Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Tag: books (page 1 of 13)

Weaving a New Eden by Sherry Chandler

Weaving a New Eden Cover Image

Weaving a New Eden by Sherry Chandler

Deep roots fascinate me. My siblings and I grew up following the whims of the US Navy. Being of a place, deeply rooted, is foreign to me. As far as I know not many branches of my family have generations-long roots to any particular place either. We’ve always felt a little bit like tumbleweeds.

So books like Sherry Chandler’s beautiful Weaving a New Eden (Wind Publications, 2011) really interest me. I’ve known Sherry online for a while now, and I don’t know why it took me so long to get around to reading her fine book, but I do think books tend to come up in my pile when they are supposed to and this one came up when I needed some inspiration, and, boy, did it deliver.

The poems tell the tales of the women who settled Kentucky, Sherry’s home state, from Rebecca Boone to Sherry’s own family members whose stories are so movingly told in a section called “The Grandmother Acrostics.” (By the way I’ve never seen acrostics so well done).

There follows a long sequence of poems about Rebecca Boone, famed frontiersman Daniel’s wife, that had me going back to Wikipedia to read some of the history behind the poems, but I always found Rebecca’s voice as written by Sherry more compelling than anything I’ve ever read about Daniel. There’s something in Sherry’s work that honors more than celebrates or mythologizes these people and so while Daniel Boone seems as mythic as ever, Rebecca is real, and her sacrifices, her losses, hurt.

Weaving a New Eden is an exploration of place as told by and for the women who built it. Beginning with a meditation on personal loss and carrying through a fragmentary poetic history of the settling of Kentucky and circling back again to “The North Yard,” a sonnet crown, in which Sherry writes eloquently of the cycles of life and death in her own settled yard, often with a scientific understanding of the world that would have been alien to the frontierswomen we met earlier in the book.

This is a wonderful, beautiful, book, worth taking your time with. It took me two weeks to read because I kept going back, rereading, and then letting the poems rest in my mind for awhile before moving on. I look forward to her next book. In the meantime, I will enjoy her twitter feed, rich with her micropoetry.

So Long, 2011

The same old picture since 2005

What to say about 2011? There are two 2011’s really, neatly divided by a Sunday in late June. Prior to that my year was filled with reading and writing poetry, birding, blogging, the occasional video. The other 2011 was the beginning of parenthood.

It’s hard to imagine any of my previous 41 years have been as life-altering as 2011. Becoming a parent for the first time in June changed every routine in my life. For the better, always for the better, though now that we’re 6 months in we’re finally starting to get some sleep and even a few moments here and there to do things for ourselves. For me, that’s blogging, writing and reading.

Anyway, as usual, here’s my end-of-year reading list. Many of these were chapbooks and most of my reading was done prior to June; in fact, all but the last four were read before June, and I’m not quite through with the last one. Still, here ’tis:

  1. Everything’s Eventual – Stephen King
  2. American Primitive – Mary Oliver
  3. The Planets – Dava Sobel
  4. The Gunslinger – Stephen King (reread)
  5. American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century, Volume 1 – John Hollander, ed.
  6. Blameless Mouth – Jessica Fox-Wilson
  7. I Am Legend – Richard Matheson
  8. Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell (reread)
  9. Scene of the Accident – Howie Good
  10. Disaster Mode – Howie Good
  11. Pay Attention: A River of Stones Anthology – Fiona Robyn & Kaspalita, eds.
  12. Speaker for the Dead – Orson Scott Card
  13. Xenocide – Orson Scott Card
  14. Shannon – Campbell McGrath
  15. Woods, Shore, Desert – Thomas Merton
  16. Love is a UFO – Howie Good
  17. The Happiest Baby on the Block – Harvey Karp, MD
  18. The Baby Owner’s Manual – Louis Borgenicht, MD & Joe Borgenicht
  19. Your Baby’s First Year – The American Academy of Pediatrics
  20. What to Expect the First Year – Murkoff, Mazel, Eisenberg & Hathaway
  21. Watermark – Clayton T. Michaels (reread)
  22. The Book of Ystwyth: Six Poets on the Art of Clive Hicks-Jenkins – Bonta, James, Selch, Urquhart, Davies & Youmans
  23. Tender Mercies – mark Stratton
  24. Dark & Like a Web: Brief Notes On and To the Divine – NS
  25. Children of the Mind – Orson Scott Card
  26. Hint Fiction: An Anthology of Stories in 25 Words or Fewer – Robert Swartwood, ed.
  27. Greeks Bearing Gifts – Joseph Harker
  28. Postmarks – mark Stratton
  29. The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien (reread)

