1. Mother, Come Home by Paul Hornschemeier.
While talking to my class librarian, I happened to mention that I had recently become interested in graphic novels and comic books and was thinking of incorporating a study of them into my BA thesis. She immediately suggested that I pick up Mother, Come Home, as it sounded like the kind of stuff I was looking for. I've always been interested in the interaction of word and text, but was put off of the medium in my early teens by the flood of glossy manga and musclebound superdudes -- none of that here.
Hornschemeier creates a thoughtful examination of the concept of family through poetry and illustration tinged with surrealism. The story tells of a father and son, rendered in flat, muted colors, wandering through the days following their wife/mother's death. The thing that struck me most about this work was the way Hornschemeier used subtle inversions in the family's relationship to draw attention to things breaking down within the family -- the son becomes a kind of friend and guardian to his father as he begins to regress, attempting to protect him from the elements of the outside world that he can no longer deal with.
Some parts of the narrative seemed unrealistic or unlikely, but given the work's dreamlike overtones, I didn't really have a problem with it. This book is beautifully illustrated, bizarre, sad, and wonderful, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a quick read that's a little bit different.
2. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
This wasn't quite what I expected. Mere Christianity is compiled from a series of radio talks written during the 1940s. It is simple, direct, and written more or less in simple English, never really deviating from a fourth grade vocabulary level: it's an easy read. Less of a theological treatise and more of a primer in what it means to be Christian.
It addresses several frequently asked questions about Christianity and provides some very interesting insight into the Christian faith. Lewis brings up counterpoints to several questions that I have consistently been asking as a young, deviating, doubting Catholic, providing answers that I never could have formulated myself and were also never offered by any teacher, priest, or mentor during my catechism.
Lewis explains a lot of things via direct, Aquinas-esque proofs. His reasoning is usually pretty sound, but there were a few times where he felt that he jumped the gun a bit and moved on to the next point of what he was explaining before I was fully convinced, leaving me feeling a bit cheated in some sections. I'm going to go ahead and also admit that the former-potential-gender-studies major in me still cringed a bit at certain sections that I found wholly unconvincing, mainly the one on woman's place within the marriage.
Regardless, it's still a very interesting examination and explanation of the Christian faith, and Lewis provides a thorough attempt at directly addressing many of the most common attacks posed to Christianity.
To finish next: Middlesex, Short Stories by Pirandello, Slim's Table, and A House for Mr. Biswas.
2 / 50 books. 4% done!