First passage: My Antonia by Willa Cather.
Second passage: Keats's letters.
I reread Willa Cather a few months ago. I'm going through a rereading phase. Rereading's the only way to understand a book. That's what I say. You only read so you can reread. Who said that? Someone. But it's true. True-ish, anyway.
Anyway: My Antonia. Much better than I remembered. I read it first in Iowa, where I felt the need to read books about settlers and the prairie. But it holds up. Holds up well. I then read O Pioneers, thinking I might go on a Willa Cather kick. (Good band name). O Pioneers didn't do as much for me. Though oddly it was at about this time that Levi's Jeans started showing those adds where pagan worship in blue jeans was accompanied by some prophet-sounding dude reading aloud from Whitman's poem "O Pioneers", which of course is where the Cather book takes its title from.
Now I'm reading my American History textbook from 11th grade pretty much exclusively. Because I have many students right now in AP US History. Which is pretty cool.
By the way, I've decided on my two favorite periods in US History. They are:
1) 1795-1815: Adams' presidency up to War of 1812. (XYZ affair. Rush-Bagot treaty. YES!)
Maybe something to do with the national mood as the centuries turn? Not sure.
I'm kind of reading Wolf Hall, though I'm not making much progress.
Keats was a poet by the way. French. A Parnassian. He wrote Les Fleurs du Mal. Also, a few early episodes of Hawaii Five-O. (Little known but true).