For a second there, I thought all five of these books would be graphic novels. Wouldn't that have been exciting! But not to worry; I found room for some prose to top things off:
060) The Enoch Letters by AUTHOR, finished Neal A. Maxwell
- Originally published in 1975 as Of One Heart, this book had a companion volume about another notable city, Sodom. I do wonder what that one was about. This posthumous publication is obviously trying to play on the Maxwell/Lewis connection with this new title referencing The Screwtape Letters.
Anyway, the book is short and easily digested. It's an epistolary novel (er, novella) (er, novelette) (er, longish story), mostly composed of letters from a man becoming a follower of Enoch and a Christian to his friend who lives outside Zion's walls. He tries to share the majesty of righteous living without becoming an overbearing zealot, thus scaring his friend away from trying to fruit for himself.
The text is riddled with lines from scripture, but this isn't distracting inasmuch as this is more a devotional exercise than an attempt at well formed fiction anyway. And it's all wrapped up with a trio of appendices about Maxwell's sources for his depiction of Zion. He was an Assistant to the Twelve at the time of publication.
Now for this week's svithe:
The City of Enoch
I imagine Elder Maxwell didn't view his little book as a proselytory text to be sent out into the world to convert souls unacquainted with Mormonism. Yet the bulk of the book consists of just such letters: Mahijah is writing his friend Omner about the glorious new religion he has discovered that makes all things clear and fills his heart with love.
Maxwell, as Mahijah, is not writing my neighbor, he is writing me.
I am a Saint, or should be. I know what is expected of a Christian, or I should know. I am living a life informed by gospel truths. Right?
Sure. You bet.
But as I read Mahijah's descriptions of Zion and how the people eschew self-agrandizement, I hang my head and realize I want praise. As I read Mahijah's descriptions of Zion and how the people work hard all day every day for the glory of God, I realize I am yet lazy. As I read Mahijah's descriptions of Zion and how the people care more for the fullness of their neighbor's plate than their own, I realize I am still greedy and selfish. If a visitor to town steals my cloak, I probably won't chase him down to give him my coat also lest he be cold. I am much to attached to my material goods.
I doubt Elder Maxwell was trying to make me feel inadequate, but this book provided a needed wake-up call to me. Granted, I'm still not awake--I'm not ready to give away all I own that another may be comfortable and I may see the face of Christ, but at least I can realistically appraise how far I've yet to go.
The hypothetical concept of giving away all my goods because it is more important to me that we have no poor than that I keep my precious doodads has always seemed pretty easy to me. This book made me recognize how difficult it was. I dreaded the day Mahijah would have to give up his beloved ruby--I knew it was coming and he didn't and I felt his pending pain.
But there was no pain. It was just a little rock to him and he was prepared to give it away.
I am not prepared today to give up my sense of thgenius or my hours spent reading worldly tomes. But perhaps if I am willing to take the baby steps the lord provides me, perhaps then I too can be like Mahijah and give up even my ruby.
It only took him 300 years.
I think I should be able to match that.
last week's svithe
almost a week
059) Sock Monkey: The Inches Incident by Tony Millionaire, finished July 3
- Tony Millionaire is one strange duck. Most of the Sock Monkey adventures I've read before have been loaded with alcohol (that crow, I tell you), but we do own his one genuine kids' book, and this one is similarly "safe" -- although the anarchy of thought that produces even the most benign Millionaire stuff is not to be confused with safe spelled without the quotations.
058) The Number 73304-23-4153-6-96-8 by Thomas Ott, finished July 2
- Pegasus needs to start charging me an entrance fee upon entering their stores. This is this the second time this year (the first time) I've entered the store and read an entire book. Shame on me.
Anyway, this trippy bit of is-it-magic-or-is-he-mad comes from the pen of the author of my much coveted Cinema Panopticum*--I now know I am right to covet it. This book was terrific. All about how the eponymous number guides one man's life from death to death. Check it out.
*Speaking of, Coast Guard Day, the tradition day for humans to give Therics gifts, is less than a month away. This book any many other presumably excellent comics are on my comics wish list.
only a few minutes
057) Chicken with Plums by Marjane Satrapi, finished July 1
- Another lovely work from the author of Persepolis. This one's a look at her melancholic artist uncle who decided to die.
This idea of the melancholic artist is one I have consciously rejected, but I think if I could be that self-centered, I would at least be more productive. And my happiness is connected to my productivity. Ergo....
