Monday, April 14, 2008

Brendan Behan

Last night, I tuned - briefly - to "The Compassion Forum." There was Hillary Clinton earnestly speaking about "God's Grace" & "The Holy Spirit." I could tell she'd thought about it quite a bit, a girl who took seriously her Sunday School lessons.

I'm not uninterested in the theological concepts of grace & spirit. I'm currenty rereading Perspectives on 19th and 20th Century Protestant Theology by Paul Tillich. Many paragraphs I have to read four or five times to reach minimal comprehension, & I probably retain some through a form of osmosis. I doubt I'll finish the book before I return it to the library. Theology is an occasional mind-exercise challenge for me. Some people do puzzles or read up on astrophysics.

I really don't care what Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama say about "God's Grace" as long as it results in a progressive political agenda They could arrive at the same place without religion. Many do. Anyway I didn't want to miss John Adams on HBO. I love Laura Linney's Abigail. David Morse's dollar bill George Washington has left the narrative at this point,

According to a recent Harris Poll:
America's Top 10 Favorite Books

1. The Bible
2. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
3. Lord of the Rings (series), by J.R.R. Tolkien
4. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
5. The Stand, by Stephen King
6. The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown
7. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
8. Angels and Demons, by Dan Brown
9. Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand
10. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
I read 7, 9, & 10 back in high school. To be halfway cool with high school literati in my era, you had to be seen carrying Salinger's Franny and Zooey, too. Read most of number 1, I suppose, but "studied" it only during my freshman year in college as required courses in a school that received financial support from the Methodist Church. 1 through 7, I've seen the movies or TV shows. A dismaying list overall.

The 10 Best 20th Century Novels
selected in 1998 by board members at Modern Library:
1. Ulysses by James Joyce
2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
3. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
4. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
5. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
6. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
7. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
8. Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler
9. Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence
10. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Arguable, as it must be with 10 white men on it. My favorite novel - I make no defense other than that I dearly love it & have read it many times with no apparent improvement to my own writing - is Borstal Boy by Brendan Behan.

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