Thursday, August 12, 2010

The True Meaning of Smekday, & St. Patrick of Ireland

The True Meaning of Smekday, by Adam Rex (Hyperion 2007).

A marvelous middle-grade mashup, irreverent and smart and funny. Equal parts Doomsday, alien adventure, road trip tale, biting satire, and, er, girl meets Boov. Begins with a mole and ends with a cat, and I won't say much more, other than that Gratuity Tucci, our protagonist, is as feisty and funny an unlikely heroine as you'll find this side of the galaxy. As for Adam Rex, the author, as if it weren't bad enough to be that clever and funny, also illustrated the graphic novel excerpts throughout. A bit of swearing if anyone's concerned about that, though Gratuity always apologizes, and anyway, she's being shot at by an army of poomps, pardon my language.

And now, in a complete reversal of genre:

St. Patrick of Ireland: A Biography, by Philip Freeman, Simon and Schuster, 2004
In keeping with my fascination with early Catholics (tardy Catholics intrigue me far less), I recommend for your delectation this slim little volume. If you can get past the bestial Druid rites of kingship, you'll love this. (Perhaps the bestial Druid rites of kingship will be an attraction for you.) A profitable read, accessible and interesting. A close look at the remarkable life and faith of St. Patrick of Ireland as revealed through his only surviving writings, with all the shamrock nonsense stripped away. Provides a thorough context of his life and times -- the social, political, adn religious backdrop of Britain and Ireland during the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, loosely contiguous with the life of St. Augustine of Hippo. Well worth reading.

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