…and a bunch of kids books…

There were no great obsessions this year like last year’s Dark Tower series, though I did go back and reread The Gunslinger. Speaking of rereading, the best book on the list was a reread: Cloud Atlas. Regarding new books, my favorites were probably The Book of Ystwyth, a book so beautiful, I didn’t want to stop looking at it much less reading it. Other favorites were Shannon, Dark and Like a Web and Speaker for the Dead. Of course the run of baby care books were probably the most important and certainly the most useful ones. At 6 months in, though, I find we’re referring to them less and trusting ourselves more.

And though I haven’t been blogging or writing much lately, I have been preparing a short poetry collection. Birds Nobody Loves will be available sometime in mid-January. I’ll post more about it in the coming weeks. Perhaps after I finish that, I’ll start blogging more.

Finally, to those of you who come round here, read and leave comments, thank you. And have a happy 2012.

Tender Mercies by mark Stratton

I’ve been carrying mark Stratton’s Tender Mercies (The Pancake Truck Press, 2011) around in my bag for a few months. Mainly it was so I wouldn’t forget to write something about it, but it’s taken me this long. The old blog has fallen down the priority list somewhat these days, but periodically I get the book out, read a few random poems and then stick it back in my bag. Now it’s started to feel like a friend tagging along from place to place offering snapshots and images from dreams and nightmares. It’s a friend who doesn’t explain himself but the conversation is good and usually interesting.

The Cowboy rides
through lead guitar dynamics
a single stream of time
signature changes

–from “Tender Mercy #28D”

That’s the sense I get from Tender Mercies, a collection that began as a series mark posted to his blog about a year ago or so. Sense is a funny thing too, because it doesn’t always make sense to me. I don’t always get what mark’s getting at, but the ride, the language, is a pleasure, and sometimes a line or two finds a place in my mind, takes root and won’t leave me alone. So the book goes back in the bag and I carry it around some more, sometimes forgetting it’s there only to be happily surprised again.

I misplaced my words

I kept them in the lee
Of a tow sail

They went well with
Collard greens
Or a glass of milk.

–from “Tender Mercy #17b”

Earlier this year, mark asked me for feedback on the manuscript and a blurb. I offered those, but I kind of wish I’d had the year to do it. Maybe the blurb would have been better, at any rate. I say that simply because after nearly a year of hanging out with these poems at hospitals, the dentist’s offices, school, who knows where else one finds a few moments to read, I just like them more and more the better I get to know them. I still see a lot of poems about connection and disconnection, love and loss, though, but they get funnier or sharper or wiser with time and rereading. Sometimes more mysterious too. I think good poetry should be like that.

Toxic rains fall not
from only the heavens.
Domestic gods and
Dusting share the blame.

–from “Tender Mercy #14”

In addition to Tender Mercies, mark has just released a limited edition chapbook called Postmarks. There’s also an interesting interview with mark at Jessie Carty’s blog. mark blogs at AGGASPLETCH.

Some LOST Theorizin’ Before “The End”

It’s hard to believe Lost will be ending on Sunday. I’ve been blogging the books that have appeared on the show and their connections with Lost for four years so I figured I should post a final theory of what might happen when the show ends.

I predict people will throw their TV’s away. I mean, what will be the point of owning one after Sunday night? Sure Longhorns football will still be on, but you can catch the games at a bar.

As far as my predictions for the show, it all comes down to two books shown this season, Shusaku Endo’s Deep River and Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories (follow the links for my posts on them), which form the basis of my half-baked, out-of-my-arse prediction, which is by no means a logical well-thought out theory. It’s just me brainstorming.  I’m probably wrong. I hope so. One of the best things about Lost is how consistently I’ve been surprised.

