Monday, May 21, 2007

This Week at the Library (21/5)

I have decided to start recording and commenting on the books I read from week to week I enjoy writing, and books are as suitable a subject as any I can think of. If any of my friends and family are regular readers, I hope that I can point out interesting books for them

Last Week:

A month ago, I began reading the Left Behind series by Jerry B. Jenkins and Timothy LaHaye. I finished it last week. The two books I finished were The Rapture and Kingdom Come. Rapture is the last of the three prequel novels, and Kingdom Come finishes the entire series. I do not follow Christian end-times paranoia, but thought it might make for enjoyable fiction reading. The series was mildly enjoyable -- enough for me to finish all sixteen books, anyway. I think the series could have done without the prequels -- they didn't cover anything that wasn't mentioned enough in Left Behind, and the only character I liked turned out to be the Antichrist's father. The Rapture does contain a dozen or so mini-biographies of people the authors see as True Christians -- people like Billy Graham and Dwight Moody.

Kingdom Come was interesting given its content: Jesus has come to Earth and started his Millenial Reign. He has set up princes (like King David over Jerusalem) to rule for him, freeing him to dowhatever it is deities do. The Earth in this time is not a pleasant place to be: an earthquake flattened the landscape. There are no rolling hills or mountains -- no majestic vistas or Grand Canyons. The only variation of land is Jerusalem, which is literally a city set upon a hill. There are two types of humans left: Glorified Humans, who died before the Rapture or were Raptured -- and "naturals", those schmucks who missed the Rapture or were born afterward. No one has any sexual desires, although they do manage to have kids -- I suppose Jesus provides a stork for his followers. Most of the people believe in Jesus, but some hold on and worship Satan, thinking him the unlikely underdog. They raise up an army only to be vaporized at the end of the book. This, like World War 3 and Armageddon, is anticlimatic.

A friend of mine named Mikado reccommended The Know-It-All to me. The author, A.J. Jacobs, chronicles his attempt to read the entire Encylopaedia Britannica. The book is very humorous, and I pass the reccomendation on to you: read this. Jacobs interviews Alex Trebek and goes on Who Wants To Be a Millionaire.

Another book I read last week was The Everything Classical Mythology Book by Lesley Bolton. This is an easy-to-read overview of Greco-Roman mythology. The last book, one that I did not finish, was Chemistry DeMystified. I didn't finish it -- as uncomfortable as I am with my lack of knowledge in certain sciences, I'm not uncomfortable enough to commit the time studying chemistry requires. I did learn a few things that helped me this week -- although answering quiz questions in Alter Ego is probably not the best way to use the knowledge of chemistry.

Pick of the Week: The Know-It-All by A.J. Jacobs.

This Week:

I always look forward to a trip to the library and typically go with a list of books I aim to get. This week's list isn't long. I have two recommendations by my friend Mikado, a Stephen Hawking book, and a fiction book I'm ambivalent about. The fiction book is a work of fantasy, but without magic. (I've no love for magic: I have tried to read The Hobbit and the LOTR series and watch the movies, but I can't get in to them. Magic simply doesn't attract me.) The book series is written for older kids and teenagers, but anyone can enjoy them. The books are in the kids' section of the library, though, and that is why I am hesitant to check one out. I decide I might as well. I enter through the back and quickly grab Marlfox and another book, then get out of there as quickly as I can.

The Stephen Hawkings book -- The Universe in a Nutshell -- doesn't grab my eye, but Universe on a T-Shirt does. I see the director of the library covering the computer section and stop to speak with her. She wants to know how my quest to enter librarianship is doing, and we talk about libraries for a while. I go downstairs and notice Allegiance by Timothy Zahn on display. It's a Star Wars novel set after the first (that is, fourth) Star Wars movie. I pick up one book I was recommended (The Osterman Weekend by Robert Ludlum), but can't find the Christie novel Mikado mentioned. I then remember I wanted to read a book by Twain, but couldn't find it. I realized it would be upstairs, but still couldn't find it. While I was upstairs, I found An Intimate History of Humanity, which I looked for last week but could not find.

All of these seem promising. I check out and leave to discover that a New Beetle has parked beside me while I was inside. As I take out my keys to unlock the vehicle door, I realized that someone is approaching the Beetle and delay my departure. The woman turns out to be the owner of the Beetle. I say "I love your Beetle!" and we exchange a few words. Hers make more sense than mine because I'm practically gushing -- I'm nuts for Volkswagens, and especially New Beetles. I've wanted one since 1997 and even built a model of one. I love those little cars. They look like they're fun and don't take themselves seriously -- and that's how I treat life. I don't want a dark and serious car, no matter how luxurious it is. I'd take a blue New Beetle over a black limousine any day of the week. I back out and leave, passing a house covered in religious graffiti by the "prophet rose of Selma". I generally dismiss prophets as crazy or conniving, but the woman waves at me as I drive by. She may be crazy, but she's friendly.

  1. Marlfox by Brian Jacques.
  2. Universe on a T-Shirt by Dan Falk.
  3. Allegiance by Timothy Zahn
  4. The Osterman Weekend by Robert Ludlum
  5. An Intimate History of Humanity by Theodore Zeldin

That's the library for this week.