I like a lot of what Joe Queenan has to say in this WSJ article, but not all of it. Some of what he says is funny and insightful, but he does show himself to be an idiot in a couple places too. Which is fair enough, I don’t doubt he’d think similar things about me and my reading choices.
This is particularly good.
I do not accept reading tips from strangers, especially from indecisive men whose shirt collars are a dramatically different color from the main portion of the garment. I am particularly averse to being lent or given books by people I may like personally but whose taste in literature I have reason to suspect, and perhaps even fear.
But this is not.
I am of Irish descent, and to the Irish, books are as natural and inevitable a feature of the landscape as sand is to Tuaregs or sand traps are to the frat boys at Myrtle Beach. You know, the guys with the belted shorts. When the English stormed the Emerald Isle in the 17th century, they took everything that was worth taking and burned everything else. Thereafter, the Irish had no land, no money, no future. That left them with words, and words became books, and books, ingeniously coupled with music and alcohol, enabled the Irish to transcend reality.
Irishmen are like Yankees fans; they each think the rest of the world ought to think as highly of them as they do of themselves and are genuinely puzzled when we do not. At first glance, it seems charmingly self-deprecating, but really it’s nothing more than thinly-veiled self-congratulation.
Still and all, it’s worth reading the article if you enjoy books more than the next fellow. Linked from ALDaily.