Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Bundle of Reviews: Watchmen, My Life With The Saints, and Rebecca

I've been done with these books for days, and I kept waiting for inspiration to hit so I could pour forth an insightful and wholly original review. That has not happened, so y'all get a one-paragraph writeup. Sorry!

Watchmen: To start... I am an idiot. I thought this was published, like, within the last few years. When I started reading and it was set in the '80s, I thought, "Wow, they really managed to capture the time." Well, it was published in the '80s. Silly me. Anyway, this is heralded as the gold standard of graphic novels and one of the best books ever and on and on, and I am glad I can say that it does live up to the hype.

The heroes of Watchmen are masked adventurers and, in one case, a superhuman being. What makes Watchmen different and groundbreaking is that the heroes are at best normal people with normal-people frustrations and folibles, and at worst are the type of men usually found in a cell in solitary confinement. You learn about their backstories, what made them put on a costume to fight crime, and why they chose those costumes. It's a superhero story that focuses much more on character development than on ass-kicking. I dug it.

I'm not a big graphic-novel fan. I appreciate them and absolutely agree that they are a worthwhile form of literature, but they don't resonate with me the way novels do. In some ways I felt the same about Watchmen. It's not a book that is a part of me, but it is a book that I'm glad to have read and would recommend to others.

My Life With the Saints: I just said in my review of a graphic novel that I am not a graphic novel fan, and I'm starting this review of a Catholic book by saying that I am not a Catholic. However, I do have many Catholic family members and I've always felt an affection and interest in Catholicism.

My Life... is about James Martin's spiritual journey from typical college kid and business grad to Jesuit priest as well as aboutt he saints that he feels a special connection to. I enjoyed learning about familiar saints like St. Francis and Mother Theresa as well as less-familiar ones like Pedro Arrupe and Pope John What I liked most, however, was reading about the author's journey to being a clergyman, because he's such a regular guy. He grew up in a lukewarm Catholic house. He smoked pot in college and chose his major because he figured it would pay the bills. He chose a life in the Church because he was dissatisfied. He struggles with a lot of questions. It just felt really nice to read about someone who didn't have a life with huge highs and lows, or a dramatic spiritual conversion.

I would recommend this book to any Christian, even non-Catholics. I don't pray to saints but I did find the profiles and spiritual journey of the author interesting and applicable to my own life.

Rebecca: I have many friends who have raved about this book. They were correct to have raved. This was a very suspenseful, atmospheric, creepy story. I have much more to say, but I don't like to talk about details or characters from the book with people who have not read it, so I will refrain. I would highly recommend it.

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