"The Irish through the centuries have honed their backstage wits on the observation of Britain’s imperious weight in the world. What do we want this striking green-eyed sage to tell us about ourselves, our writers and politicians, our American performance at home and on the wider stage of this young global century?"
- You need to listen to this program - and start submitting your writing to journals for publication. O Brien speaks beautifully about writing and writers in Ireland. WOP and I once thought about starting a blogger book club, but it seems that we all tend to read different things and once classes start, of course, no one has time to read (even what is assigned), so I doubt anything would come of it. But listening to this program with O Brien and running into a group of guys last night with the classics in thier pockets (quite literally), roused the interest again. I tend to think that the curent rage for book-clubs, popularized by the big O, is a result of the abandonment the canon of western literature by our educational institutions over the past 30 years. We no longer, even as highly 'educated' individuals, find much literary common ground for discussion and, therefore, must engineer a situation in which more than 3 people have read the same thing. We can no longer assume that a person with a university degree will even know James Joyce, Dante or Dickens, let alone have read them. We've replaced giants with pygmies; we throw Chaucer in the trash and exult the latest victimization-narrative so we can wallow in the collective sins of Western Civilization. Perhaps the Renaissance has dried up and I should just get over it, but like Voyager II the further we remove ourselves from the life-sustaining atmosphere near the ground, the more tenous, hazy, and useless the signal becomes. Once the lifeline snaps, we just drift aimlessly.
- So, what HAVE you been reading? I jut finished a fine little history about a Scots lad gone bad, John the Painter: Terrorist of the American Revolution. A person at Hogwarts recently posited tha if he pursued history there was nothing new to discover or wite about. Well this little gem proves the point that a keen mind and creative use of sources can indeed add new wheel-ruts into well-worn roads. I also dipped into Robert Louis Stevenson and Jules Verne for a needed escape from work-related literaure. Great stories both. So, what were your best reads of 2006?
Yits: Has the VQR arrived here yet? And have you ever heard of Belfast writer Bernard MacLaverty?