Al Franken’s New Book

I absolutely love the title of Al Franken’s new book: Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. It’s almost as good of a title as Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot: And Other Observations. I mean… how can you not laugh at titles like that???

I also found the lawsuit by FOX News to be hysterically funny — I mean… Rush Limbaugh didn’t sue over the title of the last book which could count pretty well as slander. FOX News is also hardly fair and balanced. They show freaks like O’Reilly and Hannity and Colmes. Franken’s book is eminently more of a balanced view than that of those jokers.

I think the subtitle of ::Meditatio:: is going to become “fair and balanced”.

Anyone who sends me a copy of the newest book will have my perpetual gratitude. 🙂

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Prayer

I was looking at this book on Amazon.Com and I was amazed at how cool it is. It is now at the top of my wishlist. (HINT)

Part of the Amazon.Com review:
The Complete Idiot’s Guide series that has taught us how to do everything from making beer, playing bridge, and fishing to gambling, and living with a cat now ventures into the arena of prayer. Although this may seem like a crass and commercial undertaking, it is certainly true that many people feel unworthy or inadequate when trying to give voice to a prayer. As a primer on Christian prayer, this could be the boost that helps a beginner or a doubter take the leap of faith and start a dialogue with God.

**UPDATE** I broke down and ordered the book.

Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood

My mom sent me The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood before Christmas when she found out that I needed something non-theological to read. Well… it was that and it got referenced frequently in discussions I was in at the wedding I attended in August. Anyway, I just got around to reading it.

It was kind of a Cajun Joy Luck Club except it actually made me cry. (I read The Joy Luck Club when I was 13 and a little more detached from life things than I am now. And yes, I am a sap. I will readily admit this.) It was interesting to see the devotion a lot of them had to Mary (Theotokos) and this only surprised me slightly because this was Catholic Louisiana. It was also amazing how you could start to understand Vivi as the memorabilia in the scrapbook was explained. Teensy reminds me a lot of my friend Linda and I think of all the Ya Ya’s, I am definitely Necie.

Anyway… good book. The movie, I am told by my father, is the consummate chick flick so I’ll have to rent it and call him when I’m done watching it, just to harass him. (Being the good little daughter I am of course. :D)

“A Grief Observed”

My wonderful twin brother gave me a gift certificate to Amazon.Com for Christmas and one of the books I got with it was A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis. It was written after his wife Joy died and I have to say — it’s a very raw account. His other works (including Surprised by Joy which is his conversion account) are very polished. This was probably not the best book to read, given my mental state; but I read it nevertheless.

One of the most striking statements was that grief is like fear, and I can really see that. When my friend Steve died, I had no closure and I would get a pit in my stomach every time I thought of him, until I *finally* decided to seek closure 2 1/2 years later. It gives validity to the “how can I go on without ___???” idea that you get when someone close to you dies.

I think the thing I appreciated most about the book (other than his denunciation of platitudenous people as those who really don’t understand his situation) was that he really showed his thought process on how he was dealing with this in his faith life. He does refer to God as the “Cosmic Sadist” on occasion and I think that there are times when that feeling is appropriate. I know I know I know… all good things come from God; but the bad stuff does too. (I’m not into a dualistic God.) I think the bad stuff really causes us to look at the good times and understand where God has worked in us, and it makes us appreciate those good times much more.

A Readable Jen

As I’m bored and am not really into blogging about work right now (synopsis: I’m working retail at Christmas — enough said!), I thought I’d copy Nikkiana and write about what I’ve read off of this list:

Poetry
Gilgamesh (epic)| Bible — Old Testament (Word of God) | Odyssey (Homer) | Illiad (Homer) | Sappho’s poems (sang some of them) | Bible — New Testament (to Logou ha Theou) | Beowulf (epic) | The Poem of the Cid (epic) | The Saga of Burnt Njal (Icelandic saga) | The Divine Comedy** (Dante Aligheri) | Song of Roland (anon) | Canterbury Tales (Chaucer) | Le Morte D’Arthur (Malory) | Sonnets (Shakespeare) | The Pilgrim’s Progress (Bunyan) | Poems…** (Burns) | Poems** (Woodsworth) | Poems** (Poe) | Leave of Grass (Whitman) | Poems (Dickinson) | Poems (Yeats) | Prufrock and Other Poems (Eliot) | Poems (Hopkins) | Selected Poems** (Auden)

Stories
The Thousand and One Nights (a.k.a “Arabian Nights”) | Candide** (Voltaire) | Heptamï??ron** (Marguerite de Navarre) | Grimm’s Fairy Tales (Grimm Brothers) | Tales of the Grotesque and Macabre** (Poe) | Dubliners** (Joyce) | Farenheit 451 (Bradbury) | All Creatures Great and Small** (Herriot)

Drama
Antigone (Sophocles) | Medea (Euripides) | Oedipus Rex (Sophocles) | Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare) | Julius Caesar (Shakespeare) | Hamlet (Shakespeare) | Othello (Shakespeare) | Macbeth (Shakespeare) | A Doll’s House (Ibsen) | Cyrano de Bergerac*** (Rostand) | Murder in the Cathedral* (Eliot) | Our Town (Wilder) | Antigone* (Anouilh) | A Streetcar Named Desire (Williams) | Death of a Salesman (Miller) | Waiting for Godot (Beckett)

Novels before 1899
Pantagruel** (Rabelais) | Gulliver’s Travels** (Swift) | Frankenstein (Shelley) | Ivanhoe (Scott) | The Last of the Mohicans** (Cooper) | Oliver Twist (Dickens) | A Christmas Carol (Dickens) | The Scarlet Letter (Hawthorne) | Moby Dick*** (Melville) | Madame Bovary (Flaubert) | Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland** (Carroll) | Crime and Punishment (Dostoyevsky) | Little Women (Alcott) | Middlemarch** (Eliot) | The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Twain) | The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Twain) | A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (Twain)

Novels 1900-1949
Heart of Darkness (Conrad) | The Call of the Wild (London) | Anne of Green Gables (Montgomery) | Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Joyce) | My Antonia (Cather) | Babbitt (Lewis) | Billy Budd (Melville) | The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald) | Call It Sleep (Roth) | Finnegan’s Wake (Joyce) | Native Son (Wright) | The Outsider (Camus)

Novels 1950 and after
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Lewis) | The Catcher in the Rye (Salinger) | The Invisible Man (Ellison) | East of Eden (Steinbeck) | Lord of the Flies (Golding) | The Leopard (de Lampedusa) | To Kill A Mockingbird (Lee) | One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest | The Joy Luck Club (Tan)

Key:
*=”I’ve seen it performed at the seminary.”
**=”I’ve read selected poems or large excerpts of the book”
***=”I’ve studied the piece but haven’t read the whole book.” (For some of these, we watched the movie and read parts of the book that weren’t part of the movie in some of my classes in high school.)