Of course I’m still going to write about the rest of the wedding, but someone has promised to put up more photos and I plan to use some of them in telling my recap in all its gory detail. So instead, I’m going to do a little book reviewing and discuss the weather and all the other stuff that’s going on since we got back from Denver.
First, I finished The Year of Living Biblically. It was great! A fantastic read, very funny and poignant in a few places. I read many parts to Dan out loud because I found them so amusing. And it also really made me think about what it means to have faith in a book written so long ago, for a culture that is long gone, and how modern-day people attempt to translate such esoteric rules into actions that make sense now. It also made me think about how glad I am that I don’t feel any pressure to live my life according to how someone else (deity or no) tells me I should. Recently, some people I know who were culturally Jewish decided to really explore their faith and have become Orthodox – she covers her hair, they keep completely kosher, they follow the Sabbath, and for them it has become something very important. They really enjoy following all the Orthodox rules; it gives meaning and structure to their lives. As in The Year of Living Biblically, it makes them feel good to have a set of rules to follow, and they do the things without knowing WHY they are important to do, but they trust that God has His reasons and so they do them. That’s great for them, and I’m happy they have found something that fulfills them. And I’m happy that I don’t feel the need to follow any proscribed rules myself.
I’m really glad I read the book and that the author took his time to do a lot of research, experience a lot of what it means to be Orthodox Jewish and/or Fundamentalist Christian, and write his experiences. I highly recommend it.
I’m about halfway finished with Under the Banner of Heaven, the bestseller from a few years ago about Fundamentalist LDS people (and also about the origins of the Mormon church in general). I borrowed it from Monkey while we were in LA last week and started reading it right away, because I’ve wanted to read it for quite some time. While I find it fascinating, it also tends to give me bad dreams about scary religious people so I’ve stopped reading it before bed (which is when I do most of my reading for fun). I expect to finish it, perhaps this weekend. So far it’s about what I expected in terms of the story told in the book (a true one) and the exploration of the origin of the Latter-Day Saints, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, and how and why the polygamy bit became a part of the deal. It’s really quite interesting, and I can see why the one-husband-many-wives thing might appeal to the men, but what I still haven’t figured out is how they’ve convinced all the wimmenfolk to go along with it for so long. The modern-day FLDS women (and their children, for different reasons) don’t seem to have things so good. Girls are married off at really young ages, often to men significantly older, and they don’t have any choice in the matter. Boys are, more often than not, kicked out of the compounds and communities when they get older because the older men don’t want the competition for women, so they end up in unfamiliar places with no money, job skills, or education. “Lost boys,” they are called. It sucks for everyone.
Another book I borrowed from Monkey was Libba Bray’s A Great and Terrible Beauty. I finished that one earlier this week and really liked it for the most part, although part of me was expecting it to be better since it’s been talked up by so many people. Long story short: power fantasy for girls, set in turn-of-the-century (as in, 19th to 20th) India and London. I’m rather fond of the main character, but didn’t feel the other ones were quite fleshed out enough – and there could have been a lot more explanation about the power bit. I’m not going to spoil it, and I do plan to read the other books.
Right now I’m reading one I checked out from the library, yet another “authorized” sequel to Gone With The Wind, this time from the POV of Rhett Butler. I’m about 1/4 to 1/3 into Rhett Butler’s People, and so far it’s not quite as good as “Scarlett” (which, I must admit, I rather liked in its own right, despite the characters behaving nothing like their counterparts in GWTW) but it’s an escapist fantasy of a different sort, and I intend to finish it. I’ve gotta read something that will keep me from dreaming about the crazy fundamentalists.
Also, this week has been the epitome of Spring in Colorado. It’s gone from sunny, warm, and lovely (Sunday) to overcast and occasionally snowing (Monday), to overcast and a bit warmer (Tuesday) to less nice (Wednesday) to snow and rain (today). I’ve heard it’s supposed to be warm and nice again by Monday. We’ll see.
Also, this morning there was a gigantic cockroach in the women’s bathroom here at work. Gross.
Also, for those of you who can’t wait for more wedding recaps, you can see the “teaser” slideshow our photographer sent us here. Warning: there’s music, and also, if you are me, you might cry a little.