3 newbies to report here, today, now. Sorry, but though I enjoyed all 3, I can’t in good conscience recommend any to anyone without the precise, narrow, geeky interests of me, my ego and my half dozen or so other personalities. Anyway, here goes…
1: I finally polished off Joseph Campbell’s Myths to Live By. It made me tired.
Plot: none. Not even close. It’s a series of lectures Joe gave in the 60’s on the value of myth–generally as the precursor and necessary alternative to organized religion–from the beginning of time throughout the world (he tries to include the Moon, but I think he fails miserably on that stretch). So it’s temporally and geographically broad, enough to make my head hurt. OK, ‘nough complaining.
What I Learned: That organized religion blows. A lot. Especially Western organized religion: “we (westerners) have been bred into one of the most brutal war mythologies of all time.” As Joe seems to see it, it is our hard wired mythologies (e.g. the struggle against common enemy, nature) that historically resulted in epic tales of internal and external odyssies and that are the cement that holds our various societies together. These mythologies spawned organized religion–all of them–as a way to express their lessons. Eastern religions historically have remained pretty true to their mythological base, but western religions have for the most part completely bollocksed it up in favor of more mundane pursuits (mainly money, societal control and killing people). Relatively deep stuff for a dummy like me.
B. Keeping with the Joe theme, and wanting to rest my noggin, I picked up James Prosek’s Joe and Me. It made me nostalgic.
Plot: Old man befriends young man (author) and teaches him how and where to fish in rural Connecticut. Elvismith keeps waiting for old man’s hand to slide across the front bench seat of the old pickup and land on authors knee, and is sorely disappointed.
What I Learned: Fishing is fun!
III. Keeping with the “things that live under water” theme, I next polished off a heapin helpin (with drawn butter) of The Secret Life of Lobsters (don’t miss the lobster blog!), by Trevor Corson. It made me hungry.
Now this one is, I guess, pretty non-fictional, if Mr. Corson can be trusted on his lobster facts and the descriptions of the lives and loves of the lobstermen and scientists who obsess over our favorite red bug day and night.
Plot: The typical: boy meets lobster, boy marries lobster, lobster leaves boy for a neurologist, boy writes country song.
What I Learned: Lobsters are just like us, because they like the nasty. Lobsters are not like us because they can breathe under water and females have complete control over the mating ritual.