 1896. It is a collection of photographs taken by the local photographer and brief newspaper accounts of the surprisingly erratic lives of the men and women who endured a hard life in a poor year in a bleak landscape.

Ralph and Catherine and Antonio are vivid, larger than life. I wanted to plant them very securely in the world, and the world they inhabit is the one depicted by Michael Lesy. It is a world in which no one is safe, in which the roof can always cave in when you least expect it.

I’ve always thought the lives of ordinary people are far more fascinating than the lives of the rich and powerful. An account of a man burying his father is more fascinating to me than a politician’s description of lunch with Henry Kissinger. A snapshot taken at the beach on a summer’s day is more memorable than any fine art photography. They show much more clearly the preciousness and grace of life.

Michael Lesy shows us how fragile life is, how hard it can be to get through the day without running off the rails.

Best-selling Author, Robert Goolrick

Best-selling Author, Robert Goolrick

Robert Goolrick is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir The End of the World as We Know It. This is his first novel. He lives in New York City.
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Download the entire interview
Read an Excerpt of A Reliable Wife
NPR’s ‘Reliable Wife’: Madness And Passion In Wisconsin

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Filed under Art, Book Diaries Series, Books, Crime, Culture, Entertainment, History, Media and Entertainment, Pop Culture, Robert Goolrick, Uncategorized, United States, Weather, Wisconsin, Women's Issues

Why the World Will NOT End in 2012: Nasa Scientist Debunks Conspiracy Theories

Posted by Audiegrl

Doomsday? The film 2012 will inflame existing fears about the possible end of the world

Doomsday? The film 2012 will inflame existing fears about the possible end of the world

Mail Online/Niall Firth & Claire Bates—Dr David Morrison, who runs the space agency’s ‘Ask an Astrobiologist‘ service, says he has received more than a thousand emails from those worried that the world is due to end in 2012.

In an article published by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, Dr Morrison has answered the top 20 questions in an attempt to assuage these fears.

According to the theories on the internet, the calendar used by the ancient civilization of the Mayans is due to come to an end in December 2012.

The Mayan calendar ends in 2012, but Dr Morrison said this did not mean the world would end

The Mayan calendar ends in 2012, but Dr Morrison said this did not mean the world would end

Luckily for conspiracy theorists, this coincides neatly with predictions by an obscure sci-fi author, who wrote about the ancient Mesopotamian civilization of Sumer, that a planet named Nibiru will collide with the Earth on that date.

Fears have been further inflamed by an apocalyptic film called ‘2012‘ starring John Cusack, which is out this November. A quick search on Amazon reveals there are 175 books listed that deal with 2012 doomsday.

First off Dr Morrison dismisses the possibility that the planet Nibiru even exists.

He writes: The bottom line is that Nibiru is a myth, with no basis in fact.

To an astronomer, persistent claims about a planet that is “nearby” but “invisible” are just plain silly.’

Nasa scientist Dr. David Morrison

Nasa scientist Dr. David Morrison

And Dr Morrison laughs off suggestions that the government has been complicit in hiding its existence from the public.

Even if they wanted to, the government could not keep Nibiru a secret,’ he says.

If it were real, it would be tracked by thousands of astronomers, amateurs as well a professional. These astronomers are spread all over the world.

I know the astronomy community, and these scientists would not keep a secret even if ordered to. You just can’t hide a planet on its way to the inner solar system!’

He also addresses the concerns of those who worry that the Mayan calendar is due to end in 2012.

Ancient calendars are interesting to historians, but they cannot match the ability we have today to keep track of time, or the precision of the calendars currently in use.

The main point, however, is that calendars, whether contemporary or ancient, cannot predict the future of our planet or warn of things to happen on a specific date such as 2012.

‘I note that my desk calendar ends much sooner, on December 31 2009, but I do not interpret this as a prediction of Armageddon. It is just the beginning of a new year.’

Nostradamus

Nostradamus

He added although many believe prophecies by the sixteenth century seer Nostradamus predict the end of the world in 2012, there is no evidence he has correctly predicted anything.

He also tackles the belief circulating on some internet forums that an alignment of planets in our galaxy the Milky Way could in some way disrupt the Earth’s gravitational field or reverse the Earth’s rotation.

A reversal in the rotation of Earth is impossible. It has never happened and never will,’ he said.

He added that although the magnetic polarity of Earth does take place around every 400,000 years scientists don’t believe it will take place for another few millennia and there is no evidence it would do any harm.

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More @ mail-online-small

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Filed under 2012, Culture, Disaster, History, Hollywood, Movies, Sciences, Uncategorized