Added 2/8/14. _God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian_ (79-page book) by Kurt Vonnegut (first published in 1999)
3/5/16 - I have finally gotten around to readingAdded 2/8/14. _God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian_ (79-page book) by Kurt Vonnegut (first published in 1999)
3/5/16 - I have finally gotten around to reading this very short book in which Kurt Vonnegut imagines himself as a reporter interviewing famous dead people. I must say that the satire and irony is delicious! You have to read the book to get the real sense of it. No amount of explanation can deliver the real effect of it.
Each interview is a very short vignette, making the reading of the book very easy. But after you finish reading each vignette, you're tempted to go back and savor it again to get all the "juice" out of it. Vonnegut is the master of irony and satire!
The title of the book refers to the imaginary process in which Dr. Kevorkian facilitates the interviews by allowing Vonnegut to have numerous "near-death" experiences. Vonnegut thereby arrives at the Pearly Gates through a blue tunnel. He then interviews his subjects, famous people, who are well known to us all for their good deeds and their bad.
3/30/16-I saved the following words which I found in the book. They appealed to me as something one might say when appreciating something or some particular moment: "If this isn't nice, what is?"
See a good review at: http://www.humanistsofutah.org/2000/a... BELOW IS FROM THE LINK ABOVE: ============================ "The vignettes take the form of a reporter for a New York public radio station who visits with historical people [he visits with 21 dead people] including: Clarence Darrow, John Brown, Adolf Hitler, Isaac Newton, James Earl Ray, William Shakespeare, Isaac Asimov, Kilgore Trout (who isn't actually dead yet, but then he has lived only in Vonnegut's pages), and others. The reports were designed to fit 90-second interludes on WNYC.
"The 79-page book is a joyous treat, humor and thought provoking prose from one of the 20th Century's greatest fiction writers. I encourage you to get a copy and enjoy it!
"Of interest to humanists is the forward section of the book: Vonnegut notes that he is a humanist who believes in neither heaven nor hell. He also offers several short definitions of humanism: "I have tried to behave decently without any expectation of rewards or punishment after I'm dead." Again, "humanist' is nothing more supernatural than a handy synonym for 'good citizenship and common decency."
WIKI SYNOPSIS: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "The premise of the collection is that Vonnegut employs Dr. Jack Kevorkian to give him near-death experiences, allowing Vonnegut access to heaven and those in it for a limited time. While in the afterlife Vonnegut interviews a range of people including Adolf Hitler, William Shakespeare, Isaac Asimov, and the ever-present Kilgore Trout (a fictional character created by Vonnegut in his earlier works)." FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_Ble... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~...more
_Searoad_ by Ursula K. Le Guin (published in 1991) Added 4/9/13
My local library catalog says that this book "Portrays the struggles and triumphs of sev_Searoad_ by Ursula K. Le Guin (published in 1991) Added 4/9/13
My local library catalog says that this book "Portrays the struggles and triumphs of several generations of women who independently control Klatsand, a small resort town on the Oregon coast."
I read Ursula Le guin's Searoad in 1997. It's the only book of hers which I've read. For some reason I was left with a vague impression that I didn't enjoy it. But now, as I've searched and found my handwritten quotes from the book, I see that there are some very interesting thoughts there. The following GR review by Beth A. may offer a hint as to why I wasn't able to appreciate the book. http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... BTW, the review says: "It’s a collection of short stories."
My notes tell me that the book is a collection of former magazine articles from magazines like "The New Yorker".
The following is from Publishers Weekly (according to my local library catalog): ================================== "In these stories, connected loosely but powerfully by their rugged Pacific Northwest setting, LeGuin portrays residents of a small Oregon shore town with sympathy and no sentiment. Many of the tales center around women drawn together in threes--mother, daughter, grandmother--by illness or death. Passionate, independent and questioning, these characters generally choose, sooner or later, personal freedom over convention, but not without pain.
"In 'True Love' a librarian who summers in Klatsand has a brief affair with a man who opens a bookstore, but is most moved by her feeling of kinship with another woman he sleeps with. Mourning with her deceased lover's daughter, the "survivor" of a lesbian couple finds comfort in an unexpected sense of connection among the three of them ("Quoits"). The novella-length "Hernes" authoritatively traces the repeated struggles for love and self-reliance among four generations of Klatsand women, from Fanny, born in Ohio in 1863, to her great-granddaughter Virginia, a poet. Idiosyncratic and convincing, LeGuin's characters have a long afterlife." ====================================...more
Added 10/7/12. (Book published August 28th 2012) Intriguing concept. I first heard about this book on 10/7/12 in a post by Jackie at my GR group. She saAdded 10/7/12. (Book published August 28th 2012) Intriguing concept. I first heard about this book on 10/7/12 in a post by Jackie at my GR group. She said it's a "a debut novel". ...more
2/14/13 - I finished _Ender's Game_. It was terrific! As they said at our library's group discussion on Monday, it's rich with interestiAdded 4/21/12.
