Been listening to WCBS-fm on the radio, listening to the Beatles (well, intermittently; the real Beatles marathon’s not until tomorrow afternoon; otherwise, today, WCBS has been playing Beatles music every other song).
Good articles on history in today’s NY Times:
Winston Churchill’s love affair with America is getting exhibited at the Library of Congress. I especially liked that the article reflected on what has been my favorite nugget about Churchill – he’s half-American anyway, since his mother was Brooklyn’s own Jenny Jerome (one of those 19th century daughters of captains of industry sent to England to marry European aristocrats). Churchill’s a bigger-than-life figure who got out of the 19th century and helped made the 20th century political scenes.
Timely stuff for Black History Month – article on PBS’ documentary on Nat Turner, the slave rebellion leader of the ante-bellum period. I liked how the article captures the sense of how the study of history is often more about figuring out the perspectives we bring into studying different times and among different peoples, especially when dealing with a topic which has a paucity of information – no one knew who was Nat Turner was or how he looked like, but attached their own views about him. Certain scholars of certain periods would either see him as a proponent of revolution; others question his motives; and so on. How they viewed Nat Turner said a lot about what kind of people these historians were and how they fit their own times and places (the study of history of historians – historiography – is almost head-twisting). The Times article quoted the historian Scot French saying, “Your version of history can give us some insights into how you see yourself” – which sums it up best.
I haven’t blogged about a book in awhile, but there is something out there called the “50 Book challenge” – the goal: to read 50 books in 2004 and blog about them and earn the personal sense of goodwill and achievement (it would especially make you feel like you’re more than a couch potato and let’s you pat yourself on the back for still reading anything after putting up with law school and reading like a maniac during bar review). Any genre, so long as it’s a book (i.e., anthologies appear to be ok, since they’re short stories in a book collection). Hmm. My blogging about the genome book won’t count; I had actually started reading it in 2003 (and had owned it since 2001).
I just finished reading the usual cheesey paperback romance novel, and probably shouldn’t blog about it, so whatever comment I make shouldn’t count as “blogging about it” (yeah, you can tell that I’m a lawyer when I’m making up terms and conditions) (and, anyway, about the book – it was so cheesey, I can’t even recommend it, so I’m not giving the title and author away; the male character – a nice doctor – was nicely well-rounded but the female character – a woman scarred by her prior marriage to an adulterous doctor – was ridiculously stubborn to the point of losing credibility on me – and yes, the best romance novels have shreds of credibility – and there was a tiny political/philosophical element that I didn’t agree with and I spent more time flipping pages than actually reading each page. Hmm).
I’ll give Extra Credit to someone who blogs about a book with Asian-American relevance, of whatever genre (the book to be blogged need not be one of those serious socio-political tomes about the Asian-American condition; ex., there’s this fun-looking chick-lit read about an ABC female dealing with turn of the 21st century love in San Francisco; I forgot the title right now, but I read the first chapter in Borders; half tempted to put down the cash for it, since I doubt it’d be in the libraries for awhile; and I’ve found it’d be nice to see Asian-American women write something other than the Amy Tan heavy literary weight kind. Not that I don’t like Amy Tan, since I really liked “The Joy Luck Club” in its book and movie forms – but I just like a wide range of different writings).
Enough of my rambling (and let me apologize for it today). More Fab 4, More Fab 4. Can’t get enough of the Beatles.