Thursday, January 1, 2009
Two Very Different Books
I was reading two books at once this time, a habit which drives the husband nuts. I had started Obsession by John Douglas first, and it was really what I was wanting to focus on. It's a non-fiction book that looks at the motives and behaviors of serial rapists, stalkers, and sexual predators. My other book is from the other end of the spectrum, Hogfather by Terry Pratchett. I was reading Hogfather with a dual purpose: to make the holidays a little more humorous and for my book discussion group.
Obsession discusses not only the motives and behaviors of such criminals, but how people can avoid being victims, fight back when they are attacked, and the justice system in such cases. John Douglas's feelings of sympathy for the victims of such acts, as well as his anger at the fallacies in the public mind and well as the justice system come across clearly. He even discusses the criminals that inspired Thomas Harris to create Hannibal Lector. Many of the accounts were quite upsetting, there were parts that were definitely not easy to read.
Hogfather was light-hearted, funny, and also insightful. What else can I say? It was another great book by Pratchett. Death and his grand-daughter Susan must prevent the Audtitors (of the Universe) from destroying the Hogfather (Discworld's Santa Claus). Pratchett looks at the human need to believe in myths, and speaks a great truth about the human psyche. "You must believe the small lies to believe the big ones." The big lies refer to things like justice, equality, and other noble concepts that many of us hold dear. Death tells Susan, "If you don't believe them they will never come to be." I may have paraphrased both those quotes a bit, and I apologize for any mistakes I made in them.
Both books are ones I would recommend, though for completely different reasons. I hope everyone has a great new year.
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