2/14/13 - I finished _Ender's Game_. It was terrific! As they said at our library's group discussion on Monday, it's rich with interesting themes to talk about, one of them being the problem of the manipulation and control of people. However, even without the important themes, it's a great story!
I really enjoyed this story. I listened to the audio version. It was great! Very engrossing!
On 1/22/13 I wrote: "I am currently listening to the audio-version of this book. I downloaded it from audible.com. Here's audible.com's page about _Ender's Game_: http://www.audible.com/pd/ref=sr_1_1?...
_Ender's Game_ (first published 1985) by Orson Scott Card Literary Awards: Hugo Award for Best Novel (1986), Nebula Award for Best Novel (1985)
EDIT: In February 2013, I wrote the following at my GR group: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 2/9/13 - I'm still listening to the audio version of Ender's Game. I never thought I could get so engrossed in descriptions of battles and the antagonisms between fighters. I'm hooked on this story and its characters.
I'm spending HOURS listening to this audiobook. It's almost 12 hours long. Listening to a book takes longer than reading it but I like the dramatization of the dialogue. I want to finish it before our local library book group discusses it. It should be an interesting discussion.
Here's an interesting excerpt from about halfway through the book: -------------------------------- [To beat Bonzo you had to]: "hurt Bonzo enough so that his fear was stronger than his hate".
"Peter had been right... the power to cause pain is the only power that matters... the power to kill and destroy. Because if you can't kill, you are always subject to those who can. And nothing and no one will ever save you." ----------------------------------
Frightening words when applied to international relations. But who can dispute those words?
PS-I found a page where you can read the Sci-Fi book, Ender's Game, online. Here's the link: http://www.litmir.net/br/?b=125900&am... The page linked above is page #1. (To "turn" to the next page, click on the appropriate number in the box in the row of squares near the top of the screen. It's right above the author's name, Orson Scott Card.)
BTW, it's a Russian web page. The text of the book is in English but the rest of the page is in Russian. LOL ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
One Goodreads member wrote the following: ================================== “Epic, inventive, and haunting. In the future, Earth has already survived one battle with an alien race known as the Buggers, and they’re preparing for another invasion by sending gifted young children into space to attend Battle School. Ender Wiggin is a 6-year-old boy who will not only be sent to Battle School, but may end up being the savior of the human race.” See more of the review at: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... ==================================
Below is another link to an interesting member-review of _Ender’s Game_: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... The review recommends the audio version. It says: “The audio version of this book had a long commentary at the end by the author in which he told about how he conceived of the story. In his commentary he said that he believed that the audio format is the best way to consume this book.”
There’s a movie of “Ender’s Game” coming out later this year, starring Harrison Ford. “Ender’s Game” (2013): http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1731141/ IMDb DESCRIPTION: “70 years after a horrific alien war, an unusually gifted child is sent to an advanced military school in space to prepare for a future invasion."
Our local library book group in Glens Falls, NY, will be discussing this book in Feb. 2013.
ADDENDUM 4/4/13: I found a page which gives a good summary of the book and some interesting comments. See it here: http://www.giraffedays.com/?p=610 I found the following at the above linked page: "If everybody came to agree that stories should be told this clearly, the professors of literature would be out of a job, and the writers of obscure, encoded fiction would be, not honored, but pitied for their impenetrability." -Orson Scott Card, in the preface to his book, _Ender's Game_.
Below is an insightful quote from the book: "Once he named the feeling, he could control it." _Ender's Game_ by Orson Scott Card...more
Added 9/24/11. The GR description says: "Rama is no natural object. It is, incredibly, an interstellar spacecraft. Space explorers and planet-bound scieAdded 9/24/11. The GR description says: "Rama is no natural object. It is, incredibly, an interstellar spacecraft. Space explorers and planet-bound scientists alike prepare for mankind's first encounter with alien intelligence."
Hmmm, sounds like an SF book even I might enjoy.
