I’ve decided for the time being to pretend that any book which fails to keep my attention to the end is therefore a bad book, and not worth reading. This has greatly sped up the process, but will likely have an adverse effect on my allowance: I’ve finished two books in 3 days.
The first book was I Am Not a Serial Killer, by Dan Wells. The genre is horror, a bit like Silence of the Lambs for Young Adult, which is something I’d really never dabbled in before. But Dan Wells is one of the Writing Excuses Podcast hosts, and I’d gotten a friendly feeling toward him, so I thought I’d give his books a try. It was surprisingly good.
I won’t go too far into a synopsis of the story. To describe much of it is to give it away. John Cleaver is 15 when he is diagnosed with sociopathy. He doesn’t recognize or process emotions properly, which causes him to tend toward devaluing the lives of other people. He’s plagued by thoughts that he may become a serial killer. Instead of giving himself over to this, he fights it, and in the process stops an actual serial killer. Sort of.
There was a generally dark tone to the whole story, for obvious reasons. But apparently, the horror genre lends itself very well to intensely moral storytelling (think Frankenstein and Dracula) without drifting into purple preachiness (think Uncle Tom’s Cabin). A couple of parts in the book actually drew tears.
- The second book was God Is: How Christianity Explains Everything, by Doug Wilson. This is his short response to Christopher Hitchens’ anti-Christianity book, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. It was short and fun. I recommend it for anybody who enjoys a good smackdown, or for anybody who actually had their faith shaken or hackles raised by Hitchens’ book.