Lamb

#LazyLambs Book Club: The Inaugural Entry

Several months ago, a few blogging friends and I decided to read Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Friend by Christopher Moore. Both Hannah and Allison wanted to read the book but hadn’t before; I’ve read the book twice, but it’d been years since then.

I first encountered Christopher Moore’s book in the middle of a busy summer as a camp counselor at a large camp in the Blue Ridge Mountain range in North Georgia. The place was beautiful but isolated; the town had a population that barely reached over 1,000. On evenings and days off, I often went to one of the many lakes or creeks around the area; one day a friend who worked with me there handed me a copy of Moore’s Lamb and a copy of Tom Robbin’s Still Life with Woodpecker, suggested I read them. I did, and a love of both authors was born.

So when Hannah and Allison and I bandied about the idea of reading Lamb–and then of possibly reading more of Christopher Moore’s work together, I jumped at the chance. It’s taken us several months to read through the books, and so we’ve dubbed ourselves the Lazy Lambs Book Club.

This time, each of us wrote a question about the book for the others to answer. We’re planning to read A Dirty Job next, and to publish our posts around the end of June—feel free to join us if you want!

Hannah: What are your thoughts on the subject, retelling the life of Jesus? Does it function as myth/fairy tale retelling, satire, both/neither?

I think the story is really very many things, and that’s what makes it so much fun. There’s some historical fiction in there—Moore clearly did a lot of research and worked to make the timeline and details match up. There’s also satire—some of the sections that I enjoy most are when Biff and/or Raziel are trying to figure out modern culture, and we get to see ourselves through a new lens. And it’s certainly a retelling of the Jesus mythos, of what we tend to think of his life and of those around him.

Allison: What are your thoughts on how the author explored the different cultures in the world at the time? What do you think about the cross-culture play and sending Jesus to all ends of the earth?

I quite enjoy the cultural play of the novel, though I’ll admit to being incredibly thrown off by it in the beginning. I just wasn’t sure about Jesus becoming a monk or learning judo, because it seemed incredibly silly. And it is silly, but it’s also handled with precision. I think part of what we see is Moore’s research and imagination at work to create parallels between religions, times, and places, and I think it works.

Diana: In addition to new characters, like Biff and Raziel, Lamb also offers re-writings of many historical and religious figures, not just Jesus himself. Among those characters are the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene (Maggie), whose stories—especially Maggie’s—take up more space in Moore’s novel than in biblical writings. Discuss the depictions of the two Marys. What is their place in the story?

I love Maggie (Mary Magdalene) in this story. I just love her. She’s brave, and she’s clever, and she’s incredibly loyal. And, though we don’t see quite as much of Mother Mary as we do of Maggie, I really love her, too. I enjoy that they’re both given real characterizations with both good qualities and flaws, well-rounded characters instead of flat or static characters. It’s nice to see women characters in a book of this sort who are well-rounded and in charge of themselves–something that becomes the crux of Maggie’s story as she struggles with an arranged marriage and her unrequited love for Joshua.

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That’s it for today, folks! Don’t forget that if you’d like to read along and post with us next time, we’re reading A Dirty Job—and it is an amazing book! Use the hashtag #LazyLambs to participate in the conversation, too!

Weekly "If We Were Having Coffee" Link-Up

#WeekendCoffeeShare: Of This and Of That

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it’s going to be another busy day around here. I’ve got errands to run this a.m., so we’d probably meet out for coffee somewhere, sit on the street corner and listen to the sounds of the city. Traffic will probably be a bit of a mess today–it’s Jazz Fest weekend.

This afternoon we have a business meeting and then a photo-shoot lined up with a local burlesque troop who are doing a Star Wars/Pulp Fiction show. Cat and I will be spending the afternoon trying to decide which angles are best for rhinestone-covered lightsabers and the night seeing the show, so the evening looks hopeful.

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If we were having coffee, I’d mention an amazing new development in our weekly line-up post A to Z Challenge for those who haven’t heard yet. Starting Monday, May 4, there will be Monster Mondays—each Monday a different female monster will be featured. Some monsters will be mythological, some literary, and some pop culture, as with the A to Z Challenge.

And there will also be a lot of fantastic bloggers contributing to the series! I’ve heard some super-sweet ideas so far, and I’ve got a few aces up my sleeve, as well.

This Monster Monday will be my reflection on the A to Z Challenge, and I’ll talk a bit about how I decided on the theme and why I decided to keep it going after the month. Starting next Monday, May 11, there will be new female monster posts each week.

And in the coming weeks I’ll be guest posting at both Comparative Geeks, about the Sandman comics, and at Lazy Lady, about a Super Secret Something.

This afternoon, pop back by here for my Lazy Lambs Book Club post on Christopher Moore’s Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal. Then, hop over to Things Matter and Eclectic Alli to see what Hannah and Allison have to say!

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Finally, I’d show you those tattoos I got a few weeks ago, all healed up and sitting next to the illustration they’re based on. Those are my wrists, by the by.

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Tattoo work by Jessie at Electric Expressions–wish I could also fit into this view the wild thing’s tail—it wraps around my wrist!

As always, link-up your coffee posts below, use the #weekendcoffeeshare tag on social media, and make sure you’re linking up a “if we were having coffee” post from this week.

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2015] - Life is Good

Coda: A Lady Monster Recap

Yesterday marked the end of the A to Z Challenge this year, and what a challenge it has been! I’ve been writing about lady monsters all month, I’ve had a few new guest posters, and I’ve written some posts for Sourcerer’s A to Z Challenge as well. Meanwhile, I volunteered as a minion for the challenge and started a new job…Whew!

