A spiritual beginning to the new year
I just realized the first three books I have read this year have all revolved around spirituality. Now normally MADreads reviews tackle just one book, but this one is going to try and do all three. Very quickly of course.
First off, American Gods, my first Neil Gaiman book which tells us Shadow's story. Shadow is an ex-con with a dead wife working for a guy named Wednesday (do all fantasy novels have characters with crazy names?) Wednesday brings Shadow all over the country including Wisconsin to help him track down some "Gods" that have been living in America. Wednesday needs to find them because there is due to be a big showdown with "old Gods" and "new Gods" very soon. Although this description is very simple, the book is packed with twisting sagas about legends, spirits, and other life and death situations which creates a fascinating tale. Not normal reading for me, but this fantasy novel had me hooked.
Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo is another cross country spiritual journey, though this time with a middle-aged man and a Siberian monk. Otto's parents have recently died and he needs to head to North Dakota to settle up affairs and sell the family farm. He is planning to take along his quirky younger sister, but ends up chauffeuring her friend Rinpoche (again with the crazy names) to some speaking engagements that happen to be on his way. Rinpoche and Otto make odd traveling companions and the dialogue and situations they find themselves in are very amusing. Otto is very resistant to the "new age" religion that Rinpoche adheres to, but soon sees how his life views can be applied to his suburban world. The physical journey soon becomes a spiritual one for Otto and for those not familiar with Buddhist principles it could be an insightful journey for readers also.
Lastly, The View from Mount Joy by Lorna Landvik. Remember that girl from high school who had it all? In this book it's Kristi Casey. The boy that everyone liked? Joe Andreson. Joe gets a job at a supermarket and never leaves. Kristi hightails it after high school and winds up an evangelical tv star. What happens when their worlds collide? Is Kristi's religion for real? Will Joe go back to his high school crush? Landvik's stories always read like a really good soap opera and one of my favorites is Angry Housewives Eating BonBons. The ending of this one was a little farfetched but still enjoyable, give Landvik a try.