Thursday, August 31, 2006
The Most Unusual Mainstream Book I've Ever Read
I have finally read The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. I think it's safe to say this is a mainstream book. Lots and lots and lots and lots of people have read it. It still gets checked out at the library on a regular basis. I bought my copy at Target. This is a book that all kinds of people have read & enjoyed.
This is also a book that is in no way typical. The narrator is dead. She died a tragic, violent death, and now we get to see how her family and friends are coping, through her observations from heaven. I don't want to go into details on what heaven is like for Susie, the dead narrator, but I do want to say it's not a super-cheery, angel-filled place where God himself / herself / itself / themselves hang out with her every day. I just wanted to clarify that this isn't a popular book because it paints a popular picture of heaven. I am perplexed, yet not surprised, really, that such an unusual book became so mainstream.
I can't be too surprised, because I did enjoy it, and I'm sure lots of the other people who've read it did too. It's a very likeable book. I don't know that it's one of my most favorite, but I'm very glad I've read it. Oddly, even though Susie was the narrator and main character, I found her to be the least interesting. Her family and friends left on Earth were the ones who pulled me in. Oh, yeah, and Mr. Harvey-- sick, but interesting.
Friday, August 11, 2006
Instead of washing my car, cleaning my rooms, studying for the GRE, watching the DVDs that are due back at the library or reading for my online book discussion, I decided to use a good little chunk of time today to inventory my novels.
Novels make up the greatest chunk of my total book collection. I have 226 total novels, including adult & children's. Three of them are currently being read, although two of those haven't been picked up in months. 103 of my novels are unread. 120 of my novels, or about 53%, have been read. I really need to work on that last number. I was very relieved, though, to find that I have read more than half of my novels. I wasn't sure if that was the case.
Religion At My House
Two weeks ago my mom bought me a book for my birthday that she thought I really had to have. It's the one I've mentioned once or twice already called The Red Book: A Deliciously Unorthodox Approach to Igniting Your Divine Spark by Sera Beak.
Last night my dad was making a sandwich and he told me that if I wanted to see God, all I had to do was put a bit horseradish on my tongue and inhale deeply.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John... and Biff?
I have read a Christopher Moore novel for the first time. I decided to start with Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, although I hope to eventually read all of Moore's books. He has an excellent imagination.
I loved this book, but as you might be able to guess, it has the potential to offend some readers. It's not exactly the same thing, but if you've ever watched the movie Dogma beginning to end without being too terribly offended, you can probably handle this book. If you're still wondering, maybe try reading the very, very end first. At the very end of the book, there is an afterword type piece that is sort of a letter from the author explaining his intentions (or lack of intentions), why he included certain things and why he excluded others. I don't think there are too many, if any, real spoilers in there.
This was a laugh-out-loud funny book, but it could also be very touching, sometimes very sad. I will say that this book would probably be best enjoyed by guys, but I'm not a guy, and as I believe I've already said, I love this book.
Biff grew up with Joshua (this is the name Jesus is called by in the book), and he was Joshua's first disciple. Biff is a pretty zany guy; not exactly the pillar of morality you might expect to be Christ's best buddy, but ultimately he's a good guy and loves Joshua deeply. This is his story of Joshua's life, and his effect on himself (Biff) and the people of their time.
This is, of course, a novel; a work of fiction. The thing is, we really don't know a lot about Jesus' life inbetween his birth and... oh, about age 30. It's always interesting to think about what might have gone on in those years. Moore has just given us a very amusing take on what might have happened. Although, um, it's really, really unlikely it happened just like that.
Okay, you can laugh a little, but I really love the movie Babe. You know, the one about the little pig who wants to be a sheep dog? I actually bought it on DVD awhile back. What can I say? The little animatronic pig got to me!
Anyway, I just recently ran into the book that the movie was based on at work. It only took me two and half lunch hours to read all of Dick King-Smith's Babe: The Gallant Pig. There were differences (most of which I liked) between the book and the movie, but overall, it had the same happy, satisfying effect on me. It is an excellent book.
By the way, to understand the title of this post you'll probably have to read the book, or at least watch the movie!
Sunday, August 06, 2006
Oooo... Here's Something Else
(This goes with the previous post.)
It's A Satire... Maybe...
Last week I finished reading a small novel by Clifford Chase called Winkie. Winkie is a teddy bear who has come to life and gone out into the world, only to be arrested and and tried for terrorist acts he had nothing to do with.
The book is broken up into three or four sections, but mainly there are two parts to this book. One-- Winkie looking back on his life and how he got to where he is now, and two-- Winkie's present life in prison and in the court room.
The looking-back parts are very strange. For example, there is a poop theme in these parts. I think this was supposed to have something to do with affirmation of life or function as an equalizer, but I'm not sure. Anyway, the looking-back parts were very odd, and yet sometimes dull.
The parts in the present are the good parts. They're outrageous too, but in a far more enjoyable way. These parts are the absurd, satirical parts. Everything from Winkie's sad, mentally deficient cell mate to the wild time-traveling (one can only assume) witnesses from famous trials gone by (for example, the Scopes Trial). I read most of the last third with my mouth hanging open in shocked awe.
Overall, Winkie is one of the most bizarre books I've ever read. I believe it was intended to be a commentary on our times, and it does make that point. However, that point is somewhat diluted.
Should you read Winkie? If you think it sounds at all interesting then yes. I'd love to be able to talk about with someone else who's read it.
More Birthday Stuff
I ended up repeating last years activities, but it was fun again. Everyone ate a lot of ice cream. Two people brought tasty brownies to the party, too. We took sixty glow bracelets to the park with us, and that was pretty cool. I just really love hanging out with my friends and doing silly things like wearing glow bracelets and sliding down slides on my birthday. I guess there just isn't a way to say that, that doesn't sound a little cheesy, but... but... that's how I feel!
The gift list:
- a pair of silver loop earrings
- two more pairs of delightfully dangly earrings
- The Red Book: A Deliciously Unorthodox Approach to Igniting Your Divine Spark by Sera Beak
- $10.00 Target gift card
- $10.00 Barnes & Noble gift card
- $15.00 Barnes & Noble gift card
- Sex Kittens: Single Cats Seeking Same by Chris Akins
- three beautiful knitted pouches
- two blown-glass candle holders
I've managed to hang on to the Target card so far, but the two Barnes & Noble cards have already gone towards the purchase of:
- A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr (non-fiction)
- Empire Falls by Richard Russo
- Three Junes by Julia Glass
- Moo by Jane Smiley
- Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson (picture book)
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Today is my 25th birthday.
Last Saturday my mom bought me new silver loop earrings and a book as my birthday gift from Dad and her. For today, she baked me a peach pie, using fresh peaches. I'm looking forward to having some good times with friends this weekend.
My co-workers, however, decided that they would have good times today. When I left work at 5:00 p.m., I found my entire car covered in wrapping paper, with a few bows, ribbons and balloons for extra decoration. The wrapping paper was mostly Seasame Street patterns, but The Simpsons, Finding Nemo and some balloon-print papers were also used. It was a good thing that I didn't have to be anywhere right after work, but it was hilarious and impressive. They all signed it, too. They're just total sweethearts.