Nothing like getting right to reading something from The Big Read meme list I posted about not long ago. The list was a top 100 of most read books and for the meme, I had to bold the ones I’d read and italicize the ones I intended to read. One of my italicized books was Mitch Albom’s “The Five People You Meet in Heaven.” I ordered this from the library this week and it came in the next day. I’m already half-way through the book. It’s good, but in the long run, I’m not sure how memorable it will be. Dealing with what happens after death or in heaven has been examined so much in books and movies that it really should be its own genre, like sci-fi or romance. The granddaddy of them all is Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol,” which is also on The Big Read list.
In other Big Read news, I signed up for The Big Read Blog a few weeks ago. Posts aren’t that frequent, which is just fine with me. The site is run through the National Endowment for the Arts – a dot-gov site – so no comments or pingbacks are allowed. (Your government at work! Isn’t it funny that we can’t allow comments on a blog about reading in a democratic republic?) Anyway, David Kipen posted a fabulously crafted commentary about visiting an Edgar Allan Poe museum in Richmond, Virginia. Kipen says the following about the flagstone buildings the museum inhabits:
Poe never actually lived here, but we’re assured he visited the place during his army days sometime between 1827 and 1829, as part of a detachment attending the visiting Marquis de Lafayette. This is pretty much the literary equivalent of “George Washington Would Have Slept Here If He Hadn’t Thought Better of It and Slept Someplace Else,” but somehow it works.
The museum person in me is tickled by this, the need to sidle up to historical figures and claim them, even when the connection to said figure is tenuous at best. Tickled, but also saddened. I hear these sorts of claims to a particular local famous person so often that they’ve become humorous, but they’re also sad in that the people who do this don’t stop to think about how impressive their own families are.
I have to say, Kipen’s blog post makes me want to visit this Poe museum if I ever make it to the area. I’m also intrigued by his idea of studying the handwriting of great authors to see what it can tell us, rather than having graphologists merely stick with the handwriting of criminals. What do you think your handwriting would say about you?