Monday, November 30, 2009

A Big Little Life by Dean Koontz

iconiconI'm still playing catch up — I finished Dean Koontz's A Big Little Life just over a week ago. It was a surprisingly good book — I haven't read anything by Koontz since high school, when I tried a couple of his suspense novels and discovered I wasn't a big fan.

A Big Little Life, on the other hand, was wonderful. It's a memoir about his dog, and it has a lot of heart and humor to it, not to mention a lot that a dog owner and lover can relate to.

I love the funny stories, but one of my favorite aspects of the book was his constant denials of what modern science claims: that animals don't feel emotion, don't remember for more than a few weeks, and aren't capable of higher-level intelligence. With two cats, two dogs, and a horse, I can tell you that all of those claims are — well, horse shit. And it was really refreshing to read a book by someone else who feels the same way.

I told my husband the next day that I love dog memoirs, but one of these days I've got to learn to not read the final chapter. I don't want to read about the dog's death, and since the author always seems to feel the need to make their audience cry, that's how every single dog memoir I've ever read ends. Would someone pretty please write a memoir about their dog that is still living, so that I can read a dog memoir with a happy ending?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Two Marys by Sylvia Browne

iconiconI finished this book quite a while back, but because I've been doing NaNoWriMo this month, I haven't had a lot of free time for blogging. I have still been reading, though — not as fast as usual, but I still have a few books to catch up on reviewing.

Sylvia Browne's The Two Marys is a nonfiction book about Mary the mother of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, and the part that they played in Jesus's life. Although I am not Christian, I have had a fascination with Mary Magdalene, the Gnostic gospels, and other similar subjects for years — fueled in part, of course, by movies such as Stigmataicon and books such as The Da Vinci Codeicon, but also cultivated by a very interesting class I took in college called "The English Bible as Literature," which discussed the history of the Bible as well as the literary devices used.

On one hand, I was a bit turned off by the author talking about her visions. (A friend of mine who is an ex-seminarian commented about how "lunacy" was often visible in self-proclaimed non-Catholic prophets, but he seems not to understand that I would have been just as turned off by a Catholic writer claiming to have had visions about a subject.) On the other hand, though, there were some very interesting (and non-visionary) points that she made that are worth considering — about the historical selection process of what books would be included in the Bible, of changes that were made to the texts, and of evidence in the text that points to a relationship between Jesus and Mary that was edited out.

If you are interested in the theory that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married, I do recommend this book, as I think there is a lot of interesting information to be gleaned here. The book is also short and well-organized, making it an easy and fairly fast read. However, if you are interested in a more scholarly approach, I do recommend skimming (or skipping altogether) the divergences into personal belief!