Oh my, God.

God is Dead by Ron Currie Jr.

When I was given this book, it was actually described to me as a comedy- so I decided to look past the title and give it a shot. The premise of the story is that God comes to earth as a starving Sudanese woman in search of her brother. In his/her travels, he/she ends up murdered (hence the title).

The humorous part is that the world doesn't know quite how to deal with the revelation that God is dead so all sorts of wacky things start happening. The chapters are ordered in a short story fashion so each one is about some different wild and crazy thing that goes on because of God's death. For example, adults start to worship their children and the animals that ate God's dead body start speaking in tongues, etc. I actually haven't read it all yet, but so far it's fairly interesting and it gives you the opportunity to tell all of your religious friends how hilarious things would be if God were dead.

The sketch is God as the Dinka woman. When I first showed it to my friend that gave me the book, she was appalled that I pictured her happy and bubbly (and white) since the story is set in Darfur (seriously, this book is a comedy) and goes into the atrocities that are occurring there. However, I wasn't quite in the mood to draw a lady getting raped with a torch or something like that. I also felt that no one would really be in the mood to view any pictures of a lady getting raped by a torch, so I decided to go with the happy, bubbly lady instead.


Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

As I mentioned in the post below, this is one tough cookie to read. Not that you read cookies. Anyways, there are 400+ characters and countless subplots and tangents, so it is basically like reading 15 different books at once. Which isn't the best for a straightforward storyline, but is quite good for illustrating!

The aforementioned Slothrop is rather special: Apparently, whenever he "gets intimate" with a female, a bomb strikes whatever location the action took place soon afterwards. This "ability" sets off a number of things, one being that people want to keep tabs on him. Another is that he gets dubbed "Rocketman" and sort of has a superhero status.

I'm sorry, I don't think I mentioned that this takes place during World War II, and Slothrop is a young (and promiscuous) lieutenant in the British army. There we go; consider it mentioned.

People send him off on various missions. The sketch above depicts Rocketman, in his Rocketmannish attire (a white Zoot suit and a helmet made from the nose cone of a rocket), stealing a bag of hashish for one of his fellow soldiers. He runs into Mickey Rooney there, in a comical scene where nothing is said, and pretty much nothing happens. But how random is that? Imagine stuff like that for 800 pages. I didn't draw Mickey Rooney because I really don't know what he looks like. Or what he looked like during World War II.

All that being said, I think I might have one more Gravity's Rainbow sketch in me. It will be from a very small part in the book (maybe three pages) that made me laugh out loud. Think three stooges, but in fighter planes. Check back soon!

Wait, What?

Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

If you manage to read this book, you automatically enter an elite brotherhood (sisters welcomed, too). As soon as you flip over the final page, sigh, and ask "What the hell?" a courier arrives with a shiny medal emblazoned with a flaming book. This signifies your burning love for literature.

Gravity's Rainbow has been hailed (by some) the 20th century's greatest postmodern work. It has also been branded (by some others) as "unreadable." And while there are over 400 characters, oh-so-many plots and subplots, uncountable references to science and culture and history, you could get your kicks out of just reading the wonderful prose (and not actually trying to draw anything from it.)

It is about 800 pages of...topsy-turvy this-and-that madness, topped with humor and crazy scenarios and images. It is the hardest book I have ever read. I have also read Pychon's The Crying of Lot 49, which I found was a little easier. Maybe that was because it was a LOT shorter?

OK. So, anyway. This sketch is from one of the few scenes that I was actually able to retain. One of the main characters, Slothrop, aka "Rocketman," aka a bunch of other things, drops his harmonica in a restroom at a ballroom. He really doesn't want to lose it, so he dives in the toilet after his beloved harmonica. He enters a world inside the toilet, with all sorts...toilet world things. There are all sorts of symbols and parallels and what-have-you down there. The movie of Trainspotting even pays homage to this with a similar scene!

Ah, my head hurts just thinking about this book again. But as I type this companion text to my sketch, I look up at my coveted Fiery Book award, and smile proudly.


The Spire by William Golding

When I found this book (hardcover, great condition from Alexander Books) I thought "Well, Lord of the Flies was excellent, so this will be also." While it was a good, psychological book, I didn't fall in love with it. It kind of drug on and wasn't quite as tense as you'd think.

It might help if I summarize the novel. Jocelin, the dean of the cathedral, receives funding to build the largest spire ever. Everyone sees that it cannot technically be built (without collapsing utterly), but Jocelin drives them onward. As the story progresses, he becomes sick and starts having delusions, thus only adding to his fanatical drive to see his impossibly tall spire built. I recall several parts of the book where the construction workers say that they can hear the walls singing and screaming under the pressure of the spire above. Creepy!

The sketch is just an imagining of the spire, near completion. I am not an expert on architectural drawings, as you can see, but it is pretty fun to make up stuff as you're going along.