Wendy (here_be_dragons) wrote,

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Books - #103 and #104

#103 -
Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut

This was a really cool book, recommended by spikesmom, and read in honour of Banned Books Week. Hard to describe, really. It follows the life of Billy Pilgrim, who survived the firebombing of Dresden in WWII, but there is so much more to it than just a story with an anti-war message. There's talk of time travel, and spirituality, and at times it's really funny, and also very sad. Overall, though, I felt comforted. I love Vonnegut's sense of irony. Just brilliant. Not a book I would have picked up on my own, so thank you, Spikesmom, for suggesting that I read it.

Here is one of my favourite sections:

The visitor from outer space made a serious study of Christianity, to learn, if he could, why Christians found it so easy to be cruel. He concluded that at least part of the trouble was slipshod storytelling in the New Testament. He supposed that the intent of the Gospels was to teach people, among other things, to be merciful, even to the lowest of the low.

But the Gospels actually taught this:

Before you kill somebody, make absolutely sure he isn't well connected. So it goes.

The flaw in the Christ stories, said the visitor from outer space, was that Christ, who didn't look like much, was actually the Son of the Most Powerful Being in the Universe. Readers understood that, so, when they came to the cruicifixion, they naturally thought . . .

Oh, boy - they sure picked the wrong guy to lynch that time!

And that thought had a brother:
There are right people to lynch. Who? People not well connected. So it goes.

The book was filled with things like this - fairly low-key in the way they're presented, but really packing a punch in terms of the content.

Oh! And here's a question for anyone who has read this book: Do you have any idea if that stuff about the clues to the seven sexes on earth, and sex on the invisible dimension actually makes any sense? The part about how there could be no Earthling babies without male homosexuals, women over sixty five, and other babies who had lived an hour or less after birth; and there *could* be Earthling babies without female homosexuals, and men over sixty-five. It was gibberish to Billy, and it's gibberish to me - but I'm wondering if there really is something there that is comprehensible? Does the fact that I Googled it to try and find out if it makes sense to anyone make me a sad person with not much of a life? HELP! ::grin::

So it goes. 8/10 (Library)

#104 -
1,000 Places to See Before You Die - Patricia Shultz

This book contains the author's top 1,000 "must see" spots on the planet, including travel-guide-type information about them. First of all, I must admit that while I'm claiming to have "read" this book, I have NOT read every single word - although I have flipped through all the pages. This is more a reference guide than something that's meant to be read cover-to-cover. To date, I've visited 43 of the places (more, if you consider that within some of the listings - Paris and London, for example - she's got several local sites listed which I don't think count towards the 1,000). I've also added sticky flags to several of the pages because they've got places that I like to visit in the near future. It's not a particularly exciting book, but it's an interesting idea, and I think I'll get some ideas from it in the future. 7/10 (PC)

I've also recently finished The Good Earth, but I'm going to put that review in it's own entry, since it's the current Oprah book, and I'll probably spend a bit of extra time answering study group questions and such. :)
Tags: books

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