Ok, I'm officially giving up. Yes, I agree with my daughter that it's cool how the punishments fit the crime - like for theives, their own actual human...moreOk, I'm officially giving up. Yes, I agree with my daughter that it's cool how the punishments fit the crime - like for theives, their own actual human form keeps getting stolen and they are forced to shape-shift into reptilian form and back. Awesome.
But the payoff is insufficient.
How do I dislike these? Let me enumerate some of the ways:
Zillions of references to local politics of Italy circa 700AD - don't know, not that interested honestly.
Millions of references to mythology - don't know, so don't get it, and don't care very much.
Each bit of content is very short: a meeting, a conversation, a response, on to the next thing. All extremely episodic and lots of work digging in to all the meanings and allusions only to be suddenly finished. Blah.
In between that kind of content, these opaque place-descriptions and movement descriptions - lots of work, don't care that much.
Painting of Jews and Muslims as evil, by the way (unless I'm interpreting it wrong) - not surprising, since it's Christian-oriented. But unpleasant and off-putting.
Plus the whole thing about Virgil having been in Hell briefly due to living just before Christ was born. He was Roman though, right? The Romans didn't become Christian till Constantine (interesting story about that included - the leprosy and all); so he didn't really 'just miss' being born whole and living a life of grace. He just missed taking part of the gleeful persecution of Christ.
Which is fine, but it's like, the little bit that I do know of the situation underlying all this is out of kilter.
But I'm very happy to have been exposed to it. Honestly, I feel like - the people living then thought all these big thoughts? And wrote so ornately? And were that smart? And had that much history? It makes me remember how rich and textured human history is, going that far back.
So, there is that.
May use it for sleep-induction from time to time, or when feeling too content with my day or something. For the most part though, I declare myself finished with it. Bah!(less)
I took Logic and then Philosophy from a great teacher at the U, Michael Root. In love (practically), I signed up for the next class he offered - all o...moreI took Logic and then Philosophy from a great teacher at the U, Michael Root. In love (practically), I signed up for the next class he offered - all on truth and philosophy and everything. I totally was over my head, at the simplistic level I was operating at back then. Dropped it after just a class or two.
Now, all these years later, I soooo wish I'd been in a different place then. Oh well, now is now!(less)
My friends choices are so awesome: have a great mix of reviews for books like this! Lots to think about, clearly. First will be fascinating, which gro...moreMy friends choices are so awesome: have a great mix of reviews for books like this! Lots to think about, clearly. First will be fascinating, which group of readers I fall in to, then - everything else about it!(less)
Looks like from Amazon reviews that this book is relatively terrible.. couldn't tell from looking at it in the bookstore. Drat! Well, I'll look at thr...moreLooks like from Amazon reviews that this book is relatively terrible.. couldn't tell from looking at it in the bookstore. Drat! Well, I'll look at through it atleast, since I have it..
I was afraid it would be either content-free and instead full of innuendo and/or fashion commentary or something; or totally politically biased against them, or whatnot.
But I was very pleasantly surprised. What it does is, for each phase of Michelle's life, it gives a perspective on the racial context into which she entered in that phase. So, her high school was a new experiment in diversity, and her college - Affirmative Action was a big debate at the time, and so on. I found those parts really fascinating. Of course it's not the be-all and end-all truth about any of the situations, just one perspective; and as such, very interesting.
Then Barack comes into the picture, and it becomes more about them, and her in relation to him; which is not really surprising or anything, but different. The Barack storyline is a very fascinating one. And part of the story was about how her story is backgrounded to his, and there's commentary on that.
It all feels like, not THE truth necessarily, but an in-the-ballpark telling of mostly well-known aspects of their lives, all brought together in one volume. In a good way. Useful to me, as I didn't read so much about them at the time in order to not jinx it (or something).
