Travis Haight (jazznut85) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
Travis Haight

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Books 11 and 12: Athletic Shorts and The Bible Salesman

11. Title: Athletic Shorts
Author: Chris Crutcher
Genre: YA Lit
Pages: 194

Synopsis: Basically a collection of six short stories, primarily culling characters from his previous novels. One story, A Day in the Life of Angus Bethune, did not fit this bill.

My take: I am now in the process of reading several more of Crutcher's work, having only read his book, Whale Talk, previously. None of the stories were a disappointment, and none of them did I find predictable. To anyone looking for a quick read that will make you think, and laugh hysterically at the same time, this is a prime candidate.

Grade: A

12. The Bible Salesman
Author: Clyde Edgerton
Genre: General Fiction
Pages: 241

Synopsis: Set mainly in the early 50s, but also augmented with plenty of back story regarding the main character's life, The Bible Salesman tells the tale of Henry, a traveling Bible Salesman who is picked up by a member of crime and car theft ring while hitchhiking. Raised in a very strict Fundamentalist Christian household, Henry is asked by Clearwater, the man who picks him up, to assist him with his "government job," assuming that his new passenger is gullible enough to believe it. In the meantime, being part of it gives Henry plenty of time to think about what he really believes, and even possibly find love with Marleen, a beautiful woman who writes poetry and runs a fruit stand.

My take: I picked this book up on a whim, totally not knowing what to expect. Then again, I may or may not have picked it up to balance out the serious stack of YA lit I was picking up the first time around, and how I definitely wanted to add some variety to what I was getting. The synopsis really was what sucked me in, as well as a great review on the front cover by David Sedaris, who is also pretty cool, too.

I loved how detailed the back story into Henry's growing up is, as well as how it plays into what goes on in the main portions of the story. I also hate a story that tells and doesn't show what's going on. The back story allows The Bible Salesman to show and not tell. The humor in this book is great as well, in addition to some of the ironies I find in how Henry is ademant on being a Christian, but then does some relatively immoral things on his own.

All in all, this was a great read. I would give the book an A, except for the fact that there were a couple of loose ends that weren't tied up that I thought should've been by the end.

Grade: A-

Progress: 12/50 books read

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