Archive for April, 2010

Earth Day Updates

Happy Earth Day! 

Just thought I’d check in and give you a few updates about what I’m currently reading and what I’ve been up to in general.

I’m almost finished with Brighid’s Quest – I think I have about 40 or 50 pages to go so a review should be coming shortly. 

Still reading An Echo in the Bone and with about 200 pages left, it’s finally getting really good.  I’d be really curious to see what others think of this book who’ve read it, but it seems to me that a few hundred pages could have been easily cut out to keep the story flowing. 

I started The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on Monday and at first I was surprised to find that I couldn’t really get into the story (the writing style is somewhat abrupt at times, almost like reading a list).  Finally around page 100 I started getting sucked in and now I’m halfway through and something shocking just happened to one of the characters that was like a slap in the face.  Needless to say, I’m hooked now. 

Last weekend I was in Las Vegas and I finally got to go to the Titanic Exhibition at Luxor.  It was very well done and I highly recommend it.  I was amazed by the quantity and state of preservation of the artifacts on display and seeing pictures of the passengers and reading their stories was haunting and deeply moving.  I picked up The Sinking of the Titanic at the gift shop on the way out, which is a collection of witness accounts from surviving passengers and crew that was written in 1912, and got about halfway through it on the short flight back to Los Angeles.  It’s extremely fascinating so far.

Other than that I haven’t really had a chance to participate in weekly memes because I’ve been devoting much of my free time working on a fantasy novel that my cousin and I are collaborating on.  In fact, we just launched a website that will be dedicated to the story and the world of Salona we’re creating and I’m excited to post the link here:

www.writersofsalona.com

So far we have some character bios, a short synopsis, and an excerpt from the story but we’ll be adding some images soon.  Stop by and let us know what you think! 

 

This weekend I’m going to the annual LA Times Festival of Books for the first time and I’m so excited to get to meet some of my fellow SoCal book bloggers!  I bought tickets to some of the author panels and I’m planning on lifting my temporary book-buying ban to pick up at least the new Christopher Rice and Anchee Min books while I’m there (and hopefully get them signed!). 

Will you be there?  Have you been to past events?

Book Review: Lamb

 

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal

Christopher Moore
Paperback, 464 pages
HarperCollins Publishers
February 01, 2003

I’ve been meaning to read Christopher Moore for a while now and after finishing Lamb I’m just sorry I didn’t start sooner.  I shudder to think of all those wasted hours spent watching mindless reality shows, paying bills, going to work..when I could have been in tears laughing at the deliciously witty and beautifully sarcastic prose of Mr. Moore. 

Fan-tast-ic.

Lamb tells the story of the Messiah through the words of his best friend Levi who is called Biff, and it essentially fills in the gaps between Christ’s (Joshua here) famous birth and his crucifixion and resurrection just over thirty years later.  Just to be clear, this book isn’t meant to be read as historical fiction (although Moore did his homework researching the period) or to challenge beliefs, it’s purely a what-if tale that’s meant to entertain.*  It will make you grin, gasp, and definitely laugh out loud.  Frequently.  I mean, the extended title alone is enough to set the comedic tone of the novel: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal

The book begins when the angel Raziel receives an assignment to go to Earth (“dirt-side”) and resurrect Biff and give him the task of writing a new Gospel, in honor of the two-millennia anniversary of Christ’s birth.  We’re introduced to Biff (whose nick-name is supposedly derived from the Hebrew slang for “smack upside the head”) and I quickly latched onto his wit, nonchalance, and sarcasm, which he invented.  He begins his tale when he first met Joshua at age six, where the Messiah was engaged in the fascinating activity of mashing lizards to death and then resurrecting them, and precedes to inform us of their childhood in Galilee, where Josh learned he was the son of God, and moves on to their epic journey when they set out in order for Josh to learn more about his nature and what it will take to bring the Kingdom to his people. 

The journey takes them far and wide, through vastly different cultures and religions.  They study everything from Buddhism and Kung Fu to the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads (Biff even learns quite a bit from the Kama Sutra) before finally returning home to spread the word that the Messiah has come.  Through all their adventures we learn the origins of many of his teachings, which were quite controversial and radical at the time. 

As someone who grew up without religion I’m always surprised at how fascinated I am by theology and the history of religion.  I guess it’s the anthropologist in me.  It was fascinating to read about the various philosophies and religious beliefs that influenced Josh during his quest and proved to shape the core values of his budding ministry. 

The story was more than funny (and it was funny) though.  It was clever, intriguing, thought-provoking, and moving.  Biff’s fierce loyalty and the love he feels for his friend came across on every page, despite the constant wise-cracking and sarcastic remarks.  The same can be said for Maggie (Mary Magdalene), who was a wonderful character.  It was easy to see why both Biff and Josh fell in love with her from day one (a chaste love in Josh’s case, of course). 

There were so many quotes that I wanted to include here but in the end I just couldn’t bring myself to choose.  There were just too many gems.  But I will include what Biff refers to as “the gist of almost every sermon I ever heard Joshua give”:

You should be nice to people, even creeps.

And if you:

a) believed that Joshua was the Son of God (and)

b) he had come to save you from sin (and)

c) acknowledged the Holy Spirit within you (became as a little child, he would say) (and)

d) didn’t blaspheme the Holy Ghost (see c),

then you would:

e) live forever

f) someplace nice

g) probably heaven.

However, if you:

h) sinned (and/or)

i) were a hypocrite (and/or)

j) valued things over people (and)

k) didn’t do a, b, c, and d,

then you were:

l) f*cked

I’m tempted to include the rough draft of the Sermon on the Mount but I’ll let you get to that in the context of the story so you can fully appreciate it.

Toward the end of the book I was so engrossed I had to physically stop reading and remind myself to slow down because I was missing all the little details whilst getting caught up in the action.  I loved the ending, although it was a bit abrupt.  I would have happily read through two hundred more pages just to hang out with Biff a while longer.  Maybe there will be (or is there?) a sequel.  Wishful thinking probably.

Well, if you can’t tell yet I was absolutely enchanted by this book and apologies to all the books in my TBR pile who’ve been waiting patiently for their turn, but I just can’t wait to get my hands on another Christopher Moore book.  My only problem is choosing which one to read next.  I’ve heard great things about Fluke so maybe I’ll go with that one.

Have you read this or any other Christopher Moore books?

* Moore includes this statement in his Afterword: “This story is not and never was meant to challenge anyone’s faith; however, if one’s faith can be shaken by stories in a humorous novel, one may have a bit more praying to do.”

Inside Out Giveaway Winner!

And the winner of the signed copy of Maria V. Snyder’s new book, Inside Out, is…..

Melanie

@

Melanie’s Musings

Congratulations!

I hope you have as much fun reading it as I did.  Thanks again to Maria for the giveaway and for stopping by my humble little abode on the blogosphere.

And if you missed my Q&A with Maria you can check it out here.