If only it were authorized, I'd feel so much better. I understand there is something else coming out that is authorized, will read that for sure as well. (less)
Ok, I didn't *read* this, but plays are meant to be seen, not read. And I saw it - well, not the play, but the uber-excellent film made my Mike Nichol...moreOk, I didn't *read* this, but plays are meant to be seen, not read. And I saw it - well, not the play, but the uber-excellent film made my Mike Nichols with Meryl Streep and everyone. Very luscious. I saw it again last week, while home sick. I'd been wanting to see it, as Tony Kushner is here opening a new work and having stagings of multiple prior works. It's all Kushner, all the time. It's wonderful. So, in case I get to fit in any of the performances, I wanted to see this of his again. And this time, I knew what to expect more. It didn't overwhelm me nearly as much. In fact, I was prepared to be overwhelmed, and I wasn't. It was almost like a micro-experience. Scenes I'd remembered as going on forever seemed very short. Speaks to the effect of surprise on one's viewing experience, I guess. But back to the words of it and all - in a review of one of his plays here, a reviewer used the word 'Proclamatory' to describe it. I was so relieved. That's how I'd felt about it, but hadn't known how to describe it. But that's exactly it. Not that there isn't a plot, and characters, and forward motion (on so many levels), but much of the action and dialogue and monologues do, in fact, proclaim. And, more in keeping with my prior reaction, much of it felt beyond my grasp. I mean, I just couldn't gain traction with parts of it. Much about America, and Freedom, and Love, and whatnot. Tony said things, and I couldn't disagree or agree, or even nod my head. There were collections of words I just couldn't add up the meanings to. One small example: A death, a request to forgive, a refusal to forgive, a suggestion that: perhaps forgiveness is where justice and love meet. Ok, I know what all those words mean, but, the sum of them in that organization, I can't get there. 'Where love and justice meet' - they meet? They're normally separate? Like parallel lines? Only, in forgiveness, these parallel lines cross? Or, the personal (love) separate from the public (justice).....?? Or love between people, justice for those who've done wrong...love prevents justice (lack of forgiveness) or love and justice as two different effects, meeting in the choice of forgiveness perhaps. A big part of my experience was that I wasn't all there, recovering from a sleepless night due to episodic illness. So, thinking powers were reduced. Clearly, causing me to miss whole impacts of this rich, essential work. Much of it still delighted me and was very wonderful. The part about how God does change - perfect. Lou's reaction to Joe's professional work, Mother Pitt about disappointment, Ethel Rosenberg's reaction with her eyes to one thing Roy Cohn says, the Rabbi's initial speech. That initial speech at the funeral alone is priceless, about immigrants and what they brought with them to the US. I tear up just thinking about it. Harper's piece towards the end about how nothing is lost, nothing is in vain; that too. How Belize gets the first few bottles of AZT from Roy fascinates. Mother Pitt is so awesome. Joe's perfect... what.. insanity? And such a great look at conservatism, and race in the US, and how the gay community dealt with the AIDS crisis as it hit, and the price paid by women married to closeted gay men almost most of it; except so much of the rest is also very fully related. But all of Lou's ramblings go past me - and I think some of them are supposed to, but that I'm also missing some. Next time I see it, with my faculties all in place, hopefully will gain entire additional meanings. My advice to you: see it when you're at your best, to gain the most from it.(less)
THE Frankenstein by THE Mary Shelley! There, another gap filled in within my Read-before-I-die list. Need to learn more about this particular wild wom...moreTHE Frankenstein by THE Mary Shelley! There, another gap filled in within my Read-before-I-die list. Need to learn more about this particular wild woman - originally ignored, later recognized, hopefully more so yet as time goes on.(less)
Classic or not? Discussion ensues, CCLAP says no. I'm not saying yes, just recording that it's in the running for that designation and many think of i...moreClassic or not? Discussion ensues, CCLAP says no. I'm not saying yes, just recording that it's in the running for that designation and many think of it that way. Sigh, sounds applicable to much of life; although my understanding of the methods don't appeal - which perhaps is a weakness. I suppose much like knowing how to use a gun, knowing how to engage in a behavior is simply useful. It doesn't inherently force one to engage in that behavior againsst one's will or anything. Just means coming at life from a castle that is that much better outfitted.(less)
from wikipedia: The Alexandria Quartet is a tetralogy of novels by British writer Lawrence Durrell, published between 1957 and 1960. A critical and com...morefrom wikipedia: The Alexandria Quartet is a tetralogy of novels by British writer Lawrence Durrell, published between 1957 and 1960. A critical and commercial success, the books present four perspectives on a single set of events and characters in Alexandria, Egypt, before and during World War II.
