Watching the emotion of the crowd (on TV) after Barack Obama’s victory speech yesterday was an amazing experience. History was made last night! I’m so excited for our country – and can truthfully say that I’m proud for the first time in a long while.
A friend of mine posted a link to this article the other day: “How to Read Like a President.”
I was quite interested to discover how very (classically) literary the candidates’ tastes are. Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Morrison, Steinbeck, Faulkner…not a side of politicians that one normally hears about.
It got me thinking:
What are my “most important”/most influential classical texts?
I thought maybe I’d make a stab at it here (n.b. I’ve listed titles in no particular order):
The Woman Warrior (Maxine Hong Kingston)
Cannery Row (John Steinbeck)
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
The Awakening (Kate Chopin)
Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë)
The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
The Catcher In The Rye (J.D. Salinger)
Their Eyes Were Watching God (Zora Neale Hurston)
Farewell to Manzanar (Jeanne Wakutsuki Houston)
Hamlet (William Shakespeare)
Henry IV, Part I (William Shakespeare)
As You Like It (William Shakespeare)
Death of a Salesman (Arthur Miller)
Paradise Lost (John Milton)
Candles in Babylon (Denise Levertov)
The Wild Iris (Louise Glück)
Spiritual / Philosophical
Walking on Water (Madeleine L’Engle)
Bird by Bird (Anne LaMott)
This list is a rather unfair list, I realize. Many of my favorites are not listed (e.g. Haroun and the Sea of Stories or Le Petit Prince), but this is not because I do not feel that they have impacted me. For the most part, I was trying to list texts that have had an unusually deep-felt impact on me for one reason or another – and while, for example, I love My Ántonia to death, my relationship with it is simply that – I love it, but reading it has not moved shaped my internal or artistic life in a discernably large way. Still others, such as More than Serving Tea or In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens – did not make the list because while they are important to me, and were particularly so at the time I first read them, I do not find myself returning to them again, and again, and again. And in yet other cases (especially with poets!) – I could not decide on a particular book of theirs to put on the list (e.g. my favorite poem – at the moment – is “Sestina” by Elizabeth Bishop, but I’m not familiar with her collections of work). I’ve actually surprised myself at how many 20th century writers appear on my list. Perhaps it’s a good thing that I didn’t decide to continue with my 19th century prose concentration in college . . .
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Life has been so crazy lately that I’m surprised that I’ve found the time to post this morning. So here’s a few food photos by way of catch-up (sorry, no recipes; I’m too lazy for that)…
Banana-Walnut Bread Pudding:
Chocolate Pear Upside Down Cake (you can’t see it, but it has a sliced-almond “crust”):
A bento from a couple of weeks ago: