Christopher Moore’s Secondhand Souls

Hello, dear readers!

I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to be back writing for you! It makes me happy to know you’re all out there, one of those it’s a small world we’re not alone kind of things. It’s a nice feeling, is all I’m saying. =D

23460830This week of return continues with Secondhand Souls, the sequel to A Dirty Job, which I posted about earlier this week. I don’t know what I was expecting when I started to read Secondhand Souls. It’s one of those books I bought without even thinking about it, because as I’ve said I love Christopher Moore and I think he’s brilliant and so on and so forth. So, to finally read it was a bit strange in a way. In true Moore fashion, the shit that was weird got even weirder. But lets face it, who doesn’t like getting weird?

This time around Charlie Asher, Sophie, and the entire cast of the first book are battling something else entirely. He claims to be a new, more elegant kind of Death, come to balance the world from the chaos left over from the first shit storm they all started. Except, he’s not who he claims to be and, actually, he needs to be stopped. Sophie loses her powers, Minty Fresh discovers a few things about himself, Lily finally realizes she’s special. There are ghosts and people jumping off bridges. The harpies are back, fucking shit up as per usual. Oh, and there’s a banshee!

I think my biggest issue with the book was that it was kind of anti-climatic. There’s this whole build up, I’m getting ready, everyone in the book is getting ready, and then womp womp. It was a little bit disappointing. And I don’t know if that’s because the book itself is disappointing or because I’ve come to expect so much from Mr. Moore that I’ve got too many expectation and am putting unnecessary pressures on him to perform. It might be a little bit of both, to be honest.

In any case, the book was entertaining read. Definitely worth it if you’ve read A Dirty Job. It was interesting to see how he solved the whole Charlie being dead and trapped in a small animal with an unnecessarily large dick situation. It was also nice to see how everyone was dealing with the fallout from the first book, especially Inspector Alphonse Rivera who really came into his own in this book. And, you know, they live kind of happily which is always nice.

Hope you’re happy today, readers. Until next time!

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Christopher Moore’s A Dirty Job

Middle of the week. Belly button day. Look at it, your belly button. Congratulate it. Today is his day. Her day? Its day at any rate. Belly button day. What a grand celebration we’ll have.

There are few authors I love as enthusiastically as Christopher Moore. Few authors I love with as much brio and gusto. Pizzaz, even. His matter of fact approach to incredibly fantastic things like giant lizards, robot whales, and Jesus never fail to make me happy. He’s also one of the few authors whose work I’ve read almost entirely. I’m missing about one or two, but that’s it. I love this guy, seriously.

33456A Dirty Job was actually my introduction to Christopher Moore. I remember reading it the first time and feeling like I’d discovered pure magic. The book is about Charlie Asher, who loses his wife during the birth of his daughter Sophie and becomes a merchant of death in one fell swoop. A bunch of stuff happens. There’s a tall black guy in a mint colored suit. And a goth girl. And his lesbian sister. And his daughter who could possibly be Death. With a capital D.

I read it years ago and never looked back, as my relationship with this wildly clever man developed. I’ve always meant to read it again, but I hadn’t until now. Mostly because I wanted to read the sequel, Secondhand Souls (which I’ll be talking about tomorrow), and figured a refresher might not be a bad idea. And, let me tell you, it was every bit as amusing and well written as I remembered. I’d forgotten a lot of it, but that only makes it better believe it or not. It’s a weird hybrid experience, where you get the excitement of a new book and the pleasure of reuniting with characters you’re already acquainted with. I love being surprised and finding unexpected things when I read, but that feeling of returning is sweet in its own way.

One of my favorite things about this book is the concept it has of souls. Essentially, not everyone has a soul. When people with souls die, their soul moves into an object they hold dear, which in turn is picked up by a Death Merchant like Charlie. Once the object falls into the right hands, the soul is absorbed into that person. Can you imagine not having a soul? We’re so used to the concept of having one, that the thought of not having one seems completely alien.

It’s an elegant concept I think. Just imagine it though, kind of having to earn your soul, having to become worthy of it. Like they’re waiting for us somewhere, hoping for the day we’re less shitty and they can finally come home. Nice, right?

Until next time, readers!

Destination: Louisiana

Hello, hello readers.

We’re moving on (swiftly, I hope) on to our next destination. We’ve made it to Louisiana and in lieu of facts or trivia I want to share another story with you guys.

Louisiana

This is actually one of my favorites short and sweet, I always enjoy reading it. Hate the ending, to death. Terrible pun intended. I’m talking about Kate Chopin’s The Story of an Hour. If you haven’t read it, it’s about how a wife reacts when she learns her husband died. If you haven’t, click on the link and read it so I don’t spoil for you. It’s really short, I promise!

I get this lady. She felt tied to a man she loved at one point, but no longer. And suddenly, she was free of that marital cage. Suddenly she was free to be an individual again, escaping the bonds of coupledom in favor of leading a life with her as the only priority. Granted, this freedom came at a steep price, but there really weren’t that many options were there? Death was better than divorce at this point.

And die is exactly what she did, when she saw her husband walk through the door. A joy that kills they said, but we know the truth. She died from the soul crushing realization that her freedom lasted all of a minute, possibly two. She died with the sound of locking cuffs and the weight of chains pulling her down. It’s pretty sad when you think about finally feeling like you have a chance and having it all taken away.

There’s something beautiful about suddenly feeling that free. Like the chains suddenly disintegrate and you’re free to stretch to your full height for the first time in years. It’s like finally walking out of the cave to stare at the sun – blinding and painful, but thrillingly bright. I think time and time again we limit ourselves in order not to hurt those around us, not to feel like we’re abandoning them. The reality though, is that staying still for someone else isn’t fair to anyone involved.

Every time I travel and my mother asks why I’m leaving her, I have to remember getting on that plane is something I have to do for myself. I know people who have postponed or full on cancelled plans for grad school because they can’t bear to leave their parents. At some point, you have to admit this whole overflowing with concern and affection is actually fear. Fear of being alone, of failing, of not being up to whatever task is in front of you. It’s easier to hide behind a veneer of devotion than accept you’ve peed your pants twice thinking of what’s next.

Settling down and settling in just so we don’t disturb everyone isn’t an option. Neither is dying out of frustration. Really, the only option, is to get up and go. Do whatever it is you feel needs to be done. In time your family/friends/significant others/whatever will understand, they might even be proud of you for taking the risk. I can guarantee you’ll at least be proud of yourself.

I’ll be proud of you, if that helps. I’m probably a figment of your imagination, so it probably doesn’t. Still.

You do you, readers. Until next time!

Destination: Mississippi

I’m back, readers!

The past few weeks were pretty hectic, but I can officially say my semester is over. Not only that, but I got an A in Statistics which is like a Christmas miracle except better. Mostly because it means I don’t have to retake the class.

Mississippi.png

Now that I’m back we’re hitting the ground running by diving into Mississippi. Instead of focusing on the state, I decided to read a story that’s set there. Specifically a place called Jefferson, Mississippi where William Faulkner set most, if not all of his narratives. Of course, Jefferson isn’t a real town, but it’s modeled after Oxford where Faulkner spent most of his life.

I don’t know what I was expecting when I read A Rose for Emily, but what I read wasn’t it. Or it was right up until the necrophilia… I promise to deviate from the corpse loving for the next book. Between Child of God and this you’d think I have a thing for stiffs. And I do, just not this kind. *ba dum tss* You know you missed my terrible jokes, don’t lie.

So, Miss Emily is as shocking in death as she was haughty in life. She’s an institution, whether she’s a mental institution or not isn’t confirmed until she dies and they find her dead husband on a bed upstairs. And a long gray hair on the pillow next to his. What?

And I bet the people of Jefferson just ate that up. High class lady with a superiority complex dies, only for people to discover she was murderer and a necrophiliac. It’s the old version of going through people’s browser history when they die. You go through their house, looking for valuables and secrets. This is why I’ve made it very clear that I want to be cremated and buried with seeds, but also that my browser history should be deleted immediately and never spoken of again. #RespectTheDead

It’s something similar to reading someone’s diary. Which we do all the time when famous people die and someone decides to publish their journals, their notes or letters. I can’t imagine that they would be thrilled knowing everyone is reading their deepest thoughts. Although, there’s that theory that says if people write something it’s because on some level they want it to be read.

Did Emily want someone to find her husband’s dead body? Of course, it was around because she slept with it, but she could’ve left instructions with her man servant to bury it once she died. Maybe she wanted these people who judged her to know she had love, twisted as it may have been. Maybe I’m taking this entire thing out of context. I probably am.

Don’t love people to death with arsenic, is what I’m going to end with. Love them in life with passion and acceptance. And, for the love of god, clear your browser history you pervs.

Until next time, readers.

SST Presents Crane

Short Story Thursdays is a weekly dispatch. Every week you get little known stories in PDF format, accompanied by a short intro and commentary by the guy who runs the whole thing.I started this series called “SST Presents”, so named because that’s the subject title on the emails, to share those stories with you. If you’d like to subscribe, send an email to shutyourlazymouthandread@shortstorythursdays.com

You guys.

This week has been a shit show. Seriously. I’m waiting to hear whether I’ve been admitted into grad school. Casually watching the mailman’s every move. Checking the mailbox multiple times a day. They say a watched mailbox never gets any mail, but what do people know anyway? I’m sure if I stare at it long enough shit will happen. Mail will magically appear. Only to tell me I have actually not been accepted, but thanks for trying. Kloveyoubai.

A Mystery of Heroism

by Stephen Crane

This week’s dispatch of SST is all about death and war and something about being thirstily irrational or getting the fuck out of the garrison. It fits in perfectly with this disaster of a week. And the rain. And the humidity. And my generalized dislike of everything.

The story is about a guy, let’s call him Fred Collins because that’s his name, who realizes he’s thirsty and decides to get some water. The problem is they’re in the middle of a war. And the well is in this meadow which has become a battle field. But whatever, he’s thirsty, people are jeering and mocking, and all peer-pressured he gets moving towards the well.

When Collins faced the meadow and walked away from the regiment, he was vaguely conscious that a chasm, the deep valley of all prides, was suddenly between him and his comrades. It was provisional, but the provision was that he return as a victor. He had blindly been led by quaint emotions, and laid himself under an obligation to walk squarely up to the face of death. But he was not sure that he wished to make a retraction, even if he could do so without shame. As a matter of truth, he was sure of very little. He was mainly surprised.

I totally get this guy. Haven’t you ever suddenly found yourselves in a situation without quite knowing how you got there? Except, everyone seems to know what they’re doing and they seem to expect you to know too. You’re just there, making shit up as you go because what else can you do, really? That’s life. I think. Stumbling around blindly and kind of getting things right until someone comes around and knocks your damned bucket over.

Don’t spill other people’s buckets, guys. It’s not cool.

Until next time, readers.