Sunday, February 28, 2010

Book Nine - I, Lucifer

I, Lucifer by Glen Duncan started off as a very humorous and well written novel but lost its way somewhat towards the end in my opinion. The premise is that the devil is offered a deal wherein he is to spend 30 days in the body of a human, at the end of the month he is given a choice; to live out the human life and if he doesn't sin too badly, then he can be admitted to heaven, the alternative is to return to hell.

I very much enjoyed the description of what a fallen angel would think of the human experience. The sights, the textures, the temptation to just let one's trousers hang to expose the flesh to the cool breeze and so forth. It is also amusing to hear how he spends his time, all the pleasures that one could dream up, drugs, sex, food, booze. Lucifer, in his human form is even writing a movie about his side of the story of how it all went down with the big guy upstairs. Also he is writing the book that is being read.

It is very clever and tongue in cheek, and there are parts of this that I greatly enjoyed. However, towards the end it got to be a bit nonsensical. Perhaps this was intentional, and meant to represent Lucifer's declining hold on reality, but I found it tedious. There were minor errors in grammar and loose parentheses as well, but it was not glaring enough to be intentional necessarily and to me just felt awkward and distracting.

Overall it was entertaining but towards the end I just wanted it over and done with, had I not been doing this challenge, I may not have finished reading it at all.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Book Eight - The Anger Solution

I have never really thought of myself as an angry person, but after reading "The Anger Solution: The Proven Method for Achieving Calm and Developing Healthy, Long-Lasting Relationships" by John Lee, I am starting to recognize patterns of behaviour in myself that I have missed in the past.
I have not read any self help books before, but I do consider personal growth to be very important and I am continuously looking to further my understanding of myself. I think that some may look too much into books like these and look at them as the only way to maintain relationships.
The anger solution has some good suggestions, and it helps point out behaviours in yourself and those around you and gives you communication tools to improve your angry feelings before they turn into rage and get out of hand. This book also addresses setting healthy boundaries and limits, which is something that I need to work on.
I was married to someone who would rage at least once a week, I did everything I could to try and help him, but now I have learned that helping can sometimes be just as bad, especially if in helping someone else, you are failing to look inward and work on your own issues.
A lot of the book is about regression, and how when someone is "raging" they are most often not even raging directly at you, they are stuck in the past, stuck as their former self. This is helpful for me, and it also makes you think of times where that has happened in my personal experience. The book also gives methods to get out of these regressions and in doing so, helps to prevent them from occurring as often.
I will take some of what I have read in this book and apply it to my current life and hopefully it will help me on my everlasting journey to myself.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Book Seven - Heavier Than Heaven

As a music lover of a certain age, I was indelibly affected by the suicide of Kurt Cobain in 1994. I was 16 at the time and I remember being very distraught and wounded. The years have gave me some perspective on the situation, but it is still a time that I vividly remember and even listening to recordings of radio coverage and tributes that were played at the time can take me right back there. Reading certain passages of the book moved me to tears, reading that Courtney Love was pregnant and how excited they both were and knowing how it all turned out. Reading about the public memorial and remembering watching the coverage on TV back when it all happened, and how it made us all feel united in our mourning for this rock idol.

At the time, we all put Cobain on a pedestal, I was and still am so moved by his music, that it is difficult to imagine Kurt as just a man. After reading Cross' book, it is easier to picture this man, and he was a very flawed individual indeed. He chose to hide behind drugs, even after Love became pregnant, even though it lead her into temptaion during that critical time in her life. He did nothing but complain about the fame that he worked so hard to achieve, almost instantly after he attained it. Yet he was very conflicted and wanted even more fame, and made choices to make this happen.

Now that I am older, and also a mother, it breaks my heart that someone would take their life and leave their child to someone as unstable as Love. As a teenager, I also felt personally betrayed, as I am sure many did. Who among us has not suffered as a child, having read what Cobain went through, I could personally claim that my childhood trauma was even worse than his. Suicide is such a desperate act, it is very sad that he felt that his daughter would be better off without him, that the world would be better without him.

The most surprising thing about this book for me was that it made me support Courtney Love more than I have previously. I have not seen the documentary "Kurt and Courtney" yet, but I have plans to do so after writing this review. I have, in the past, read some of the conspiracy theories and I must admit that at the time of Kurt's death I thought that it seemed that she was using her position as rock widow to further her career. Love is certainly a very troubled individual to put it mildly, but this book did paint her in a very flattering light. That may have been necessary to obtain certain inside information. It has prompted me to want to do more research into the subject before fully forming my opinion on the situation.

All in all, Heavier than Heaven is a book that I recommend to music lovers and children of the 90s. I now see that Kurt was just a man, just another screwed up individual that made some amazing music, art and also made a lot of bad choices. He has an amazing daughter and hopefully she will prevail and lead a better existence than both her parents.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Getting Back in the Groove of It

Well I haven't been reading very much as of late, but that is about to change. I finished my math course and I got my A, and then I took a much deserved break from it all. But now my lazy time is over and I am ready to get back on track. I almost finished reading I, Lucifer and it is a good read, but I had to take it back to the library so I will have to check it out again once I get a few others off my list completed.

Heavier Than Heaven is coming along, I had planned to finish reading it today as I should have a little bit of free time, however I could not find it anywhere this morning. I looked all over, and I was just reading it last night, so it must have grown legs and wandered off.

But I have a good one to read and I think that I should be able to read the whole thing today, it is my challenge, let's see how I make out shall we?