Thursday, September 6, 2012

Love and Other Games of Chance- A Non list book

I picked up this book at Powell's in Oregon (the largest bookstore I've ever been to). It was on sale for $4.99 and the title intrigued me. As I read the inside cover it sounded like just my cup of tea. It involved magic, circus, love and a snakes and ladders game. It sounded like pure fun. I was not disappointed, but was pleasantly surprised that it was also philosophical which are my favourite kinds of books to read.

The first thing I loved about this book is that it involved Jewish circus performs. I love Russian literature for it's down to earth faith that permeates all aspects of life. This book portrayed Jewish life in the same way and I lapped up ever second page filled with great quotes. Here are some of them.

"As long as everyone remembers what he is supposed to remember , the word of our God, the creator of all will be kept alive"

"to be a Jew means to love words and stories"

"Every Jew is a character in a story that began with Abraham and has yet to end"

"Even though I do not believe in God, am beginning a story within a story"

"It made you want to take our religion seriously, to actually believe it is holy for a man and woman to love each other, and even to believe that we, men and women, really are created in the image of Elohim"

As a Christian grafted into the Jewish family as an adopted member, I have always LOVED the stories in the Old Testament. They speak so much of life and deep truth that I love rereading them over and over again.

The second great thing about this book is that the entire book is laid out like a game of snakes and ladders. The chapters are black and white numbered squares corresponding to the squares of a snakes and ladders game. In fact there is a copy of the board depicted in the prologue of the book. Some chapters begin with a snakes head or a ladder and others end with a snakes tail or a ladder end. It is a clever plot that is used as a facet of the story to talk about philosophy and fate and chance.

"By luck or chance or fate, as if by a shake of dice, we encounter people in one square of their life at one time in one place"

"I like snakes and ladders because playing it is like living a life"

"I have barred him from our game because he will not play by the rules"

"I decided to give chance a chance and follow the rolls of unseen dice"

"snakes and ladders, I like to imagine, by making sense of a senseless past as it orders memory into squares, episodes and scenes, offers a heavenly glimpse of earthly patterns"

Overall, this book was a joy to read. I was happy to pick it up and have discovered that I am getting good at knowing what type of books I like to read simply from covers, titles and jacket descriptions. I have had many a happy accident from choosing discount books that leap of the shelves at me. If you haven't tried that before I highly recommend it!

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