It’s been a quiet week for me, most of my time being spent in bed — stomach viruses are no fun at all! I’ve been too weak and bedridden to do any real reading, though I did finish two short Christmas-related works. The first was The Forgotten Man of Christmas, ostensibly about Joseph, but more about the spiritual import of his dreams. Relatedly, The Handmaid and the Carpenter is a novel based on the relationship between Joseph and Mary, which I found little of interest in. The characters are neither true to tradition nor to life, as Mary acts like a 21st century teenager — sensual and flighty. Joseph, for his part, is no more likable, being an overly strict scold and a pious fraud, revealing on his deathbed that he never believed that bit about Mary and the Holy Spirit. “It was a Roman soldier, wasn’t it?” he asks. I suppose it’s nice that he raised Jesus as a son despite believing he was cuckholded, but there’s little inspirational about it. The prevailing spirit of the book is one of resignation; Mary resigning herself to being married, Joseph resigning himself to being the dutiful partner to a ditzy harlot. Rather disappointing for a Christmas read.
Now recalled to life, covered from that little bug, I’m within a hairsbreadth of finishing The Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc; when I broke away to go to work, she was just about to be fixed to the stake. After that will be Sailing from Byzantium, and I’ll be investigating Kent Haruf’s Plainsong, per WordsandPeace‘s recommendation. I should be thinking about seriously digging into Galileo’s Finger, at least if I want to wrap up that TBR list before the year’s end.