I still think the sideways reality is going to end, but I think it’s going to have to hurt. It’s a manifestation of anti-Jacob/Locke’s power triggered by the detonation of the jughead. It’s a big bang (see my post on Brief History of Time) that suggests echoes between Lost and Gnostic Christianity. I can’t help but think Desmond will emerge as a savior of sorts, the Christ who will show everyone in the sideways reality that it is an illusion (or a “black iron prison” as Philip K Dick put it in VALIS—see my post). This is how jack will know to kill Locke. Of course, for Jin and Sun and others it’s a pretty happy illusion. It probably will be for Sawyer when he meets Juliet (who I think will be making a final appearance) and they make a date for coffee.

This illusion will have to be destroyed to defeat Locke, and it will probably be done by Jack who will in effect be killing nearly everyone he knows to save the world in the crash reality. It’s a burden he’ll likely have to live with for the rest of a very long life. My guess is that Jack will do it when he operates on Locke. He will let him die on the table or kill him in a scene that will echo what he did to blackmail Ben in season 3. When Locke dies in the LAX reality, this will end it. This will also end any chance for happy endings for those characters whose lives are good in the LAX world. This is the sacrifice Jack will make, the sacrifice the island will demand to save the world, and to paraphrase Ben in season 5, dead will be dead.

Once the sideways reality is gone, Locke will be defeated, though I doubt he will be dead. Lost has always suggested a need for balance between opposing forces (see Deep River and VALIS again), thus Locke will not be killed. He and Jack will be stuck on the island, playing backgammon for all eternity while Locke cooks up another 1000 year loophole to kill Jack. Look for a sequel to Lost sometime around the year 3004.

So many of the Lost books suggest endless loops of cause and effect, death and rebirth, that I can’t help but feeling Lost will end circular in some way. It could end at the beginning or perhaps the LAX reality is actually happening after all of this, though I hope those aren’t the answers as either would feel like a cheat of sacrifices made by the characters. I suspect, we’ll see Jack as the island’s new protector largely escaping that cycle only to watch it all come back around.

And, I still say Ben’s a good guy, putting the long con on dark Locke.

Here’s the list all the Lost books I’ve read along with links to my posts about them. Here’s a link to the LA Times article in which I was interviewed. Here are links to EYE M SICK and Lost…and Gone Forever, true Lost blogs, and the best ones around. Not having them to read each week is almost as sad as Lost ending.

The LA Times Asks Me About the LOST Books

Last week someone from the LA Times asked to interview me about the Lost book club project I’ve been doing on this blog for the past few years.  The article is here, and she even included some of my theorizin’ about where the show might be headed in these last 2 episodes.

I’ll be coming up with a final theory after the next episode and have it up in time for the series finale. As much as I like trying to predict Lost, though, I really love it when I’m wrong if only so I’ll be more surprised by how things play out.

If you’re one of the many people suddenly showing up here today, welcome and thanks for coming by. My Lost reading is only a minor part of this site so I hope you’ll have a look around while you’re here.

The Lost Book Club: Notes from Underground

Sometimes details can hang up a whole story; for instance, in Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Notes from Underground, I could never quite get past the fact that the unnamed narrator, the underground man, was a retired civil servant looking back over his life from the vantage point of forty. I’ll turn forty this year and don’t feel the slightest bit old or ready for retirement, though such is one of the big differences between living in St. Petersburg, Russia in the mid-nineteenth century and living in the United States in the early twenty-first.

The underground man’s life goes something like this: I’m superior, more refined, more aware of lofty ideals and beauty than my contemporaries and peers. Because of this they are not worthy of my time and attention, yet I need these people I loath to accept me. I’m humiliated by my need for acceptance and so I attempt to show I am better than them by humiliating them, but I lack the courage to do even this and so I make myself feel better by hating them, yet I crave their acceptance all the more. It goes round and round leaving me trapped in my hole like a mouse underground.

