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Mac McKinnon


By MacMcKinnon
Enterprise Publisher

Tuesday, August 11, 1998

Top ten best books list
captures classics

It seems as we get closer to the end of the 20th century,
some people - and I don't know who they are - are coming up
with lists of the best of the 20th century in various

Don Whitley, a member of our press room crew, our
cartoonists, an avid movie watcher and probably one of the
best read members of our staff, did his reply to the best

He particularly dealt with westerns and I agreed with his
Another list that just came out a few weeks ago, deals with
the best books. This list of the 100-best books deals with
books written in the 20th century and was compiled by a
10-person committee from Random House's Modern Library.

In my mind, of course, the best book of any century and
all-time is the Bible.
But, for books written by mortals, I really can't argue with
the list although there are several books that I wish had
been included.

Three of the books I wish had been included are Tale of Two
Cities, Moby Dick and political writings of Niccolo'
Machiavelli. I realize these books are not from this century
but they are among my favorites.

Before I give the list, let me note that many of the books
have been banned at various times and in various places
since they were published. And it should be noted that the
list has generated a great deal of controversy in literary
circles as the top 10 which I'm about to list are from the
first half of the century.

There are very few in the top 100 from the last third of the

The rankings listed are those by the Random House committee
and not mine although I don't have any qualms about the
rankings as most are great works. Some of those works are
difficult to read and as one person has said, he never
understood Ulysses "in spite of what they told me it was
about." I say most because I haven't read them all but have
read about them. Many are required reading in college
literature classes.

Here is the list.

- 1. Ulysses by James Joyce.

- 2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

- 3. A Portrait of the Artist as a young Man, by James Joyce.

- 4. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.

- 5. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.

- 6. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner.

- 7. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller.

- 8. Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler.

- 9. Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence.

- 10. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.

Radcliffe Publishing Course, a seminar for a hundred
20-something up-and-comers of the book world, chose its top
100 just recently and in the top 20 were such classics as
Toni Morrison's Beloved, Alice Walkers' The Color Purple and
E. B. White's Charlotte's Web.

Of course, all readers I'm sure will have their top books.
These lists make for some interesting conversation.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Mac McKinnon is the editor and publisher of
the Pecos Enterprise whose column appears each Tuesday. He
can be e-mailed at:

Your Viewies

Community club give thanks for support

To The Editor:
The Well Kept Community Club, who owns the Balmorhea
Library, Pattye Brown, the Librarian, and the Library
Committee, would like to take this opportunity to thank the
County Judge, the Commissioners, and the Reeves County
Public Library for the support they have all given to the
Balmorhea Library over the years.

When the bond issue was voted on for the Reeves County
Public Library, Balmorhea voters were assured that a mobil
book unit, or aid to their library would be available. Since
that time the county has assisted the library in Balmorhea.
Many items no longer in use by the Reeves County Public
Library has been donated to our library. Other assistance
includes a small monthly payment to the library, which helps
to keep the library in operation. Nancy Bentley, who
recently resigned as librarian at the Reeves County Library
has always been accomodating and helpful.

The Balmorhea Library has been in operation since the
1920's. It has been, and still is, used by a great many of
the town people and area residents. A large number of
children are among the readers all year. They use the
library for their personal reading and for help on their
school reports.

Again, we want to thank everyone who helps to contribute to
making this library available to all of our Madera Valley

Well Kept Community Club

Vigilance keeps community apprised

To The Editor:
Today I was once again reminded our right to free speech and
the vigilance of Pecos' own watcher to the ever-growing
coercion of the United Nations' desire for global
domination, Mr. R.L. Rich.

Mr. Rich's ever-constant vigilance has kept this community
apprised of the ever-growing threat to our freedoms. His
latest insightfulness will now allow us to fortify the Pecos
River from the far-reaching grasp of the United Nations, who
is operating under the guise of environmental protection.
For my part I will be willing to stand side by side with Mr.
Rich in defense of this historic river, even if its color
and smell leave a lot to be desired.

For once the river falls into the hands of the United
Nations, their navies will have a clear water route to
Colorado. From Colorado using other inland waterways they
could then invade and take over completely California. Maybe
we could lease them use of the Pecos.

Without the ever faithful attentiveness of men like R.L. the
United Nations would have over run West Texas long ago and
we would all be speaking UN'ese, all official vehicles would
be painted white with large blue circles on the doors, and
blue helmeted storm troopers would be dating our daughters.

Keep up the good work, R.L., for when men like you are gone
I shudder what life here will become.


Our View

Truancy issue will be dealt with appropriately

School gets underway next week. With this new year, school
officials are planning to work harder to get students to
school every day and to get them to stay in school.
Law enforcement will be involved in enforcing the law having
to do with compulsory school attendance.
That last statement reflects a bad situation. We shouldn't
need to get law enforcement involved, nor should we have to
have extra school personnel to check and see why students
aren't in school.
Young people need to know they need to be in school and
parents should take a strong stand to get their children in
school every day from the time they are old enough to start
school until they graduate from high school.
As school board member Alberto Alvarez said in a school
board meeting last week, bad habits start early. But, so do
good habits. Our schools have all kinds of incentives
planned to get youngsters to be in school every day.
Obviously, illness cannot be helped and sick children should
not be sent to school. However, that is not the problem.
It's unfortunate our school system has to conduct classes on
parenting. What's even more unfortunate is that few people
attend those sessions.
Attendance and responsible conduct training begins at home
and it starts when children are young. Parents need to be
responsible in getting their children to school every day
and on time.
To do less is a form of child abuse. School and law
enforcement officials plan to take a strong stance on
unexcused absences this year with parents of children 10 and
under and children over that age being charged with truancy
and sent to court.
We'll go even further and stress that children should not
only go to school but parents should be involved in their
education, helping with their homework, visiting with
teachers. If you don't understand the homework, plenty of
help is available from the schools.
And if a child gets involved in extracurricular activities,
that youngster should make every practice session. Teams and
groups depend on all their members. The old saying is that a
chain is only as strong as its weakest link applies in this
The growing problem of people not showing up for practice
for sports teams and band, etc., is ridiculous. If a student
makes a committment to participate, they need to understand
they have made a committment.
Get involved with their child. Without an education, young
people don't have a chance in today's world. And an
education is difficult to get when they aren't in school.
And a lack of attendance can be disruptive for other
students wanting an education who have to wait for those who
have been absent to catch up.
Give your child the greatest gift you can give other than
your love and attention - get them to school.

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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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