Sunday, May 31, 2009

Risking the Library!!!

Since I quit my job at Heritage Adoption Services, everyone who knows me knows that things have changed massively for me financially. It took me a little longer to figure it out. HA! I kept right on buying beads and books (my favorite things!) for months before I realized, you know, I'm going to run out of money if I keep this up. (I may be slow, but I can be taught!)

I did get another job, doing interviews for a research company, but it doesn't pay (anywhere near) as well as being the Director of Domestic Services. Sigh... So I'm economizing as I continue to make jewelry and convince people that they really do want to tell me private information about themselves and their families for the betterment of all through publicly-funded research.

One of the ways I'm economizing is that I've gone back to the library. Yikes! I wasn't sure it would be cheaper to begin with, because I used to lose books and wind up with huge fines. It was cheaper just to buy paperbacks and re-sell them at Bearly Read Books on SE Powell. But I was broke one day and out of something to read so I decided to risk it. It's working out pretty well! In about three months now I've only had fines of about $2.75. That's pretty good, don't you think?

So I thought I'd tell you from time to time about a book I've read. I just finished listening to one on audiocasettes in my car by James Patterson and Andrew Gross. It's called The Jester and is set in 1067 or so, at the time of the first crusade. The main character, Hugh de Luc, begins as a lowly innkeeper who is lured off to the crusade by the promise of booty and freedom from his feudal bond. He returns with what seem like some pretty good trinkets, but nothing of real value. But a (supposedly) noble man believes he has a relic of incredible worth and there's where the trouble begins. Hugh finds his inn burned to the ground, the son he did not know he had buried on a hilltop and his wife missing, dead or imprisoned or being used for who knows what. Hugh is of course grief-stricken, enraged and determined to find his wife. He becomes a jester in order to have access to the nobleman's court.

The story is full of period details and colorful stories and jokes. Patterson is a great storyteller, as always, and engages the reader in Hugh's life. There are surprises at every turn, characters both delightful and nefarious, demonstrations of great courage and loyalty, and heinous incidents unworthy of the human race. All in all, very enjoyable.

I liked this book in general as it was a good story, but I had a problem with the basic concept. While I am a Christian, I am not Catholic, so I really don't get the concept of the crusades or the value of relics, whether bones of the saints or objects touched or used in ancient times. It seems to me that the crusades were sort of the ultimate in religious and ethnic intolerance, or possibly just an awful lot of bloodshed for the sake of acquiring a lot of questionable relics that supposedly had magical powers of salvation. But I don't believe that objects have any power at all. The power of salvation lies in the relationship with God, not in objects or even in the church or its representatives.) So for me, this book was kind of like Dan Brown's books (The daVinci Code and Angels and Demons): a good read, but let's not take it too seriously from a theological perspective.

BTW, don't forget about my giveaway! Read my last entry and post a comment with your email address! And visit my Etsy store: I make nice jewelry for bold people!

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