Using the Bible in an Apocalypse and Other Letters to the Editor

The 11th Hour To the Editor: I enjoyed all the uses that books could have at the end of the world, as imagined in Kristen Radtke’s bac...


To the Editor:

I enjoyed all the uses that books could have at the end of the world, as imagined in Kristen Radtke’s back-page Sketchbook (Nov. 1), but didn’t she leave out the most obvious book of all — the Bible?

I also wonder about the appropriateness of the authors. James Joyce for zombie defense? A Kurt Vonnegut tray for serving Spam? Herman Melville as a peace offering? At least the books fueling the campfire are untitled, although I could name quite a few that should be used that way.

J. R. Solonche
Blooming Grove, N.Y.

To the Editor:

Observers who didn’t know Christopher Hitchens will have to take Tom Bissell’s word for it, in his review of Martin Amis’s “Inside Story” (Nov. 1), that Hitchens was a friend of humanity, as well as Amis’s assurance that Hitchens felt pangs of remorse.

Many of us confined to seeing Hitchens’s TV appearances and reading his literary output during the Clinton impeachment farce and Iraq war debacle may have been misled by his truculent manner, refusal to engage in real argument and reliance on ad hominem to make his cases.

Terry Benoit
Port Chester, N.Y.

To the Editor:

Am I the only reader of the Book Review who often wonders, “Is this reviewer seeing his or her task at hand as an opportunity for self-promotion?”

As an example, I cite Bissell’s review, where “I” and “my” frequently appear, and where we are treated to his recounting of another review he wrote 20 years ago, making it clear for us that he is an experienced reviewer!

Perhaps careful editing is in order so readers can get a more uncluttered review of the book at hand.

Richard E. Hurley
Walnut Creek, Calif.

To the Editor:

I thought I was just sitting down to some words to accompany my breakfast as I began to read Bissell’s review of “Inside Story.” Instead I was treated to an astonishing piece of writing.

What a pleasure to read a review — the fourth I’ve read of Amis’s book — that showed the writer to be so deeply perceptive, generous and humorous in the most elevated sense of that word.

To my shame the review was my first contact with Tom Bissell, but it won’t be the last. Thank you for your continued excellence, Book Review. Long may you wave.

Polly Cone
San Diego

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Newsrust: Using the Bible in an Apocalypse and Other Letters to the Editor
Using the Bible in an Apocalypse and Other Letters to the Editor
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