Sunday, 13 July 2014

Good books/ Bad books- part 1

I have been asked to explain my definition of 'bad books'.  But let's first look at 'good books'.

I found this quote by Salman Rushdie:
"A book is a version of the world.  If you do not like it, ignore it; or, offer your own version in return".
Do we enjoy books that reflect "our version of the world"?

There are some members of my family that enjoy a book with 'justice'.
Definition: justice - the administerings of deserved punishment or reward
- moral rightness, righteousness

If you like a book with this theme, there are two fabulous examples of that.
"The Good Earth" by Pearl S. Buck

     I read this book to John as we travelled through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.  The weather was dull and rainy but this book made the time fly!
  "It was Wang Lung's marriage day".
Wang Lung married O-lan, a kitchen slave who was not beautiful.  But she was a worker!  She worked in the fields with Wang Lung, only taking off enough time to deliver babies.  She had two boys and then a girl when there was a drought and absolutely nothing to eat.  She delivered another girl but it died.
  They went to another city where O-lan and the children begged and Wang Lung worked.
  Eventually Wang Lung became prosperous and owned land.  Now O-lan was not treated so well and he bought a concubine, named Lotus, who got all his attention.  O-lan had two pearls around her neck that she valued greatly.  It was her symbol of prosperity. She had worked so hard for those pearls.  But Wang Lung took them from her to make them into earrings for Lotus.
  The justice came after O-lan died.  Wang Lung was surveying his land which was very significant to him.  He made his sons promise not to sell the land but the reader knows that the sons do not value the land and will sell it immediately for their own benefit.  So appropriate! 
Justice- the administerings of deserved punishment.
 Fabulous book!  Published in 1931!  Pulitzer Prize Winner!
"To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee
And here is a book to illustrate the other meaning of justice- moral rightness.
  Everyone knows the narrative of this novel.  Atticus Finch is my all-time favourite literary character.
Harper Lee
  The book was immediately popular and has remained so for 64 years. In 1999, it was voted the best novel of the twentieth century.
  Harper Lee was not prepared for the popularity of this book and shied away from the publicity.  Now, at 88, she lives in assisted living, where she is wheelchair bound, partially deaf and blind and has memory loss.  But the justice, or moral rightness, of her book will live on forever.
  Interesting to note that her father was a lawyer who had defended 2 black men accused of murdering a white storekeeper.  Both men, father and son, were hanged.
 Also interesting to note that the author's first name is Nelle (her grandmother's name spelled backwards).  But she thought that name would cause some confusion so she eliminated it.  In spite of further writing, this author has not published another book.  Why?  To quote Harper Lee, "I have said what I wanted to say and I will not say it again".
Fabulous book!  Published in 1960! Pulitzer Prize winner!

So, people who believe that you get what you deserve, or, better yet, wish that were true, enjoy books devoted to 'justice'.
That doesn't reflect my view of the world.  I observe that 'rain falls on the just and the unjust'.

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