Happy Halloween, Everyone!
This is definitely one of my favorite holidays, though I can’t help being annoyed that it’s on a Sunday. People always make a big deal about Halloween being on a Sunday. I even heard someone say that they didn’t like “evil” associated with Sunday. Evil? Sure, it’s a barely disguised remnant of our pagan past, but evil?. Halloween is not evil. It was a harvest festival, and a day, and night, for the dead. The Celts believed that on Samhain, the barriers between our world and the Other World, Annwn, were weakened so that the spirits of the dead could more easily pass through. It was also the ritualized end of summer and beginning of winter, where the deities of one were put to sleep and the deities of the other awakened. I don’t see any of this as evil. And the kids don’t either. They just want to dress up in awesome costumes, knock on doors, and get lots of free candy.
And, for all of you who go on and on about celebrating a pagan holiday on a Sunday, take a look at Easter. Sure, you go to Sunrise Service to celebrate the resurrection, but, then you have egg hunts, and your kids have candy filled baskets and stuffed bunnies. Eggs and rabbits are the pagan side of Easter. An obvious festival for a fertility goddess that most of the world has forgotten.
I know these comments will get me into trouble, and probably offend some of you. For that, I am sorry, I honestly meant no offense. And, anyway, it’s time to get down from my soapbox and get to the original purpose of this post: my October reads, most of which were surprisingly good.
- Bone Mountain by Eliot Pattison – For me, the most fascinating aspect of this book was that it showcased just how much of Bod, the traditional Tibetan faith, has been integrated into Tibetan Buddhism. And just how similar Buddhist philosophy and principles are to Taoism. The mystery wasn’t all that mysterious to me. I figured out who Tenzin was fairly early in the book, and the whole Serenity Campaign was rather transparent. The only real surprises were Colonel Lin, and just how Yapchi was “liberated.” While I didn’t enjoy Bone Mountain as much a s I did Water Touching Stone, I love this series, and will definitely continue reading it. Rating: 4
- Deep Kiss of Winter by Kresley Cole and Gena Showalter – This book was a two for one deal. I liked Cole’s offering, mostly because of the whole Ice Fey thing. The imagery I got in my head in some of those scenes was really cool, if you’ll forgive the pun! Showalter’s tale was okay, I mean, it didn’t put me to sleep or anything, but it didn’t really stand out. Although I did kind of enjoy the part where Aleaha turned into a particular man at an, uh, interesting moment. It was weird, yeah, but it struck me as funny. Rating: 3.5
- The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall – After I got used to Udall’s writing style, I really enjoyed this book. I almost cried a few times. In the end, it all boils down to this: families all over are complex, no matter how many fathers, mothers, or children there are. Everyone struggles for recognition as an individual. My one true disappointment was Tracy’s ultimate decision. I was really hoping she would take Rose’s advice. Rating: 4.5
- The Vine of Desire by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni – I liked this book very much, but I would like to have seen more developement of the character of Anju. On the one hand, the ending was satisfying, but, on the other, left a feeling of emptiness. Rating: 4.25
- Cracking India by Bapsi Sidhwa – This novel wonderfully describes the horror and tumult of the split that formed India and Pakistan through the innocent eyes of a child. The character of Ice-candy-man was subtly creepy. He was a stalker with a passionate obsession and a fluid, chameleon brain. Cracking India is a poignant, harrowing, thought-provoking read. Rating: 4.5
- Call Me Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber – I was pleasantly surprised. I pretty much expected this book to be as cardboard as the last few Cedar Cove books have been, but it wasn’t. It was sweet, yes, but not saccharine. And, of course, the surprise really wasn’t a surprise. Parts of this book were really funny. The exchanges between Emily and J. R. come to mind. Another thing that surprised me about the book, and mildly amused me, was that the blatant reference to the movie wasn’t really blatant. When they were watching Everybody Loves Raymond, no one remarked on how much Mrs. Miracle looked like Ray’s Mom. Call Me Mrs. Miracle is a light, funny read, just sweet enough to cleanse your palette. Rating: 4