Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Summer Reading

All the popular magazines are coming out with their summer reading lists. I’ll provide a PalosVerdesBlog list, but first a pitch for our Library.

The Palos Verdes Library District welcomes screenwriter and novelist James Dalessandro for a talk and book signing at the Peninsula Center Library on Thursday, June 15 at 6:30pm. Mr. Dalessandro weaves an incredible story of fact and fiction in his latest novel, ‘1906’, an epic recreation of the great San Francisco earthquake, with rich detail interwoven with crime, corruption, and compassion.

The Library staff publishes a list of their favorites that may be found here.
One book that I thoroughly enjoyed and one that looks intriguing are these:

The King of California: J.G. Boswell and the Making of a Secret American Empire by Mark Arax and Rick Wartzman.

James Boswell’s agri-business empire shaped the 20th century history and landscape of California. A chronicle of the rise of the Boswell family and fortune, J.G. Boswell's many conflicts with the worlds of business and politics, and the impact of his forceful presence upon California and America.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.

The first book in a series provides a wonderful escape via historical fiction to Scotland and the United States, circa 1700’s. Ms. Gabaldon writes beautifully about romance, civil war, family ties and honor. The reader is swept away with great literary style; a mini vacation for the mind.

For my conservative friends here is the top 10 list of books we think liberals would most like to burn from the editors of Human Events.

10. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

An American classic that has long been the subject of attacks by the politically correct. Banned from many libraries, and challenged in many more, for its use of the crude vernacular in dialogue.

9. Treason by Ann Coulter

A cold, hard look at liberals’ “patriotism” in which one of the right’s most articulate pudits re-examines the left’s history of “striking a position on the side of treason.” It offers a defense of the left’s favorite boogeyman, Sen. Joe McCarthy, and a reminder that it was the Democratic Party that excused communism.

8. Slouching Towards Gomorrah by Robert H. Bork

Details the depths to which American culture has fallen and what it means. Slouching is hated for its reliance upon absolute truth, understanding of good and evil and recognition that modern liberalism is the root of America’s decline. Bork warns that “a nation’s moral life is the foundation of its culture.”

7. Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation by Ronald Reagan

The first book ever published by a President in office details Reagan’s view on the sanctity of life, why abortion is not a right, and why the Supreme Court was wrong in its Roe v. Wade decision, comparing it to the Dred Scott decision for its denying “the value of certain human lives.”

6. Losing Ground by Charles Murray

Murray blasts the social programs of the Great Society for their terrible effects on America’s poor and minorities. It was a major influence in the fights for welfare reform in the mid-1990s.

5. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Written by a leading Oxford scholar during a time (1943) when society was faced with a global war, it is considered one of the truly classic works in Christian apologetics. Lewis provides a reasoned argument for the Christian religion, based on man’s free will and a God of justice, grace and mercy.

4. Wealth and Poverty by George Gilder

Gilder offers an examination of why supply-side economics will best increase wealth and decrease poverty. It argues that the welfare state keeps the poor from achieving success by creating a welfare dependency and harms society by diminishing the role of fathers.

3. The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich von Hayek

Shows that all “collectivist societies”—socialist, National Socialist, Communist, et al—have the same roots and lead to the same place: tyranny. Details how giving “central planning” authority to the government reduces economic freedom of individuals and results in disaster.

2. Witness by Whitaker Chambers

Witness is the autobiography of an ex-Communist who was the key player in the Chambers-Hiss case, known as the “trial of the century.” It tells how Chambers worked to expose Alger Hiss, a top State Department official who was also a member of the Communist Party and a Soviet spy. Hiss’ treachery was confirmed by The Mitrokhin Archive. The Left has never forgiven Chambers for taking down Hiss. A brief account is in Treason by Ann Coulter.

1. Bible by God

The central work of Western Civilization defines the relationship between God and man and is the foundation of faith in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Liberal groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and People for the American Way have sued to keep it out of government buildings, schools and public discourse.

I have thoroughly enjoyed seven of these books and have been inspired by a few of them.

A new book by Bill Bennett is dedicated to the American soldier, whose fidelity, patriotism, and valor have made this land the last best hope of earth. Bennett is the author of America: The Last Best Hope, the title taken from Abraham Lincoln’s message to Congress in 1862, when he described our country, in as the last best hope of earth. Were it not for the United States, from Lincoln's time until today, what would the world look like? This is my next read.

Historian David McCullough recently warned that we are raising, generation after generation of young Americans who are historically illiterate, we are running a terrible risk for this country. You could have amnesia of a society, which is as detrimental as amnesia of an individual. Books like Bennett’s make ideal gifts for our children of all ages.

I’ll finish with fiction, not my favorite form. Powerline, one of the most popular political blogs, is running a poll to find the best American novel. Here is their list:

Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
Melville, Moby-Dick
Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin
James, Portrait of a Lady
Twain, Huckleberry Finn
Cather, My Antonia
Wharton, The Age of Innocence
Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms
Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury
Warren, All the King's Men
Bellow, The Adventures of Augie March
Ellison, Invisible Man
Chandler, The Long Goodbye
Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
Updike, Rabbit, Run
Barth, The Sot-Weed Factor
Heller, Catch-22
Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird
Nabokov, Pale Fire
Roth, The Great American Novel

My favorites are To Kill a Mockingbird and The Long Goodbye, but I must read The Sot-Weed Factor!?! Which is yours? Is any great novel missing? How about A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole? The LA Times picked Beloved by Toni Morrison as the best novel of the last 25 years. Set during the Reconstruction era in 1873, Beloved centers on the powers of memory and history. For the former slaves in the novel, the past is a burden that they desperately and willfully try to forget. Part of Morrison’s project in Beloved is to recuperate a history that had been lost. I haven't read it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like a perfect reading list in order to become a right wing nut case!
Here's some gems from Ann Coulter:
1. "We know who the homicidal maniacs are. They are the ones cheering and dancing right now. ¶ We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war."

2. "The ethic of conservation is the explicit abnegation of man's dominion over the Earth. The lower species are here for our use. God said so: Go forth, be fruitful, multiply, and rape the planet--it's yours. That's our job: drilling, mining and stripping. Sweaters are the anti-Biblical view. Big gas-guzzling cars with phones and CD players and wet bars -- that's the Biblical view."

And this psycho is one of your favorite authors? I'd be embarrassed if I were you.

The Bible- By God....that's a little silly. Come on, you worked at Xerox, you know better than this. The bible was written by many hands over thousands of years. Get real. Come on.

2:17 PM  

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