Books and More

Labor Day, 2012

Boy, did I miss it this morning.  Sitting in bed listening to the news, my cat on the far corner of the bed, watching outside.  All of a sudden, she jumps up and starts to run, then, remembering that she has a closed door between her and whatever she saw, she drops down again.  A very young coyote, smaller than my other pal, walks onto the patio and stares in at her.  Beautiful golden eyes!!  But my camera is not at hand!  Where did I leave it?  By the time I found it, our friend has meandered by, and my only photo is through the screen.  (Notice how much shorter its tail is, compared to my pal from a week ago in the second picture.  Maybe they were the two that were frolicking together a month and a half ago.1)


Having no Netflix movie to watch, I grabbed Soylent Green at the library the other day, a scifi from ’73 which I had never seen.  Didn’t know that Charlton Heston had starred in it.  I knew the basic premise – dead people being turned into food, but I didn’t know what the movie said had caused the food shortage, Pollution, which caused Global Warming, so that crops, even ocean plankton (from which the original Soylent Green was made) died, and Overpopulation.  Gee, that supports ZPG2!


Finally finished Under the Banner of Heaven3.  The driving story was the killing by two FLDS men of their brother’s wife and 15-month-old daughter.  Because the men said that God had told them to do the murders, in Ron Lafferty’s second trial the court had to decide whether hearing the voice of God meant that he was insane (thereby declaring that all faiths were based on the doctrine of insane people).  Three psychiatrists testified as to whether Lafferty had a psychiatric disorder.  This from the book:

Such a defense would unavoidably raise the same difficult epistemological questions that had come to the fore after the Tenth Circuit Court’s ruling in 1991: if Ron Lafferty were deemed mentally ill because he obeyed the voice of his God, isn’t everyone who believes in God and seeks guidance through prayer mentally ill as well? In a democratic republic that aspires to protect religious freedom, who should have the right to declare that one person’s irrational beliefs are legitimate and commendable, while another person’s are crazy? How can a society actively promote religious faith on one hand and condemn a man for zealously adhering to his faith on the other?

This, after all, is a country led by a born-again Christian, President George W. Bush, who believes he is an instrument of God and characterizes international relations as a biblical clash between forces of good and evil.  The highest law officer in the land, Attorney General John Ashcroft, is a dyed-in-the-wool follower of a fundamentalist Christian sect – the Pentecostal Assemblies of God – who begins each day at the Justice Department with a devotional prayer meeting for his staff, periodically has himself anointed with sacred oil, and subscribes to a vividly apocalyptic worldview that has much in common with key millenarian beliefs held by the Lafferty brothers

Next, for my UofA Humanities class – Nobel Laureates of Literature, read Pär Lagerkvist’s short novel, Barabbas, the tale of the man reprieved of death by crucifixion (Pilate could commute one prisoner’s death sentence by popular acclaim) instead of Jesus.  Barabbas agonizes over early Christianity throughout his life.

In this enigmatic and unforgettable Barabbas, with its sense of spiritual torment, its deep stirrings of faith, its sure response to the movements of the human mind, is expressed the riddle of Man and his destiny, the contrasted aspects of his fundamental drama, and the cry of humanity in its death throes, bequeathing its spirit to the night. -Lucien Maury

Some interesting characters drawn.  (The class doesn’t start until October, but I’m reading ahead.)

I’ve also started Selected Short Stories of William Faulkner for the same class.  The preface, about Faulkner’s life, brought to mind more than I had recalled from an English class 45 years ago on Faulkner, Fitzgerald, and Hemingway.  And I had forgotten how marvelously he depicted Southerners, until the Rogue Theater produced As I Lay Dying last year (marvelous!) and I remembered having read it.

So now I’m into the South, more deeply than I had been in 2005 in Mississippi for eight months.  (Frankly, the 60-hr FEMA work weeks kept us pretty occupied.)

Finally, I just had to buy this book for my granddaughter, Olivia and the Fairy Princesses, after reading the NY Times book review4.

In this volume Olivia confronts one of the most pressing challenges facing her generation: the princess scourge. When Olivia tells her father she’s having an “identity crisis,” he responds, “Well, you’ll always be my little princess.” Olivia is appalled: “That’s the problem. All the girls want to be princesses.” At a birthday party, where everyone else is in pink taffeta, Olivia sports, as she puts it, “a simple French sailor shirt, matador pants, black flats, a strand of pearls, sunglasses, a red bag and my gardening hat.”





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3 Responses to “Books and More”

  1. Jim Says:

    You have accumulated a vast amount of knowledge.
    Are you certain that the appearance of the shorter tail is not caused by your different angle of view?

  2. lynn Says:

    Nice to see you feature Under the Banner- and I will see if Kindle has Barabbas- Thanks.

  3. Read More Here Says:

    Asking questions are actually good thing if you are not understanding anything completely, except this
    article presents good understanding yet.

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