Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Reading Log - Lewis Is Wonderful Tonight

Just like in my last Reading Log entry, I'm still very slowly moving through two C.S. Lewis books.

I'm almost finished The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe, book two in my single-volume collection of The Chronicles of Narnia. It's going slowly because I'm reading it as bedtime stories to my son, one chapter each evening. Usually one chapter each evening, at least - if he wants something else, or isn't feeling up to a story (he went through a pretty nasty cold over the last few weeks, and sometimes just wanted to go to sleep early), or has lost his bedtime stories for misbehaviour (depressingly common), then it slows our progress.

I'm also still plugging away at my second pass through Miracles, highlighting and making notes. That's going even slower, because I only glance at it occasionally for a minute or two before bed. I never go very far in a single session, for the silliest of reasons: the highlighter I use is drying out, and I can usually only highlight a few lines before the ink becomes too faint to see. At that point I put the cap back on, set the highlighter point-down, and leave it sitting until the next time, when it'll be good for a few more lines. Yes, I could just get another highlighter, but this one still serves my purpose and I'm in no hurry. I absorb far more of the material in these very small bites anyway.

Since my last Reading Log entry I've also read Wonderful Tonight by Pattie Boyd (with Penny Junor). Here's a tip: whenever you see a book whose cover trumpets in big letters that it's written by Some Person You've Heard Of, and "with Some Person You've Never Heard Of" appended below in much smaller print, the book was actually written by Some Person You've Never Heard Of. The famous alleged primary author may not have even bothered reading the book, much less have made any significant contribution to writing it.

I didn't care for this book. It was superficial and offered no particular insights. George Harrison was moody and introverted and Eric Clapton was an addict. I already knew these things, and didn't learn much more.

I was struck by how utterly insignificant Ms. Boyd seems to have been (even to herself), despite the amazing achievements of those around her. Yes, that is almost certainly unfair. She supported, nurtured and inspired Harrison and Clapton during amazingly creative periods, but even in her own version of events she comes off as having simply been present, making no actual contribution. When she speaks of the remarkable life she's led, I'm moved to respond that, no, the lives of those around her were remarkable. She was just there.

Yes, that's remarkable in and of itself, but having been witness to history is insignificant compared to having made history. Despite what anyone may think of Yoko Ono, or Linda McCartney for that matter, you could not tell the story of either of their husbands' lives without dealing directly with their roles. A biography of Harrison or Clapton could dispense with Ms. Boyd in a footnote, if her own book is anything to go by.

This book might as well have been titled How I Spent My Last Forty-Five Summer Vacations. It's a litany of going to parties, going to tropical resorts, eating fancy meals, riding in fancy cars, and being ignored by famous people. There is little drama, or indeed narrative, to be found. I was most interested in the fleeting mentions of Mike and Angie Rutherford; as a fan of Genesis, I would much rather read a book about their lives next time.

When Pattie realizes in the 1980s and 1990s that she is now alone with no useful skills and no real way of making her own way in the world, it comes as no surprise to the reader. Furthermore, given that she has presented herself as a mere reflection of the men in her life, we can feel little empathy for her. She seems less like an actual human being and more like a loudspeaker dedicated to trumpeting the accomplishments of whoever she's sleeping with.

Yes, this is all unfair. She may be a very nice person in her own right, and I have no doubt that she's an individual with dreams, goals, things to say, and contributions to make. However, none of that is evident in her book.

A recent trip into a used clothing store, of all places, that also had a rack of used books, has provided me with more grist for the mill. I'll hold off on those, though, as well as the order I just received from Chapters, until next time.

Enough rambling. Here's a picture of my now-dead dog. This one was taken in 2002.

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