I’ve (hopefully) got something really good coming next week, but for today you’ve got some bits and pieces. Normally I’m more on the ball with my posting schedule, but the flu season this year has hit Chez Dubrow like a sledgehammer filled with snot to the sinuses, so we’re all in recovery mode.
On the heels of the Tolkien/Lewis book I read not long ago, I finished Alister McGrath’s C.S. Lewis – A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet. This biography focuses on Lewis’s fiction, Christian apologetic writings, literary criticism, and his other scholarly works as a way of helping us understand him. Despite that, it’s not a dry account by any means. It’s a loving but warts-and-all portrayal, showing us a brilliant man who, like all of us, had flaws that he tried to overcome, with varying degrees of success. There’s a bit of an overemphasis on date placement, with much of one chapter devoted to proving that Lewis’s stated year of conversion from atheism to Christianity is incorrect, but it doesn’t muddle the content too terribly. There’s so much I didn’t know about Lewis that I do now, including his friendship with J.R.R. Tolkien (and how it fell apart), his WWII radio addresses, his unusual relationship with Mrs. Moore, and his employment at both Oxford and Cambridge, among others. Altogether an amazing book. I’ve said many times that the Narnia novels were the first books I read as a child, and I can’t help but thank Lewis as the writer who connected me with a universe of true wonder and sparked a love of fantasy that I’ll always possess.
We need to have a talk about coffee. Well, not coffee so much as coffee culture. And not even coffee culture per se, but a certain aspect of it that I find inexplicable. I’m rather headache-prone, so I avoid all forms of caffeine as much as I can, but I do enjoy decaffeinated coffee on the weekends. (Yes, I know decaf has some caffeine in it, but not anywhere near as much as high-test.) And I’m a morning person! I know, I know. It’s a curse. Other people drink regular coffee, and I don’t care. I also don’t care that plenty of people need that coffee to get up in the morning. I do my thing, you do your thing, and we can all get along.
What I don’t understand is this bizarre enjoyment people take in explaining that they’re going to be assholes until they’ve had their cup of joe. We’ve all seen the memes: Don’t Speak to Me Until I’ve Had My First Cup. I Drink Coffee for Your Protection. Bring Me the Coffee and Back Away Slowly. Etc, etc. You need coffee. I get it. I don’t get the cheerful advertisement that your body is in such a state that you’re unable to function as a mature, well-adjusted adult until you’ve had a morning stimulant. You don’t need to be ashamed, but it’s not something to be proud of, either. Take a bennie like normal people.