A short book but one that brings a difficult and unknown subject into a manageable and understandable light. The book encompases the basic conception...moreA short book but one that brings a difficult and unknown subject into a manageable and understandable light. The book encompases the basic conception of the everyday buddhist religion and explains the background that started the faith. I think buddhism is a very approachable religion because it doesnt prescribe to end pre set dogmatised texts or places of worship. It explains how we are all one and how we are all trying to get through the seven stages of being to become the enlightened. I had some understanding before hand but i now realise the scope and depth of this fascinating subject and this book has inspired some small change in belief. Though the book is not intended as a persuasive text the beliefs shown are quite attractive and may make you open your eyes to more than what you currently believe; challenging your preconceptions and understanding of the world. (less)
Sartre's lecture on Existentialism clarifies most of the common misconceptions people seem to end up with. Here's one of them: Essence comes before exis...moreSartre's lecture on Existentialism clarifies most of the common misconceptions people seem to end up with. Here's one of them: Essence comes before existence. This is true of most things. A table for example can only be a finite amount of things, the carpenter knows what these are before he makes it and it has very little ability to change. The same is true for most living things as well. A bird just exists, it lives, feeds and eventually expires. Human beings however are different. Existentialism tells us that our existence comes before our essence. The point of human potential on this planet is limitless, we do not know what we are going to be until we are it. You realise when you are there what the point is. Humans have the ability to make their own freely involved choices in life, they are not tied into their essence like others are; it is a non fatalistic philosophy. The book also talks about the idea that existentialism can lead to seclusion in the universe; non belief in god which seemingly ascribes to nihilism and mistrust as would be expected towards an atheist: if you do not believe in god you are a threat, you could murder without care. Sartre corrects the misinterpretations and helps to answer the questions of a quizzical post war culture; new interest in metaphysics had arisen and existentialism proposed to hold some of the answers. I enjoyed the work but it is drawn together in a very dense way and is sometimes hard to follow. Sartre is a very clever man, a part of the intelligentsia of the time, however sometimes I feel he is being very pretentious and overly ostentatious in his description. (less)
The reason i give this book only three stars is not because the story itself has no merit; the themes have no vital significance; or the characters ha...moreThe reason i give this book only three stars is not because the story itself has no merit; the themes have no vital significance; or the characters have not the very real and lasting impressions, autobiographical foundation and worldliness expected of such a great author. It is down to the translation. Wordsworth books, though inexpensive and useful for the student, may be pretty much the same as all others if the edition is printed in the original language. However I find that some of the importance in Dostoevsky's language and style are lost here. There are too many colloquialisms that seem to anachronistic for the time, the translator sees fit to abbreviate some words. The evocation and power so redolent in Crime and Punishment is lost in this work; I believe that in another edition (the Penguin Versions always seem very accurate in translation) this work could match and maybe even rival Dostoevsky's more well known works. I look forward to reading the Penguin Editions of The Devils and The Brothers Karamazov and this work has not put me off Dostoevsky. Indeed I have become more amazed at his genius and have been prompted to try new translations. This masterful author as my absolute favourite and is exemplified by his Melancholic drift towards the Duality of man and the trouble of his situation, a near Genius of the 19th century. (less)
Moving, Inspiring and Informative. Sebastian Faulks makes a dark and dead subject come to life in this tension filled novel about Love and War. The no...moreMoving, Inspiring and Informative. Sebastian Faulks makes a dark and dead subject come to life in this tension filled novel about Love and War. The novel focuses around Stephen (other protagonists creep in throughout) a young Englishman: handsome, headstrong and full of ideas. What gripped me most about him was his nonchalance towards the war; his will to survive drawn from a wish to see it through to the end; the deadness of his character composed of a broken love affair with Isabelle (the wife of a man he stayed with in France). It shows the limits to which men should never have been pushed in this, one of the darkest era's of British history: World War One. The pain and struggle in holding up a relationship that tears Stephen apart from the seams and the indifference of nature to the unnatural war's of man, serve to create one of the most tension filled, heart tearing novels I have ever read. This is a masterpiece.(less)
A clever and funny novel about a young man, a time machine, and a world without Adolf Hitler. Fry's rhetoric is catching, sublime and full of gem-like...moreA clever and funny novel about a young man, a time machine, and a world without Adolf Hitler. Fry's rhetoric is catching, sublime and full of gem-like wit. He is one of the few authors that can make me laugh out loud in a half stifled fit of mirth, and this novel is no exception to the trend stared in his first work: 'The Liar'. The basic idea is of an alternative present day world without the existance of hitler. It's a kind of comic version of 'The man in the High Castle', but brought about through the cunning use of a little known drug that makes people infertile. It has his usual rambling and poignant style that grips like a vice and let's you go only at the unexpected conclusion. I would recommend this work to anyone who likes Fry's usual humour. Expect sexual references.
Philip K Dick is an excellent writer and creator of new ideas, his mind is spasmodic and undulating it reaches to the most hidden recesses of creation...morePhilip K Dick is an excellent writer and creator of new ideas, his mind is spasmodic and undulating it reaches to the most hidden recesses of creation and ingenuity. This, however brilliantly designed book, doesn't hit the mark as far as I am used to in Dick's work. The basic story is of a man from a small town called Millgate, who is returning to find rediscover himself in his childhood. When he gets there the town in changed, nothing is as he remembered and no one remembers the Ted Barton he thinks he was. In fact Theodore Barton as he is remembered now, died when he was very young of a rare disease. Throughout the book Ted tries to discover what went wrong and his quest for discovery turns into one of escape. The story's ideas seem to be based on a kind of eastern mythology, with gods fighting forever over an everlasting battleground. It is clever though at times slightly unbelievable (some of the peripheral things just simply wouldn't happen in real life) and though i enjoyed it i am glad it was as short as it was. If you really want to get a better grounding of Dick read 'The Man in the High Castle' which is about a kind of Dystopia explaining what might have happened if Hitler won world war two.(less)