Tuesday, April 17, 2007

What I'm Reading

I noticed that my reading habits had kind of died down in college, but recently they've been on their way back up. This is good, and not only because reading is stereotypically "good for you," but because I think if one reads a lot, they will eventually start writing a lot. This is because reading stirs your imagination and opinions, and thus makes you want to add more to the fray (if you have the self-confidence to do it, that is.

Of course, reading nowadays takes on several forms. I've only read two novels this year: Wicked by Gregory Maguire, and The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (which I should be done with in a few days). But I've read a lot of other things: blog posts, essays, Townhall columns, and some oh-so-boring textbooks. Still, reading's reading, and you have to take it in all its forms sometimes.

The Neverending Story is actually a great book, which surprised me. I never saw the movie, but it looked a little cheesy. I'm happy the book actually has more depth to it, though. It's still a children's book, but it's a near-perfect children's book. The fantasy world of Fantastica is described in a way that is both concise and detailed (not an easy feat) and the characters are all unique and interesting despite the fact that most of them only appear in one or two chapters. Ende's writing has a very beautiful simplicity to it, and I can really appreciate that. A lot of writers now, including fantasy authors like Gregory Maguire, take themselves too seriously and come across as pretentious. Ende is refreshing because he doesn't try to make The Neverending Story something that it isn't, because what it is is a simple but delightfully fun children's book (and a must-read for any fantasy buff like me).

Now let's move on to some blog posts that have caught my eye recently:

Randy Thomas, Warren Throckmorton, and La Shawn Barber have all written excellent responses to the Virginia Tech tragedy. I hope you all join them (and myself) in praying for those families and that community.

Both David at Resolving Realities and Amanda at Imago Dei have written posts about Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church. David's post is especially interesting, taking a very human approach to people who barely seem human sometimes, and finding some very uncomfortable similarities between their psychology and the psychology of more mainstream fundamentalist Christians. It's a good reminder that, generally, there is always a bit of ourselves in who we perceive to be our "enemies." That's probably why they're so scary to begin with.

Also, Disputed Mutability has written an excellent review of Peterson Toscano's "Doin' Time in the Homo No Mo' Halfway House" performance. Obviously, since DM is an ex-gay and Peterson is an "ex-gay survivor," it's a very interesting post, and like with all things DM, I was impressed after reading it. Oh, and Peterson himself has also made a good post recently.

Well, that's what I've been reading. Hope you all take some time to read these posts. Oh, and if you want to comment on some of my recent ramblings, feel free. Not that I'm desperate or anything... ;)


Brandon said...

Hey Jay,

I never read the book, but I loved the movie when I was a kid. I actually never knew there was a book. Thanks for pointing it out. By the way, I'm new to the whole blog world, so I only recently found your site. Great posts. I've read over several of them, and I appreciate the rare perspective you present. God bless.

Jay said...

Yeah, the book is great, and an easy read. Check it out if you have the time (I recommend the hardcover, illustrated version, but that's just me).

Thanks for the compliments, all though I admit that my perspective isn't too rare. You seem to be in a very similar situation (not to mention the fact that you're also a writer and a teacher). Do you mind if I link to you?

Brandon said...

I suppose "rare" was indeed rather clumsy wording on my part. My bad :) I'm still not very use to being aware of the fact I'm not alone. That's just one of the downsides of living in a small town.

Feel free to link to me if you want. I don't have a problem with that. I hope you don't mind my doing the same? I only recently was made aware of your blog, but I too was surprised by our similarities. Let's hope to be well published millionaires someday soon. ;)

Steve said...

Found my way here from Sitemeter, of all things. Having spent time in Rocky Mount and Tarboro back in 1995-96, I'd imagine that North Carolina would be a tough place for a person with same-sex attractions. Heck, back then it was hard enough for a non-smoking Yankee, let alone if I'd been out back then!

I, too, loved The Neverending Story as a book. The movie is easily as cheesy as it looks - and misses the whole struggle between chosing fantasy and reality in the book. Book, 10; movie, 2.

I get a pretty visceral reaction to Phelps and WBC - having lived in Overland Park and Shawnee, KS (Kansas City suburbs), there were a number of local churches who drew WBC's ire for being "fag-friendly." I know, intrinsically, that these people are children of God - and ultimately redeemable. But it's hard for me to see Phelps & Co. exactly as Jews saw Nazis - as blindly hate-filled servants of evil - people who only know one thing about me, and yet would have no problem in celebrating my death and eventual burning in hell.

I'm finding more and more about Peterson Toscano, after finding him on GCN Radio. I wish his itinerary brought him closer to where I am - it sounds like a great show.

Wishing you peace and all blessings...