Thursday, November 16, 2006

How to Be Good

Dreams are kinds of like an invisible friend to a child, and an interesting bonus to adult day-to-day life. When I was still in school someone once told me that you have to be like a hunter to remember your dreams; a combination of sneaking up on them and sitting quietly and waiting for them to come to you. I think that's a flawed analogy, but she had a point. Remembering dreams is a habit that gets stronger and easier with practice. Some people are just not interested in their dreams. I'm interested in dreams because it's a whole another part of oneself doing things and experiencing things. I'm interested in what I did yesterday or last week, so I'm also interested in what I've experienced in dreams. And even though dreams aren't "real" they feel real when you're in them, so it's like you've had that experience.

My dreams are usually about either working or food and often a combo of those two things. Last night was no exception: dreamt that I had a TV show and was sort of famous. I was invited to speak at a conference being held at a hotel. They had a reception for me that was a BBQ, held around a swimming pool. I really wanted to swim but had to mingle and talk with people about my TV show. An ex-co-worker was attending with her mother, they were sharing a hotel room. The mother didn't want to go to any of the seminars but just wanted to go swimming. The rather creepy thing is that in real life the ex-co-worker's mother died five or six years ago when younger than I am right now. There was a lot more to that dream, and there were other not-as-well formed or remembered dreams, but I will not get into them so as to not be (more) tedious!

Probably one reason for the above dream (I once mentioned in a meme about having a TV show on how to be a good person) was that last night I eagerly finished a wonderful book, "How to Be Good" by Nick Hornby. I have several other books that I've been reading off and on but once I started this book I couldn't put it down. Hornby is the author of "About a Boy" and "High Fidelity", which is one of my all-time favorite movies. I'd not read his books before but had been told the books are even better than the movie(s). "How to Be Good" is a book I wish I had written, clever, funny, and very interesting in that the situations and thoughts are so realistic. It's exactly the dilemma that I've been going through all of my life. Like most people, I know HOW to be good, and what I should be doing. But actually doing what I believe in is strangely so difficult in real life.

Here's an Amazon review of the book:
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In Nick Hornby's How to Be Good, Katie Carr is certainly trying to be. That's why she became a GP. That's why she cares about Third World debt and homelessness, and struggles to raise her children with a conscience. It's also why she puts up with her husband David, the self-styled Angriest Man in Holloway. But one fateful day, she finds herself in a Leeds parking lot, having just slept with another man. What Katie doesn't yet realize is that her fall from grace is just the first step on a spiritual journey more torturous than the interstate at rush hour. Because, prompted by his wife's actions, David is about to stop being angry. He's about to become good--not politically correct, organic-food-eating good, but good in the fashion of the Gospels. And that's no easier in modern-day Holloway than it was in ancient Israel.

Hornby means us to take his title literally: How can we be good, and what does that mean? However, quite apart from demanding that his readers scrub their souls with the nearest available Brillo pad, he also mesmerizes us with that cocktail of wit and compassion that has become his trademark. The result is a multifaceted jewel of a book: a hilarious romp, a painstaking dissection of middle-class mores, and a powerfully sympathetic portrait of a marriage in its death throes. It's hard to know whether to laugh or cry as we watch David forcing his kids to give away their computers, drawing up schemes for the mass redistribution of wealth, and inviting his wife's most desolate patients round for a Sunday roast. But that's because How to Be Good manages to be both brutally truthful and full of hope. It won't outsell the Bible, but it's a lot funnier.
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I want to read "High Fidelity" and "About a Boy" and anything else this guy has written! Have a great day, and try to be good--but not too good!

4 Comments:

Blogger Happy and Blue 2 said...

Although I'm sure I do dream I don't remember them. Maybe it's for the best..

The book sounds interesting but kind of sad..

7:35 AM  
Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

That sounds like a good read!

Isn't "High Fidelity" the movie with John Cusack in it? I LOVE that movie!

Tell you a little secret...one of the guys I had (have?) a crush on made me a mix tape after he saw that movie! ;)

7:41 AM  
Blogger katie said...

I also really like Nick Hornby, he is a really entertaining writer! You will enjoy his other works as well, although "how to be good" is his only book written from a womans perspective.

10:52 AM  
Blogger glomgold said...

A BBQ around a swimming pool sounds absolutely freakin' fantastic!!
Is the Bible supposed to be funny? Maybe I should give it a turn. I love those yuks about leprosy!

10:12 AM  

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