Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The End?

I want to know when it became trendy to have abrupt, unsatisfying ending to a novel. Did I miss a writer’s memo or something?

I’ve read two books recently and both of them, to varying degrees, had unsatisfactory endings. I really enjoyed The Town that Forgot How to Breathe, but right at the peak of the plot’s climax, it just ended. Thankfully, there was an “Afterward” chapter, that summed things up a little, but it still didn’t answer all the questions I had. It was as if I had gotten to know all these interesting characters, but then didn’t have a chance to tell them “bye”. In this case, I think the author was trying to be artsy.

In the other book I just finished, 13 Bullets, the book ended in the middle of a scene. It was so abrupt; I actually checked the binding because I thought someone had ripped out the last few pages. Then when I thought about it, I realized that maybe the author was trying to be edgy. Also, I have a sneaky suspicion he left the story blatantly open in order to turn the book into a series. In fact, the more I thought about it, I decided that was the case. There hasn’t been a segueway cliffhanger as obvious as this one since the “Han Solo encased in carbonite” bit from the Empire Strikes Back. In my humble opinion, even if you want to turn a book into a series, each book should stand complete on its own. This one definitely didn’t do that. No satisfactory ending. I felt ripped off. Like I had just gone on this long journey, only to find out there was no purpose to it.

(Needless to say, I’ve been learning what not to do, when I go to write my own novel. So I guess there was something to be gained from both of these reading experiences.)

Now that the final Harry Potter book has come out, I’m even more nervous. If there was ever pressure from a zillion fans, to craft a satisfactory end to their favorite series – whew – I sure am glad I’m not J.K. Rowling. Writing is hard enough without all that external pressure. I just hope she doesn’t take a cop-out ending and that whatever happens to Harry and the gang, the ending is fulfilling, satisfactory and nothing is left unresolved.

On that note, I’m off to try and finish reading Deathly Hallows so I can discuss it with my friends. While I’m doing that, I invite you to leave me a comment and let me know what book or movie you really enjoyed, but left you with a bad taste in your mouth because of the crummy ending.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things.... last post on honesty and truth in the arts caused such a blazing fury of comments from my faithful readers that it made my head spin...(sarcasm) It must be the summer heat. It's getting to our brains. I sympathize. It's hard to think when the temperature outside is 110 degrees. (But it's a dry heat!) So, to give everyone a break from the heavy mental lifting, I thought I'd give you a nice little post, listing some of my favorite things this week. They are things that made me smile. I highly recommend them.

Peanut M&Ms are awesome in their yummy simplicity. However, they are even more tasty when consumed in a dark movie theater, as you watch a totally mindless, CGI-heavy, summer action movie. (See my movie listings to the right, to guess which film I'm referring to.)

My husband imitating the lead singer of Maroon 5, as we sang along with their new hit single in the car. This one didn't just make me smile, it made me laugh myself silly. I think you could file this one under the "you just had to be there" category. For your viewing pleasure, here's a link to the music video for "Makes Me Wonder", although I must say, my husband's rendition was more amusing.

Getting e-mail from my friends is always the highlight of my day. Some days my inbox is so lonely, and I pine for an e-mail, like a man in the desert, dying of thirst. (Okay, that was a bit dramatic.) Other days, it seems like everyone is online and the e-mails come flooding in. What would we do without e-mail?

Jack White's blistering guitar riff on the White Stripes' new single, "Icky Thump" is just too cool. When I put the CD in, I have to hit repeat on it a dozen or so times, because I just can't get enough of that guitar. Haven't heard the song yet? Then click here for the music video, which is a little weird - but most of their videos are. Just enjoy the music.

A whole hour of uninterrupted reading time is a beautiful thing. I'm lucky to have an hour long break for lunch at work, and my building has a nice atrium area in the lobby with comfy seating. It's a perfect reading environment. I am always so reluctant and sad, when I have to snap back to reality and go back to work.

Flight of the Conchords follows the trials and tribulations of a two man, digi-folk band from New Zealand as they try to make a name for themselves in their adopted home of New York City. This show always makes me laugh. Imagine if Weird Al and Saturday Night Live joined together to create a skit comedy show with parody songs that fit into the plot. Hard to explain. Hilarious to watch. Check it out.

Pandora Radio is addictive. It's a free Internet radio station, that plays music that is customized to your tastes. You can make different personalized radio stations for yourself and, using the Music Genome Project, the system suggests other bands/artists that you may not have heard of, that fit your musical tastes. I love my Sirius radio. I might love Pandora Radio more.

I feel so blessed and humbled to be a part of my church family. The people there don't just talk the talk, they walk the walk. Steeped in prayer, thirsty for God's Word, always striving for unity, yet celebrating our diversity, with love always threaded through everything they do - I have never seen a love like this in action before. It makes me think of the worship song that goes, "They will know we our Christians by our love..." Simple, but powerful.

Leave me a comment and let me know what some of your favorite things are this week!