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January 1, 2006 - What Effect Will 2005 Have on Literature?

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Book Wrangler

January 2, 2006

By Bob Patterson


When the prospect of writing the end of the year wrap-up column became inevitable, this columnist was reminded of the story (perhaps from a Reader's Digest of fifty years ago?) about a Chinese Historian who was asked to assess the impact of the American Civil War on History.  He replied that it was too soon to know.


The newsmen who churn out year-end analysis with an aura of infallibility are an intriguing spectacle.  Assessing a year for its effect on literature as that particular year comes to an end, brings up the cliché about a "fool's errand."


For most folks who study literature, one of the important details is the debut of an important new writer.  How the heck can someone say, in December of 2005, who stood at the threshold of an impressive writing career?  How should I know?  Any attempt to answer that would obviously be hype or foolhardy prognostication.


What events took place in 2005 that will provide subject matter for future nonfiction books?  Some years are more eventful than others.  Was 2005 more like 1968 or 1977?


Events in 2002, which strongly affected American politics in 2004, will provide the basis for many books in the future.  It seems that in 2005, a great many books concerned with WMD's were published.  The story about how the War in Iraq got started in 2002 will be the basis for many more books yet to be written.  That topic, in turn, will provide new light for interpreting the elections of 2004 and 2006. 


As 2006 is about to begin, the Democrats are getting enthusiastic about the prospects of establishing a move to impeach President George W. Bush.  No matter what happens, that will be the basis for a slew of books that will be written subsequently.  Will journalists be busy keeping detailed day by day notes about the events of 2006, perhaps as the basis for writing a book titled The Unmaking of the President 2006, or will they be busy doing nightly talk show appearances and gravely informing the world that the trial of a President is much more important that the OJ or Michael Jackson trials? 


How will Iran's atomic energy program be played out? 


Will a move to remove term limits for the President be successful before 2008?


It's just like the historian said; it's too soon to know.


What did this columnist like in the realm of new books in 2005?


In September, Live Fast, Die Young: The Wild Ride of Making Rebel Without a Cause by Lawrence Frascella and Al Weisel ($24.95 Touchstone) was published.  As soon as the new Santa Monica Library Main branch is opened (on January Sixth!), we'll have to see if they have a copy.


In 2005, we got a copy of Jon Winokur's Ennui to Go and are trying to overcome our inertia and motivate ourselves to read it so that we can write a review. 


Will the King of Quotes ever run one of this columnist's quotes in one of his yet-to-be-published collections?  How can he possibly know about a clever line from something that hasn't been published? Why not run it in your own column?  Can I do that?  OK!  Let's try it!  "The days crawled by like wounded worms on their way to the elephants graveyard." 


Didn't Cher have a great song about a fortuneteller?  While we were pondering that question, the disk jockey began playing Fortune Teller by the Rolling Stones.  Is a winning lottery ticket lurking in your future?  Do you think columnists have crystal balls?  Hope you have a Happy New Year and a predictable "good times" week.  Ciao for now.




Copyright © 2005 - Robert Patterson

Email the author at worldslaziestjournalist@yahoo.com




Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
for the purpose of illustration and commentary,
as permitted by the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law. 
See the Details page for the relevant citation.

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