But I kept thinking… you’re only forty, man, you’re still young, get over it. Still, there’s real psychological truth to Dostoyevsky’s portrait of the man, unable to change and therefore stuck in the circular thinking that his moral superiority over everyone in his life is the cause of his debasement which in turn causes that sense of superiority. It’s a kind of hell, really, and the circular nature of hell is a recurring motif on Lost, a concept first introduced to Lost with Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman (back in Season 2):

Hell goes round and round. In shape it is circular and by nature it is interminable, repetitive and very nearly unbearable.

And that is a perfect description of the underground man. Despite any amount of free will he may have, he’s trapped by his ego in a hell of his own making from which he’ll never escape. Of course that not escaping and instead choosing, against reason, a path that leads to destruction is exactly what the underground man is doing in order to prove his theory that human nature is to exercise free will even against the interests of oneself. In essence we can, and often do chose to destroy ourselves against all reason and opportunity to do otherwise.

So we make our own hells and dig our own graves. Isn’t that one of the themes of Lost, which constantly reinforces the notion that the characters’ exercise of free will has created the destinies from which they can’t seem to escape? Isn’t it the stubborn pride of Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Sayid and Ben that forces them to continue on paths they know to be unreasonable? Who on Lost can actually break out of his self-created destiny? Will that person be the candidate to replace Jacob?

In Lost, Notes from Underground appears in the Season 6 episode “Everybody Loves Hugo.” Hurley finds it among Ilana’s things after she accidently blows herself up. I didn’t see it pertaining to one individual character or storyline in that episode so much as it reminds me of the whole situation on Lost, in which each of the characters is trapped by his or her own weaknesses. It makes me wonder if anyone on this show is going to find a happy ending and some kind of redemption or if they will all, like the underground man, wither away in their holes, forgotten by an uncaring world.

Or maybe they’ll end up on the bottom of the ocean as hinted in the Season 6 opener wherein the island was shown on the bottom of the Pacific. Perhaps one or more of our characters is doomed to become an underwater man before this is all over.

Notes from Underground is the second Dostoyevsky novel to appear on Lost, the first being The Brothers Karamazov back in Season 2, and it’s a tough book to enjoy, though it is good. Whatever that means.

Be sure to check out the rest of my Lost book club posts.

The Lost Book Club: The Chosen

One of my favorite episodes from Season 6 of Lost was “Dr. Linus,” which was the first one that made me care about what was happening in the mirror reality for its own sake. Any episode that centers on Benjamin Linus is going to be intriguing, and happily it included another novel for the Lost Book Club: The Chosen by Chaim Potok.

Right up front, I found the book an ironic prop in the show since its title seemed a direct affront to Ben, who despite years of service and loyalty to Jacob and the island doesn’t appear (at least as of this writing) to a “candidate” to replace Jacob. Despite his tireless efforts on Jacob’s behalf, Ben Linus is not the chosen, and it was in “Dr. Linus” that he had to finally come to terms with that fact.

The book itself is remarkably compelling. It’s a simple story, really, but it’s gripping in the depths of understanding and compassion Potok has for his characters. Potok’s story examines the friendship between two teenage boys from very different Jewish families in 1940’s Brooklyn. Danny Saunders is a brilliant young man from a Hasidic family. He has a photographic memory, and when he isn’t studying Talmud with his father, he immerses himself in “forbidden” knowledge: Darwin, Freud, Einstein. He forms an unlikely friendship with the novel’s narrator Reuven Malter, a modern Orthodox Jew who would like to become a Rabbi despite his father’s hopes that he will become a mathematics professor.

Driving much of the plot is Danny’s relationship with his father, the leader of their sect. Their relationship is one of silence. The only times they talk are when they debate issues of Jewish law. Danny wants nothing more than to speak with his father, but his father has made a decision to raise his son in silence so he will learn compassion to balance his intellect.

That silence should resonate with anyone who has been watching Lost. Ben’s greatest frustration with Jacob—and ultimately why he killed him—was the silence Ben got from Jacob. He never once communicated with him except through Richard, and when Locke appeared to be talking with Jacob in Season 3, Ben was thunderstruck and angry.

