I’ve had the last week off for winter break and the fact that the temperature has been parked well below zero the whole time means that I spent most of the week wrapped up in a blanket struggling to keep my body temperature up. I made it to the YMCA to run and swim a bit, but honestly this has been an inert week.
But that’s okay, ’cause I’ve been able to read three books this week! Time was, I could burn through books two at a time in a weekend, but then work and being a grown-up got in the way. What a cop-out. This week I got to take a deep dive into three excellent vacation reads.
Lamb, by Christopher Moore, is a re-imagining of the life of Jesus as told by his previously unknown bed buddy Biff. If you have no sense of humor, skip this one and move on to the next book on my list, or go read something else. It’s irreverent but not malicious: Biff invents sarcasm, falls in love with Mary Magdalene (Maggie) and travels with his friend through the East. It’s quite hilarious and has more kung fu than the Bible.
The Empty Throne, by Bernard Cornwell, is the next book in his Saxon Tales series. The series tells the story of the beginning of the kingdom of England, but mainly it is awesome because it has sword-swinging medieval battles and funny middle English names galore. The plot follows the aftermath of the death of King Alfred the Great, a dude who deserves an action movie if ever there was one. Starting at the beginning of the series is nice but unnecessary.
Dead of Night, by Jonathan Maberry, is all about zombies. If you like the Walking Dead comics or TV show, this is for you. It has its own “scientific” take on zombies…but really its a couple hundred pages of a breathless race for survival. Good for a cold week on the couch.
It was great to be immersed in reading like this again. Of course, all this reading was interspersed with computer games and movies, talking with my loved ones, eating and sleeping. But reading for pleasure requires a measure of mental effort and imagination that movies, TV and (computer/video) games don’t always require. That effort is very good for the brain.
Finally, here’s a quote from Maya Angelou that tells anyone interested where they can find these excellent books.