Thursday, January 8, 2009

Wordy Shipmates

So, I don't want to brag, but Sabrina slept until 7:15 this morning! Of course, I did not, because I could only doze from 5:00 on because I was listening for her. Ah well.

For Christmas, Mom got me a book called The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell. I had heard a review on it on NPR, and I was really excited to read it. I have never laughed so much while reading a book. Just as an example: On page 42, she writes, in relation to the idea of predestination, "Let's hazard a guess that some people are not going to be up for this. The constant uncertainty--is it streets of gold for me or am I merely lighter fluid for the flames of hell?--weighs on the believer." Yeah, that would weigh on me.

The style of the book is unusual. Vowell inserts herself into the book a lot, turning it into a really, really long editorial with a lot of history in it. (I tell my students NEVER to refer to themselves in an essay. I'm still right. This book works, though.) I don't mind this style, and as I said, the book is hilarious. However, I was reminded of Elizabeth Bennet's words in Pride and Prejudice, when she said, "One may be continually abusive without saying anything just; but one cannot be always laughing at a man without now and then stumbling on something witty." I sort of felt that Vowell (a self-proclaimed disbeliever in God) found the Puritans fascinating, amazing, and misunderstood, but she also believes their whole lives' foundation to be, well, wrong. And thus she was able to be highly amusing. I'll have to read the book again to see what further opinions I have of it.

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