Why's My Bookbag So Heavy?
This is an irregular blog feature that serves as a sort of space filler, like Hal Gurney's Network Time Killer (an old David Letterman segment if you're under 30).
Been reading Christopher Hitchen's "Love, Poverty & War". The guy is flat-out interesting and can flat-out write though obviously his religious views are repugnant. The essays on Waugh & Greene especially caught my undivided attention, though like cream filling they serve the palate more than the gullet.
McDermott's "Charles Carrol of Carrollton" is really good. This biography of the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence fills in some areas of U.S. history that for me had been spotty.
Been also dipping into Webb's "Born Fighting : How the Scots-Irish Shaped America" and Kathy Shaidle's "Catholic Alphabet" (as a side note, Kathy remarks how during one period in Church history the Eucharist was so fervently believed to be the Real Presence that priests were bribed to hold the Host up longer after the consecration).
Also been getting back into Paul Elie's "The Life You Save May Be Your Own", a biography of literate types Flannery O'Connor, Walker Percy, Dorothy Day & Thomas Merton. It's one of the books I'm about half-way through but deserves to have been read by now - beautiful prose about four beautiful human beings.
Finally, there's Brian Lamb's "Who's Buried in Grant's Tomb?: A Tour of Presidential Gravesites". Brian Lamb must be a soul-brother since I share his sort of morbid interest in last words and tombstones. Richard Norton Smith writes of George Washington's last moments:
As thoughtful as he was organized, several times Washington apologized for the trouble he was causing. Lear, fighting back tears, said he only hoped to allieviate his friend's suffering.
"Well," replied Washington, "it is a debt we must pay to each other, and I hope when you want aid of this kind you will find it."