Mighty Red Pen

May 2, 2007

Call me the official book

Filed under: At home with MRP,Lit review,Pop culture — mighty red pen @ 8:13 am

A bunch of fifth graders in Pittsfield, Mass., want to make Moby-Dick the official book of Massachusetts.

I’m not disputing the greatness of Moby-Dick (although MRP and Mister MRP did catch the last ten minutes of the film version with Gregory Peck the other day and I would certainly dispute the greatness of that! Moby-Dick looked like a piece of spray-painted foam flailing about in what could have been someone’s bathtub while ramming a Pequod that looked as though it were made out of Lincoln Logs) but there have been a lot of really great books written by authors from Massachusetts.

I’m sure Mister MRP could give us a comprehensive list, but two obvious ones that come to mind as possibly competing for the honor of official book of the Commonwealth are Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter or Thoreau’s Walden.

What are your nominations? What about Parker’s Spenser: For Hire? And let us not forget Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham. (Coincidentally, both Seuss and Parker are from Springfield, Mass. What’s that about?) If you’re not from Massachusetts, feel free to nominate an official book for your state.



  1. Since Molie and David are suspiciously silent so far, I should report that they & the Crazy Lady have each recently read “The Big Fat White Vampire Blues.” I’m sure it has something to do with Massachusetts.

    Comment by MyBabyWatchesTV — May 2, 2007 @ 9:38 am | Reply

  2. I’ve been hoping Mr. MRP would weigh in here! The Globe did an editorial on this on Sunday. It too mentioned “Walden,” which I would agree is the most influential book written in Massachusetts, even if few today live out its principles (excepting “Civil Disobedience,” which at times mirrors the state spirit, I think).

    If I ever finished “Infinite Jest,” I might nominate it, ’cause David Foster Wallace wrote it while living in Allston.

    None of the Concord group wrote much about urban life, and I don’t think you can have a state book that leaves out Boston.

    If I had to pick something, I’d cop out and go with “Make Way for Ducklings.” Or the entire body of “Cheers” scripts.

    Comment by MyBabySaysAaagh — May 7, 2007 @ 10:15 am | Reply

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