Here’s a recap of the A to Z topics here at the Monster:

Ajatar from Finnish mythology

The Bride of Frankenstein from the film Bride of Frankenstein

Chimera of Greek mythology

Dzunukwa of Native American mythology

Echidna of Greek mythology

The Feejee Mermaid, a famous sideshow gaff

Grendel’s Mother from Beowulf

Harpies of Greek mythology

Irena Dubrovna Reed of The Cat People

Jadis, the White Witch of Narnia, from the Chronicles of Narnia (by Hannah Givens of Things Matter)

The Keres of Greek mythology

Lilith of Jewish mythology (written by Gene’O)

Lady Mechanika of the comic book series Lady Mechanika (contributed by Lyn of Lazy Lady)

Nessarose Thropp of the Wicked Years series

Olivia Moore from the new series iZombie

Patchwork Girl from the hypertext fiction Patchwork Girl

The Evil Queen of Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

The Red Queen from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland

Santanico Pandemonium of the From Dusk Till Dawn franchise

Tiamat of Mesopotamian mythology

Ungoliant from The Silmarillion (the second of Gene’O‘s lady monster posts here)

The Vampire Brides from Dracula

Weeping Angels from Doctor Who (penned by David Cox of Comparative Geeks)

Xenomorph Queens from the Alien franchies

Baba Yaga, a witch/hag from Slavic folklore

Zelena from Once Upon a Time

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Ah yes, and you can also find a few A to Z posts from me at Sourcerer:

In which I discuss The Hunger Games

And then I discuss Penny Dreadful

And finally, rounding out the challenge with an entry on zombies.

Z is for . . . Zelena

You guys didn’t think I could go through an entire list of female monsters without talking about the Wicked Witch of the West, did you? Because there’s no way.

The Wicked Witch of the West has had many incarnations. She first appeared in L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz series, and especially in recent years, her image as utterly wicked has been called into question. Gregory Maguire’s Wicked Years series creates a back story for the witch full of political intrigue and family secrets. The musical based on the first book has received high acclaim.

ZAnd even more recently, ABC introduced Zelena (Lost alum Rebecca Mader), the half-sister of the Evil Queen, Regina (Lana Parrilla). Unlike the Maguire books, in which Elphaba was green from birth due to a potion her mother drank during her affair with the wizard, Zelena’s green color comes from something else—she became so envious of her half-sister that she turned, quite literally, green with envy.

Zelena is a child born out of wedlock—her mother had an affair with a man she thought was a prince but who was actually a castle gardener, and her engagement to the prince is jeopardized when he finds out about the illegitimate child she is carrying. Cora leaves Zelena in the forest after she is born, and a cyclone carries her away to Oz. Her adoptive parents become fearful of her when she shows a propensity for magic.

Zelena then goes to see the Wizard, who shows her the past–her parentage, her half-sister, and her half-sister’s tutelage under Rumpelstiltskin, who is teaching Regina magic. She uses a pair of silver slippers given to her by the Wizard to transport herself to Regina’s home, and it is there that she meets Rumpelstiltskin, who begins to train her in the use of magic. But this isn’t enough for Zelena—she becomes so jealous of Regina that she begins to turn green and attempts to kill her sister, angering Rumpelstiltskin in the process.

After returning to the Wizard and finding him to be a fraud, she turns him into a flying monkey and begins to try to change the past, the moment when Cora left her in the woods.

She encounters Glinda, who attempts to loop her into a group of witches that protect Oz–and almost does so. But when Dorothy arrives and is well-treated by the witches, Zelena’s envy begins to resurface. She is, of course, melted by Dorothy, but in this story—she comes back. After Dorothy leaves Oz, Zelena returns to take over Oz and banishes Glinda.

When the first curse is broken and the characters return to their original homes, they discover that Zelena has taken over Regina’s Zelenapalace. She casts another curse, sending the group back to Storybrooke without their memories. She attempts to steal Snow White’s baby, but she is thwarted. Rumpelstiltskin stabs her, and Zelena crumbles.

But she isn’t dead, still—this is a witch with 9 lives, at least. Instead, we find out, she’s (SPOILER ALERT) masquerading as Maid Marion, who Emma thought she returned with after saving her from Regina when Hook and Emma go back into the past.

Where she goes next is anyone’s guess—but she’s a lot of fun to watch. And I look forward to even more incarnations of the witch, seeing what new stories she finds herself in, both on OUAT and in other media.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a wrap on A to Z 2015, Lady Monsters. But don’t worry! Tomorrow, I’ll be running an A to Z Challenge recap of the Lady Monsters theme. Regular features will return on Monday, and I’m cooking up something new, too!

Starting Monday, May 4, we’ll be having Monster Mondays! The first post will likely be a round-up of some monster-related A to Z themes. And in the coming weeks, look for guest posts from some fantastic bloggers, including Robin of Write On, Sisters!, Crystal of The Qwiet Muse, Melissa Barker-Simpson, Allison of Eclectic Alli, Urszula of Confessions of a Broccoli Addict and Alex Hurst. What an amazing group so far! And of course, those interested in guest posts are still welcome to contact me.

And finally, a few words of huge thanks: to Hannah of Things Matter, Lyn of Lazy Lady, David of Comparative Geeks, and Gene’O for their guest posts during A to Z; to all of you who have stopped by and who have commented during the challenge; to the A to Z organizers, and to Heather Gardner for allowing me to hop on board with her fantastic team and be involved with the challenge as minion this year!

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