The fourth running of the Texas Independence Relay is in the books, as is the first participation of the mighty Most Likely to Secede team (for background on the TIR, see their website and my previous post). If you are a runner and can put together 8 to 12 people for one weekend, I highly recommend that you give this a try. The lack of sleep, unpredictable weather and roadkill dodging are minor inconveniences to the shear magnificence of running in the dead of night under the Texas stars, bonding with people you barely knew before and pushing your body to do something it has probably never done before. Our team rose to the challenge, and blew through our predicted pace, and had more fun than I think any of us predicted. We averaged an 8:37 pace over the 203.3 miles, for 26th out of 75 teams in the Open Mixed category. For a race that was logistically challenging, it was incredibly well organized; kudos to all the volunteers and especially Jay and Joy, the race directors.
These things are always Bert’s fault…or my brother’s, it’s really hard to tell. Bert and I tried to get a team together to run the 2010 TIR, and with his brother, brother-in-law and my brother and nephews, we were close…but we ran out of time. (more…)
With Lamb and Fool, Christopher Moore has now added his
own unique set of background material to two of the English language’s most read stories: The Bible and the Works of William Shakespeare.
Fool retells the story of King Lear (with some Hamlet and other Shakespeare plays thrown in for good measure) from the perspective of Pocket, the court jester. Though foul mouthed and always looking for a quick ‘shag’, Pocket’s history is slowly revealed, and, of course, he is more than just a fool.
In this Moore book, while funny, the story is the thing. It still involves King Lear, going crazy and asking his three daughters how much they love and honor him. The two eldest (Goneril and Regan) lie their butts off, and the youngest (Cordelia, the one Pocket has not only been assigned to but is madly in love with) tells the truth. Her truth does not set well with the good mad King, and he banishes her away with a prince from France…much to Pocket’s dismay and anger. (more…)
Christopher Moore sets the bar high with his writing. Very few books written these days are laugh out loud funny. When I read Mr. Moore’s LAMB, I got thrown out of more places and had more strange looks on airplanes because I was laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes. Then my son read it (and laughs very loud). FLUKE was close.
YOU SUCK, the sequel to BLOODSUCKING FIENDS, passed the laugh out loud test in a couple of places. YOU SUCK follows former minion C. Thomas Flood, newly converted to a vampire, and his girlfriend, the now forever fabulous red-head Jody (who turned Flood into a vampire and was recently converted herself) as they try to figure out this undead thing.
But the laugh out loud pieces come when Moore turns the narrative over to “Abby Normal”, the 16 year old goth/perky female minion chosen by Flood to do the vampires daylight bidding. Her diary narrative makes me think that Moore was a 16 year old goth/perky female in another life! And Blue, the aging Vegas hooker who dyes herself blue as a gimmick, has some good lines as well.
The ending is rather convenient, leaves it open for another sequel. The plot here isn’t as compelling as LAMB or FLUKE. But it’s a fun read. Read BLOODSUCKING FIENDS first though to get the background on all of the characters. Some of the characters from DIRTY JOB get looped in (as Mr. Moore always does in his writing) but they are minor so that book is not necessary to read before this one.
I’ve read most of Mr. Moore’s books, including Fluke and Lamb which I’d rate at the top. The Stupidest Angel isn’t his best, but it is still an enjoyable read.
Fan’s of other Christopher Moore novels will find familiar characters (including Tucker Case and Roberto the Fruitbat, my favs from The Island of the Sequined Love Nun) and new ones. Readers new to Mr. Moore’s work will enjoy the characters, as they try to keep up with the interestingly complicated storyline.
The storyline involves several misunderstanding and misinterpretations, starting with a child who thinks he saw Santa get hit on the head by a shovel (it wasn’t really Santa) and a none-too-bright Angel looking for something to fix who thinks he found it. It culminates with an excellent holiday party, where, as usual, imminent destruction by forces not necessarily natural is fought by our somewhat heroes (as his characters are always full of character flaws, even when heroes).
But I read Christopher Moore for the wit. Like the three word Chapter 16. And the great play on words.
I give it four stars because it isn’t Lamb, which is Mr. Moore’s greatest book. Unlike Lamb The Stupidest Angel’s plot sometimes goes somewhat into dead end alleys, and the characters aren’t as fleshed out as in Lamb. But it’s hard to compare any book to Lamb, which is one of the most laugh-out-loud books I’ve read.