I must say that I was quite peeved with myself for doing that birthday post about Grover Cleveland, and totally overlooking John Updike. By the time that I realized it, it was really too late for me to go anything about it. I did make a small mention of him with a 2 sentence post that I made from my iphone, but that was it. Updike is one of my favorite authors and even though I could spend time writing something about him now, it wouldn’t be the same as actually posting it ON his birthday. So, I guess that he’ll just be stuck with that few sentences iphone post.
I didn’t want to make the same mistake again, so I went to wikipedia and looked up March 19. I do that sometimes. I go to wikipedia and look up famous birthdays. Sometimes there aren’t very many good ones. Other times, however, there are tons. Kind of like an annus mirabilis, only it’s just one day and not a whole year. I was quite suprised to see Philip Roth’s name in the March 19th birthdays. He is another one of my favorite writers.
Some people don’t like Roth. According to one of my friends he is long-winded, misogynistic and only writes about middle-aged white guys. Actually, that is more Updike’s area. Guys like Updike and Roth and John Cheever and Don DeLillo – they write about stuff that I can relate to. So, of course they are going to be some of my favorite writers. Post-war suburbia and existentialism, nostalgia for a vanishing way of life, the conflict between decorous social persona and inner corruption, etc. – these are all things that I can relate to.
Anyway, I’m going to take this time now to say a big howdy-do Happy Birthday to Philip Roth. He was born in 1933, and unlike John Updike who died a few years ago (God rest his soul), he’s still alive. If you haven’t read any of his stuff I would suggest American Pastoral or The Plot Against America. I know that The Plot Against America sounds like an uber-right wing book that you would find in the extreme politics section of a local book store (if you can find one, that is), but it’s not. It’s an alternate history work of fiction in which Charles Lindburgh is the President of the United States.