Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut

I finished Breakfast of Champions last night after a pleasant bath that was accompanied by a public radio program about Celtic music. I usually read in the bath, but this is not the sort of book one would wish to invite into such a tranquil spot.

All these hours later, I’m unsure if I liked the book or not. I mean. I recognize that the sexism in it is partly due to the time in which it was written, and partly to provoke, and that it’s written as social satire. I mean, it’s Vonnegut, you know?

On the other hand, this novel breaks the “fourth wall” often, seems to contradict itself, and is a little confusing, as it doesn’t seem to have much of a plot, and yet, the stories all tie together in the end.

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

First of all, the depth of research required to pull off a novel like this, filling in the blanks between the birth of Christ and the point at which we pick up his story again, when he’s in his thirties, is incredible, and even if many of the scenarios in this novel are preposterous, Christopher Moore deserves kudos just for that.

Second, this is parody at its best, and while, yes, it’s controversial, the best comedy comes from darkness and controversy. Parody serves a purpose, it makes us examine the truths we hold close, but non-threateningly.

Third, this novel is hilarious. Completely hilarious. Biff is the perfect foil for the world’s only perfect person, and the notions expressed – What if Jesus studied Buddhism? What if he knew kung-fu? – are delightful to ponder.

As the author points out, it’s fiction, and if reading fiction causes you to doubt your faith, it’s your faith that should be examined, not the novel that caused your doubts.

Read LAMB.
Laugh a lot.

Booking Through Thursday: Gold Medal Reading

From Booking Through Thursday:


* Do you or have you ever read books about the Olympics? About sports in general?
* Fictional ones? Or non-fiction? Or both?

And, Second:

* Do you consider yourself a sports fan?
* Because, of course, if you’re a rabid fan and read about sports constantly, there’s a logic there; if you hate sports and never read anything sports-related, that, too … but you don’t have to love sports to enjoy a good sports story.
* (Or a good sports movie, for that matter. Feel free to expand this into a discussion about “Friday Night Lights” or “The Natural” or whatever…)

I vaguely remember reading books about the first modern Olympics, but I think it may have been a movie as well.

The only sports I really follow are horse racing, figure skating and (very casually) hockey, so unless Dick Francis novels, and that one Sara Paretsky novel about the hockey player named Boom-Boom, count, I haven’t read anything about sports, either.

I do love a good skating movie, though. Like the original The Cutting Edge.

Cowboys Are My Weakness by Pam Houston

I have to confess, I only bought this book because the titular story, Cowboys are My Weakness, was assigned reading for a writer’s workshop I just attended. I didn’t even like it the first time I read it!

But then, after the first couple days of the workshop, when I was alone in my hotel and desperate to read something, ANYTHING, less depressing than One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest I picked the book up again. I wound up finishing it on the plane flight back home.

Houston’s style isn’t fussy, and moves between first, third, and sometimes even second, person depending on the needs of each essay or story. Her characters are vivid. Her tales of love, lust, dogs and horses are tales that almost any woman will enjoy.

Goes well with a burger, and a cold beer.