Monday, August 31, 2009

Another Reason to Love John Scalzi

This is classic.   Be sure to read down to his paraphrase of the letter in question.

My favorite line:

"So, despite the fact that you’ve made science fiction a foundational part of your life, follow and support the genre, and are grown-up, accomplished people who are on average both smarter and better read than the average Joe, you are somewhat full of FAIL."

I wish The Vorkosigan Companion had won the Hugo for Best Related Book, but I am obviously completely biased, so congrats to Scalzi for taking that trophy for 10 years of "Taunting the Tauntable" in Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded: A Decade of Whatever, 1998-2008.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Another Reason to Love Donald Miller

His new book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, is about people, stories, and the power of story.  Check out his incredible blog post about truth, stories, and the lies we tell ourselves here.

This post made me think of all kinds of current events like political shenanigans and the debate about health care and other things it's hard but important to find the truth about.  "Seekers find."  I like that, even though it may not be true in the case of politics in a broken world.

Storytellers, take heart.  Seek truth.  Speak truth.  Don't settle for less.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Because of Winn Dixie and dead dogs

I kind of loved this book.  I'm doing some research on good books narrated by female protagonists, and I've been meaning to read this book for years.  I cried; I'll admit it.  I was glad no one else was out basking in the sun that day because I cried A LOT for no real reason except that it was kind of beautiful.

It seems to me like the books with male protagonists and animals all seem to end the same way.  Gordon Korman came to a similar conclusion in No More Dead Dogs, which my sister recently reminded me
  • had no actual animals.
  • still sort of resulted in the dog dying.
I'm curious, have you read any books with female protagonists where the dog/animal dies? 

Do you have any suggestions of books written since the late 80s that have a female narrator with some or all of the following qualities:
  • bright
  • funny
  • quirky
  • tomboy with no interest in being girly
I'm particularly looking for books that don't involve some big issue like the loss of a parent or innocence or moving to a new place or anything dramatic.  I'm trying to figure out how to tell a story where there's no real conflict/dramatic lesson learned, and I can't think of any I've read off the top of my head.  If you can think of any, please let me know.  I'd appreciate it.

Friday, August 28, 2009

What I Talk About when I Talk About Liking

It makes me a little crazy when people think that Christians should only read "Christian" books, and only Christian books they agree with completely.  For me, books are like people in that they are often complex, sometimes they are stupid, and just because some parts of them don't make them your favorite people doesn't mean you shouldn't ever associate with them. 

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that people group others by the objectionable content of the books they read because the same people who judge you by the books you read usually also judge you by the company you keep, meaning you'd better not have any non-Christian friends.  I mean, hanging out with sinners means you're obviously not holy enough to hang out with them, right?  (Do you ever get that guilt-by-association feeling from others within the body?)

I really need to just be okay with that, I think, because I'd ditch people like that way before I'd ditch books or friends.

So, just to clarify some things about books I review.  I'm writing for mature adults, and when I say I like something . . .

I don't (necessarily) mean the following:
  • I loved every minute of it.
  • I agreed with every bit of it.
  • I approve of every characters' actions.
  • I agree with all the worldviews/opinions expressed.
  • I completely agree with the theology expressed.
  • There is no objectionable content.
  • You should read it, too.
  • You will love it.
  • It will not offend or challenge you.
I do mean some or all of the following:
  • I enjoyed reading it.
  • It made me think.
  • It made me cry.
  • I'm glad I read it.
  • It challenged me.
I believe that people should exercise discernment, which I think includes elements of knowing your limits and stretching your mind.  It's a dynamic equilibrium all thinking folks must juggle, but that's how we keep growing.

Any thoughts?