Friday, October 17, 2003

Slapstick: Or Lonesome No More! by Kurt Vonnegut

Vonnegut himself said he couldn't decide if this book was his worst - or his best.

I love this one and it's my favorite Vonnegut book.

In it he actually discusses his own life a good bit, and his relationship with his sister, with whom he was very close. I felt like I had a much better idea of who Vonnegut is after reading this one.

The two main characters are very engaging, and the story is classic Vonnegut -- you gotta love people despite all their faults. The story is post-Apocalyptic, as so many of his stories are, but it has a more positive feel to it than many of them, despite the poor circumstances the people are in.

The message that life goes on is a hopeful one. I found the relationship between the main characters to be very thought-provoking. I think the critics vilified this one when it was first published, and I can't say that if you like Vonnegut you'll love this one -- because even some of his fans didn't like this one so much.

But if you like the idea of 2 soulmates being better together than they are separately, and if you've a fondness for the idiosyncracies of geniuses, you might like this one as much as I did.

Great Vonnegut Links:

The Vonnegut Web

The Official Vonnegut Website

Mary K. Weide, Official Vonnegut Sculptor

What to Expect When You're Expecting (Revised Edition) by Arlene Eisenberg, et al

I first read this book when I was pregnant with my first child. During my second pregnancy, I actually gave my copy away to a friend. I, like another reviewer here, found it needlessly alarmist, but that has to do with my philosophy of pregnancy and childbirth.

I think if there is reason for a woman to be concerned about a troublesome pregnancy or birth, then this book could provide some good, basic information. Also, any woman who really trusts the standard medical protocol regarding childbirth and pregnancy, will probably like this book.

For women who tend to question EVERYTHING their doctor or midwife does, they will not like this book! Just about everything that can go wrong is discussed and the standard procedures that doctors do are not questioned.

For the rebellious mother, I would advise that you skip this one and get "Husband-Coached Childbirth" and one of the books by Dr. Brewer.

And have a happy pregnancy and birth!

Here's a link:
Scientology Success: Donna Malloy talks about pregnancy

Peony by Pearl S. Buck

This is one of those stories that has just stayed with me forever.

I find discussing myself discussing it with others, even after all these years.

Buck is a masterful storyteller. The book is rather small -- no long, drawn-out story, but it communicates the story well, with a beautiful sort of grace.

I felt I understood the culture better, and the characters were very real to me. Their story was touching. The ending, which is the type which normally would leave me feeling dissatisfied, did not. It's not the perfectly happy, romantical type ending, which I normally like, but instead it shows that even when the fairy tale does NOT come true, life can be blessed and well worth living.

My children will read this one for sure.

Wings of Desire (1988) VHS ~ Bruno Ganz

I don't even know how to review this one, but I really feel I ought to make the attempt. This is the most incredibly spiritual, uplifting movie I have ever seen. After 10 years, it is still fresh in my mind.

The spiritual messages in this movie are told beautifully, in poetic form. The questions I had while watching this are of the magnitude of -- not "why am I here" but "why did I decide to come to be here". Not "why does God allow people to experience pain at times" but "why did I decide to experience life".

My review cannot possibly do justice to this movie. I have never experienced a more spiritual work of art in my entire life than watching this film.

It's utterly beautiful, and I would love more than anything to be able to tell Mr. Wenders, "Thank you. I got it." This movie is a gift to us, and I would encourage everybody to avail themselves of it!