So why did Jacob treat Ben with silence? Was he attempting to teach Ben something… is Ben the chosen one after all? The silence led through Jacob’s death to Ben’s redemption. Perhaps that is what Jacob saw all along.

For more of my Lost theorizing and attempted analysis of the books that have appeared in the show check out the Lost Book Club index page.

Next up: Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

The Lost Book Club: Deep River

Shusaku Endo’s Deep River appears in the Season 6 Episode of Lost, “Sundown.” Now that Lost is winding down, I can look at all the books that have appeared on the show and find myself amazed by how many great reads the show has given me since I decided to read all the books that have appeared. How much I’ve discovered. Deep River is another of the great ones.

Deep River is about a group of Japanese tourists on a pilgrimage of sorts to visit some of the Buddhist shrines in India, but most of the characters aren’t going because they’re Buddhist; they’re going to free themselves from their pasts and, like the Hindu pilgrims all around them, their paths lead them toward Vārānasī and the River Ganges.

There is Isobe whose wife has just died from cancer, but in her final moments told him she would be reborn; Numanda who wants to repay a debt owed to a bird whom he believes saved his life; Kiguchi, tormented by memories of his service in World War II; and Mitsuko, a loveless cynic who struggles to understand Ōtsu, the longtime target of her cruelty and derision who is also a troubled and heretical Catholic priest.

Life has not gone according to plan for any of these people, but in India, they are able to find not what they are looking for, but for most of them, perhaps, something deeper. Kind of like a group of flawed people who crash land on an island and find purpose and meaning in their lives.

As I read Deep River, I kept seeing parallels to Lost. Both works exist in a world between Christianity and Buddhism, and like Endo himself, who was a Christian but struggled to make that Christianity work in his Japanese mind, Lost has always hovered between these similar, yet divergent belief systems. In the end what moves Deep River is its recognition of a deeper spirituality that transcends the human construct of religion and points toward a pantheistic Christianity. As Ōtsu explains:

I can’t help but be struck by the clarity and the logic of the way Europeans think, but it seems to me as an Asian that there’s something they have lost sight of with their excessive clarity and their overabundance of logic, and I just can’t go along with it.

Sounds like Jack, Lost’s “man of reason.” Ever since Season 1, the Jack vs. Locke conflict has been built around Jack’s reason and Locke’s faith. For each man, his rigid ways have proved his undoing. Locke’s absolute faith led to his manipulation and death. Jack’s unyielding reason destroyed his life. The thing both men lacked was the balance between the rational and the mystical that Ōtsu seeks.

As for Lost, reading Deep River has convinced me that defeating the so-called evil anti-Jacob / Locke / smoke monster is not the point. As Ōtsu says:

God makes use not only of our good acts, but even of our sins in order to save us.


I was scolded for this notion at the novitiate; they told me it was dangerously Jansenistic or Manichaeistic (‘heretical,’ in short). I was told that good and evil are distinct and mutually incompatible.

Deep River asks us to consider the issue of good and evil from Ōtsu’s perspective, and I think it tells of an endgame. The “evil” being inhabiting Locke’s body is a manifestation of something greater, and its destruction is not going to be the endpoint of Lost. It will need to be balanced not defeated. The question, then, is who is going to spend eternity on the island as a counterweight to the anti-Jacob? I’m guessing it’s going to have to be Jack and wouldn’t be surprised if he and Locke spend all eternity on the island arguing the relative strengths of faith and reason.

The index of all of my Lost book club posts is here.

Next up: The Chosen by Chaim Potok

The Lost Book Club: Haroun and the Sea of Stories

Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories is the book Desmond was reading on the plane in the Season 6 opener “LA X.” The scene occurred in the alternate reality timeline, and the book provides some insight into what is going on.

Haroun’s father Rashid Khalifa, The Shah of Blah, is a master storyteller, but when Rashid’s wife leaves him for another man, he loses his ability and desire to tell stories, especially after Haroun disparagingly asks, “What’s the use in stories that aren’t true.” One night, the water genie Iff comes to disconnect Rashid from the Source of the Stream of Stories by a P2C2E (Process Too Complicated To Explain) but before Iff succeeds, Haroun steals the genie’s disconnection tool and demands that his father be allowed to continue telling stories.

