Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A child, a baby, a dream, a hope, and more book reviews

I'm writing children's stories about a pre-schooler who plays with his friends in the street, helps his mom sweep the floor, keeps asking if the bread has finished rising yet, stomps grapes when the harvest comes in, and generally has fun. This story's going to be about being kind to strangers. I write the first line: "One day, Jesus was playing with his friends..." And I mentally bow my head at the name of Jesus because I grew up Catholic and that's what we do. Then I wonder if children listening to the story will bow their heads too. I'm glad the preacher reminded us on Sunday that Jesus was wholly human as well as wholly God, and human relationships were important to him. It helps me remember why I'm writing about this little boy--I want children to know he was once a child, just like them, and they can grow up to be more like him.

Of course, I'm also writing book reviews: One book's about a world where children are almost invisible; another ends with a single child's life as the most precious gift; one book ponders the nature of woman; another the nature of science (or parascience); and the last looks at love and loss.

Starting with The Babi Makers, by Christopher Geoffrey McPherson; in this possibly futuristic, or possibly alien world, life is wonderfully well-ordered, sexuality is no more complicated than a fine meal or a kindness shared, and children are never unwanted. In fact, children are bought and paid for in full before birth to ensure no complications--nothing to spoil the general pursuit of happiness. But something is serious amiss in this perfect world, and happiness proves somewhat minimal as human emotions go. Enjoy this dark tale with a bold dark 5-star coffee.

Into the Savage Dawn by P. L. Parker delves into our world's past rather than its future, with a group of intrepid time-travelers trapped in a world ruled by wild animals and wild tribes of Cro-Magnon man. A romantic sci-fi adventure, it starts with a wounded woman trying to catch up with the group while danger threatens from every side. Communication's the key--with other tribes and with each other. And survival too--which might include children one day. Enjoy this fast-moving easy-reading adventure with a 2-star easy-drinking cup of coffee.

Next comes a collection of short stories and poetry. Twisted, by Uvi Poznansky, includes Biblical fiction with the author's trademark twists and modern day allusions, the poetic relationship between a lump of clay and her sculptor, feline determination to survive, and human longing and loss, all in one slim volume. Ponder on the nature of woman with a rich elegant complex 4-star coffee as you read this one.

Everygnome’s Guide to Paratechnology, by Joseph J. Bailey, is a very different sort of "novel," written in the form of an instructional brochure for students who happen to be gnomes. There's some pretty deep wisdom hidden behind some of those witticisms, and the tone is a perfect parody of self-help tomes. Enjoy with a mild crisp 1-star coffee, and don't blow too many things up.

And finally, a short story, The Visitation, by Brian Bigelow. At the end of life, an old man lives alone with kettles to boil, books to read, and memories trapped in photographs on the shelf. It's a sad story, but a visitor in the final pages brings solace and hope. Enjoy with a short cup of dark intense 5-star coffee.



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