Friday, December 04, 2009

Pop Culture Roundup

I finally finished Home this week. Either because I was really tuned in or because Robinson could just put the perfect words together, I was really feeling the despair that weighs down the characters in the last 25 pages or so. The way she portrays the resignation that each character feels, the "stuckness" that they each experience according to their own predicament, was both well-written and utterly depressing. There is a glimmer of hope at the end that risks being too neat and tidy, too coincidental, but only a little. For some reason, I want to compare it to The Story of Edgar Sawtelle in its ambiguity and exploration of characters who don't get everything resolved by the last page. As much as I've compared this book to Gilead, I don't think it really compares that well. There's a difference in storytelling, and while in Gilead Ames is just writing down some thoughts so that his son will remember him and thus can wrap up his journaling, Home is much more messy. Having said all of that, I can't really say that I liked Home more than Gilead. Part of that is just due to the difference in style. But the narratives are completely different. Gilead is an old pastor reflecting on his life and ministry for the benefit of his son, while Home is about a son seeking redemption and reconciliation with his father. To me, comparing would be apples and oranges.

As I mentioned the other day, I picked up an Advent devotional book called The Uncluttered Heart, the title meant to convey that we need to seek respite from the clutter of this time of year. The format is fairly standard as devotional books go: a quote, a scripture, a brief reflection, a prayer, and a simple phrase to "carry you through the day." The quote that I posted the other day was from this book. It's been a good guide to the season.

I've also moved right along to my next reading adventure, An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison. This is a memoir/analysis of bipolar disorder. The author chronicles her own experiences with the disease while also offering some explanation of what it does, what causes it, and so on. I'm not very far into it, and thus don't have much of an opinion yet.

I've long avoided listening to anything by Ryan Adams. I'd read of a couple of his antics during concerts that led me to believe his pomposity greatly outweighs any talent he may have. I don't know what it was that inspired me to finally give in and really give his music a chance by borrowing Gold from the library. I found it to be an underwhelming Dylan/Mellancamp hybrid, and watered-down on both counts. There were a couple tunes I liked, but not many.

Here's another "Simon's Cat" video: