2020: A Big Deal?

imagesOne would have thought that my initial reading list would reveal a glimmering pool of sublime literature but alas, when I look over it I see the same conglomeration of reading that I exhibited in 2019. Should 2020 really be something special, just because it inaugurates a new decade (does it?) and celebrates the final demise of Dishonest (Donald) John Drumpf and his pending banishment from the Leakin’ Lena?

For those that follow the obscure references of an old man, the DJ I am referring to is the puppet although in the case of Der Drumpf, either the cartoon or the puppet is highly accurate.

The first reading pool of 2020 includes a couple of current best-sellers, a couple of aging best-sellers I should have read years ago, several examples of genre fiction of the detective variety, and a smattering of titles which might be considered more traditional or classic reading. There’s even a couple of Nobel Prize winners in there.

Try a few of these:

  1. The Testaments — Margaret Atwood
  2. Hard Case Crime: Slide — Ken Bruen
  3. The Water Dancer — Ta-Nehisi Coates
  4. Carter Beats the Devil — Glen David Gold
  5. Snow Falling On Cedars — David Guterson
  6. The Beirut Hellfire Society — Rawi Hagers
  7. Growth of the Soil — Knut Hamsun
  8. Serotonin — Michel Houellebecq
  9. The Topeka School — Ben Lerner
  10. The Dogs of Riga —Henning Mankell
  11. The Children Act — Ian McEwan
  12. Pow! — Mo Yan
  13. The Ginza Ghost and Other Stories — Keikichi Osaka
  14. Quichotte — Salman Rushdie
  15. Quo Vadis — Henryk Sienkiewicz
  16. Angle of Repose — Wallace Stegner
  17. Palm Beach, Finland — Antti Tuomainen
  18. Terrorist — John Updike
  19. Mac’s Problem — Enrique Vila-Matas
  20. The Miller’s Daughter — Émile Zola

This is a later composite of Time For Beany, Daws Butler and Stan Freberg had left for future careers and fame. Other clips and episodes are available on YouTube but Beany was initially a local puppet show going national after several years using that nasty old kinescope so most episodes of the show were not saved. But even in the few available clips it is obvious how so many later shows were influenced, from Rocky and Bullwinkle to Sponge Bob Square Pants. Dishonest John is to this day my idea of the archetypical villain, far predating Snidley Whiplash, Crabby Appleton, and Donald J. Trump.

What are your thoughts on this?

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