Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Correcting "The Corrections"

I am 85% finished with a book that I am disliking and am now only reading it to complete it. It was an Amazon Kindle freebie. "Dead Woman Walking: was an innocent woman hanged?" It started out fine, and I enjoyed the imagery of 19th century rough-and-tumble Australian mining towns, but the court testimony chapters killed the momentum of the read. Now I'm reaching for the finish line like God's hand reached for Adam's on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

But this isn't my worst example. A couple years ago I was reading Jonathan Franzen's highly regarded novel "The Corrections."

I hated it.

I was reading it poolside while on vacation in Riviera Maya a few years ago. Over halfway through the book, I nearly threw my softcover version into the water. "I hate this book!" I told my wife. "I don't care if every single one of these people die a slow and painful death. They're all despicable!"

I refrained from throwing the book in the sea and it returned with us only to find itself donated to St. Vincent de Paul a year later.

I never finished it. Never cared. Although I do wonder: possibly those characters developed a rare and incurable deadly form of toenail fungus that slowly rendered their ability to control normal bodily functions and they defecated themselves to a miserable and malodorous death?

In other words: Greatest. Finish. Ever.

Probably not, but at least one can wishful think.

What's the farthest you've ever read a book then stopped? What was the book and why did you stop?

P.S. - Don't include The Bible. I'm still on page one myself. ;)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

It's Not Easy Being Me

Sometimes it's not easy being me.

A coworker, who lives in Guadalajara, Mexico, brought these lovely little woven gift baskets filled with Mexican candy during his recent visit to our facility. When I was thanking him (and his wife) for their thoughtfulness, I also explained, "... but I'm having one heck of a time getting the paper off of these little caramels."

He said, "Mike, that caramel is between two wafers of Sacramental Bread. You're not supposed to peel it off. You're supposed to eat it."

How's that for a two-fer? I managed to offended my guest AND my first ever taste of the body of Christ was in the form of a caramel sandwich cookie.

See what I mean? It's not easy being me.


Garfield. The President No One Remembers, But Should

I'm probably the only person in the world who read "The Hunger Games" and "Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President" back-to-back and I gotta say, sorry teens, "Destiny" was better.

The President in the title of the book is James A. Garfield--the US's 20th. Garfield was tragically shot by a lunatic--Charles J. Guiteau, a whack who even lived a number of years of his life in Grafton, Wisconsin--ending his Presidency after only a 4-month stint. And get this, Garfield didn't even RUN for President. He was just so damn extraordinary and such a skilled orator, that his peers (Republicans) chose him and then the public overwhelmingly elected him. Can you imagine THAT happening today? I can't.

Had Garfield been able to fulfill his visions, black Americans might have achieved the freedoms dreamed by Martin Luther King, Jr. ... 80 years before Mr. King even dreamt them! Garfield was a staunch abolitionist in his time and an ardent supporter of equal rights. If there was any good thing about his death, following the bitter Civil War with a nation still divided, Americans mourned as one at his passing.

Okay, I gushed enough about my new-found American hero; find out for yourself: I highly suggest you add to your reading list the sad, but very interesting tale of James A. Garfield authored by Candice Millard.