If you throw enough teen issues into one book, sure enough something is going to hit its mark. This is a far cry from a unique perspective of our AmerIf you throw enough teen issues into one book, sure enough something is going to hit its mark. This is a far cry from a unique perspective of our American adolescence at the peak of the suburban sprawl of the 90's. I would easily call this the winning voice of an entire generation. I was busy reading Fight Club. I am no wallflower, but I am married to a recovering one....more
I'm always on the lookout for tips on frugal living and oftentimes I am disappointed. Reading these books is like foraging for ginger. You have to payI'm always on the lookout for tips on frugal living and oftentimes I am disappointed. Reading these books is like foraging for ginger. You have to pay close attention because you'll probably pass your food right by. She thinks she's thrifty, but that's probably because she's British. American culture is apparently wrought with a greater deal more innovation. (Great Depression anyone?) The book I'm looking for (which would also make an excellent app) apparently does not exist. It's a cute recipe book, but every section is lacking. There's just so much she just does not know and even less she actually does herself. ...more
From the opening line, Carley Moore grabs you with her confessions of her "stalker" tendencies. You are immediately transported into her world. It's aFrom the opening line, Carley Moore grabs you with her confessions of her "stalker" tendencies. You are immediately transported into her world. It's a story about overcoming social adversity in the most comically light sense. It embraces teen melodrama and the deteriorating nuclear family. It is rather entertaining. Although the adults appeared to be more like concepts than people its excusable when it's our protagonist's perspective. Unfortunately in this case Moore neglects the opportunities to reveal any real depth in these characters in the actions and dialogues that follow. Found that disappointing. Moore dances on a very thin line between the immaturity through ADD she attempts to express as part of the protag's characteristics and that of herself. By the middle of the book, you ponder whether some of the side storylines are going to be abandoned completely for this emerging main issue on the meaning of relationships.
I try to rate books within the demographic they are trying to engage. As an older youngster, middle school, tween novel, its quite perfect. As a teen novel, not so much. I like to believe this book is aimed towards the former. Side Note: Question though. Why must so many young adult novels have a main character aspiring to be a writer? Exhibit A: Perks of Being a Wallflower. Exhibit B: Youth in Revolt Exhibit C: This book which of course follows similar layout, but is a much simpler story for younger children. The only thing I can assume is the story itself is so tied to the author's own obvious personal experiences that they cannot deny their main character from wanting to achieve similar goals in their fictional life. I think it's sweet. ...more
Good-looking, educated, cultured, austere, persnickety, fastidious, meticulous characters do not appeal to me. Quite possibly a cultural thing. When aGood-looking, educated, cultured, austere, persnickety, fastidious, meticulous characters do not appeal to me. Quite possibly a cultural thing. When a character prides themselves on their ability to be condescendingly arrogant or display a certain harrowing scrowl when faced with incongruous ascertions of others then it begs to question the integrity of the writer himself. For if these are characteristics that you suspect your readers to coalesce or worse admire than what am I getting myself into? My theory is confirmed by use of verbose explanations that he confuses for setting a scene and providing a certain ambiance for his characters. So much telling, not showing. There's this condescending tone that permeates even the most inaccurate of descriptions of people, places and things. For his perception is of some great superiority over all which of course is of the most naïve rather immature of apprehensions. One early example came on page 29 as he describes the life of a spider. "To each web clung a small black spider, patiently waiting for its small prey to come along. Not that the spiders had any awareness of being 'patient.' A spider had no special skill other than building its web, and no lifestyle choice other than sitting still. It would stay in one place waiting for its prey until, in the natural course of things, it shriveled up and died...... Unlike me. I have to move with a purpose...." Really?! Damn. What a horrible foreshadowing. I have found spiders to be extremely intelligent if it comes to the act of securing their meals with simply the tools at their disposal. They can survey an area, pick a position, and set their web. And not all spiders make webs you dumb fuck. And it's not their only skill. Spiders, like people, like all things, are as varied as snowflakes. They may all look the same to you only because you do not look properly. Besides, if an area doesn't work for the spider, they move on. It is people who lack the instincts to know when their done. And it's spiders, not people, who often fulfill their purpose in life by simply surviving and then procreating. We have no idea why we are even here in the first place. Our purpose only comes from the purpose we give ourselves. This writer assumes that just because something is small, an insect, that it is inferior and the perfect example to use to display his characters superiority. ".... ugly rubber plant... stupid balcony." So elitist! His unfounded unscrupulous knowledge of what he chooses to comment coupled with his darkly snub perception of position in relation to said object of anecdote is nauseating to me. I also wonder if Murakami suffers from some sort of temporal lobe malformation because his main characters often experience similar sensory visual and auditory assaults. Images, smells and sounds, erratically triggered from past memories well up, giving rise to profound recollection of blinding personal, sexual and emotional trauma. Consistent over activity in this region often results in the numbing of emotional output which results in the appearance of blank, cold facial features. They feel but feelings are held behind a mask due to stated stress. Just a thought. Aside from defining worth in one's species, class, sex, and creed, (p.32 I "loved" when he compared the homeless to crafty animals by the way) Murakami also denotes the distinction of one's value in the accumulation of knowledge. He probably has a great fear of Alzheimer's. lol. To forget is to be less than what one once was. That must be frightening for him.
