Thursday, February 7, 2013

Bloggin' Bout Books: Author Addition

That, my friends, is the face of one of my absolute favorite authors, Christopher Moore.  His books are quirky, weird, supernatural and hilarious, so it's pretty obvious how I was drawn to him.  I have read his books and laughed out loud on the NYC subways system, ignoring my fellow passengers who slide away from me in fear that I'm either bat-shit crazy or patient zero in some sort of happiness disease.  New Yorkers aren't huge on happiness.

Now before I give you my top five favorite Moore books, it should be noted that there is an order that I would suggest reading them.  With the exception of Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, Fool and Sacre Bleu, I would read his books in the order they were written.  Each of his books involve places and characters that overlap.  I read the books out of order, so I would be reading about characters that seemed established which would leave me a bit confused only to later read a different book slapping my head and going "OH!" also causing subway riders to once again slide away from me.

So here are my top 5 favorite Christopher Moore books:

5.  Fool-  Fool is the first Christopher Moore book I ever read.  The whole story is told from the point of view of King Lear's Fool, turning Shakespeare's tragedy into a knee slapping comedy.  As a theatre major, I was really into this concept, especially since I had auditioned to play the Fool in college and didn't get the part.  Still, next to Hamlet, King Lear is one of my favorite Shakespearean tragedies.  

Fool is the story of what's happening to the Fool (who Moore has named Pocket) on and off the stage.  It would be helpful to actually read Shakespeare's King Lear, but it's not necessary for those who make statements like "I wish Shakespeare was dead".  Trust me, I actually know people who have said this.  In Fool, Pocket is literally responsible for every single thing that happens in King Lear.  He spends the entire book planting seeds in the minds of characters often leading to their demise   Pocket loves to pull strings, play jokes, sleep with women and yell "Fucksocks!" whenever the catchphrase is warranted.  So if you like Shakespeare, or if you just like to laugh, I highly recommend this novel.

4.  The Bloodsucking Fiends Trilogy-  Ok fine this isn't a book it's a trilogy, so sue me.  Once I had read Fool I couldn't get enough of Moore, so I googled him.  Not the 30 Rock Tracy Jordon way, just put his name into the google search.  What did I find... this guy wrote a vampire trilogy.  No, I don't think you heard me, this Moore guy not only wrote about Shakespeare, he wrote about vampires.  I think that if you've read any of my other blog posts its pretty clear I have a thing for vampires.  A big thing.  Now, these books can be read in succession, but I would suggest at least reading Practical Demonkeeping and Coyote Blue first, though a character from Fluke does show up in Bite Me.

These books are basically about Jody, who after being attacked walking home from work wakes up to find herself a vampire.  Well that was rude, she never asked for this!  The transition isn't easy, but Jodi enlists the help of want to be writer/grocery store night clerk Thomas "Tommy" Flood.  Jodi turns Tommy's world upside down as she learns to cope with her new condition.  Each book gets progressively more hilarious, but they are also touching love stories and tales of great friendship.

3.  Fluke or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings- Fluke is not as hilarious as some of Moore's other books, but you're taken on such a journey, who cares?  I adored this book, it took me on an adventure and made me really think about the world around me, and as an Imgurian, it also made me think about the power of memes.  I made a biologist friend of mine read this book and he called me late one night to tell me he couldn't put it down and had finished it in no time.  He saw things in this novel that I totally missed and we spent a lot of time talking about the complexities of a book that seems so simple.

The novel revolves around Nathan Quinn, a marine biologist on Maui who is researching why humpback whales sing.  While out on a routine expedition to research the humpback whales in the area, he takes a picture of a whale's fluke to find the words "Bite Me" written across his fins.  This discovery leads him on an underwater journey involving goo, whale people and Amelia Earheart.  Come on, tell me that doesn't sound awesome.

2.  A Dirty Job-  So I had kind of a hard time deciding in which order to put my top two books because I love them both so much.  I really couldn't choose so I decided to put A Dirty Job second only because I think the next book will really blow people away.  This book has a darkness to it the Moore's other books don't and I love it.  Still it's just as funny as any of his other novels, but so much darker and more twisted.

The book opens with "beta-male" Charlie Asher in the hospital shortly after his wife has given birth to their first child, Sophie.  Charlie is over the moon, at least until his wife unexpectedly dies from complications, and Charlie is able to see her Angel of Death.  It's then that Charlie is chosen to be a Death Merchant, retrieving  souls from the dead and protecting them from the evils of the underworld until they can find a new home.  All this while trying to raise his daughter and run his second hand shop.  Unfortunately, due to one of Charlie's slip ups, darkness is rising up and threatening to take over our world.  Oh there is so much more I wish I could tell you about this book but I don't want to give anything away!  READ THIS BOOK!  Trust me you won't be disappointed.

1.  Lamb:  The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal- I may go as far as to say this is one of the best books I have ever read.  I was raised Catholic and was deeply involved in my church until I was about twenty, but I would still call myself a practicing Catholic.  But since I take nothing seriously, I have no problem laughing at the bible a bit.  This book fills in the bible's missing parts, Jesus' childhood and where he was between 13 and 30.  I mean, within the first few chapters Moore had me when he described Jesus' brother killing a lizard which Jesus would bring back to life by putting it in he mouth, only to have his brother kill it again.  This book isn't only laugh at loud funny (be prepared for crooked looks on the train) but also a great commentary on religion and how different religious views influence each other.

The book starts with Biff finding himself resurrected in present day by a moronic angel who has calls on him to write the Bible's missing bits.  Biff sits down and pens his adventures with his best friend Joshua (Biff calls Jesus Joshua as that was his original Hebrew name).  Not only does he share what life was like growing up with the Christ Child, he tells of their travels to the East to meet the three wise men.  On the journey to meet each wise man, Joshua learns life lessons which he incorporates into his later teachings, while Biff makes and endless fool of himself, sleeping with whatever woman will have him and generally failing to find the point of the things going on around him.  Honestly, this book is beautiful, blending in eastern cultural ideas with the teachings of Jesus.  Despite Biff's debauchery and humor, you can't help but feel a bit enlightened when you put this book down.  If you read no other Christopher Moore book, please, please pick this one up, I promise you won't be disappointed.

Well, I hope this post introduces Christopher Moore to a new audience, he deserves it.  I have yet to read on of his books that I didn't enjoy, fun, funny and sometimes you really learn something.