This was supposed to be my late summer book list. But as you may have read in the entry before this one, time hasn’t been my best friend as of late.
No matter. Here’s what I had managed to read before I had to put the books aside:
Blubber, Judy Blume
This is one from my personal collection, which I got in elementary school. Storyline is pretty basic: it’s a few months in the life of a fifth-grade class – chronicled through the eyes of 10-year-old Jill – who decide to pick on overweight classmate Linda following a school report.
The title, of course, is the cruel nickname they bestow on her. It’s a story about bullying. Of course, it doesn’t stop there – when the tables are turned, it’s really when the narrator’s eyes are opened to how people’s allegiances to their friends can change in the blink of an eye.
Having re-read it as an adult, it just confirms for me that (1) I wasn’t really paying attention when I read it as a kid and (2) I appreciate it more as an adult. Kids can be cruel and can turn on you in the blink of an eye. Sadly in some circles, the cycle of meanness doesn’t really stop in adulthood – it’s just applied differently.
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, Christopher Moore
I saw a friend of mine reading this at the cottage a few summers ago; this summer, it finally was my turn to read it.
As the title suggests, the novel is supposed to be the “lost” gospel of Levi, known also as Biff, childhood friend of Jesus Christ – and the “missing piece” of the puzzle as to what on earth happened to Jesus in the time between his birth and the beginning of his ministry, leading to his cruxificion.
As the author explains in his afterword, it’s merely a story – and a fun one at that. And if you don’t have a sense a humour when it comes to Christianity, you shouldn’t read this book. It’s got everything – spirituality, sex, violence … and a little kung fu.
The Optimist: One Man’s Search for the Brighter Side of Life, Laurence Shorter.
I decided to change it up a bit and immerse myself in a little non-fiction.
I first heard about Laurence Shorter and his book after seeing him interviewed one late night months ago on The Hour with host George Stroumboulopoulos.
The basic premise of the book is what the title suggests. But beneath this quest for optimism amid all the bad news in the world, is Shorter’s own personal two-year quest to find happiness. And for all the dozens of people he talks to, the distances he travels, and the equations he tries to formulate to quantify the secret to true optimism, the answer he arrives at doesn’t seem to be the one he expects.
I love just the way the book is written, using Shorter’s quirky personality to move the narration along. It works. It’s one I’d recommend reading.
I’d hoped to have a longer list, but you know .. life happens. Enjoy and happy reading until next time!