Sunday, October 05, 2008

Things I've Been Reading

Faulkner's "Sound and the Fury."

I've tried to read this book a couple hundred times but failed each time. Mostly because I am a Hemingway and Steinbeck fan and I HATE making myself read something. That's why I’ve read the LOTR trilogy 24,000 times. It's not Faulkner's long paragraphs; I really don't have a problem with really long paragraphs. It's not the long sentences either; most of his sentences are a kind of mid-way poetry and prose hybrid. It is just tough reading through the eyes of an idiot, and I suffer greatly from ADHD anyways, so it is almost like a bat leading Steevie Wonder. (for the first chapter anyways.)

What has surprised me about The Sound and the Fury is how funny it is. I didn't expect to chuckle my way through the book, but any southern family is bound to be funny, especially if it includes a black nanny who has more sense than the whole bunch.

Bukowski's "Post Office."

Before you go out and buy this booger, know that it is a smidge on the racy side. Make that a good dollop on the racy side. However, it is extremely funny. Again, I tend to teeter on the edge of dark-comedy cliff, and things that are funny to me are not sometimes funny to other people, especially my fellow Christians. (Just wait till my novel hits the shelves someday - before I croak, hopefully. I'm sure I'll be ruffling a few Christian feathers, unintentionally, I might add. Have mercy.)

Anyways, about my weird tendency to laugh at things... In my constitutional law class in undergrad (too many years ago to say) the teacher announced to the class that a man in California (I think) had been sentenced to several years in prison because, when a very wealthy lady cut him off in L.A. traffic, he approached the her open window on the passenger's side at a traffic light, grabbed her poodle, and threw her poodle off the bridge. (Sorry for the clunky run-on there!)

See, I know it's not funny, or shouldn't be funny, but in context, (bored off my rocker stuck in a required elective) I laughed out loud, very loud, and couldn't quite stop. It didn't help that the prof. was a hybrid of a football coach and twinkle-toes. I was the only one laughing. I had to pull a hair out of my leg to get myself calmed down.

Essays of E.B. White

This is a book for the whole family. White is of course most famous for his children's literature but these essays show the enormous talent of a great writer for any age. In fact, I think E.B. White is one of the funniest writers since Twain. He is (was) just naturally funny, and whether writing serious or comical, those are the best kinds of authors in my opinion. I'm so tired of depressing literature I could puke. I think you'll be surprised at how much you'd like this selection White's short stories and essays.

Theology and Sanity, by Frank Sheed.

This is probably my favorite, all-around theology book. That's saying a whoooooooole lot, because I loves me some theology and I've read truckloads of theology and have grown up being mentored by some wonderful theologians (who showered my hungry mind with books and books and books.) However, some of you might have noticed that I sort of burned out of the theological-discussions-embers and lately I keep most theo-thoughts to myself, (as far as blogging goes) but I really think you can't have a better theological book in your layman library, besides the collected works of Lewis. It is truly amazing. I'm serious. The best, on so many levels. You'll never hear the Doctrine of the Trinity described more clearly. Get it. You have to order it online because it isn't in most Barnes and Noble stores. Sheed (a contemporary of Lewis) wasn't interested in the public eye as Lewis was. (P.S., if you are Protestant, just ignore the chapter on Mary. Or read it. At least you'll have a correct understanding of the Marian doctrine. Hint: It ain't NEAR as strange as you think.)

The only problem I have with the book is the title, well, speaking the title. Every time I try to verbalize the title it sounds like "Theology Insanity." A pain in the butt to enunciate over and over but a small price for such an amazing book.

(Sorry subscribers for the extra amendments here.)

So what books have been on your nightstand/by-the-toilet lately?


nancy said...

The Tipping Point - Malcolm Gladwell,
Jesus for President - Shane Claiborne,
Do Hard Things - Alex & Brett Harris
Crazy Love - Francis Chan,
Francis, The Saint of Assisi - Joan Mueller

majorsteve said...

Seth, get you some Jimson Weed if you're going to be reading Sound & Fury. It helps, idiosyncratically.

Uh, just kidding...I really wouldn't recommend it.

Susanne said...

I loved The Sound and the Fury too! If would've been hard for me to get through it, though, if I'd been reading it on my own. I had a great literature teacher in college who helped us understand it.

I recently read The Red Tent (fiction book based on the life of Dinah from the Bible), and it was really interesting. But I had problems with some things that were different than the Biblical account.

My favorite book of all time is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, and I also loved Adam Bede by George Eliot and Villette (also Bronte).

Becky said...

I'm reading a great book called "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein. If you're any kind of a dog person, you'll love this book.

Joanna Martens said...

I NEED your novel in my life.

Seth Ward said...

Nancy, if you had to pick one, two ore all of those books, (knowing what kinda fella I am...) which one do you recommend to pick up?

Majorsteve, sounds fun. However, I think I'll stick to Starbucks...

Susanne, I love Jayne Eyre as well. Actually, Amber read the thing out loud to me over the past year.

Becky, I'll check it out! I do love dogs.

Joanna, I'm hoping that it will be in your life in a year or two! Working on it. If it gets picked up, I'll send you a pre-copy pdf... Just don't tell anyone.

Joanna Martens said...

i'll give you money and a free subscription to oprah.

Anonymous said...

definitely picking up the last one. thanks.