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Best books?
No doubt, I have an odd sense of the real, but I eagerly read the Jan. 1, 2003 issue, then had a sense of something amiss. I scanned a second time, No, my eyes did not miss it. What? A more complete celebration of "The Best of 2002."

Film Theater Music Dance, all involve aspects of human physical ability and presentation. Well, except for the obsession in some areas with computer animation that ignores the distinction between comic book and multidimensional presentations. My 5-year-old cousin noted that the 10,000 warriors in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers never diminished, no matter how many were "killed."

Books may not be "live," as (Byron Woods writes) but writers, publishers and readers are "live," more so than film.

As a writer, and one of your A&E Spotlight features (July 3, 2002) for which I thank you, I experience increasing awareness and dread for the disinterest in the written word. Now, isn't this strange, as The Independent is a print medium, as well written and broadly cognizant one? I can become paranoid as I observer the widening gulf between the written word and the visual image, generally barren of nuance.

I thank you for carrying Book/Writers: Discussion Groups and Literary. I fantasize that The Independent will someday make recognition of those who read and love the written word. Perhaps, a tiny insert to those who are three dimensional and entertain, as well as inform. The Independent Weekly does a great job, as far as it is willing to go.

I am, also, a mature citizen who bemoans the dearth of attention to a wider berth than one level of culture. By this I mean the dearth of interest in music beyond the casual and "pop." There's more to public interest.
–Gwendoline Y. Fortune, Saxapahaw

More Top 10
We all make lists. I didn't wait until the year's end to assuage my anguish over the midterm elections. Attached is my Top 10 list of those who vote the Republican ticket. Top 10 Reasons for Voting Republican

1. Your family is in the top 2 percent in income.

2. You are a multimillionaire and want Bush's tax cuts made permanent, along with the phasing out of the death tax and corporate gains tax.

3. You are a CEO and Bush and Cheney understand corporate looting because they have been there and done that.

4. You are an oil company owner and you can't wait to start drilling in Alaska, off shore and in Iraq.

5. You make $200,000 a year and have just joined an exclusive country club and found that all the members are Republicans.

6. You are upwardly mobile and it is the Yuppie thing to do.

7. You make $80,000 a year and want the corporate honchos to know you are one of them.

8. You make $50,000 a year but are a right-to-lifer and want Congress to approve Bush's nominations to the federal courts so that abortion for any reason will become illegal.

9. You are one step above the poverty line but because you don't read the papers, you don't understand what is going on.

10. You are below the poverty line but don't know what side your bread is buttered on, maybe because you don't have enough of either.
–George Woolfe, Pittsboro

You say tomato ...
Now that war with Iraq (or Irak) is imminent, don't you think we should try to agree on a common pronunciation of the republic's name? My unabridged leans toward Irak, with Iraq offered as a second preference. Iraq seems to be preferred by most of the print media. Even so, nearly every day you can hear newscasters and commentators, talk-show hosts, politicians and feds use Irak.

Rock or Rack, let's come together on one or the other pronunciations, while hoping for a mini war.
–Raymond Lowery, Raleigh

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