Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Predestination and a free tote bag

Three things, and I’ll make it quick so we can get back to talking about Braylon Edwards.

First, there have been some questions about Wasafiri’s list of 25 books for the last 25 years. The headline describes it as “the best books of the last 25 years;” but some of the titles, including Lolita and One Hundred Years of Solitude, were published more than 25 years ago.

The opening paragraph describes the selected books as those “that have most shaped world literature of the last 25 years.” So I suspect the list is supposed to be the most influential ON, not OF, the last quarter century. I commented on Wasafiri’s Web site, asking them to clarify. Thus far, they have not replied.

I’m guessing this is just a matter of disconnect between headline and subject, and it happens. (I hate when it happens, but it happens. The person who writes the headline is almost never the person who writes the story, and this can cause discrepancies.)

Second, do you want to fill a shelf in your library with classics? Want to do it for free? Don’t want to resort to theft?

Penguin Classics has a contest in which you can win Jane Eyre, Oedipus Rex, Odyssey, Pride and Prejudice, Moby Dick, Walden, The Inferno, Hamlet, Metamorphosis and Other Stories, Of Mice and Men and a Penguin tote bag. (Most of you already have some, if not all, of these books; but who doesn’t want a Penguin tote bag?)

All you have to do is go this Web site and tell them which of these 10 Essential Penguin Classics is your favorite. The winner is selected in a random drawing, so the quality of your essay is immaterial. (It’s like remedial English. All you have to do is participate and you get an A.) The deadline is November 20.

I don’t have a favorite among the options. Depending on my mood, I could prefer Hamlet, Pride and Prejudice or The Odyssey.

If either of our two readers win this thing, I expect you to send us a picture of yourself with the tote bag.

Finally, check out It’s not so different than those word-a-day calendars, but I learned some fun words from it. My favorite is prescited, which means predestined for damnation. (Now, we have a word to describe Braylon Edwards.)

-Jason Lea,

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