Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Century

I've been meaning to read Peter Jenning's book The Century for a while but had never gotten around to it because I am a master procrastinator. But after giving up procrastinating for Lent, I was able to catch up on so much stuff that "The Century" made it onto my To Do List.

For those of you not familiar with "The Century," it's a coffee table book about the 20th century that came out a few years ago that every family has but apparently nobody reads. You may have seen it on or under your parents' coffee table, or maybe on a shelf somewhere in your living room. It's big, it's got a black and white cover, and most probably, it's got a lot of dust on it.

I can't blame people for not reading it. Most of the people who own the book lived through at least half of the previous century. I, on the other hand, was only alive for the last 20% of the previous century and spent most of that time either watching cartoons, sleeping or thinking of excuses to not shower, so I missed most of what was going on.

And now that I've learned more about what our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents went through, I respect the heck out of them so much more. The world has changed so much in the past century, and they've lived to see it all. They saw nations rise and fall, were there for the advent of TV, were the first people to see movies in technicolor, read the first nudie magazines, played Pong in an actual arcade, and most recently witnessed the digitization of society, all the way up through the epitome of online journaling: the Tanory Tantrum.

"The Century" doesn't give an in-depth account of any one topic. If you're looking for a history lesson, this book might just pique your interest, but that's about it. The topics are still very interesting, and it's worth taking a look at.

But enough about its contents. What I really like about "The Century" is its heft. I saw a spider in the living room tonight and so I held the book over it until the spider was completely encapsulated by the book's shadow. I let go of the book and the spider scrambled for it's life at right about the same time. For just a split second I could hear the spider scream in anguish as gravity sucked all 50 pounds of the book towards the earth at 9.8 m/s². Then SPLAT! World Wars Sr. and Jr. just kicked your spider ass, bitch!

If I were reading a paperback novel, could I have killed said spider? Probably. It just wouldn't have been as much fun.

If you are interested in reading snippets of some of the major events of the 20th century, or if you are looking to smash multiple insects in one drop of a book, pick up "The Century" by Peter Jennings and Todd Brewster.


Mini McGehee said...

oh gawd.

i couldn't tell you how many books I've half read in English classes throughout my high school career that sit around and make me look wise, though only serve as paper weights

sorry mom and dad for all the money i wasted! should have read em online!

Bobby said...

I remember reading "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" in high school and could tell you the storyline back and forth, and delve deeper into various subjects, and talk about why the outside world was called the "machine," etc, but the question worth the most points on my exam was "What animal was on R. P. McMurphy's shorts?" (Answer: C - Whales)