Jabberwocky for 2005 October 27 (entry 0)

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[Comments] (7) Books: I finished the biography of Jorge Luis Borges. I'd had no idea the man was such a whining emotional wreck, but I guess that's a key to producing great art. I read The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier, the author of The Girl With the Pearl Earring. I haven't heard any hype about it, but I thought it was good--better, in fact, that her first novel.

I read several of Rachel's World War I books, and then I started in on Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake.

Oryx and Crake is quite scary because it shows the logical extention of "intelligent design". It turns out to not be so intelligent after all. I thought it was scarier, and better written, than The Handmaid's Tale, which was, after all twenty years ago, or was it thirty? Kudos to the author for growing and developing as an artist.

Now, what I have decided to do is just read the Book of Mormon straight through so I can catch up with the challenge to read it by the end of the year and get it out of my life. I don't enjoy reading The Book of Mormon very much. Oh, some parts are OK, like the Isaiah chapters. There are several reasons for this. (a) the people are so stoopid and keep making the same dumb mistakes. (b)all the wars and hostilities, and (c) this is probably the biggie. In the Hebrew culture, and other Eastern cultures, writing is roundabout and repetitive, and it is the obligation of the reader to understand. In our culture, we are direct and to the point and it is the obligation of the writer to be clear. I do appreciate the Eastern culture schtick, but as an American and as an English teacher, the Book of Mormon irritates me. Add it to the list of someone who needs a good editor: J.R.R. Tolkien, Bruce R. McConkie, and the Book of Mormon. Heresy, I know.

I like the New Testament, which was originally written in Greek. The Old Testament has the Hebrew structure watered down. And the Doctrine and Covenants is written in really, honest-to-goodness American English. That of a couple of centuries ago, it is true, but still real English. Mostly. Joseph Smith could have used a little bit of editing too.

Don't send your manuscript for me to read because I will find every faulty parallelism and misplaced comma.


Posted by Kristen at Thu Oct 27 2005 20:47

I thought the writing was better in Oryx and Crake too, than The Handmaid's Tale...althought both chilling. And the strange thing too was that Atwood wrote The Handmaid's Tale however long ago, but she kinda fortold the future. Obviously not that much, but parts are like it is now.

It is funny you should mention that about the Book of Mormon. Aaron and I were just discussing that b/c we are reading it together right now. Especially outloud I feel like I read the line twice but I didn't...the author literally repeats the phrase all the time. We just said it was b/c they were chipping it into brass and couldn't erase. :) It is very round about though, different reading it as an adult rather than a teen. I actually understand a lot more.

Posted by Alyson at Thu Oct 27 2005 21:01

I felt that way when I was reading Jane Eyre. I spent hours everyday reading Bronte when I should have been a good latter-day saint, reading my Book of Mormon chapters instead. If the Book of Mormon had a little romance, I might have been able to put Jane Dear aside. But not.

I also must say I had to use all my self restraint to miss a Dar WIlliams concert, in Lawrence, on SUNDAY evening. I've been waiting yearsfor her to cross paths with My Town. And of all days. She comes on Sunday. What an LDS no-no, to go to a concert on Sunday. Boo hoo!

I knew I was naughty--the moment I realized the concert was on a Sunday--when I checked the time to see if Dar was performing during church, and then I could sneak it in.

Dave went to see The Cure in concert the night before he went into the MTC (yes, he was "set apart"). He is a true renegade.

Posted by Brendan at Thu Oct 27 2005 21:06

I think that the finding of every faulty parallelism and misplaced comma is an excellent reason to send you a manuscript!

PS I love Margaret Atwood, but you probably already know from my ranting in Alyson's blog comments that I think Oryx and Crake is overrated, and that The Blind Assassin is her best.

Posted by Rachel at Thu Oct 27 2005 23:46

I agree with Brendan (about sending you a manuscript--I haven't read Oryx and Crake yet).

Posted by Susie at Fri Oct 28 2005 07:15

I also agree about sending you a manuscript. And about the commas. I have become a comma-and-apostrophe-error-finding fiend.

I thought I would be ok to finish the Book of Mormon by the end of the year because I was already 1/3 through when the announcement was made. But I know I still need to read extra. The new rule is, if I eat a snack before dinner, I have to read while eating (in addition to reading while eating breakfast).

The Book of Mormon, really could use a bit of romance. Or at least a few more stories about adventurous women. Not that I don't mind reading about those handsome chief captains/high priests/honorable men-of-God. That Captain Moroni, *whew*

Posted by John at Fri Oct 28 2005 08:27

You can thank good old Arnold Freeburg for all women falling in love with the "Captain Moroni's of the world." Can't a person be a good leader and be unattractive? Not in Hollywood.

When the prophet said that The Book of Mormon is the most correct book ever written, I don't think he was talking about grammar, or things that may get lost in translation. Something to put it all back in perspective.

Posted by Joe Walch at Sat Oct 29 2005 17:28

What is grammer but a system of artificial rules that changes with every changing generation. The ideas that are presented in the text don't change, however.

I am also reminded that Joseph Smith "Translated" the Bible. That is, from english to english, including the Book of Moses in which some not of our faith would accuse him of making things up out of thin air.

Joseph Smith also translated the Book of Mormon more by looking into a hat at the seer stones than by examining the text. Perhaps the Lord cleaned up the natural flaws and errors of the writters. I don't think that he would have allowed even honest errors in the book and thus it is the most correct book because it is the only whole book of scripture that has been given us directly from the Lord.

Also, perhaps if men didn't mess up all the time (with world wars and economics) then perhaps the Book of Mormon wouldn't have to dwell too much on teaching the men how to do their duty. Women, on the other hand, naturally perform their duties wonderfully, and therefore need less instruction.

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