Monday, October 02, 2006

Reading the First Lady

I am indebted once again to Frank Wilson. He draws my attention to this list consisting of Laura Bush's choice of five books that 'inspired me to champion literacy'. Four of the books are predictable enough - Twain's Huckleberry Finn, Alcott's Little Women, Dr Seuss's Hop on Pop and Wilder's Little House series. But the fifth is Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov. I am at a loss. Did Mrs Bush choose the first four dutifully as sound, all-American reads and then chuck in old Dusty as a sample of what she really likes? Or was it the other way round - Karamazov to give her lit cred, the other four being her real favourites? Either way, Fyodor sticks out like a sore thumb, a raging beast behind the frosty exterior. It makes one wonder.

7 comments:

  1. Fyedka is said to be Mrs. Bush's favorite author; this has been said of her long before Kitty Kelley's authoritative volume of the Bush family.
    Mrs. B is a Scorpio; lots hidden underneath that imperturbable exterior.

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  2. Thank you, Diana, I did not know. I wonder is the other four are just dutiful then. And what does she make of the Grand Inquisitor?

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  3. I vote for the dutiful, but give Mrs. Bush credit: they are cleverly dutiful, and well-chosen. A kid who has read those books is educated indeed.

    As for The Grand Inquisitor, I have no idea what my First Lady thinks about Mr. Cheney.

    Added fun fact: Dostoievsky was also a Scorpio. They recognize each other in the dark.

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  4. Just to credentialise (!) myself, Bryan, Frank got that link from me.
    Maxine (Petrona), one of Frank's "Baker Street Irregulars" of the blogosphere, as he calls his regular informants.

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  5. Forgive me, Maxine, you are about to go on my brand new blogroll.

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  6. I was considering a little lampooning of Mrs Bush and her reading of this "Russian novel"(such helpful information) by the swimming pool. Also pondered things like the Skull & Bones society in relation to the Grand Inquisitor, but what's actually prompted me to write was just thinking it took Tolstoy until shortly before his death in 1910(?) to read Brothers Karamazov- some thirty years. Genuinely very hard to get my head. A very strong case for the two greatest novelists ever, contemporaries, both deeply religious in very powerful ways...the almost inhuman wildness and fearlessness of Dostoevsky's thinking, and Tolstoy's getting excommunicated for his religious views. I know Tolstoy was deeply impressed and affected by Brothers Karamazov when he finally read it, but how could he have avoided it for so long?

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  7. Emmm...get my head round

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