Haroun joins Iff on a journey to Katani, Earth’s hidden moon, where the Ocean of Stories (from which the streams flow) has been contaminated by the cult master Kattam-Shud who leads the silent Chupwalas and their shadow warriors against the good story-loving Guppees. Haroun, Rashid, Iff, Blabbermouth and Butt the Hoopoe must stop the cult master, rescue an annoying princess and purify the Streams of Story so that Rashid can have his gift back.

The book, which was a thoroughly enjoyable work of magical realism aimed at young readers (Rushdie wrote it for his son), provided some interesting insights into Season 6 of Lost, though it would have been more helpful to have read it sooner.

The main thing I keep thinking about is the idea of pollution in a stream of stories. The flash-sideways reality we’ve been seeing on Lost all season is a version of reality that isn’t quite what it should be, a situation similar to what Haroun finds in the various polluted stories he encounters. Ultimately, his adventures take him to the source of the Streams of Story from which all stories originate. If he can prevent Kattam-Shud from plugging this source, the stories will cleanse themselves and all will be right again.

This is a notion strikingly similar to the idea of the universe course-correcting, a notion Lost has been playing with since Desmond slipped out of time in Season 3. At this point, I’m thinking that the flash-sideways reality is a stream of story that will probably correct itself when Locke, Lost‘s own Kattam-Shud, cult master and lord of shadows is defeated. Perhaps the island is some kind of spacetime source for various realities and existences. Or something.

Haroun and the Sea of Stories is at heart about the balancing of opposing forces—speech and silence, light and darkness—and how that balance is necessary to life. Lost has played with these ideas since its very first season and while Anti-Jacob/Locke has thrown the Island and possibly the world out of balance, it seems likely the rest of the series will focus not so much on destroying Locke but on balancing out his penchant for destruction in much the way that Jacob maintained the balance prior to his death at the end of Season 5.

The only other thing that leapt out at me was Haroun’s question to his father about the use in stories that aren’t true. That’s one that many of us viewers, confused by the role of the flash-sideways storytelling, have asked this season. It’s a fair question to which I think Brian at Lost…and Gone Forever has presented the best answer thus far in his excellent analysis of last week’s “Dr. Linus”:

Seeing Flash Sideways Ben choosing Alex’s well-being over gaining power for himself reminds us that he did the exact opposite the first time we saw him faced with the same situation. Seeing him making friends with Arzt and having a – well let’s call it “decent” – relationship with his father makes us realize just how alone he is on the Island right now… which made his breakdown scene with Ilana all the more powerful. He gave up everyone and everything for the Island – and look where it left him. Alone and lost in life (pun somewhat intended).

In short, the Flash Sideways actually served to make the On-Island storyline better, just like the original Season One Flashbacks did. By learning about our Survivors’ pasts, we understood their presents much better. Likewise, by seeing “what could have been” with Benjamin Linus this week, understand his present condition much better.

Which is, I think, the “use of stories that aren’t even true.” Perhaps that’s why “Dr. Linus” is my favorite episode (so far) of this season and one of my favorites from the series.

Next up: Deep River by Shusaku Endo.

Be sure to check out the rest of my Lost Book Club posts.

The Lost Book Club: Fear and Trembling

I didn’t read it.

Back when I started the Lost Book Club and decided to read all the books shown and referenced on Lost, I made a decision to focus (mostly) on the fictional/literary works and leave the philosophical and religious works to others and since the philosophy was referenced mostly in certain characters’ names (John Locke, Desmond David Hume, Danielle Rousseau, and Mikhail Bakunin) and the books didn’t actually appear, it was no problem.

The Season 6 opener “LA X,” however, introduced two books to the Lost Book Club: Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie, the book Desmond was reading on the alternate reality Oceanic 815, and Fear and Trembling by Søren Kierkegaard, which is the book found with the one-armed skeletal remains of the French guy beneath the temple wall.

