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Books - Qualified Perceptions
firstfrost
firstfrost
Books
Not that I've had time to read a book in a week or two, but I might as well post these, which I was saving until I could include one I could really recommend.
Chronicles of Narnia (by C. S. Lewis)
Like Prydain, I hadn't read them since childhood. The two main differences: I read them in the "new" order, and I read them with a whole lot more KS:Christianity than I did as a child. I'm much less disconcerted by the new order than most people seem to be - there's some aesthetic appeal to putting Genesis before the New Testament, and I felt like it gave more weight to the first King and Queen to see them first. I also liked seeing the lamp-post planted first; it somehow seems more significant that way. But for all that, I think it still works better in the original order. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is an Introduction and Exploration in a way that Magician's Nephew just isn't, and the relatively minor point about the Emperor-across-the-sea putting things in at the creation is much more jarring when I'd just read the creation and there was no Emperor there at all. As a musing on Christianity, I think it's extraordinarily successful, and in some ways makes more sense than real Christianity; as an adventure story with no cultural referents, it's puzzlingly eccentric. But my heart still belongs to Prydain. Three and a half stars.

Interface (by Stephen Bury)
I think of this as a mjperson book. It's a somewhat implausible romp, with a lot of satire directed at the political process. The media portrayed is far too kind, though it's a ten-year-old book. The plots make about as much sense as Assassin - both in terms of the political plots and the science plots - but they're not bad Assassin plots. You can see the different groups walking through their greensheet checkoff lists. Many of the bad guys are nicely charismatic, and there's a bit of "I'm not running for re-election any more, I'm going to damn well do some good now" that reminded me of West Wing. Fluff, but not bad for fluff. Three stars.

The Wine of Angels (by Phil Rickman)
This is apparently the origin story for a series of mystery/thriller/light horror novels, in which the main character is an exorcist. (An Anglican exorcist, I think - that would be what a female priest in England would be, right? I can't quite decide what I think of it. There's a strangely oppressive atmosphere to everything -- so while I think it's well-written, it may not be quite my cup of tea. "Thriller" and "horror" make it sound action-packed, and I suppose there's some action, but it's all very darkly contemplative. Anyway, I'm sort of intrigued by the idea of an exorcist series of mystery novels, so I may try a second. Three and a half overripe-apple-scented stars.

Murder Among Friends (by Jonnie Jacobs)
Included here only for completeness, it's really nothing special. Not bad enough to complain about, just an adequate representation of the "wander about until you bump into enough clues, and then the bad guy tries to get you" genre of mystery. Two and a half stars.
All borrowable or stealable.

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firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: January 29th, 2006 02:51 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Female Priests

According to the Wikipedia, which has been my source for all things religion these past months, the entry on Anglicanism says:

There are three orders of the ordained ministry: deacon, priest and bishop. No requirement is made for clerical celibacy and women may be ordained as deacons in almost all provinces, as priests in many, and as bishops in a few provinces.

(Whether or not women could be priests was one of the religious credo differences we didn't explicitly put in Vatican, though. Mostly because we wrote the mechanic before deciding whether or not we were going to cross-cast tons of women or declare that all the clergy went co-ed some time pregame.)
twe From: twe Date: January 29th, 2006 03:32 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Female Priests

I'm pretty sure the Anglicans (or at least the Church of England and the Episcopal Church) opted to allow the ordination of women in something like the last 10 years or so (sometime while we were living together).
kirisutogomen From: kirisutogomen Date: January 30th, 2006 02:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Apparently Stephen Bury is Neal Stevenson's uncle or something, and they sort of co-wrote the book. hit claims that he can tell which parts were written by whom.
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: January 30th, 2006 08:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Huh. That's interesting to know. I wonder if that also explains the fact that I wasn't sure whether the author thought that one particular character was a good guy or a bad guy. :)
ricedog From: ricedog Date: January 30th, 2006 09:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
they have quite the indirection going.


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