Sunday, December 7, 2008

Book nibbles: Lisey's Story and Eat Pray Love

Greetings, all - we just got back from a long weekend in upstate New York for early Christmas with the Mouse in-laws (Mr. Mouse's folks); 7.5+ hours of driving each way - which is dang good for this time o' year ... thus the dearth of recent postings. We had a good couple of days: spending time with Mr. Mouse's family, eating, drinking, playing games, basking in the warmth of a house where the thermostat is set higher than 60 degrees F ... lovely.

I also finished a couple of books (Mr. Mouse prefers to do all the driving what with the big scary Mass Turnpike and NY State Thruway - which is just fine with me since I don't get sick reading in the car and I can read a LOT in 7.5+ hours) that I thought I'd mention (having no television or movies to share with you at present): Stephen King's Lisey's Story and Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love.

Lisey's Story: another one of King's bestsellers ... blah blah blah ... like the guy needs any [free] publicity. Again, not an out-and-out horror tale, this novel is the story of a woman widowed after a long marriage, and her dealing with delayed grieving, intrusive family and, of course (since it's Stephen King) a homicidal maniac and either really intensive hallucinations or supernatural otherworlds. What I found lovely about Lisey's Story is (a) the fact that I thought the heroine, the eponymous Lisey, was a total dishray for the first bit of the book, but learned to respect and like her more and more as she learned to respect and like herself more and more and (b) King's exploration/creation of the secret language used by two people in a close, multi-yeared marriage. Lisey's Story is on the far side of most of his books, much more socially acceptable and accessible to people who abhor horror.

Eat Pray Love: I confess to being ambivalent at best about this book when my mom loaned it to me, and only really delved into it when I had nothing else in the house that I hadn't read already. First of all, it's nonfiction and I'm pretty much a fiction girl through and through. Second, it looked like there was a lot of religion and I'm pretty much an agnostic with atheist tendencies girl through and through. But, like I said, I didn't have anything else in the house that looked remotely interesting and I gave it a go. I'm very glad I did: Elizabeth Gilbert is a very engaging writer, witty and honest and self-deprecating. Eat Pray Love is an account of a year that she took off, after a devastating divorce and the subsequent break-up of her post-marriage love affair, to focus on herself and find her center. She spent some months in Italy, deconstructing pleasure; then on to an ashram in India where she found her God; and then finally to Bali, where she found a balance between the fleshly and the divine. (I realize I'm not doing her insightful, entertaining book justice at all in this description.) I thought the food-centric Italian chapters were glorious, and while I skimmed through some of the Indian transcendental God-stuff in the middle, Gilbert achieves both personal peace and a middle ground in the final Bali chapters. Eat Pray Love is a quick read and offers up plenty for consideration without being at all preachy.

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