Perhaps it’s a throwback from being in school, but summer has always been about reading for pleasure. Sure, I read throughout the year, but summer is when I really indulge.
Just in time for that last trip to the beach or to Disney World is the new book out today, Football, Faith and Flannery O’Connor: A Love Letter to the South by Chris Queen. Full (and proud) disclosure: I wrote the book’s introduction.
I’m a fan of Queen’s writing on PJ Media because his columns are a welcome respite from the political red meat that dominates social media and other news sites. Myself a Floridian now living in the DC area, his articles about Disney World make me want to visit again because I’ve missed so much. I’ve been to Disney World and other parks dozens of times, but I have never had a Dole Whip!
That’s the beauty of this book—even this Tallahassee Lassie was educated and enthralled, especially because it definitively answers the age-old question “Is Florida part of the South?” (Hint: YES!)
Queen’s book is not just a love letter to the South, but also a love letter to America.
The De Pasquale's Dozen asks political figures and free market-minded writers and entertainers to take a break from politics and talk about their pop culture obsessions.
1. What's your favorite movie line and who would you like to say it to?
I have so many favorites that it’s hard to choose just one! There’s a line in my all-time favorite movie, Apollo 13 that strikes me. On the night that Apollo 11 lands on the moon, astronaut Jim Lovell tells his wife Marilyn, “From now on, we live in a world where man has walked on the moon. It wasn’t a miracle; we just decided to do it.” That line represents a can-do spirit that is uniquely American. In light of our troubled times, I believe Americans would do themselves a valuable service to remember and rekindle that spirit.
2. Tell me about your favorite teacher and how he or she influenced your life.
My favorite teacher was Mr. Neil Hood. I took gifted and AP history classes, and Mr. Hood taught those classes, so I had him for three consecutive years in high school. At first he came across as intimidating, and his teaching style took some getting used to, but the more I took his classes, and the more personal conversations I had with him, I saw the history of our nation and our world in a different light. He taught me that sometimes the most seemingly insignificant moments and people are the ones on which history truly pivots, and he had a wonderful sense of humor. He passed away about three years after I graduated. By the way, his wife was the most influential English teacher I had in high school.
3. If you could be paid to do anything besides your current job, what would it be?
My full-time job is in ministry, so I don’t know if I could ask for more than that. But I think it would be fun to produce and write a television series – one that’s immensely popular but also wins awards. Or, on a totally different note, it would be fun to own a funky breakfast and lunch establishment.
4. What canceled TV show would you put back on the air?
There’s a BBC show from a couple of years ago called The Hour about a news magazine show in the 1950s. The writing and acting were second-to-none, and I have a crush on its star, Romola Garai. I’d love to see it back on the air again, if only to tie up the loose ends from the final episode.
5. What's your current “guilty pleasure” TV show?
Just about anything that Gordon Ramsay hosts. I can’t get enough of Hell’s Kitchen and MasterChef, as well as a show he did in the UK entitled The F Word. Get past the bombast, and his passion for good food really shines.
6. What’s the best present you ever received as a child?
The present from childhood that stands out the most was a Star Wars watch I got for Christmas in 1977, when I was five. I loved that watch, but I don’t know why I remember it more than anything else I ever received.
7. What’s the best present you ever gave?
My siblings and I threw my parents a surprise 20th anniversary party many years ago. Somehow we managed to keep it a secret. We celebrated what they meant to us (and still do now), and we had a special time. That moment stands out more than any particular physical gift.
8. What advice do you remember your mother or father giving you? Did you take it?
I remember my mom telling me once that the only opinion that matters is God’s. It’s such a simple bit of advice, but it has resonated with me for a long time.
9. Who would be on the perfect "Red Eye" panel?
Me, of course. Lisa, I’d put you on there, just for fun. Add Jedediah Bila and Caleb Howe to the mix, and we could have a good time. Throw in Sean Connery or James Earl Jones, just because I’m in awe of both of their voices and would love to hear them talk.
10. What books are on your summer reading list?
At the beach this summer, I read Before Tomorrowland, which was a prequel of sorts to the movie, along with Bulfinch by Hannah Sternberg, who edited my book. I’ve also enjoyed Shakespeare on Toast by Ben Crystal this summer; it’s a fun guide to better understanding Shakespeare. I’m currently reading Ally, the autobiography of Michael Oren, the former Israeli Ambassador to the United States and an all-around badass. I’m looking forward to reading Go Set A Watchman.
11. What would you like tomorrow's headline to say?
Obama Presidency Revealed To Be The World’s Most Elaborate Prank
12. Why should everyone read Football, Faith and Flannery O’Connor?
I think Southerners can read it to deepen their appreciation of the South, especially those Southerners who may have moved away and been gone for some time. Outside the South, I’d hope that anybody who has misconceptions about the region would learn a thing or two from the book. I challenge folks who think they know about the South to read it and see how much they really know. And who knows? Maybe other writers can walk away from it inspired to discover more about where they call home too.