And what of this obsession with people unable to answer simple questions? These people simply ignore a question they do not want to answer and we are left with reading following speculations rather than come up with fresh assumptions ourselves. Is that what he thinks is a good way to set some mysteries? Why walk us through like that. Must make sure we reach the right wrong conclusions? Three characters, Komatsu, Fuka-Eri and Tengo's father love to lay on the mystery. Are people really ever like this?
They say Murakami is a genius. I don't know about all that. His story was most engaging because of his reputation, not so much the subject matter for me. I cannot speculate on other reader's experiences, but I found the storyline rather transparent. What I hypothesized would happen did actually happen. Like a formula, it played out as I anticipated. Perhaps such fitted execution is what impresses people, but life does not function that way. We find connections to justify life and we call it fate. We do this to cope with the insecurity we feel, the lack of control and the incessant search for answers to the most basic of life's questions. Even in the most bizarre fantasies, we seek out an understanding of that rulebook we ourselves have created. Murakami captures the human in us very well, but leaves out the parts I so treasure.
People like Murakami prefer the ambiguity of spirituality over the hypocrisy of our black white religions. They prefer philosophy over astrophysics. They prefer recent politics over the lessons of world history. They prefer psychology over neurology. They prefer destiny over evolutionary biology. As a result they are lacking any real substance or truth. They seek truth in the very places there is none and ergo reveal poignant and eloquent half-truth observations. What is the point? Why did you take me on this thousand page journey anyway? My only consolation is in knowing I am not like any of these people. ...more
Goodreads Crack Capitalism This is so very disappointing. I had high hopes for this thesis. I wanted something that built on Galbraith's polemic AfflueGoodreads Crack Capitalism This is so very disappointing. I had high hopes for this thesis. I wanted something that built on Galbraith's polemic Affluent Society or even challenged Friedman's didactic Capitalism & Freedom with more than bold caps and exclamation points. Or it could of taken a more journalistic feel similar to Paul Hawken's deliberating Blessed Unrest or Naomi Klein's shocking Shock Doctrine. It lacked prose, fluidity, a strong underlying narrative and a convincing argument. If you got drunk at a party with one of your radical sometimes eloquent often pensive notably analytical best friend, he/she would probably have a lot to passionately say against capitalism & monetary gain, (preaching to the choir of course), but likely he would also be redundant and overly erudite in his delivery. My Best Friend has some great ideas and I love him so much for the attempt, but he still fails because he too doesn't have the answers. Like so many others who wish for a better world he believes moving backwards into time to a period they particularly liked is the answer. He simultaneously plays the nice baseball coach of social activism handing out trophies to all those looser kids saying "dont worry, you're all winners because you tried." Well I dont buy that crap one bit. Lowering your expectations is just embarassing and doesnt build confidence anyway. You cant stop this moving train, all you can do is derail it. And before we collectively take that big leap jeopardizing all our lives in an effort to stop flying into that inevitable wall down the line, we need to know where we are hoping to fall instead. Socialism failed. Communism doesn't work. Give me something else God Damnit! ...more
This book is politically incorrect, historically offensive, sexually ignorant and unnecessarily brandwashed. Did I forget the meaningless animal cruelThis book is politically incorrect, historically offensive, sexually ignorant and unnecessarily brandwashed. Did I forget the meaningless animal cruelty? The stereotypical violence? I can excuse the sexism if it had a point, but it came off like a personal issue that the author was struggling with. A part of me is so angry that I want to demand those hours of my life back, but I too watch shitty films. This is like a really really long B movie....more
Many people have defined this spiritual journey, this coming of age chronicle, as one of the most liberating and life altering works of their pubescenMany people have defined this spiritual journey, this coming of age chronicle, as one of the most liberating and life altering works of their pubescent lives. I unfortunately are not of this lot. / I had heard of Kerouac, yes, but only as a template to would-be travelers with little sense and even less character than I would like to admit. To have met these "types of people" and have shared a cigarette, a cup of coffee, my shower, my bed, my favorite meals and my bar, is a bit embarassing. They are not me. They did not share the same lust for life, but rather an abandon of hope and rationality. They did not reject our monetary system and howl in the night, they were the loosers of luxury forced into their corner and simply convincing themselves that they chose to be there. They did not want this. And in quick reflection as to the mirror of which I involuntarily shine on them, they did not have the necessary self-confidence and moral aptitude to withstand such an existence. / You must understand, "the mad ones" were never actually mad. They were seekers