Friday, September 21, 2007

"If this isn't nice, I don't know what is."


I have just (and I mean just) read A Man Without A Country by Kurt Vonnegut. I found it accidentally today in a used book store (which bookstore I also found accidentally today) and brought it home and then sat down and read it. And loved it. And having just finished it and closed it and glanced at the back (I almost never do this before reading a book, only afterward) I see now that the New York Times Book Review says that reading it is "like sitting down on the couch for a long chat with an old friend."

I'd have to agree.

I'm not even the biggest Vonnegut-head; it's not that I liked it because I am crazy about every book he ever wrote, though I know there are many people out there that do feel that way. It's actually been quite a long while since I read one of his novels.

Anyway, it's a very quick easy read, in the sense that it doesn't have a lot of pages and the printing is very big, plus there are illustrations and Vonnegut doesn't use a lot of long words. But it's good, and I guess what "good" means to me in this context is that it gave me a lot of things to think about and caused me to jump up out of my chair once or twice, and I sure love that feeling.

It's the Eve of Yom Kippur, often said to be the holiest day of the year in Judaism. (I may even go to temple tonight, on my own, for services, something that hasn't happened in... oh, ever.)
Therefore, the quotation I'll give you tonight from KV is religious in nature, sort of:
For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes. But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course that's Moses, not Jesus. I haven't heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere.

"Blessed are the merciful" in a courtroom? "Blessed are the peacemakers" in the Pentagon? Give me a break! (p98)

1 comment:

alexis said...

0. So, did you go to shul or not??

1. I wanted to tell you that when I was in Pittsburgh for Rosh Hashana I went to a different shul on both days... and the Rabbis gave the SAME FREAKING SERMON!!! Can we say freesermons.com? So much for genius spiritual leaders, I guess...