February 7, 2005

Bush's books.

President Bush loved the book "I Am Charlotte Simmons" and is recommending it to all his friends. He tells reporters about the nonfiction books he reads and doesn't mention the fiction, but, according to the linked Elisabeth Bumiller article, he loves Tom Wolfe and has read all his books. And Wolfe voted for Bush. Why do I always imagine that any given fiction writer votes Democratic? (I meant that as a serious question, but somehow I'm expecting jokes in the email.)

Of course, Wolfe has some terrific nonfiction books. Myself, I prefer nonfiction and have only read Wolfe's nonfiction. I'm especially fond of "From Bauhaus to Our House" and "The Painted Word."

UPDATE: A reader sends this link to a Guardian interview with Wolfe, from just before Election day, explaining his support of Bush. A snippet:
So what is it about his liberal neighbours and fellow diners in his adoptive New York that Wolfe cannot abide? "I cannot stand the lock-step among everyone in my particular world. They all do the same thing, without variation. It gets so boring. There is something in me that particularly wants it registered that I am not one of them....

"I do think," he admits, apparently speaking for himself, his country and his president, "that if you are not having a fight with somebody, then you are not sure whether you are alive when you wake up in the morning."
From my place here in Madison, I really know how he feels!

ANOTHER UPDATE: This is Drudge's sensationalist teaser for the Bumiller article: "Bush recommending Tom Wolfe's racy new beer- and sex-soaked novel, 'I am Charlotte Simmons' to friends..."

1 comment:

Needsabetterjob said...

Mr. Tom Wolfe's last novel, I am Charlotte Simmons, is sneered at/dismissed/cold-shouldered by the NY literary elite. It's not hard to understand why. Mr. Wolfe writes in the grand, sweeping tradition of Fyodor and Leo.

Also, Mr. Wolfe's very great novel has, at it's core, the same big questions/ideas/themes that so preoccupied our Russians. Charlotte tortures herself with notions of good vs. evil, the religious life vs. secular society, and of course, the ever-present torment of carnal relations; when to give of the flesh, and to whom. And most vexing of all: the confounding relation between love and flesh, and flesh to love.

Mr. Wolfe treats these themes with the same unblinking earnestness as our Russians. Naturally, the chattering classes, far too sophisticated for such 19th century notions, are not even amused.

Quite simply, they yawn and ignore Mr. Wolfe's novel -- ignore America's greatest novelist.