Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Book Club Update: Skinny Legs and All: September
So, I made it through the first book in my book club. Boy did I pick a tough one to start with. This is the second Robbins book I have read and this one is much more philosophy driven than the other (Still Life with Woodpecker). One review I read said this was a horrible book to introduce someone to Robbins (sorry Pang!). After 150 pages and me still reading thinking "when is the story going to start!" I wanted to give up, but I kept on going anyhow and ended up really liking the book at the end, the story that is, some of the veils were too forced and took too long to come about.
Robbins deals with a lot of issues in this book like sex, money, religion, ignorance, art, to name a few. The section I found interesting was the section where the 6th veil falls and he discusses his view of religions that have a fixation with the afterlife. A quote from the book struck me because it reminded me of a discussion I had with Collin a while back. Actually I have been having this conversation all over the place for some reason, and its a personal thing where people are asking me what I think about religion in my life and how I feel about an afterlife. I took this quote in a personal way, so please don't misconstrue this to read me as attacking religions because that's not my intent. I really just was taken by surprise with this quote because it ties back to what I have been saying about my personal life.
Here it is: "to emphasize the afterlife is to deny life. To concentrate on heaven is to create hell."
While Robbins views here are a bit fanatical perhaps, in lesser degrees I have been hearing this topic around and it strikes a cord with me for several reasons (see my response in the comments, I go into this in detail, which I should have done to start with if I was going to write about it at all). Robbins personifies this idea with the character Reverend Buddy who wants to blow up the Temple of the Rock in Jerusalem to hasten the coming of the Lord and bring the apocalypse.
Another of Robbins' favorite topics is sex. He is graphic and sometimes shockingly blunt in his approach but he does have some interesting theories. Robbins postulates (more than once) that men do not in fact enjoy sex as much as they let on. They feel the need to constantly seek it and make a show of seeking it to assert masculinity but he theorizes that the reverse is true for women. That women actually enjoy it much more than they let on. In fact, he thinks they enjoy it more than men do. I will say though, he gives no real evidence to support this idea, perhaps this is a reflection of Robbins' own feelings. One thing is for sure, he loves writing about the nitty gritty, because as I recall there was plenty of it in Still Life also.
There is a whole lot I could get into with this book, but unless you have read it, it wont mean a thing to you. i had planning on having questions here for the readers and I to answer but as this book wasn't really a success (Pang doesn't like it, aka isn't done, and I told Annie not to bother because the first 150 pages was so boring), Lets just move on to the next book. Pang will be hosting the next book so keep a lookout for the next one, and I will remind you when she posts it.