As Co-Chair of “Two Books, Two New Paltzes” (I’m not sure which I’m representing because I live in both New Paltz and New Paltz), I am happy to introduce our book selection for 2010, “A Tale of Two Cities.”
Many of you are familiar with Dickens’ original tale, but our version has a twist. I would like to share a brief excerpt from the opening of the book, which I’m sure you will find relevant to our current circumstances.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, and then it got even worse.
It was the age of secrecy, it was the age of foolishness.
It was the epoch of intimidation, it was the epoch of incredulity.
It was the season of lies, it was the season of darkness.
It was the spring of zeal, it was the winter of despair.
We had everything before us, we had nothing before us.
We were not going direct to Heaven, we were all heading direct the other way. (Perhaps to Gardiner?)
In short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
There was a Supervisor with a large community center on the throne of New Paltz; there was a Mayor with a large firehouse on the throne of New Paltz. In both New Paltzes it was clearer than crystal that things in general would be done as they demanded.
It is extraordinary how Dickens’ words, written over 150 years ago, still carry so much resonance today.
Anyone interested in “Two Books, Two New Paltzes” can search for our group on Facebook. In addition, I encourage everyone to attend the upcoming Local Government Efficiency Advisory Committee meetings, so that in the near future we can actually have “One Book, One New Paltz.”