Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff

If you are a cradle Catholic, or a cradle any kind of Christian, I predict you will enjoy this quick read. As long as you don't take anything too literally, you won't get offended by Christopher Moore's Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal. It's the same stories I grew up hearing in church every Sunday since I can remember, except with a little twist and a lot of wit.

Biff, Jesus’ bff, has been resurrected into present time to fill in the missing adolescent years of Jesus not found in the four gospels. This book contains accounts of Jesus (aka Joshua) and Biff's teenage coming of age antics, including bringing lizards back from the dead, some swearing and a love triangle between the boys and Mary Magdalene. It's light hearted and amusing even up to the crucifixion. (I was wondering how Moore could keep the comedy element in this section, I thought he did a good job considering the subject matter).

I think I enjoyed the humor in this book so much more because I had already read Good Omens and Paradise Lost. I related to this book better than Moore’s Island of the Sequined Love Nun. That’s most likely because I am more familiar with the biblical subject matter than I am about islands in the South Pacific where doctors trick the natives into selling their kidneys on the black market.

If you are looking for a few good laughs and one that won’t make you think too hard, this is a quick, light hearted read.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Book Thief

"It's just a small story really, about, among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist fighter, and quite a lot of thievery...."

The Book thief, written by Markus Zusak and narrated by Death, is surprisingly long (550 pages) for just a small story.  Liesel Meminger, living in Nazi Germany, finds herself separated from her parents and brother.  Her foster father teaches her to read in the basement at night as a distraction from her night terrors.  She shares her new reading abilities and the stories she's learned with the Jew hidden in the basement along with the other Germans huddled around her in the bomb shelter.

Death:  "I wanted to tell the book thief many things.....I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race - that rarely do I ever simply estimate it.  I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant. 
None of those things, however, came out of my mouth.
I said it to the book thief and I say it now to you.
I am haunted by humans."

I liked the fact that the book was narrated by Death.  He is an impartial outsider to the Nazis and the holocaust.  He passes no judgment on the situation and focuses on his job of taking the souls of the departed.  The detachment makes reading the sections about the Jews being marched through town to the concentration camps less emotional to read.  Although, one should expect parts of the book to be sad.  It is, afterall, a book wholly centered around the war. 

The tone reminded me of the HBO series Dead Like Me.  Still available on Netflix these days.  I recommend it!

Weekend window

Bob's idea of what a superhero with blue and green hair looks like.  Be afraid....

Mom, you have got to check this out.  Brody has a pirate bounce house set up in his backyard.

Bob, before the elbow to the nose in the bounce house...he was a bloody mess, spent hours and hours assembling Brody's legos for him.  He is his father's son.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle, a 2005 memoir, is the childhood tale of Jeannette Walls.  Born to an artist mother and an electrician father who find it hard to keep a job or money in the family account, they move frequently and take only what belonging can fit in the sometimes reliable car.  Which isn't much when you are trying to pack in 4 children too.  At times, the hardship and frustrations of such living seep through the storytelling, but turn the page and it's back to a life is a great adventure story.  The memoir follows her frequent family relocations and the path it took her to become the journalist she is today.

The family lived in Battle Mountain, NV for a spell and even though I never called that place home (thank goodness), it's always more fun to read about places I know.

I'm starting to think that hard luck memoirs are the best tales to tell.  They give the reader something to make them feel better about their own lives and the desire to cheer the author on through the hard times.  This one is equally as good or even better than, Angela's ashes.  Maybe because it has fewer references to toast and jam and tea and probably the fact that I'm not giving any of those things up for lent this year.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My safety kid

Next time, can you not push me quite so high.  It's a little bit frightening up here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Say Hello to my Little Friend

This little girl has been keeping us up at nights.  Good thing she's pretty cute.
Still working on a name.
There has been input from all parties.

In no particular order:
Ben 10 Alien Force

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

V-Day Love

We could always count on my mother for first day of school gifts and valentine's surprises.  And since I don't have first day's of school anymore...

This year I got two giant chocolate cookie hearts.
Pretty sure that means I'm her favorite.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Cutting For Stone

Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese, was first published in 2009.  It's is the story of conjoined twins, Marion and Shiva, born from a secret union between an Indian nun and a British surgeon.  The death of their mother and the abandonment of their father leaves them to be raised in a missionary hospital in Ethiopia.  After being surgically separated, the brothers find they are mirror images of each other.  They are inseparable in their younger years but face a crossroad as they come of age. 

The story line is so believable that on two separate occasions I found myself double checking the genre.  Still fiction.  While I thoroughly enjoyed the story, I think this review should come with a warning.  The book is long and there is quite a bit of medical jargon.  If blood and hospitals make you squirm you might think twice about this one. Marion and Shiva's foster parents are doctors and both boys choose to continue in that profession, so understandably, there is a lot of talk about hospitals and surgeries.

I can see this being a great pick for book club and discussing with good friends.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

p.s. I love you

Today was one of those days where I took myself out for a run with a million things competing for some attention in my brain.

The first, the news aired this story today. Friday the 10th is wear purple day:

The second, In a Week or Two by Diamond Rio came on my ipod (it's set to random....and the playlist does get quite interesting sometimes). Which made me ponder item number one even more. Mostly about how sometimes one just doesn't know how to help. Or what to say to someone that you can clearly see is struggling with depression or just life in general. I didn't come up with a solution either. Feel free to to chime in if you have a good one!

The third, I have been racking my brain for meaningful lent resolutions. The priest mentioned we could give up something that would be a challenge and a sacrifice to us. All I've come up with so far is to quit feeding the girlchild.....not quite sure that's what I was supposed to get out of Sunday's homily.

And that's all I got. A whole bunch of "I don't knows" and that you should tell your loved ones you love them.
Just in case.
Because you never know if tomorrow will be an option.

(Did I mention we have been talking a lot about the end of times and purgatory in you couldn't tell)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Tinkerbell half marathon 2012

First ever Tinkerbell Half Marathon

Got our race bibs

Getting ready to start

hmmm....maybe I could chose both?

Found $40 somewhere around mile 3.  Doesn't feel right to keep it...maybe I should pay it forward.

Captain Jack was pretty popular with the ladies...

I can't imagine running the whole 13 miles carrying a full sized flag

Mile 12...just a little break to say hi to Boo!

Giant green army men

The team sparkle girls.  Her pirate outfit puts my pirate outfit to shame.

Tinkerbell Bling

Tinkerbell Half Marathon Weekend - Kid Run

Can we go to the LEGO store now??

How cute is this kid??

Dad told me to run fast and just keep going and not worry about where he and Bobbo are at...and I did!

You know how hungry you get when you run 200M.....

This picture is so ridiculously cute...crap, now I'm going to want to buy the official one.


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