6/16/13 I'm listening to an audio version of Rendezvous with Rama via audible.com. I've definitely been "drawn in" to the story . So it has caught my interest. (not easy to do nowadays!). It certainly is different! Because my listening times are spasmodic, it's slow-going for me. So far, I've listened to the first half of the audible.com version. Mostly, so far, it's describing the exploration of an interstellar spacecraft which belonged to space aliens. Strange descriptions and weird happenings aboard the ship. No creatures have been encountered yet! Can't say I'm crazy about it but, as I said, it's holding my interest. Will post more about it later when I'm finished listening.
I finished listening in August 2013. It was OK but after a while I lost interest....more
Added 9/18/11, after seeing friends' comments about it at my GR group and after reading the following quote at alt.quotations: ========================Added 9/18/11, after seeing friends' comments about it at my GR group and after reading the following quote at alt.quotations: ======================================= Paul looked down at the hand that had known pain, then up to the Reverend Mother. The sound of her voice had contained a difference then from any other voice in his experience. The words were outlined in brilliance. There was an edge to them. He felt that any question he might ask her would bring an answer that could lift him out of his flesh-world into something greater.
"Why do you test for humans?" he asked.
"To set you free."
"Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free. But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them."
"'Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a man's mind,'" Paul quoted.
"Right out of the Butlerian Jihad and the Orange Catholic Bible," she said. "But what the O.C. Bible should've said is: 'Thou shalt not make a machine to counterfeit a human mind.'"
-Frank Herbert (1920-1986), _Dune_  ===========================================
The GR description says: ""Dune is one of the most famous sf novels ever written. Deservedly so. The setting is elaborate & ornate, the plot labyrinthine, the adventures exciting. Five sequels follow." -Brooks Peck...more
Added 5/30/11 Werner suggested it at our group. Jackie thought it might not be my kind of story ("dragons and magic, classic fantasy, good vs evil typeAdded 5/30/11 Werner suggested it at our group. Jackie thought it might not be my kind of story ("dragons and magic, classic fantasy, good vs evil type of thing."). We'll see. ...more
RE: Pilgrimage: The Book of the People by Zenna Henderson Publisher: Doubleday & Co, Inc. 1961 From back of cover page: (Copyright 1952 by Mercury PrRE: Pilgrimage: The Book of the People by Zenna Henderson Publisher: Doubleday & Co, Inc. 1961 From back of cover page: (Copyright 1952 by Mercury Press, Inc.) (Copyright 1961 by Zenna Henderson)
NOTE: This story constitutes the first part the book, Ingathering: The Complete People Stories of Zenna Henderson (1995). In Ingathering, this story, Pilgrimage, starts the book off and has the title: "Interlude Lea 1" instead. They don't seem to use the title Pilgrimage at all. I suppose that when it was incorporated into the larger book, the name-change was made. The GR description of Ingathering explains more about this, since Ingathering is actually a collection of 17 different stories by Henderson published at different times, most of them in magazines. Therefore, bridging material between the stories has been included. Ingathering contains a list of "Copyright Acknowledgments" for each of the separate stories.
At this point (2/27/10), I'm on page 30... and I believe I'm hooked! :)
PS-I read several of the stories in Pilgrimage. I found them very interesting, but after I got over the novelty of the "magical" abilities of the "people", the reading lost its compelling quality. Since I had other books on my back burner, I decided not to continue with the book.
Besides, I find that short stories aren't as appealing to me as longer novels. No sooner do you get into the short story, than you have to adjust to another setting or different characters. I miss the continuity, even though, as they said, in this book there was some "bridging material".
ADDENDUM 4/2/13: QUOTE FROM THE BOOK: "There's nothing like a large portion of ignorance to give one a large portion of confidence." -p.92, _Pilgrimage: The Book of the People_ (1961)...more
_This Immortal_ was my first sci-fi book. At first I had trouble getting into it (too many strange names and places), but once I did, I found that it_This Immortal_ was my first sci-fi book. At first I had trouble getting into it (too many strange names and places), but once I did, I found that it was a good story. Zelazny's writing style takes some getting used to. He makes quite a few references to classical literature or mythology. Much of it went over my head. However, once I got into the story I found that his dialogue was well done, much of it with humor. His descriptions were vivid. The story is full of strange other-world characters. I liked the ending.
Zelazny's writing can seem cryptic at times. A friend who is familiar with his writing helped me to understand some of the cryptic aspects of his writing.