The July Challenge: A Fine Vintage...

on Saturday, July 3, 2010
Thus far, Bait For Bookworms has served as a catalog of my literary indulgences. Sure, I've spent a fair amount of time debasing myself for your entertainment but, at the end of a day it is a blog and, as such, by definition a forum for wanky pontification. This month will be no different, as I raise a cloth-bound glass to the year of my birth. I like to think 1976 was a pretty special year. The Ramones released their first album, setting in motion a movement that would ultimately see me running around the world screaming at people in funny languages while smearing myself with hummus. The first Concorde took flight (which, for me, is interesting because I was on the one before the one that crashed, thus ending the supersonic jet's commercial life... The crash, I mean, not me...). Emma "Baby Spice" Bunton, who once tried to hit on me at Wimbledon (long story, I didn't realise until my brother pointed it out to me that night, so nothing came of it) was born three days before me. Son of Sam David Berkowitz started his murder spree. Of course, there was the great Entebbe plane hijacking which would end up giving Chuck Norris a special place in my heart. And East Timor was annexed and proclaimed a province of Indonesia (something I would play a tiny part in reversing many years later when I would camp out in front of the Indonesian Embassy as part of the Timorese Independence movement). Oh, and some asshole shot Bob Marley and, ironically, his deputy (well, his manager).

1976 was also a pretty good year in books. The great (though for me terminally boring) Saul Bellow won both the Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes, the latter for Humboldt's Gift. William Gaddis won the National Book Award for his 'great American novel' JR. David Storey won the Booker for Saville. And it was the year in which some of the great novels that have left indelible marks on our collective cultural consciousnesses first made their appearance - Roots by Alex Haley, Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig and The Boys From Brazil by Ira Levin. Oddly, I have read none of these books. Given how self-centred I am, I figure it's high time I rectified that. So here's to my arrogance, both literary and general. As my people are wont to say, til 2096!


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