Sunday, August 24, 2008

Another Book--Another Rant

I finished another book this weekend: Escape, by Robert Tannenbaum. I loved his early books. I really liked how stand-up Butch Karp is, how flawed Marlene is, and how loyal Guma and Espey and the others are to Butch. Escape is about 550 pages long, and of those pages, about 50 are dedicated to a court case, and about 100 are dedicated to the other plot (yet another bombing of NYC that the Karp clan prevents). The rest is backstory. Really frustrating when you have read all the other books. It is almost as if he pulls synopses from the other books and works them in. There was no characterization in this novel--we learned nothing new about any body except the new ADA Kenny Katz. Well, we really didn't learn anything about him either, just that Karp sees himself in him and wants to treat Katz as Garrahy treated Karp. I reallyliked Tannenbaum's books, and I am sorry that I was so angry at this end of this one. I won't read another, and that makes me sad.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I wish I could say that my summer has been spent joyously with my children, putting up scads of home-grown produce, and creating lots of peace and comfort in my home. But, No. My summer has been spent going, coming, cleaning, sewing, reading, picking up, dropping off, ad infinitum. I can say it has been a fairly good summer--no broken bones, no surgeries, no car accidents--nothing to mar the landscape. I did get my very first (and second) quilt tops made, and they are at the quilter's even as I type. Here's a photo of the first one:

I have read several books this summer, and here lately, I have really been on a reading jag. Since June 20, I have finished several books, not all noteworthy, except that they belong on my list. I read Jimmy Black's Tales of the Tar Heels, which is a great account of the 1982 Tar Heel trip to the Final Four, Coach Smith's first championship. I was very pleased to see that he addressed the "dark years" of Matt Doherty's coaching stint at Carolina, and he did it sensitively. I appreciated that. I have read The Whole Truth, by David Baldacci, A Quilter's Homecoming (Audiobook), by Jennifer Chiaverini, Motor Mouth (Audiobook), by Janet Evanovich, Petite Anglaise, by Catherine Sanderson, Inside the Mind of BTK, by John Douglas and Johnny Dodd, You've Been Warned, by James Patterson. Two of these I want to discuss a little: Petite Anglaise and Inside the Mind of BTK.

I thought Petite Anglaise was a chick-lit book. I tend to check these out and keep them in the car to read while I wait for children to get in the car so I can take them someplace else. The cover gave that impression. But no, it is an account of what happened when the author began keeping a blog. It was interesting that she (1) started writing a blog that immediately had a huge readership. No one reads my blog except maybe, sometimes, my husband. And SoSock, but I haven't heard from him in a long time (I hope everything is OK with him). So that in and of itself is pretty impressive. But then, she meets the people who comment on her blog, and who email her about her life as she has written in her blog. It as a very interesting read for a blogger, even without the crux of the book, which was her love life. I enjoyed the book very much, much more because I blog.

The other book I want to talk about is the BTK book. I truly enjoy reading books that make me uncomfortable in my faith, books that make me see things about my knowledge of God and my faith in God from a different angle. Because I live in the city where this gross little man with severe psychological problems committed his crimes, I have been very interested in reading what is written (in a professional, clinical sense) about him. I think I have read all the books that have been written since his capture, including Beatty's book that drove him out of hiding. One book apparently was written after extensive interviews with his minister. In that book, BTK is credited with the thougtht that staying in the church is not only good cover, but that he can ask forgiveness after he kills and still be covered, as it were, on the salvation part. This is while he takes the body of a woman he has killed and poses her in his church (one book said on the altar, or in the altar area, while this book said it was in the basement [ this book had some other things really very wrong, so I am going with the altar]). Anyway, the point is, in relation to my thinking about faith: I know that anyone can be forgiven of anything if they ask. I completely believe in God's grace, and I know that His love can cover any mountain of sin. But can you sin, horribly and purposefully, with the knowledge that "all I have to do is be sorry" and that is OK? or at least forgiven? See where I am going with this? How sorry do you have to be? I don't think that BTK is crazy. I don't believe that he is insane, at least inasmuch as that he was impulsive and couldn't control that. I believe that he is simply an evil, evil man. How does his love of torture be forgiven? Even Nazis were in a better position than this; they at least believed they were being patriotic in some strange, misguided way. Still evil, mind you, but not selfishly so.