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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I talk about books... and then it all falls apart. Curse you, Irish Cream!

I've got lots more house stuff to talk about, but I'd kinda rather not. I'm feeling a little fried in regards to the subjects of "home repair" and "unpacking" and "hanging stuff on the wall and not having it fall down."

Instead, I'd like to talk about some books I've probably already talked about.

Holes, Louis Sachar (1998)

I'd heard of this book and its movie-adaptation, but had familiarized myself with neither until my friends over at the Two Bibliomaniacs gave my son a copy for his birthday. I try to preview books whenever possible so as not to expose my son to anything interesting, and I was pleasantly surprised with this one. Less than twenty-four hours after picking it up, I was starting it for a second read.

Stanley Yelnats is about as unfortunate a wet blanket as you're likely to find in the driver's seat of a book, and that's what makes it such a terrific book. Look at Lord of the Rings. If a team of invisible stealth ninjas had taken the ring to Mordor, it wouldn't have been much of a story, would it? Actually, that sounds like a pretty awesome story...

Anyway, Stanley gets arrested and sent to Camp Green Lake which isn't really a camp. Or a lake. Or green. But there are lots of holes and none of them are in the plot. Fo' reals, yo! This was an exciting and funny book that has just the right amount of everything. Except kissing, because boys hate that crap.

A Wrinkle In Time, Madeleine LOL'Engle (1962)

"Wild nights are my glory."

I could stop there and have said all that needs to be said about one of literature's most adored offerings, but brevity isn't my way.

How about this gem... " the way, there IS such a thing as a tesseract."

And the world craps its pants.

If Stanley Yelnats is a wet blanket, Meg Murry, the hero of Wrinkle, is the puddle said blanket was used to soak up. She's a teenage girl and, like most teenaged girls, she hates herself. The thing is, most everyone else hates her, too, so you get the sense that Meg knows what she's talking about.

Ultimately, the story boils down to this: A young hero with low self-esteem and little hope for a change for the better has many questions about the fate of a parent. Enter small child with unique abilities and several odd senior citizens, one of whom speaks in an bizarre manner. The heroes travel to distant planets, always eager for news regarding the aforementioned parent and encounter more than was originally bargained for. In the end, it is love, not skill, courage, or weapons that save the day.

But enough about Star Wars...

My sister read A Wrinkle In Time to me when I was eight years old. Ever since it has been one of my favorite books. I just finished reading it to my son for the first time. I'm pretty sure he didn't understand all of the technical explanations about tessers and such, but I'm still confused twenty-five years later and that's never kept me from enjoying the story, so I don't think total comprehension is all that important.

In conclusion, I would just like to state that any book that starts out, "It was a dark and stormy night," and wasn't written by Snoopy has no choice but to be amazing.

(NOTE: I started drinking a tasty beverage of Irish Cream and milk about half an hour ago and my fingers and arms are starting to get sleepy, so if my style and focus start to slip... it's 'cause I'm gettin' my drank on.)

Other books... other books...

I just read the Kite Runner by Kahled Hosseini (2003), and it was pretty astonishing. It wasn't written pretentiously, like so many instant classics these days. The tone was conversational. Like reading an email sent by a good friend from long ago who just wants to bring you up to speed.

The narrator is an Afghan living in America who has just received an upsetting telephone call from an old friend. The story that unfolds is of friendship and betrayal, hope and heartbreak, fear and failure and redemption. Selfishness and self-loathing abound in this book, but it is told in such a way that you feel nothing but understanding. I was extremely impressed and, upon completion, immediately passed it on to a friend.

Fair warning, however: this book has a butt-load of sodomy.

(NOTE: I have used the "butt-load of sodomy" joke in the past, but never in such a public forum. Please keep in mind that I have been drinking a bit.)

(ANOTHER NOTE: I'm still drinking a bit. I'm eating Halloween candy, too. Our neighbor kids are too fat. They'll thank me one day.)

I kinda feel like this might be my last chance to safely pull the plug for the evening. I'm going to do so before I start losing followers.

Thank you,
      Matt Beers

1 comment:

  1. I think it's great when the 200lb Man goes all bookish! Oh, and thanks for the sodomy humor and warning.