Monday, 25 April 2011

Beautifully Bookish

Manny being a Bookworm. This is screen still taken from Black Books, a comedy dear to my heart. If you haven't heard of it/ seen it, do it now. you wont regret it.

Anyway I have been sent some books in exchange for writing reviews of them. Pretty sweet deal all things considered. Just a quick heads up- This is a slight departure from my usual posts and will, almost definitely, be a tad longer.

So the First book, Blood of the Rose by Kate Pearce, wasn't really my cup of tea. I feel bad saying this as it was so sweet of her to send me a copy, she even signed it.

The cover, and the bookmarks that came with it give you an impression of the sort of book it is. Its sort of Romeo and Juliet meets Twilight meet Mills and Boon meets Philippa Gregory.

Blood of the Rose is the second book in the Tudor Vampire Chronicles. Set during the reign of Henry VIII, it tells the story of a female vampire slayer, Rosalind Llwellyn, who belongs to a family of Druids sworn to defend the English monarchy. Long story short, she gets together with a bloke sworn to defend vampire interests. Cue cringe worthy soft porn moments, with a smattering of historical 'facts' to keep it off the top self.

Here are a couple of comedy quotes that pretty much sum the book up:

"His soft laughter made her want to lean into him and just surrender to his strength"

"Having Christopher in her mind and in her arm made her feel alive again"

"He wanted to breath in her scent, cover her naked flesh with kisses, thrust his aching prick into her warm, wet tightness..."

also, as expected, a healthy does of forsooths, mayhaps, perchances, and verilys.

Book number 2: Derek Murphy's Jesus Potter Harry Christ.

Gosh where to start?... An impressively heavy tome, it reads like an academic paper. Its divided into three parts, then subdivided. The subdivisions work as part of a cohesive narrative, but also allow you to pick and choose the parts you're most interested in. As a result it is easy to follow Murphy's logic and makes for fuss free reading.

A lot of research and effort have obviously been expended in writing this book, but at no point does it feel laboured or like Murphy has an axe to grind (an impressive achievement considering the subject matter). In fact Murphy presents the evidence and leaves the conclusions to the reader. Having said this there are points at which you do hear Murphy's own voice, in little asides to the main narrative. I should add however that these are delivered with such brilliant sarcastic wit that they only add to the experience, rather than detracting from his academic credibility. For example:

In response to the Biblical story of Genesis (1:1-31) "Everything was made perfectly in accordance to [God's] plan, and he announced that it was all very good. In the world He created, there was no death and no suffering, which suggests that the time and the basic laws of physics hadn't yet been installed" (226)

This was not the book I was expecting. From the title I thought there would be more about the similarities between Jesus and Harry, with some interesting facts about both thrown in for good measure. It is not, although the first chapter Sacrificial Half Breed Warlocks: Harry Potter as a Christ Figure does (obviously) focus on the two characters similarities, the rest of the book is a fairly detailed look at the roots, and development, of Christianity.

There are some fascinating tit-bits to be gleaned, and Murphy makes much of the pre christian ear and its belief systems, in particular Sun-myths which, is Murphy is to be believed, forms the basis of all alter religions, not to mention literature. He makes a very persuasive argument.

The titles of each chapter allude to popular culture enough that you can join the dots up yourself, without having to have things spelled out (Jesus, the Lion King: Astrological Foundations). This also allows you to muse on things uninterrupted, and go off in your own direction of thought. Conversely the subject matter of  some, Meeting Satan Again: Draco and Creation Myth,  appear predictable and yet will totally surprise you (although there are some familiar names that Potter fans will pick up on).

An understanding of classical culture helps whilst reading some of the more academically meaty bits, or maybe its just that those who have an understanding of Classics clearly have an interest in the subject, and will get more enjoyment from these bits... who knows?! Either way I thought it was a brilliant book, and highly recommend it.

If you like the sound of Jesus Potter Harry Christ, you can read it for yourself here.

If nothing else it makes for interesting dinner table debating, and is most certainly thought provoking.

Love to all


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