Friday, July 14, 2006

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."

Recognize that first line? Who among you readers know that today is Bastille Day? My friend Larry, I'm sure. Who else? It's not a day to remark upon in this country, but it is important in history as well as in literature.

In case you slept through Western Civ, on July 14, 1789, the storming of the Bastille was the beginning of the French Revolution. Charles Dickens used that time in French history as the setting for A Tale of Two Cities. That was my first encounter with great literature as a freshman in Mrs. Flory's English class at Southwest High School. I was 13 and way past Nancy Drew, but mostly reading stories of pioneers and Book of the Month Club novels.

I still remember when the books were passed out and we were assigned to read the first two chapters. A total of eight pages! I read 100 pages the first night and finished it over the weekend. It is still one of my favorite books and I just pulled it off the shelf to thumb through. I usually write in the front of books with the date and, if a gift, who gave it to me. This particular volume was a gift from my son Scott on my 50th birthday in August 1987.


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