June 24, 2005

I Got Books!

Well, I knew there was a reason why I had brought an extra bag with me to West Texas, but I had forgotten precisely what that reason was until my Grandma asked me yesterday afternoon if I wanted to go look at the books she's been saving for me. My Grandma (if I haven't already mentioned this 513 times) is the librarian at Southland Public High School. She is constantly in the process of keeping the library's collection up-to-date and recently she has pulled a large number of old books that no one checks out off the shelves.

So we drove up to the school and I looked through the piles of books that lay before me and selected the following titles:

Charley's Aunt: A Play in Three Acts by Brandon Thomas

Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw

The Wild Duck and Other Plays by Henrik Ibsen

1984 by George Orwell

The Sketch Book by Washington Irving

The Spy by James Fenimore Cooper

Children of Dune by Frank Herbert

God Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert

Heretics of Dune by Frank Herbert

The Iliad of Homer

Idylls of the King by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Furthermore, I spent a bit of time both yesterday and today poking my nose into various bookstores around here looking for a particular item. I didn't find it, but I did purchase copies of the following:

Le Morte D'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory (Complete, Unabridged, New Illustrated Edition)

America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction by Jon Stewart et al With a Foreword by Thomas Jefferson

I spent several hours poring over this last yesterday, laughing until I thought my spleen would explode. The humorous effect was exacerbated by the fact that no one else was particularly amused. My attempts to share the joy and humor were met with everything from frowns of derision to open stares of confusion. *sigh* Nobody appreciates good satire anymore.

For the uninitiated, let me attempt to describe what, exactly, this book is. Imagine "The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspre, Abridged" if you will. Got it? Good. Now imagine that, instead of the works of Shakespeare, you have a similar concept masquerading as an American Government textbook, complete with amusing footnotes. Are you beginning to get the idea? Yeah. It's flipping hilarious. (Skip below the fold for a brief excerpt.)

So, anyway, that pretty much sums up West Texas at the moment. My parents and the various aunt and uncle types are frantically preparing for the big celebration tomorrow, and I'm the only college-age cousin who has actually arrived in town, as yet. So, hopelessly and irrevocably stuck in-between two age groups, I spend my time sitting and reading, or sleeping.

Well, I could do a lot worse.

I wrestled with the idea of choosing just one funny to share from America (The Book) . . . It's all so great, and no one around here appreciates it, so you understand my dilemma. Finally, and for no particular reason, I settled on the following:

The Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers

The debate over The Constitution prompted the two most influential series of essays in American history, The Federalist Papers and The Anti-Federalist Papers, two exhaustive and thoughtful meditations on the merits and failings of the nation's new blueprint.

You can read these hundreds of pages of dense, turgid prose, or you could skim these blurbs taken from reviews of The Constitution.

"The Constitution grabs you right from the Preamble and doesn't let go until the last Article . . . the must-ratify document of the summer!"
-Alexander Hamilton, New York Post

"A pathetic excuse of a social contract that makes John Locke's Two Treatises of Government look like Baron Montesquieu's The Spirit of Laws."
-Richard Henry Lee, Richmond Chronicle-Courant

"If you base your new nation on only one fundamental set of governmental principles this year, make it this one!"
-James Madison, Hartford Gazette-Chronicle

"The 'Foundering' Fathers are at it again . . . who told these guys they could Found?!?"
-Samuel Bryan, Boston Courant-Gazette

". . . this follow-up to 'The Articles of Confederation' is the rare sequel that's more bicameral than the original! Gallop, don't trot, to your town square to pick up a copy!"
-John Jay, Wilmington Gazette-Courant-Chronicle

"Belongs to the so-bad-it's-good genre of political charters . . . destined to become the kind of camp classic revered by some of our more, shall we say, 'unmarried' friends."
-Melancton Smith, "Melancton's Musings" (syndicated column)

"Checkf, balancef, executive, legiflative, judiciary - thif baby'f got it all!"
-George Wafhington, Mount Vernon Bee-Difpatch

I also feel the need to share the reviews on the back of the book:

"So informative, I even found out who I was." -Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury, May 14, 1801-Feb. 8, 1814

"Cruelly wrested from the hands of my ancestors or not, AMERICA makes a great read!"
-Chief Standing Ox, Navajo Nation

"Thank you for your manuscript. We regret it does not suit our needs at the current time."
-Jason Hay, editor, Little, Brown and Company

"A Bridget Jones's Diary for the comedic nonfiction government textbook set."
-Melissa Bank, author of The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing

"This is an epic tale of rock 'n' roll Babylon; a story of the evil men do told by the men themselves. Armed with eyeliners, guitars, and hypodermic needles, the men of Motley Crue got everything they ever wanted and then threw it all away."
-Rolling Stone

"This is similar to my works in that anyone who reads it is sure to be an asshole for at least a month afterward."
-Ayn Rand

"Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua!"

"I would certainly read this book if I were alive today, which, for all you geniuses out there, I am not."
-Abraham Lincoln

Posted by Jared at June 24, 2005 07:03 PM | TrackBack