My first book this month totally messed me up. I was all, “Oh, it’s a thin book, no big.” But man, the print was TEENY and the writing was pretty dense, so it was slow going — and 400 pages! Between that and the work situation, where I often went straight from the Mackboop to bed, I’m amazed I got it done in time. Since I only had a few days left for a second one, I again went with something short but substantive.
This is one of those books that everyone sort of knows but nobody has read, so I decided to read it. Its depiction of a United States falling to a totalitarian government (Spoiler: It happens here!) had some pretty disturbing echoes of the past eight years. Of course, things in the novel are a lot worse, but a lot of the basic mechanisms at work were the same. Some of the really interesting parts were things like the idea that the Socialistic uprising that moves against the fascist government comes out of the heartland, a place that these days would be only too happy to elect President Windrip. There were other details that seemed interesting for a book written in the he 30s, like the fact that the protagonist having a mistress is handled rather matter-of-factly. The humor in it still sparkles, though, even dealing with such an awful subject matter. I am eager to read more Lewis.
This is a beautiful, thoughtful book, told in very simple prose. And it’s about no less than the meaning of life, as the protagonist sets out to get to the root of existence. He meets Buddha himself and ends up being disappointed — and that’s just when he’s getting warmed up! It asks Big Questions but doesn’t settle for the usual trite and shallow answers. I would consider this an essential read.
I’ve started out December with some lighter fare, and will probably end out the year that way. In 30 days you’ll hear about the final month of 2008, as well as an overview of the whole project!