Somewhere in that equation is a lie. Can you find it?
a few days but mostly on a train ride and walk home
056) 300 by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley, finished June 16
- I can see how this made a good guy movie. In fact, the movie, based on promos, looks almost exactly like this book. Lady Steed recognized it at a glance.
I was surprised to like it as much as I did.
Best part: now I have a better excuse not to watch the movie.
before leaving the library
055) Fox Bunny Funny by Andy Hartzell, finished June 16
054) Where Did I Leave My Glasses?: The What, When, and Why of Normal Memory Loss by Martha Weinman Lear, finished June 15
053) The Mystery Guest by Grégoire Bouillier, trans. Lorin Stein, finished June 14
052) The Legend of Spud Murphy by Eoin Colfer, finished June 10
051) Good Bones and Simple Murders by Margaret Atwood, finished June 10
050) Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans: The Best of McSweeney's, Humor Category edited by D. Eggers, K. Shay, L. Epstein, J. Warner and S. Kleid, finished June 9
049) Bikeman by Thomas F. Flynn, finished June 5
048) Fool Moon by Jim Butcher, finished June 5
047) The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, finished June 2
046) Sixty Poems by Charles Simic, finished May 30
045) Replay by Ken Grimwood, finished May 28 044 The Age of the Conglomerates: A Novel of the Future by Thomas Nevins, finished May 27
044 The Age of the Conglomerates: A Novel of the Future by Thomas Nevins, finished May 27
043) W;t by Margaret Edson, finished April 19
042) Halo and Sprocket Volume 1: Welcome to Humanity by Kerry Cullen, finished May 17
041) Storm Front by Jim Butcher, finished May 16>
040) 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill, finished May 9
039) I Am the President of Ice Cream by Geoff Sebesta, finished May 4
038) On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan, finished May 3
037) The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester, finished May Day
036) The Drifting Classroom Vol. 1 by Kazuo Umezu, finished April 30
035) The Complete Peanuts 1965 - 1966 by Charles M. Schulz, finished April 29
034) Nextwave: Agents Of H.A.T.E Volume 1: This Is What They Want by Warren Ellis et Stuart Immonen et al, finished April 29
033) Batman: Hush, Vol. 2 by Jeph Loeb et al, finished April 29
032) Batman: Hush, Vol. 1 by Jeph Loeb et al, finished April 28
031) Chéri by Colette, finished April 17
030) Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett, finished April 13
029) Animal Farm by George Orwell, finished April 8
028) Macbeth by William Shakespeare, finished April 7
027) On the Road to Heaven by Coke Newell, finished April 4
026) The Great American Citizenship Quiz: Can You Pass Your Own Country's Citizenship Test? by Solomon M. Skolnick, finished March 23
025) Long After Dark by Todd Robert Petersen, finished March 23
024) The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, finished March 21
023) Robot Dreams by Sara Varon, finished March 10
022) The Complete Peanuts 1963-1964 by Charles M. Schulz, finished March 9
021) Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters, finished March 7
020) Unorthodox Practices by Marissa Piesman, finished March 5
019) Happy Hour at Casa Dracula by Marta Acosta, finished March 4
018) A War of Gifts: An Ender Story by Orson Scott Card, finished Leap Day
017) Watership Down by Richard Adams, finished February 26
016) Old Boy Volume One by Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi, finished February 25
015) Case Histories by Kate Atkinson, finished February 18
014) Ultimate Spider-Man: Ultimate Collection, Vol. 1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley, finished February 15
013) Trusting Jesus by Jeffrey R. Holland, finished February 11
012) Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall by Bill Willingham et al., finished February 11
011) Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach, finished February 4
010) The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, finished February 3
009) American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, finished LDotFMotNY
008) Zombification: Stories from National Public Radio by Andrei Codrescu, finished January 22
007) Marriage Lines: Notes of a Student Husband by Ogden Nash, finished January 22
006) Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, finished January 20
005) The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time by Douglas Adams, finished January 14
004) Lord of the Flies by William Golding, finished January 10
003) Rising Sun by Michael Crichton, finished January 7
002) The Marketing of Sister B by Linda Hoffman Kimball, finished January 2
001) Animal Farm by George Orwell, finished January 1
The First Five ( 001 / 005 )
The Second Five ( 005 / 010 )
The Third Five ( 011 / 015 )
The Fourth Five ( 016 / 020 )
The Fifth Five ( 021 / 025 )
The Sixth Five ( 026 / 030 )
The Seventh Five ( 031 / 035 )
The Eighth Five ( 036 / 040 )
The Ninth Five ( 041 / 045 )
The Tenth Five ( 046 / 050)
The Eleventh Five ( 051 / 055)