Don't Panic

Sunday was Towel Day. Every May 25, those who are so inclined carry a towel around with them in honor of the late, great Douglas Adams, whose Hitchhiker's Guide trilog-ish advised readers to always have a towel ready to hand.

I happened to be moving my friend that day, so a towel actually came in handy. Periodically I would dig it out of my bag and use it to mop my face, hoping someone would ask me why I was toting a lavender dishcloth around with me, but no one did. I guess Douglas was right: carrying a towel really is just common sense.


The following day, of course, was Memorial Day. In honor of my dad and all three of my grandfathers, all of whom fought in wars, may I suggest my most favorite war book to you:

The Things They Carried


In the stories collected here, Tim O'Brien uses his experiences in the Vietnam War as a jumping-off point for a series of memories/fantasies that shiver just on the edge of magical realism. They manage to stay on this side of the gap because O'Brien creates a convincing jungle of thick emotion- -- fear, hope, love, rage -- where the realities of war begin to seem as unreal as the legends and myths he weaves into the narrative. (If you are wondering, my dad enjoyed this, but said it didn't really reflect his experiences in Vietnam. Still a good book though.)