Thursday, January 28, 2010

Great Minds

There are certain writers and thinkers who just changed things up.

And we lost two of them today.  I first saw the news of Howard Zinn's death in the print newspaper, and later, on CNN saw the news of J.D. Salinger's death.  A friend most appropriately posted a Facebook status asking who the great minds of OUR generation would be.

These two wrote some of those formative books.  Neither one is my favorite book ever (sorry guys, but I'm not sure I'd take Catcher in the Rye to the proverbial desert island, m'kay?), but both authors inspired me to think deeper and look into more of their writing and to listen closely.

I think I read Salinger as a kid- I was big into nature stories as a tween, so I thought "Ah, Catcher in the Rye, it must be about nature!"  Yes, I was in for a surprise.

Zinn's words has a greater effect on me.  I first came across the book several years before I actually read it, but after completing Seminary, I took up a practice of reading "serious" books on my lunch hour (thus saving my after work hours for "fun" books).  People's History was one of my lunch-hour books as I settled into Arlington.  I read it at home.  I took it to coffee shops.  I kept panang from dripping on it as I savored my tofu.  And I was happy because someone had the guts to say what my mind has always secretly wondered...

What if there's a story out there that we are not being told?

There is.  With great thanks to J.D. Salinger and to Howard Zinn for your contributions to American thought.

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