Sunday, November 18, 2012

Reading of Biblical Proportions

One thing the hurricane had me doing a lot of was reading. (I've also been trying to write a lot, but as you can see from my word count widget, that's not going as well as I'd hoped.)

I've had a copy of the graphic novel Blankets for a while now, and haven't gotten around to reading it. The reviews I've seen says it's charming and touching, and the artwork I'd seen while flipping through was quite nice. When I started reading, though I wasn't quite prepared for some of the subject matter in the story -- nothing bad or shocking, but ... actually, it did shock me.

The author dealt with Christianity in a non-offensive, non-"Christian Fiction" way, which is almost impossible to find. The characters went to church, to church camp, read the Bible, had some sex, talked about divorce, frolicked in the snow, had sibling rivalry, struggled with everyday things ... all with equal importance. When the main character found himself gravitating away from the "church experience" of Christianity, he still held onto some of the core beliefs, treated everything with reverence and respect.

Honestly, near the beginning of the book, with the first mentions of "church", I found myself dreading yet another God-bashing, and that I would feel more alone than I already do in my faith (being a Christian in NY is not the easiest thing I've ever done). Instead, the book dealt with some of the same issues I have -- that I don't necessarily want to sing the simple praise songs with groups of people, I don't necessarily want to shun art schools and ignore real things that happen in the name of being a "Good Christian". Part of being a Christian is dealing with some ugly things that happen every day, but still holding onto something good that sets you apart from others. 

Another book that was vastly different from Blankets was The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible. I expected not to like this one either, because I thought he was going to make fun of the Bible as being the most ridiculous thing one could ever follow. Thankfully, I was wrong. The author focused mostly on the Jewish laws and rules. When he got to the New Testament and struggled with accepting Jesus as God, he did it respectfully, and I appreciated that.

At the end of his year-long experiment, he didn't come out of it as a convert, but as a "reverent agnostic". He appreciated that prayer was sacred, as were people's beliefs. Sometimes all we ask for is not to be bullied.

The other books I've read recently are lighter material (you're welcome). One was I Suck at Girls by Justin Halpern (of Shit my Dad Says fame), and another was 
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling. Both were light and entertaining, though I enjoyed Mindy's book better, not necessarily because she and I share experiences (we don't, really), but it seems like she's a person I would like to hang out with. Inevitably, we'd probably both get the feeling the other was doing stuff without them.

Justin Halpern's book dragged a little, but was mostly entertaining since he really does seem to suck at girls and it's fun to laugh at someone else. His dad was also a prominent character, which is always a treat. This book was much more cohesive than his previous bestseller -- which I started, but never finished.

Currently reading Four Past Midnight by Stephen King. Haven't yet finished the first story, Secret Window, Secret Garden (which had been adapted to Secret Window, starring Johnny Depp). It's a lovely piece of fiction that's getting me through my daily commute with as little fuss as possible. And really, what's better than picturing Johnny Depp as the main character?


  1. I always wanted to check out 'Shit my dad says', but never got around to it. Loved his tweets. And that 'Secret Window' book, is that still a horror tale? I'm getting the feeling that King strays from that path a lot with his newer works (I only know his 'classic' stuff).

    Very nice post, thanks! :)

  2. Secret Window has suspense, but I'm not sure it qualifies as horror. No creatures, but plenty of cat-killing and house-burning.