Sunday, January 25, 2009

January

This month, we met to discuss William P. Young's (or Wm. Paul Young's depending on what book you have!) The Shack.  This powerful story about a man and his journey into his own heart/faith created a divide amongst our members.  Many of us liked this book.  Some of us found reading this book like reading a first-year philosophy text, and some us just didn't like it much it all.  Those who didn't like it said it was just a bit too preachy/philosophical/big for its britches than they would have liked it to be.  
I fall into the first group.  I really enjoyed The Shack.  The reason I found this book such a joy is because it presented faith in a tangible way to people who may not necessarily go to church or have a defined faith system.  The Shack of course also speaks very loudly to those who do have a more defined faith.  
However, I am not convinced necessarily that this book's main message is about faith.  I believe that Young's novel speaks more loudly to the themes of judgement and forgiveness.  Young's message about judgement is especially poignant.  I brought it up as one of the most powerful moments in the novels, and most of the members agreed.  Young's message about judgement is one that resonates world-wide: what right have we to judge?  And if we are so desperate or willing to do the job, then fine.  Which child of your three are you going to send to Hell? Mind-blowing and powerful, Young's message about leaving judgements to the judge is one that stood out in this novel.
The main theme in The Shack is forgiveness.  Forgiveness is never easy, and I admit that even I could not wrap my head around the protagonist's (Mack) decision to forgive those who wronged him.  Thankfully, some members were able to explain Young's intentions to me.  They say that Young's message is that forgiveness is not about the person—it is about you.  It is so that you can move on, move past a terrible event, and continue to have faith.  "Ahhh," I say, for I realize that Young is not likening forgiveness to friendship, but rather to inner-peace.
If you are looking to read  small novel that's packed with a powerful and poignant message for our times, I recommend The Shack.  It was packed full of some of the most beautiful imagery that I have ever encountered in a novel, and the message Young projects is one that I think everybody can glean something from.
In other news, We decided to push Emma Donahue's The Sealed Letter to May.  This is simply because it is available in trade paperback starting April 9.  This way those of you who prefer to buy it in trade can do so.  For April we will be reading Carlos Ruiz Zafòn's The Shadow in the Wind.  Check the list of "What we are going to read," to see a full list of the books coming up from now until May.  
An important note for the March meeting: We are meeting on Monday, March 23, 7:30 p.m. in our usual location.  The third Tuesday of March falls right in the middle of March Break—a few of us will be on holiday.  For those of you heading to warmer climates, have great time and bring us back some sunshine and warm weather please!
See everyone on February 17, when we will be discussing John Boyne's The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.