If you’re new around here, this is my monthly book report.These are informal reviews and random thoughts on the books I’ve read this month. I love having this place to share and connect with others to discuss what books wowed us (and maybe which books didn’t). As usual, I’m linking up with the Modern Mrs. Darcy.
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
“There’s more beauty in the truth even if it is dreadful beauty.”
Watch out, readers! This book has claws! It completely gripped me and wouldn’t let me go until I finished it. I found myself ignoring life many times in order to keep reading and that doesn’t happen very often with me. It’s a saga that spans a couple of generations, but focuses mainly on a (somewhat dysfunctional) family in Salinas, California. I will say, at times, it unfolded a bit like a soap opera with melodramatic turns of events, but I think Steinbeck was using the “over the top” extremes to prove his point of good vs. evil. It wouldn’t have been as fun to read about a mildly bad person and an average good person. You need extremes sometimes. The story parallels the Cain and Abel story but I’ll leave that discussion to more intelligent people than me. In addition, I loved how the story gave glimpses of the times and the future. For example, there was a fascination with refrigeration. At one point, one of the characters risks a lot of money to ship lettuce on ice from California to the East Coast. It didn’t go as planned but obviously it hinted at what the future would hold for these farmers. I would slightly agree that it might have benefited from some editing BUT it never lagged or dragged on. I was intrigued the entire time and, for being 600 pages, I flew through it.
Porcelain by Moby
“My own records should be melodic and emotional, and I should do my best to make music that could give people happiness, or at least a beautiful sadness that offered consolation.”
I first heard about Moby’s memoir, Porcelain, while listening to a Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast. He was a guest on the show and I was truly impressed by his general outlook on life and was curious about his memoir. As soon as I started reading it, I was immediately hooked on the story. Moby brings to life a time, place and group of people that are so far removed from my own life: the club and rave scene of a drug-plagued New York City in the late 80s and early 90s. It was so shocking, interesting and crazy to peek into his life. It’s like a car crash that you can’t look away from – stories so shocking that you can’t believe it’ll get any worse (it does), and a story of wild contradictions. He’s an extremely talented person, yet riddled with insecurities. He desperately wants to find love, and yet destroys every relationship. At first, a vegan, Christian in a world of clubs, but ultimately becomes as raunchy and immoral as the people he once judged. Actually, most of the time, he’s much more judgmental of the well-meaning Christians than of the druggies, ravers and other assorted characters he meets in the clubs (even when he was still considering himself a Christian). I admired his ability to find bits of happiness and hope in rather dire circumstances and his drive to make music, but the second half of the book is about his downward spiral and it was heartbreaking to read. It reminded me of the humanity of actors, artists, and musicians. They are people just like us, navigating their own set of circumstances. In this case, Moby had to navigate his hard childhood, poverty, bad theology, and alcohol addiction to become the person he is today. In my opinion, it’s worth reading but I’m going to give this book a Rated R disclaimer for a lot of sex and drug use.
Your Turn: What have you been reading lately?