BookTalkIV

This is the beginning of the end.  If you had to read one last book before you die — what would it be?  The BookTalk series on MTINews.org ends its run with number 4.  Teaching English Literature for a few years, I became fixated on the statistical anomaly at the top of an unassuming list.  The number 26 rests in my mind, knowing the choice rises to the pinnacle of 20th century American Literature.

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MFC: Works referred to on the nationally administered AP Literature Exam since 1970.

We are going to have us another BookTalk, a final BookTalk.  Number 4, the ghost number in Eastern lore, is as unlucky and marred by the macabre as the number 13 in the West.  We are going to see things we may not normally see.  Above all we are going to cut-out sharp ironies forged in paradox.  This summer 2017, BookTalk 4 pairs Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles with Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man.

Bookends of the Cold War, the two of these literary works focus primarily on unity versus diversity and how one develops an identity as an individual.  Conformity will be directly challenged and exposed.  Through these exercises in dichotomous thought coupled with reasoned deconstruction, a fuller view of the truth can be held.

Haruki Murakami on the visibly invisible, the shadow:

“Just as all people have shadows, every society and nation, too, has shadows,” said Murakami, 67.

While the comment was in reference to a piece by Danish fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen titled “The Shadow,” Murakami’s oeuvre also contains various elements related to shadows.

Murakami began his acceptance speech in English with “It was only recently that I read Hans Christian Andersen’s story ‘The Shadow.’ Until I read it, I had no idea at all that Andersen had written stories like this.”

Murakami then moved the conversation away from himself and talked to the audience and the larger world outside.

“Just as all people have shadows, every society and nation, too, has shadows,” he said. “At times we tend to avert our eyes from the shadow, those negative parts.”

Will we find any value in the spectral vapors of the famed post-WWII Counterculture, or has its fragmented soul sold out already; in other words, have we already incorporated the dream, has the Counterculture formed a Corporation?  An initial piece of evidence would be the article of fact that is Michael Lewis, who holds the honor of being the first YouTube video printed in a state-standardized 12th grade Literature textbook.  Having never read any of his famous books and having mild interest in even the film adaptations of his famous books, and also having read the famous Daniel Kahneman tome Thinking, Fast and Slow back in 2011, I find it terribly, treble-serendipitous to make the Undoing Project the unofficial third wheel to this BookTalk 4.  We will do our best to incorporate all of this into a grande finale, ending by December of 2017.  Enjoy!

Schedule:

  1. Say You Want a Revolution, in June, up to Chapter 1
  2. Apocalipstick, in July, through to Chapter 6
  3. Entropy in the UK, in August, Chapters 7-10
  4. Bloody Hell in America, in September, Chapters 11-15
  5. Counting to None, in October, Chapters 16-19
  6. Kissing Mister Quimper, in November, Chapters 20-23
  7. The Invisible Kingdom, in December 2017, Epilogue

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