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Anybody remember how anxious and thrilled we were in those last months of the 20th century? When we weren't at war and we had a budget surplus and it looked like Al Gore would be president? The prospect of a 21st century filled with new technologies, new art and literature loomed large and bright. But now, as we look back at what was decidedly a shitty decade for an incredible variety of people in an equally incredible variety of ways (evictions/invasions/bombings/etc), it's surprisingly hard to be pessimistic about the books that assessed, satirized, dramatized and distracted us from the events of the past 10 years. Goethe said that the decline of a nation's literature is the precursor to that nation's fall, and with this look back at the books that defined the decade, we'd like to tell Goethe to suck it.
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Hannah Duston Despite what Riverdale Elementary School's annual First-Grade Thanksgiving Day Class Play might have you believe, early Colonial America wasn't all one giant super happy mecha fun time made out of maize, delicious roasted turkey breast, and Pocahontas teaching John Smith the meaning of friendship and cooperation by baking pumpkin pies and putting out on the Sabbath – it was a sick, murderous hellhole of suck where freezing temperatures and near-constant warfare meant death was an omnipresent threat every time you stepped foot outside your crappy, poorly-insulated, makeshift shelter. On the one hand you had the Puritans – crazy, whacked-out European religious zealots intent on exerting their inflexible will over the New World one Smallpox-infected blanket at a time. Standing opposed to them were the Native Americans, who voiced their displeasure at this tactic by winging tomahawks into peoples' faces, murdering their families, and torching their settlements to cinders.
The kids want a bedtime story again? Kids love it when their parents read to them at bedtime. But let's face it. In today's society, time is of the essence. There's only so much you can do in a day, and there isn't a lot of time left to spend with your children and a good book. Never fear.
Image by Jane Mount, Courtesy 20x 200 Yes, we read Freedom this year and yes, it was good. As Esquire put it, it “was one great slab of a book, at a time when most books have given up on greatness.”
post written by: Marc Email The Web is grand.