of truth, of love, of friendship, of kinship, of loyalty, of freedom. And when you seek these sane things in an insane world, you find yourself constantly "on the road" hoping that your next encounter rights the wrongs of a lifetime of rejection. Oftentimes it is you that rejects the world, yes, but only because you have an unattainable standard of the American experience. So you keep searching. You do what your biology screams, the biology of an evolved animal, one that screams to be let out of its cage, the cage your species built, your society insanely stamps approval, you keep moving. / I had already traveled across the United States, once, twice, thrice again by the time I had a moment long enough to pick up Kerouac's legacy. I had traveled to those off road places in the desert southwest and the highways of Mexico. I had met people I had given nicknames and quotes in my notepad. I wrote by paper and pen in a world that only understood laptops and computers. I still write in a way that allows to stay on the move, iPhone and Google Drive. / Its a pity. The credit as to my awakening is all mine and my tribe is dead....more
I'll open with a quote from the book: ".... Does he realize what it does to me, the simple pressure of his warm palm next to mine?... He hasn't kissedI'll open with a quote from the book: ".... Does he realize what it does to me, the simple pressure of his warm palm next to mine?... He hasn't kissed me since that first night.... Does he not want to kiss me again? Should I kiss him? What if he doesn't like that?" Wow! So.....do you like me? Check yes or no. Sigh. This excerpt from this adult novel makes it virtually impossible to defend her. Shall I go on? I shall admit that I have my bias. Twilight. (A Second Look at Twilight: I shall admit that I have my bias. Twilight is a narcissistic, sexist, religiously zealous, once upon a time fantastical delusional literary nightmare of epic proportions. But as a teen book, you can't get mad at her for her lack of style and prose. It's Victorian-esque idealism, even it's simplicity in style and vocabulary is readily excusable. In the end, I believe the teen version of myself would of loved Twilight, as low an intelligent quotient necessary to delve in. It would of been a welcomed respite from Shakespeare and Dickens for my thirteen year old self. This is the one who slept with Brontë's Jane Eyre, who was mesmerized by the life of the author of the Three Musketeers. But by the time I was fifteen and Titanic was in theaters I was no longer such a willing sap. I took shelter in Coriolanus and Othello, no longer Twelfth Night or Romeo & Juliet. It's not that I no longer believed in love. I very much savored whatever of it I could get my hands on. I just understood love is something one must not only fight to get and be willing to fight to protect, but of the deeper complications of relationships. Until I had some sort of sensibilities, I figured it best not to muddle. Call it maturity if you will. Something people gain in their formative years. It's a strength of character and integrity. It's the ability to look beyond yourself and to see the bigger picture and how your actions affect not just yourself, but others. Try to explain that to a vampire. Bella and Edward were far beyond what one would define as a toxic relationship, it was real physical domestic abuse. So now Meyer has traded her vampires for parasites, her teens for unwilling adults of the very same generation). But I liked the premise behind the story The Host and I wanted to experience an adult novel by Meyer. I tried my very best to separate the name from the bloodsuckers and see her in a new light. But she lacks all what is necessary to take her seriously. Her scenes are so very non-descript with a pathetic attempt at a more varied vocabulary that implodes on itself. ("curmudgeonly taskmaster" anyone?)The poorly concocted dialogue (like teens chattering and if you missed the first part, you're totally lost) was ever so painful if you like many people, sometimes stop in the middle of a chapter and feel forced to start over just to figure out what the hell is going on. So much tit for tat. One gets the inkling that she believes, as my niece of nine years proclaims, that the more pages a book has, the older the people are who read it. My little darling insists what makes an adult novel has nothing to do with the subject matter, the plot, the planned social development of the characters, but quite simply the age of the characters and the length of the book itself. And apparently so does Meyer. Wow! The fact that this book has been so successful is yet a fresh new reason why good writers take to the bottle! Lets get Hemingwayed shall we? (Another thing. Write what you know. If you're hiking in the bloody desert, you would know that one gallon a day won't cut it. And if its so hot that gusts of wind pass like hot air vents in an oven, most likely your sweat will dry before you even feel it. Somehow her characters sweat in this climate in buckets. Meyer has obviously never hiked let alone been in a survival situation. Get it right what you write. That ticked me off). Okay, begrudgingly I shall admit that there were things I liked about the story which is why I gave it two stars. Every night Meyer managed to send me away to this fairly inventive, yet under-developed dystopia that lacked any in depth anthropocentric, philosophical or political insight whatsoever. It is eerie how she steadily ended my insomnia every damn time. ...more
