December 17, 2012

"3 Books To Read Before The End Of The World."

On the theory, presumably, that it's still amusing to talk about the Mayan apocalypse, NPR picks out some reading material, beginning with "literature's first and perhaps best answer to the question of what to do while waiting to die." The answer is: "Stay up all night, tell stories, make jokes and ignore what's coming."

Whether we're imagining the coming death in apocalyptic form or not, it's good advice and it's the advice most people seem to follow (even if they mix in some religion).

15 comments:

wyo sis said...

I'm surprised to see I've read all of them. Dystopian and apocalyptic literature are not my favorites.

Hassell Anderson said...

The way the world is going, you might want to try the Cliffs Notes editions first.

john said...

Will the stores be accepting charge cards on the 20th?

Anne B. said...

Wyo sis, I don't care for that stuff either. I've read "A Canticle for Leibowitz" and "On the Beach," but at arm's length, so to speak.

My go-to book for the end of the world (or for long plane flights, or even a quiet afternoon) is "The Divine Comedy."

Erika said...

I like to think that I'd be reading the Bible, but I'd probably be reading old Dave Barry collections. After reconciliation and penance and eating all the ice cream, that is.

Clyde said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clyde said...

If it's "party over, oops, out of time" and we're all gonna die, then it's time to party like it's 1999. Or 2012. At that point, why waste time reading? There are bound to be some hedonistic things to do to fill out the tag end of the bucket list. If nothing matters, then have a good time and go out with a bang.

Fortunately, I think we'll all still be here come Saturday morning, althought that TEOTWAWKI hangover is likely to be a bad mutha.

Astro said...

Read the short story 'Nightfall' by Isaac Asimov. It seems to decscribe the insane population around us better than most books. (Don't bother with the movie; it was terrible.)
These days most people are like the ones in Indonesia on Dec. 26, 2004, who thought the water draining away from the beach was 'interesting', and could not conceive of the death and desctruction it would cause when it all came rushing back in.

Mitchell the Bat said...

Burgess Meredith, as The Obsolete Man, chose to read The Bible in the moments before his execution by explosion.

Seemed like pandering to the audience.

traditionalguy said...

The end of the world as we know it has happened over and over faster and faster since the industrial revolution, radio/electrical communication and the internal combustion engine used in both land and air machines had out run ruling man's abilities to think.


August of 1914 was the biggest end of an age we have ever seen followed a close second by August of 1945.

So beware of August, the month named after the first Roman Emperor the world worshiped as a man-god.

The scriptures speak of the end of the Aeon, or of a time limit for the ruling powers. They do not speak of the end of the planet earth, except once much later.

edutcher said...

The Decameron is mostly fun and full of sex (Canterbury Tales are a big nothing in comparison).

Read that, and you'll forget about the other 2, start screwing your sweetie, and probably miss the end altogether.

Robert Cook said...

"Burgess Meredith, as The Obsolete Man, chose to read The Bible in the moments before his execution by explosion.

"Seemed like pandering to the audience."


Not at all. The King James Bible is one of the pillars of Western Literature, renowned not only for the comfort it can provide to humans in extremis, but for the beauty of its language. Meredith's character was presented as anything but a naif, and his choice of the Bible to read as he was killed conveys the sense of his finding comfort in both its substance and beauty.

He might, to equal effect, have been depicted listening, rapt, to Beethoven's 9th Symphony.

In short, he wanted to experience the acme of human achievement and thereby affirm humanity even as he was about to die as a result of human behavior at its most base.

Sam L. said...

I will take NPR's suggestion under advisement.

I'm reading what I already have stacked up.

Synova said...

Why can NPR suggest dooms-day survivalist books and no one even *notices*?

Huh?

If they'd said, instead, The Foxfire Book... well that just explains how to butcher a hog to survive and the others are... literature.

Crunchy Frog said...

Martin Luther was once asked what he would do if he knew the Second Coming was going to happen tomorrow. His answer was, "Plant another tree." He was already living in his baptism, so there was no point in changing his behavior.

Plan as though you will live forever, but live as if it were your last day on earth.