Thursday, September 25, 2008

Booking Through Thursday also compliments of Breathless Mind

What was the most unusual (for you) book you ever read? Either because the book itself was completely from out in left field somewhere, or was a genre you never read, or was the only book available on a long flight… whatever? What (not counting school textbooks, though literature read for classes counts) was furthest outside your usual comfort zone/familiar territory?
And, did you like it? Did it stretch your boundaries? Did you shut it with a shudder the instant you were done? Did it make you think? Have nightmares? Kick off a new obsession?

Like Breathless I think I'll give multiple answers.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom My older brother Scott, aka NY-something-fan, gave me this for Christmas years ago. Originally, I had no plans to read it. Why? I have nothing in common with Scott. Despite thinking he is one of the coolest people to walk the face of the Earth, well at least since Sabatini. Also I'd heard about it and had seen the movie, which by the way I also love. Normally seeing a movie wouldn't turn me off reading a book but would rather cause me to read it. In this case I didn't want to spoil the movie. Scott has a bad habit of making me eat crow about books. I've read every Albom book he's ever given me and loved them. Drat it.

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. The link is actually to the Wikipedia for Pausch but... This also came from Scott and was really good. Not that I was surprised or anything (Scott has pretty good taste in books) but it is still way outside my normal Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Romance and Classics love affair with books. It's really well written and a wonderful tale of what a father wants his children to know when he knows he won't be able to tell them himself. (Dude who wrote it died of cancer).
By the way Scott, I will get it back to you if Liz ever actually reads it (She probably won't).

Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg again post forth coming as soon as we finish reading it for class (first seven chapters assigned over weekend). Wonderful story. Way out of my comfort zone. I'm a very accepting person but I don't particularly want to know. If you understand where I'm coming from? This is a yeah now you know kind of book. It was a kind of scary read for me. I'm very much not the sort of person who likes to read about the horrible things done to people. Unless it's a complete fabrication (vampires, sadly, probably do not actually exist despite my belief in them) this book is based very loosely on things that happened to the author. The people are fabricated but based on real things, I'm not saying that how I want to but I think you get what I'm saying. It's based on stuff that was really done to gays/lesbians and transgenders. Very enlightening book. But the professor is a psychopath.

Dante's Inferno Reading it because I want to. It's poetry, epic poetry. Until this the only epic poetry I'd been exposed to (sounds traumatic, it is!) was Mom reading us part of Longfellow's Song of Hiawatha which I also plan to read at some point. Not anytime soon. So far the Inferno has kind of traumatized me. I'm very religious. There is a God. He is my God. He doesn't have to be your God. But this is something I heard on Numb3rs last week, I'm not putting it in quote form because I can't find it but here goes, In believing in Him you risk nothing. If He isn't there you have made your time more peaceful, and you won't know he isn't. If He is by not believing what have you lost? That struck me has nothing to do with the Inferno but maybe tomorrow I'll do a post on what that statement made me think of. Probably not but you never know. (BTW nothing against Athiests, I have the utmost respect for anyone who doesn't need to believe there's something more).
Back to the Inferno. One of the most horrific circles of Hell for me was the one for non-believers and people who believed in other religions. The first circle Baptismal Sins. While I firmly believe in God in the Judeo/Christian model, I have no difficulty with more than one God or other religions. Heck as long as you're worshipping something I figure God will take it as a form of faith. I also believe God gives us more room than most Churches and religious leaders would like him to. God created us right? He made us how He wanted us to be. My faith is a very big reason why I have no problems with homosexuality, bisexuality, different religions and every other thing known to man. I have faith that God made each of us how He wanted us to be. And as God makes no mistakes and gives us no more than He thinks we can handle (though sometimes we wish He had less faith in us {yes I got that from somewhere but I don't know where, sorry}). So the absolute rigidity of the Circles, not only terrified me and caused some questions about my faith (they have been resolved) it was a little weird to realize how far some Faiths have come since the Middle Ages. Also just how different our society is. Many of the things called "sins" by Dante's time are of little concern today.
The Inferno is from around 1308. I'm reading it 700 years after it's shall we say original air date.
The irony was until I just now did the math this was lost on me. This is the anniversary year. What will the 1400 year moment look like? How will out world have changed? Will anyone know who Dante was? Will anyone remember who our great authors were? Which books will be being read by girls like me who enjoy reading things that shock and scare them? Will my religion still be around or will it be religated to myth like the Greek and Roman gods and godesses of old?
The Inferno and the questions it's caused me to ask myself may not have changed my world but maybe they've changed me a bit. I don't know. Maybe I was changing any way. But I like to think it's making my faith in my God a little stronger. Unlike some religion is very important to my mental health. Without it I don't want to know what I might become.
Kind of scary how everything I post about Dante becomes a religious exercise?
And yes every time I close it, I shudder. It bothers me but somehow, I think I have to finish it.

Dante's a little hard to top but any how...

Gallow's Hill- Lois Duncan 'nough said link is to one of my own posts on this book so. I will say this one totally rewrote my religion.


nyvolfan said...

Glad you liked them both. Have your read Albom's latest, for one more day? I think we may have more in common than you realize.

Breezey375 said...

Yeah, I've read it. Some where I have a copy of it, pretty sure it came from you. I think I did a post on it but I'm not sure. I didn't like it as much as the others as it was harder to follow.
As to being more alike than I think....
I'll take your word on it.

threecollie said...

You are just so darned smart and perceptive. It makes me proud to know you!

Breezey375 said...

Okay, mom, again with the "smart" comment. Why do you think I'm so smart? Most of what I say I get from OTHER PEOPLE! Very few of my thoughts are original. Also again you're my mommy, I love you more than anything but still you have to think I'm smart. It's mandatory.

Anonymous said...

This might sound weird, but it's so nice to read your nice, tolerant religious opinions! Reminds me that religion isn't all about the scary extremist stuff that makes the headlines. =) Hope that made sense...

Those are some interesting questions you raised about The Inferno. I wonder if Shakespeare will be read much in 1400 years - it's already hard to understand after only 500! (ish) Oh for a time machine... lol.

Breezey375 said...

It makes complete sense. I could never understand the extremist stuff. It's always the nutjobs that get all the attention.
I figure that you have to take the Bible at face value it says what it says. God created man, means God created all men. I'm glad I'm not alienating you with my religious ramblings. I'm always nervous posting religous stuff 'cause I never know how people are going to take it.

For students in 1400 years I hope to God all Shakespeare, well maybe not A Midsummer Night's Dream, that one's atually pretty good, have been destroyed or at least relegated to musty old libraries!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I know what you mean about posting religious stuff. Or anything potentially contentious actually. I find being worried about how people will react is a good incentive to make sure I have decent reasons for what I'm saying.

Lol! I keep meaning to see the movie of that one. I quite like Much Ado About Nothing but I could do without the tragedies.

Breezey375 said...

I get the making sure you have good reasons. Although my only reason is that no one around here is really up to discussing religious philosophy with me!

I actually first was exposed to it in a kind of "naughty" film from the 80's (I think) "naughty" being rated R and a little too much sex humor, Porky's 2 The Next Day, really terrifically funny movie by the way. So when I found the copies my grandmother gave my mom of Shakespeare's comedies, I read it. Must admit I haven't even heard of Much Ado About Nothing.