As Durrell explains in his preface to Balthazar, the four novels are an exploration of relativity and the notions of continuum and subject-object relation, with modern love as the subject. The Quartet offers the same sequence of events to us through several points of view, allowing individual perspectives to change over time.
I read this in college, and am really interested in reading it again (and kept my copy, so all's good) because of my since-then-still conclusion from...moreI read this in college, and am really interested in reading it again (and kept my copy, so all's good) because of my since-then-still conclusion from it: that having different selves is fine and in fact a good way to cope with life. The criteria is that they all need to know about each other and play together well. I'm interested to see what all he says about that, as my life has continued to require a multi-faceted approach, to say the least. Additional tools always of interest!(less)
After reading 'The Guide,' and planing on reading more of his, this also would be fascinating.. Especially given the overwhelming-ness of the Mahabhar...moreAfter reading 'The Guide,' and planing on reading more of his, this also would be fascinating.. Especially given the overwhelming-ness of the Mahabharata itself.(less)
This book is three complete contents, perfectly interspersed. One: a loving immersion into Persian literature from ancient to modern days, as well as...moreThis book is three complete contents, perfectly interspersed. One: a loving immersion into Persian literature from ancient to modern days, as well as many warm embraces to literatures of other peoples and places also. This immersion includes not simply sharing of various literature snippets, but a great deal about the effect of fiction on the human psyche: what effect it can and should have on a people. The very power it holds over the human species. Highly recommend to any who writes, or reads, or is human (ok, slightly exaggerating, but not much. Really). In fact, literature is so much a presence in this book, her first addendum after the acknowledgements (there are four unique ones) is a suggested reading list, giving details of the referred-to content: Forough Farrokhzad, Golshiri, Ferdowsi, Gorgani, so many more.. all translated. This list doesn't include all the non-Iranian fiction mentioned.. really, this book calls out for an index- between the political content and the literary content, the family content also of course.
The second content: Iran's history, 20th century. Fascinating look from the inside at the motifs and textures of the administration of Iran, from a person on the inside who herself - and/or her family - had contact with a wide range of people at the core of the country. This part was very illuminating for me. And not just about Iran, but also I imagine it can be extended to other Islam-based countries. For instance, this section, about life in Iran in the early Eighties: "Since almost all aspects of public life had been restricted or banned, out private domains took on the function of public forums. Our houses became our restaurants, bars, movie houses and theaters, concert halls, public forums on literature, the arts, and politics. True, these free zones were threatened constantly by a state that could at any time of day or night raid our houses and confiscate the alcohol, gambling cards, makeup forbidden books, and videos. They could arrest us on charges of immorality.And yet in those days there was a suppressed excitement that belied the anxiety and fear-- or, now that I think of it, perhaps the two fed off and strengthened each other. While the country was torn apart by war and besieged by repressive laws, daily arrests, and executions, beneath the surface, just underground, there were mutinous acts and shows of resistence that constantly frustrated and subverted teh powers of the state. An act as normal and mundane as having a party with men and women where drinks were serve, music was played, and perhpas a movie was watched.. had to be undertaken with caution, curtains drawn, so that it became something very special, like a stolen eclair." - I can't help but wonder if that captures a flavor that - atleast in part - is also tasted at various times in countries like Pakistan, perhaps Saudi Arabia, Iraq, etc.. Azar also made clear how various forces came together to result in the overthrow of the Shah, nearly 100% of which were disappointed by the outcomes. Almost had echoes of Hitler's rise - people not listening to the clearly-available actual plan of the Ayatollah, instead hearing only that part of his mesage that suited their needs. Very dangerous, again. The third content of this book is Azar's family: and it could be said to be the core of the book. Any female who thinks she has a difficult relationship with her mother could try this one on for size, I think she'll find trading doesn't appeal. All the members of her family and close friends are well-drawn and complex. The pacing didn't always suit me, but I believe it did serve the content well.
So, three distinct contents, knitted together into an intricate tapestry reminiscent of beloved Persian artwork. All three are present from page one to the end, all three support the other two alternating with taking their own spot in the limelight. Really a fascinating work. (less)