Sunday, December 02, 2007

Checking in

My reading of Lord of the Flies was somewhat tainted by knowing how it ends. It's the model UN episode of The Simpsons, so I knew the plot from start to finish. It was still a very impressive book. I had to take several breaks from reading it because it was just too depressing, but it was very good.

One thing I wondered as I read it was whether this thing was written deliberately to provide fodder for critics of various schools. It is almost impossible to avoid reading it as an allegory; I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I used to think that true understanding of a work of fiction involved teasing out the allegory. Now, not so much.

In between Lord of the Flies sessions, I finally found Neil Gaiman's short story collection Fragile Things under a car seat and finished it off. The end of the book is a kind of post-quel to American Gods, another book I recommend highly. A story about The Matrix that was written when the movie came out. One about a society of gourmands that has eaten absolutely everything under the sun. A touching one called "How To Talk To Girls At Parties" about a shy kid who meets some very strange girls. A very funny one about a writer who lives in a gothic Halloween world who tries to overcome the stigma of writing contemporary literary fiction. All of them start out normal enough, then go a little bit crazy, magical-realism style.

I also finished Charmed Life, which was very entertaining. Today, I dove into the next one in the series, The Nine Lives of Christopher Chant.

Somehow I worked in time to "finish" Super Mario Galaxy. This is a charming game, a flagship for Nintendo. They hit every note just right. Mario is running around in the stars, visiting all kinds of planets. Some have normal gravity, some are very very strange. They have themes, like "" The plot is the Mario plot (Bowser kidnaps the princess, you go save her), but everything else was fresh and exciting. There was some great camera trickery involved, with Mario walking around on the ceiling a lot. The music was brilliant. Bee Mario is probably the cutest thing they have ever done. And beating the Robot Bowser level in Toyland felt like a real accomplishment. The first half of the game was easy enough, but the second half, which I am just starting, looks to be pretty hardcore. I say "finish" because even over the course of my rental, which was most of three evenings, I only got through half of the levels.

I got a wireless keyboard and mouse at Target this weekend. I hope to use it in conjunction with the Wii to surf the web from my couch. Stay tuned.

I've got that William Gibson book to read, and I have that end-of-year book sum-up to get to. I hope the early December days are treating you well. Sarah should have some exciting pictures up of the house decorated for Christmas soon...

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