Thursday, October 10, 2013

What I'm Reading Wednesday, #1 (Thursday just doesn't have that alliteration...)

So I've been thinking about this What I'm Reading Wednesday thing Liz keeps doing, and, knowing that I wouldn't actually write anything unless I committed myself by telling her yesterday, guess what I did? So I'm cutting my usual lunchtime tv break short and actually exercising my brain a bit...

1. Dear and Glorious Physician by Taylor Caldwell

My mom has been mentioning this book and how much she enjoyed reading for about as long as I can remember, so it's continually been on the back burner throughout my life--much like how, when I first watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail, I felt like the Black Knight was a beloved but deceased family member, based on how many times Dad had told hist story.

Apart from her completely inspecific high praise, however, I had absolutely no idea what to expect from this book. I was hooked by about page 15 (of 600), and could hardly put it down from that point forward! (Warning: minute spoilers ahead)

Beginning in Lucanus' childhood, Caldwell weaves a thoroughly-researched (even if fictional), compelling biography. Her characters remind you that, while God revealed himself fully to the Jews, there were always Gentiles aware of his existence; you also see the way that one man could impact the world, even without television or internet. Cultural prejudices are shown in what seems to me to be a realistic manner... and the familiar gospel stories are woven into the text and the lives of its characters so well!

Apart from one obvious misinterpretation that belies her Protestant theology (but what else should one expect re: the Eucharist?), and the silly insistence upon describing both Jesus and Mary as golden-haired and pale-skinned, I recommend this book very whole-heartedly. I can barely imagine how I managed to live so long and never have anyone else trying to sell me on reading it!

NB: Probably not for younger than teenagers, based on just a scene or two. Important ones, though.

TL;DR: If you're over 16 and a Catholic, how on earth have you managed not to read this book yet!?!? Do it. Seriously.

2. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, read by Anne Hathaway

As an American born in the late 20th century, of course I know the film version of the Wizard of Oz quite well. So when this came in Audible's "Daily Deal," I decided to give it a go, having been quite pleased with previous titles in their A-List Collection, and being curious about what the film adapted from the original text.

This was no exception! Hathaway's narrator voice did make me feel like I was participating in Storytime with the Queen of Genovia—which was definitely not a negative feature!—and the sheer range of accents, lisps, and other vocal tricks she used to differentiate the many characters was quite effective and impressive. I always knew who was speaking before they were identified, even the bit parts.

TL;DR: Great story, superbly narrated, and fun to revisit!

3. Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions by Neil Gaiman

Upon the high recommendation of some friends whose artistic taste I quite respect, I started to read some Neil Gaiman novels—mostly via Audible, where he narrates his own stories. He's excellent at blurring the line between fantasy and reality, and also remarkably good at creepy. His bad guys, for instance, aren't just evil—they actually make your skin crawl with their, well, creepiness. Clearly my own articulation skills pale in comparison. :)

Anyway, my parents, with unexpected coordination, combined their powers and got me this book of his short stories, and they've been just fascinating! I've been reading just one nearly every day, which gives me plenty of time to digest each one. Because he doesn't have the taboos my moral code gives me re: sex, it's a lot more prevalent (and sometimes more depraved) than what I would otherwise expose myself to—which turns out to be quite okay in small doses, and thought-provoking.

TL;DR: Fascinating, slightly outside my comfort zone, enjoyable, completely unique. I'm a fan.

So, uhh... I guess there are more of these on Jessica's blog? Whoo!

1 comment:

  1. If you're over 16 and a Catholic, how on earth have you managed not to learn how to ride a bike yet!?!? Do it. Seriously.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...