A package was left on my doorstep yesterday. I'm usually expecting a few things, and I usually have a good inventory in mind of what they are; this one was from Magnas Press, and it didn't ring a bell. I had ordered some books from not-Amazon recently, but I thought I'd received them all already.

The manila envelope gave way to a dark blue hardback with gold lettering:

Humane Society
Stories about
tragedy and golf

Oh well, I thought, somebody just sent me the wrong title. But on the title page was a handwritten note that jogged my memory. This was the book that our very own Halspal had asked to send me a few weeks ago.

The note was appreciated, though I'm not sure I'm deserving of the details. I'm sorry to say that I don't remember any particular interaction with him when I was an editor and he was a god, and only one of his writeups has stuck with me, though I well remember reading it, C!ing it, and sharing a short discussion with him about it.

In dem bones's introduction to the book (in which he lavishes praise on the writings therein, and unknowingly almost makes me ashamed to post my own efforts on E2), he includes a large excerpt from Why the willow weeps. I remembered reading it, and immediately turned The Truth Book to the page containing it, and was a bit confused because the name at the top of the node was not "Halspal". Turns out it was written by him under another nodernym, and the only two writups by barefoot are the first and last chapters in the book before me. Yes, the entire book comprises Jonathan's writeups, virtually all of which are no longer on E2 for reasons best known to Jonathan, I suppose.

Apart from the occasional node audit, one doesn't generally read a noder's entire nodeshare at one sitting. I don't know if Jon would prefer that his book be read that way or not, or even sequentially, but I took a stroll to the park and began to do that very thing. I am usually in the middle of seven or eight books at any one time; the last week has found me reading only one, America's Great Depression by Murray Rothbard, and I had intended to read it through. About three quarters of the way, though, it has been supplanted by Humane Society. I have about ninety more pages to go of the 290 total, and am thoroughly enjoying every minute of it.

The cover describes it as "enhanced non-fiction"; it is slices of life from one man and those close to him, possibly tinged with the slight inaccuracies of old memories, with a bit of what the foreword calls "hyperbole and poetic license". It is split into three parts, the first of which is stories from childhood; while I haven't gotten to Part III yet, I will assume that the each part tends to come from later in life than the preceding ones. The stories are not dated, and unless they're about grade school or college or marriage, not particularly attributable to specific periods in the life of this man that I don't know. Nonetheless, the parts are clearly ordered, and it may be that the stories within them are also, to the extent that ordering would be significant.

Some of the mostly two-to-four page snippets are quite humorous; some of them are touching; many of them make one reflect on how he's living his own life. Every single one is a good read. Having listed the extant writeups of Halspal and seeing that the ones in the book are no longer there, and so far having come across none that I'd read before, I'm very glad that this book found its way to me, and I thank Jonathan for sending it to me. It is certain that I never would have read these stories had he not, and I am richer for having done so.