Notes from my home: Two 18-year-old boys frying eggs and chattering and listening to Spotify and reminiscing about high school and teasing each other and nervously comparing future college roommates, and all of a sudden one cries out, "I love music!"
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Thanks to everyone who chimed in about Hughes's Fatal Shore. It seems that I have gotten lucky. Here, for instance, is are the opening paragraphs of the book. When I read it aloud to my son, he got very quiet, and then opened his eyes wide, and then said, "Wow."
In 1787, the twenty-eighth year of the reign of King George III, the British Government sent a fleet to colonize Australia.
Never had a colony been founded so far from its parent state, or in such ignorance of the land it occupied. There had been no reconnaissance. In 1770 Captain James Cook had made landfall on the unexplored east coast of this utterly enigmatic continent, stopped for a short while at a place named Botany Bay and gone north again. Since then, no ship had called: not a word, not an observation, for seventeen years, each one of which was exactly like the thousands that had preceded it, locked in its historical immensity of blue heat, bush, sandstone, and the measured booming of glassy Pacific rollers.
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Notes from my home: . . . and now the other boy shouts, "Want to hear the greatest key change ever?? Listen to this! . . . " [Quickly messes around with his iPad and pulls up Arcade Fire's "Every Time You Close Your Eyes." Both boys and I instantly get very excited about the key change.]