Reading "Week"

The pleasure of the holiday season -- besides spending time with family, snowshoeing and cross country skiing at my cottage, and watching the World Junior Hockey Championships -- is staring at all the books waiting to be read on my bedside table and realizing there is a least another week during which I can make a dent in them.

Two are at the top of the swell.

First there is Edeet Ravel's novel A Wall of Light, shortlisted for the Giller Prize although not the eventual winner. She is a Canadian writer born on a Marxist kibbutz near the border with Lebanon, now living in a small city not far from me. Her ambivalence in the novel about Israel's role in the Middle East is unmistakable (frequent references to the "occupation" of various pieces of contested territory, for example). But her characters are so quirky and likeable (a deaf Math professor who falls in love with an Arab taxi driver) that these slightly wicked political undertones can be ignored, even by supporters of Israel (me among them). I haven't finished yet, so no final judgment passed.

Next in line is Harold Bloom's Jesus and Yahweh, an odd choice for someone who is devoutly uncertain about the existence of anything spiritually "divine". What put this book on the bedside table is the quotation on the jacket cover . . . "There is not a sentence concerning Jesus in the entire New testament composed by anyone who ever met the unwilling King of the Jews." And another one in the introduction which refers to all the writings in the New Testament as "tendentious: their designs upon us, as readers or auditors, are palpable and conversionary." How do you like that for controversy!

That should take me to New Year's Day . . .

A Wall of Light - And Some Darkness

Managing Blog-Driven Crises