I FINALLY have another book to put in this column - It Can't Happen Here, by Sinclair Lewis. Just because it took me 2.5 months to slog through the 380 pages, don't take that to mean that I didn't enjoy it. I just had, you know, other stuff going on. ICHH is very1984-esque (though, written in 1935, it by far pre-dates, and is much more frighteningly prescient) - it tells the story of America's slip into fascism, following WWI and the Great Depression, and includes these gems (remember now, written in 1935):
Remember when the hick legislators in certain states, in obedience to William Jennings Bryan, who learned his biology from his pious old grandma, set up shop as scientific experts and made the whole world laugh itself sick by forbidding the teaching of evolution?
The tyranny of this dictatorship isn't primarily the fault of Big Business, nor of the demagogues who do their dirty work. It's the fault of Doremus Jessup! Of all the conscientious, respectable, lazy-minded Doremus Jessups who have let the demagogues wriggle in, without fierce enough protest. ... It's my sort, the Responsible Citizens who've felt ourselves superior because we've been well-to-do and what we thought was 'educated,' who brought on the Civil War, the French Revolution, and now the Fascist Dictatorship. It's I who murdered Rabbi de Verez. It's I who persecuted the Jews and the Negroes. I can blame no Aras Dilley, no Shad Ledue, no Buzz Windrip, but only my own timid soul and drowsy mind. Forgive, O Lord!
As the story comes galloping to it's end, I can't help but see Bush (whiny, petulant, vaguely well-intended) and Cheney (borderline-evil mastermind) in the characters of Buzz Windrip and Lee Sarason, but I'm probably reading too much in to things.
So I've just started The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith. I'm literally only a few sentences in, so no opinion yet. Except that I'm going to have to ask Kathy how to pronounce a few things.