Friday, September 25, 2009

Who to Invite?

Back in January of 2008, the 41st Carnival of Genealogy challenged us to come up with a dinner party of five - by inviting four ancestors, and including ourselves. I cheated and hosted two parties.

From sunset Sunday to sunset Monday the Jewish community will be fasting for Yom Kippur.

"Sarah" at the Jewish Publication Society blog asked the question: Which Five Jewish Authors Would You Invite to your Break-Fast meal?. She provided her five choices.

Schelly Talalay Dardashti at Tracing the Tribe provided her five.

While I'm not in the same position as I was in January of 2008, of having to choose between ancestors, I am grateful for having an additional seat at the table.

1) Joseph Heller (1923-1999) -- I was introduced to Catch-22 in high school and became hooked on Heller's brand of dark humor. I also read Something Happened, God Knows, Picture This, and the autobiographical, No Laughing Matter.

2) Howard Nemerov (1920-1991) -- Former US Poet Laureate, the late author was a professor at Washington University in St. Louis from 1969-1991. For many years he was my favorite living poet. I heard him perform when I was in 7th or 8th grade. However, my timing was off, and I was unable to have him as a professor before he died.

3) Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) -- A voracious reader since the age of six, I became hooked on science fiction early. I may not have read my first Asimov until junior high -- I'm not positive. But he earned a place on this list with his Robot novels, and his collection of (I believe) 576 limericks (288 each) he co-wrote with Martin Ciardi, Limericks: Too Gross

4) Mel Brooks (1926 - alive) -- I can't resist inviting the creator of Get Smart, The Producers, and History of the World Part I. He and Joseph Heller were actually good friends, and regularly ate together in a "Gourmet Club" with Mario Puzo, Carl Reiner, Zero Mostel, and Speed Vogel. So I suspect I might be able to get both of them to share some tales of each other, and their mutual friends.

5) Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) -- Because I need a woman at the table, I like her poetry, and I suspect her wit will be a fair match to the others.

Two things I notice:

1) They are all English-speaking modern authors, Dorothy being the eldest. Four of them are basically contemporaries, born within six years of each other. There are definitely authors from the deep past I could invite. However, this way there is no need for interpreters.

2) None of them were/are overly religious (to my knowledge). I suspect more than one would classify themselves as an Atheist or Agnostic. Though I suspect at least four of the five identify/identified enough with their religious heritage to fast on Yom Kippur.

1 comment:

Schelly Talalay Dardashti said...

Hi, John. Sounds like Mel will be busy at your house and mine!