Saturday, October 8

The Punchline

Q: How many letters are there in the alphabet?

Today I've made some Christmas cards, read and laughed myself silly over an absolutely fantastic chapter of All Things Bright and Beautiful, had a salad for lunch, gotten a stage of my math assignment off my chest and reorganised my wishlist on the Book Depository.  I seriously need to buy a book!

Anyway, I regret not having much more to tell you, but the way James Herriot's books are, it's not easy to give you an excerpt.  Each chapter functions as a fully rounded whole and to read a single passage out of it really doesn't give you anything. 

I think he is the sort of man that my dad would admire.  My dad loves it in movies (and books) when something is said at the start, and then repeated at the end to give you the punchline, or the power of the story etcetera.  This is just what James Herriot does all the time.  He leaves clues, hints, lines, words like bread crumbs after Hanzel and Gretel through the forest to led you back right at the end.  And these clues that he sowed right at the beginning are suddenly meaningful, and you're hit with the cleverness of the story, and, in my case, a gut-wrenching laugh.  He's a genius at punchlines.  It is probably the most satisfying reading I have done in years! 

In a way, I feel that James and I are growing into very good friends, which seems to inevitably be the case with all the characters I really love.  I admire him, feel concerned for him, get excited for him and generally harbour a warm affection as I read.  It's become quite like Sam Gamgee and I, or Anne Shirely and Matthew Cuthbert or Dr. Watson and I.  They're both characters I grew extremely attached to, to the point of requiring several week's mourning after finishing their books.  But isn't that so the joy of a really good book?  What characters are you closest to?

A: Twenty-four, because E.T. went home.

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