I will, of course, read the Rushdie book, which I’ve got on hold at my library, and I will post my thoughts on it once I’ve read it. As for the Kierkegaard book, I don’t intend to read it (at least not now) since it falls outside the purview of my Lost book project and I had to draw a line somewhere, but I figured I’d at least try to find and post some information about it for those who may be curious.

From Wikipedia (source of all knowledge):

Fear and Trembling presents a highly original and provocative interpretation of the Binding of Isaac story as told in Genesis Chapter 22, and uses the story as an occasion to discuss fundamental issues in moral philosophy and the philosophy of religion, such as the nature of God and faith, faith’s relationship with ethics and morality, and the difficulty of being authentically religious.


In Fear and Trembling Kierkegaard introduces the “Knight of Faith” and contrasts him with the “knight of infinite resignation”. The latter gives up everything in return for the infinite, that which he may receive after this life, and continuously dwells with the pain of his loss. The former, however, not only relinquishes everything, but also trusts that he will receive it all back, his trust based on the “strength of the absurd”.

From Lostpedia (source of all Lost knowledge):

The book encountered in the Temple is “Fear and Trembling” (original title: Frygt og Bæven), an influential philosophical work by Danish philosopher, theologian, and psychologist Søren Kierkegaard, published in 1843 under the pseudonym Johannes de Silentio (John the Silent). In the book, through alternative retellings of the Biblical story of the Binding of Isaac, Kierkegaard examines the role of faith and its relationship with morality and ethics. The title is a reference to a line from Philippians 2:12, “…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”

The story of Abraham’s near-sacrifice of Isaac has been referenced on Lost several times over the years and almost works like a background hum meant to remind viewers of how far certain characters will go to protect the island. It also reinforces the tension between faith and reason, one of Lost‘s central themes.

Based on this limited reading about the book, it seems a logical book for Lost considering that we’ve now delved into at least one alternate retelling of the story. Perhaps we should be expecting a few more alternate realities? I hope not.

The Knight of Infinite Resignation and the Knight of Faith read like descriptions of Jack Shephard and John Locke.

That’s probably enough for a post about a book I didn’t read.

Here’s a link to a post on The Fish: A Christian Look @ Pop Culture about “LA X”  that includes excellent analysis of the episode as well as some more thoughts about Fear and Trembling.

Enough about the book I didn’t read; it’s time for some half-baked theorizin’.

For nine months, Lost fans wondered whether the show would reboot to an alternate reality after the detonation of the jughead or if the 1977 survivors would be blown back to the “present.” I don’t think I’m alone in being surprised by the writers’ dispensing with the or and doing both.

Here’s my half-baked theory. In the alternate reality, the jughead destroyed the island in 1977, thus leaving the Dharma Initiative’s save-the-world work unfinished and undone. Ben, Widmore and Eloise all died, which means Penny and Daniel are never born, which means Desmond never sails around the world, winding up “just saving the world, brotha.” Come to think of it, nobody is saving the world from whatever electromagnetic anomaly now lies at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, which means someday (I’m guessing someday soon in the alt-reality of LA X) something will happen that effectively destroys the alt-reality world because Dharma hadn’t been able to do whatever it was it was supposed to do.

The alt-world ends, but not before alt-Juliet, who will have memories of both worlds just as Desmond did when he detonated the Swan Hatch at the end of Season 2, explains to the alt-survivors that there is something that must be fulfilled by them to help Jacob. After that, the two realities will reconcile with the end of the alt-reality and everything that has risen will converge.

Maybe, that’s only a quarter-baked theory. Hell, it’s barely cooked and you’ll probably wind up with some kind of mental salmonella poisoning, but that’s what I’ve got and it reminds me why I love Lost so much. It’s one of the very few TV shows I’ve ever watched that has consistently surprised me and kept me guessing. I love not knowing. I hope I’m wrong. I hope I find out how wrong I am after tonight’s episode “What Kate Does,” so I can come up with a new theory.

Here’s the link to the list of all the Lost books I’ve read. Look for my take on Haroun and the Sea of Stories in the next few weeks. I intend to read that one.

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