Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Books (again), internationalism & clouds

Seeing behind the curtains ….

Yesterday, I made a remark that I thought books produce more questions than they do answers. Hopefully, it was understood I was referring to literature, and to "legitimate" commentaries regarding philosophy, religion , history and similar topics.

There are any number of quacks, phonies and two-bit charlatans publishing books. Want to lose 50 pounds in 50 days? Want to double your income? You know what I mean. People who buy such books either are desperate or probably only interested in the pictures. But, the entire world revolves around selling and sales. Even "legitimate" authors want to have their books sell and to make money and, most certainly, they all want to convince you, the reader, that their talent is real and their ideas are valid.

Whether an individual reads to learn or for entertainment or for both, it would be nice to believe each individual's reading habit will include books that leave him asking questions rather than thinking he has learned all the answers. It is at that point when seeing behind the curtains and hearing beyond the spoken words begin, I think.

Comes the internationalist ….

It did not occur to me that I'm (sort of) an "internationalist" until someone pointed it out to me in terms of books. My list of the fourteen best novels of the 20th Century had two books written by a Greek, one by a German, two by an Irish expatriate, one (actually a four-book set) written by an English expatriate born in India, one written by a Norwegian who did not come to the U.S. until he was an adult, and seven by Americans, at least two of which were expatriates for parts of their lives.

Who drives the clouds?

A few nights ago, I was perusing (or cruising, if you prefer) a few blog sites when I encountered this phrase: "I know who drives the clouds."

My immediate thought was, "That is one thing I do not know."

My second thought was, "What a beautiful use of words; what a perfect expression. Did it originally come from a novel or, maybe, from a poem?"

My next thought was, "Drives, as one drives a herd of cattle over natural terrain, or drives, as one drives a car along a defined roadway?"

My walking-away thought was, "Now, there is something of relevance to mull over for a while."

As Bob Dylan once said:
"How many times must a man look up
before he can see the sky?"

Music Note: Currently listening to Richard Tucker ....
Specifically, "Richard Tucker Sings Puccini" ....
(I gotta find a way to bust out of this serious mood)


Magdalena said...

Hello dear Fram! :-) I'm very happy about your visit on my blog, thank you. I'm impressed by the way you use your language, so I feel lucky, that I can follow your blog. Kind regards from Poland! :-)

Fram said...

For whatever reason, when I think of Poland my mind first goes to Nikolai Gogol's (long) short story, "Taras Bulba," and to the Cossack warrior who abandons his paternity for the love of the Polish maiden.

Thank you, Magdalena, for your visit and your kind words.

Something special ....