Wednesday, April 09, 2008

America's favourite read...

A recent Harris Poll has revealed America's favorite books - and there are some surprises.

The top choices were largely American classics, such as Gone with the Wind, Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird. A surprising choice - number two for most 32 to 43 year olds - was the American folktale The Stand by Stephen King. I recently read that book (even though King wrote it in the early seventies) and thought it was a breathtaking work of enormous depth (despite being stuck in the 'horror' shelf at your local library.)

I was disappointed, but not surprised by the universal first choice. An old foreign book, it's been on sale for seemingly forever. Technically, I think it only won because all 21 (at last count) English translations were taken into account (even though they're all translated wildly differently, some editions being entirely different books to other copies.)

It's written in a very old fashioned way and incredibly poorly edited - there are glaring contradictions between the various sections of the book and huge plot holes. By today's standards, it's misogynistic and racist and some people even claim it's wildly homophobic. It features more rape, murder, incest, adultery and hate-speech than any book currently in print. Yet, it's America's favourite.

I'm talking, of course, about The Bible.

Apparently based on a true story, the Bible does take some wild liberties with actual historical events and is a bit preachy at times (pushing some very odd values, as well.) Yet because of all the sordid stories contained within it (for example, two daughters, who conspire to seduce their father in order to produce children) it's difficult not to get caught up in it - even despite the incredibly pretentious and sometimes incomprehensible writing style.

The only thing I find surprising is that such a controversial book, chock-full of sex and scandal, hasn't been banned yet! In fact, some families even encourage their kids to read it!

Pretty shocking stuff.

The Bible is available from all good bookstores, Churches and the top drawer of most hotel nightstands. Due to the explicit content contained within, the Bible is not suitable for children under the age of 18.


Jodi said...

the stand is one of my favorite books of all time. i used to re-read it all the time. i haven't in many years. i also really like "the talisman" by stephan king and paul straub

Big Daddy said...

I've all of those listed and have to say that I hated Catcher in the Rye, loved To Kill a Mockingbird and The Stand. I'd also add the Hitchhiker's guide series and The Grapes of Wrath. The reference to the Bible does reveal a lack of understanding of the work. Especially when you mention contradictions (an old and inaccurate argument) and plot holes, but I also recognize tongue in cheek when I see it, and won't cry too much.

Roland Hulme said...

Hi Big Daddy! Thanks for visiting my blog. I love Scarlett's blog and read your more political posts with interest (although I do disagree with you on some issues.)

Yes, this post was written toungue-in-cheek! No offence intended. Although I take exception to you saying I have a 'lack of understanding' of the Bible. I was a Christian for the best part of 30 years, my grand father was a church of England vicar, I attended a theological university (albiet to study history) and I have studied the Bible extensively (and there's a difference between 'studying the Bible' and 'Bible Studies.'

I'm sure to post more about it soon, so I'd be interested in your thoughts and comments even if they conflict with mine!