The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Columns

March 23, 2013

I overheard you discussing your favorite books

“How marvelous books are, crossing worlds and centuries, defeating ignorance and, finally, cruel time itself.”

― Gore Vidal, “Julian”

I still like books. And no, I don’t mean e-books, although I’ve considered buying one of those tablet readers. It’s a lot easier to find rare and obscure texts with those newfangled things, but to me, old-fashioned ink-and-paper books are plenty fangled enough.

So naturally, I was intrigued by the Lifestyles feature in our March 2 weekend edition, which asked area residents: “What is the most influential book you’ve ever read?” My initial reactions were twofold: first, Oneonta Mayor Dick Miller apparently has good taste in literature (picking Miguel de Cervantes’ “Don Quixote”), and second, this is a fun and interesting topic to read and write about.

Bur choosing one favorite book isn’t easy. For me, choosing a top five isn’t much easier; Julian was my first runner-up, so the late Gore Vidal will have to settle for the lovely quote that began this column.

• “Slaughterhouse Five,” by Kurt Vonnegut. This strange tale of a time-traveling World War II veteran is my favorite of Vonnegut’s many great stories. After a brutal experience at the Battle of the Bulge that left him in a POW camp, Vonnegut wanted to write a novel that made sense of it. Years later, Vonnegut admitted he never really found a way to make sense of something so tragic and horrifying as the war, which explains a lot about the book. One little gem is the chat between a friend and protagonist Billy Pilgrim, who asks why something bad happened to him in particular. The friend responds by asking if Pilgrim has ever seen a piece of amber with insects trapped inside. Pilgrim says yes, and his friend says: “Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.”

Text Only
Big Chuck D'Imperio
Cary Brunswick

Chuck Pinkey
Guest Column

Lisa Miller

Mark Simonson

Rick Brockway
Sam Pollak
William Masters
  • Schreibman tops Chris Gibson on women's issues

    As the time to vote draws near, we need to remember how money can run politics more than we can. Raising funds is a prominent (if not the dominant) task of getting elected. Raising issues is also crucial, but those efforts are subject to distortion and fear-mongering.

    September 18, 2012

  • Republicans feelentitled to allthey can garner

    An entitlement is a legal benefit available from the government to individuals who are within a defined category of recipients, such as needing insurance for unemployment or health services.

    September 4, 2012

  • Romney focuses on self; Obama emphasizes unity

    Mitt Romney criticizes President Obama for saying a person's success is rooted in his community, and is not all his alone. Romney belittles this with his belief in individual initiative. He is better at the put-down than the push-up.

    August 21, 2012

  • Romney shows little regard for common man

    The Republicans in Congress have voted over and over, 33 times, redundantly and uselessly, to rescind what they call Obamacare.

    August 7, 2012

  • Scouts' gay ban creates problem where none exists

    The Boy Scouts of America's "emphatic reaffirmation" of its vow to exclude any and all homosexuals from its hallowed ranks is ill-considered and pathetic, especially in view of its having reviewed the matter for two years.

    July 24, 2012

Additional Content
Join the Debate
Helium
Additional Resources
CNHI News Service
Poll

Is Israel justified to conduct its military campaign against the Hamas in Gaza?

Yes
No
Undecided/no opinion
     View Results