Monday, June 22, 2009

Books, blog titles and WWII

I wish I knew my friends' favorite books. Facebook helps since some friends list their favorites in their profiles, but the lists do not say why a book made someone's list or which of the books on a list is a friend's absolute favorite. I think these things are important. So does Google. The link to the left will take you to some of my own book reviews. I reviewed all of them in the last couple weeks despite having read some many years ago. The star counts are probably spot on while the text reviews are not. For example, I wrote that "1984" was just "fascinating" and gave it five stars. Don't worry. You'll figure it out.

The current title for this blog was only my third choice back in 2007. I remember trying "Interstate 40/85" as a metaphorical pathway between two wildly different worlds: Chapel Hill's collegiate fantasy land and Charlotte's unequal educational system of poop. Blogger told me I could not use the name since it was already in use. So was "poop system." My friend Dani told me she couldn't start a blog because she would never spin a good title. I realize in hindsight that she was from the poop system and I did not tell her this story. Odd.

I drove on 40/85 last week but didn't get the same nostalgic feel as before. The three-hour drive has no significance now that I live on the better end of it. I'm glad the title was already taken. I guess timelessly relevant titles come from our ideals instead of our realities. Of course poop is as timeless as it gets. Everybody consistently does it. If somebody does not adhere to the system, we have a pill for it just like anything else.

I saw "Valkyrie" this weekend. As a German-American youngster, I did not have much to be proud of in middle school when we learned about Hitler's atrocities. Our teachers seemed to tell us he hypnotized a weak-willed nation. Nazis and Germans were synonymous in those growing years. This assumption was, of course, wrong. The film is about the last failed German assassination attempt on Hitler's life. I watched a YouTube video that mentioned the soldiers depicted in "Valkyrie" are the only commemorated soldiers in Berlin today. Their mission was to "save Germany" and "show the world who [they] really [were]." That's pretty touching stuff for this Caucasian, upper-middle German American who was a little embarrassed in Mrs. Katz's classroom in 1998. Maybe now I will wear the "I'M A HERMANN GERMAN" button that lives among home office supplies in Libertyville.

"I can't believe the Civil War happened," my mom said today. The Civil War does seem extreme, but World War II was just 64 years ago and held the fate of humanity in the balance. It seems impossible. Obama commemorated D-Day veterans and the fallen this year, and I listened as never before. One generation of Americans and allies saved the world for us.


  1. excellent :) i feel the same way about blog titles (and titles in general), and books! how can we know if that friend's fave book is a good one for us if they don't tell why they liked it?? and i've always liked your blog title :)


    Try this too. I really enjoy it.