Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A Night at Home

I am home tonight. Whew. I am a homebody so I was starting to feel a bit frazzled having not been at home three of the last four nights--concert on Saturday night, writing class Monday night, book group last night. Our group of four met at a cafe in Minneapolis called Wilde Roast. It's a newer cafe and wow, is it classy. It is Oscar Wilde themed, has dark wood floors and coffee bar, a sort of Victorian sitting "room" with wingback chairs and a fireplace. My Bookman and I shared a vegan apple turnover and a hot chocolate coffee. The turnover was so-so but the coffee was delicious! And we talked about the book too--Explicit Content--for about 15 minutes. To our credit we did meander over other literary topics like reading books in order to better understand a culture or alternative point of view, and the familiar fiction v. nonfiction theme. A nice evening was had by all. There seems to be things going on in the book world, so here are some links you may find interesting:

  • Google is now being sued by the Author's Guild whose "suit alleges that the $90 billion search engine and advertising juggernaut is engaging in massive copyright infringement at the expense of the rights of individual writers." The Guild is based in New York and has about 8,000 members.
  • In which Steve Almond writes that Humbert Humbert really loved Lolita and there many disagreeing comments. I have not managed to read Lolita yet. It is one of those books I keep meaning to get to.
  • The Kirkus Review gives Anne Rice's new book Christ the Lord and starred review. It does not appear to be online yet, but here it is:
    A riveting, reverent imagining of the hidden years of the child Jesus. Attacked by a vicious bully, seven-year-old Yeshua employs uncanny powers to drop his assailant onto the sand and then to bring him back to life. It's the remarkable beginning of the 26th novel by an author whose pulpy vampire chronicles hardly prepare us for a book so spiritually potent as this. Following Jesus and his family's journey from Egyptian exile to their ancestral home, it recasts Bible stories (the Magi's visit, the presentation at the temple) in the detailed context of Jewish rebellion against Herod Archelaus, the impious ruler of Israel. A cross between a historial novel and an update of Tolstoy's The Gospel in Brief, it presents Jesus as nature mystic, healer, prophet and very much a real young boy. Essentially, it's a mystery story, of the child grappling to understand his miraculous gifts and numinous birth. He animates clay pigeons, causes snowfall and dazzles his elders with unheard-of knowledge. Rice's book is a triumph of tone -- her prose lean, lyrical, vivid -- and character. As he ponders his staggering responsibility, the boy is fully believable -- and yet there's something in his supernatural empathy and blazing intelligence that conveys the wondrousness of a boy like no other. Rice's concluding Author's Note traces the book's genesis to her return to Catholicism in 1993, her voracious reading -- a mountain of New Testament scholarship, the Apochrya, the ancient texts of Philo and Jospephus -- and her passionate search for Jesus of the Gospels. With this novel, she has indeed found a convincing version of him; this is fiction that transcends story and instead qualifies as an act of faith. Joins Nikos Kazantzakis's The Last Temptation of Christ and Endo's A Life of Jesus as one of the bolder re-tellings.
    She just keeps getting more and more weird.
  • There's a Neil Gaiman interview at Book Standard. He was one of the script writers for the upcoming movie of >Beowulf