Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Angela's Ashes & Hitchens

I recently read Angela's Ashes. I'd read Tis a while back so I knew what to expect as far as style and general themes were concerned.

I enjoyed the book, although I can't say I believed it. Not all of it, anyway.

Now I'm reading Love, Poverty, and War by Christopher Hitchens. The book is essentially a selection of his essays, columns and articles over a period of 15 years or so. I knew very little about Hitchens before I started reading this book other than that he was a writer for The Nation (don't know if he still is) and that he was in favor of the Iraq war.

Well, I tell ya, he can write.

It isn't just his grasp of the subject that strikes you - whether it's Kipling or Trotsky or the Kurds or Route 66 or even Malcom Muggeridge - it's how he makes you want to know even if you never really cared before (which I can say is true of many of his subjects in this book). And when he touches on a subject that's been gnawing at you (like the hipsters' worship of the Dalai Lama) it's like a lightning bolt of clarity has struck you.

I haven't finished the book yet and I know there are essays on some leading figures of the Church that might be uncomfortable. Doesn't mean I'm not looking forward to them, though.