October 5th, 2011

Waiting for the End of the World, etc.

I just finished reading "Waiting for the End of the World" (1983) by Madison Smartt Bell. Wow. I'd read it years ago - it was new then! - at Stephanie's recommendation; it was one of her favorites. I loved it the first time around and had had a nagging desire to get my hands on a copy ever since then.

So I think I enjoyed the book even more this time. I really couldn't put it down, or think about much of anything else, for the couple of days it took me to read it.

For the uninitiated: It's a novel about cults, Satan worship, atomic bombs, and spontaneous human combustion. The utterly implausible, completely absurd premise of the story is that a group of psychopathic cult members plot to cause death and destruction on a vast scale in New York City. For the rest of the plot, you'll have to read the book.

(I keep wondering how Madison Smartt Bell ended up with that name. Had the senior Bell been traumatized by schoolyard taunts of "dumb-Bell", and so thought to inoculate his son against such slurs by adding "Smartt" to his name? Hey, I'm no dumbbell, I'm a Smartt Bell!)

I'm enjoying as much alone time as I can get, now that I'm back from my trip. It's a good time to recharge. I have to use most of that alone time to study for my mid-terms, though, which happen the weekend after next. (Oh, and the upcoming weekend features Yom Kippur and then Bunny's birthday party!)

So, a nice mix of much-needed peace and quiet, the diversion of an enjoyable book, and brain-stimulating study.