I threw up a little in my mouth just reading the forward for this one.... "... It's easy to get discouraged. But it's also easy, and important to getI threw up a little in my mouth just reading the forward for this one.... "... It's easy to get discouraged. But it's also easy, and important to get encouraged.... Everyone can do something: compost, water, kibitz.... producing local food for local people, not corn syrup for enormous processing factories.... There are still more prisoners than farmers in America- but the gap has begun to close." Wow McKibben, way to go with that one. This book is a walking ad for "green living." So three travel journalist walk into a bar. They "kibitz" for a while. They are trying to figure a way to make a buck. They talk of how "green is so green" these days and concoct a scheme. And make a beautiful book they do with a lavishly colorful array of photos just as diverse as the personal stories from the farmers themselves. Mazel Tov! But no. No to all of it. Because if their authors had spent their university days learning America's agrarian history rather than couchsurfing through the far reaches of American territory, Southeast Asia and Western Europe maybe they would learn how absolutely ignorant they sound. Let me spin it for you quick. See here's the inconvenient truth. We used to farm locally and permaculturally. We had stronger bonds with our families, our communities and ourselves because of the pride we had in our work and the harsh reality of our co-dependence. I say harsh because if you weren't well liked, your family might as well starve. They might starve anyway if you had a bad crop so many people followed industry instead for that steady paycheck instead of living at the whims of mother nature who is in fact a nasty bitch of a woman. She wants you to die. You toil against her and its backbreaking work, a young man's game so have many sons. The dust bowl taught us starvation too. It brought the nascent of the green revolution with its monoculture, enriched flour and corn by products which in reality saved much more lives than caused cancer patients. That still stands today. We tried this, with less people in the population and more land to work with. It failed. We are here because here makes sense. It's called progress. Come up with a plan with that in mind, one that doesn't suggest we be thrown into the dark ages of technological advancement and then call me. I suppose I should mention that I live on a homestead by the way. I do all and much more than these hipsters do to live sustainably and with low impact. I strive to be zombie ready, but I know this way is the exception, not the norm nor is it practical until a lot of people perish which we can all agree would be dreadful....more
"He's a guy who clearly suffers from a certain attention deficit, he cannot sit still," my husband surmises with a quirk of his lip and a downstrike o"He's a guy who clearly suffers from a certain attention deficit, he cannot sit still," my husband surmises with a quirk of his lip and a downstrike of his shovel as the Audiobook plays on speakers in the backdrop of our work. It is a beautiful sunny day to commence work on our garden as my husband recounts the abrupt switch from Adam Ewing's Pacific Journal to the Letters from Letters From Zedekghem, the first of many stories that left my husband unnerved. ".... his complexity of character development within each time period, style and vocabulary does not excuse the loose glue that holds it all together. Call it a series of shorts you lazy ass! Not a novel!" I ignore this. I continue working with my trough, mixing in more humus and manure into our soil for the first season's plot and plant. A nerve has been struck. My husband shouts further didactic anathemas while Sonmi~451 recounts her corpocratic dystopia and he sighs histrionically at Zhachary the Brave's "jibberish." Meanwhile my facial expression only further displays a juxtaposed antithetical conclusion. What shame I feel for having never read David Mitchell's work before. Being a writer myself, as young & inexperienced as I don't give myself enough credit to be, I suppose a tinge of jealousy would still be warranted as well, but I am so overcome by ebullient enthrallment that I have no time for such petty assertions. I am beyond engaged. I have fallen into a deep literary love of which I drink of his words and suspect shall never be quenched. To read his work is to read a plethora of condensely descriptive vocabulary that my associates have long mocked me for assuming met their mortal coil aside from my own personal use in various dialogue. Impugning verbal subjugations or rather the yoke of logomachy as to say I have no right to speak in such verbiage for I am not entitled to the class distinction of which there is biased association. Mitchell begs to differ. Not only that, I incessantly affirm that I am not some linguistic snob, but merely try to speak most succinctly as my mood guides me. These words roll off my tongue with the same ease as Ebonics or Hillbilly recruits the nearest vagabond's daily life. And if your company is educated enough to fully understand, why not speak with greater fluidity? I adjust as my company changes. I am not blind! So ha, here Mitchell stands, justifying my entire existence for in his characters lies a part of himself, myself and all of us in such a way that it could never be more efficiently and effortlessly expressed. Surely not everyone will "get it" as I have and maybe not everyone should. I believe the best writers do not speak to all, but rather passionately to just enough. So much of the right things, the substantial things, are said. I am almost left nonplus for it has made me a student of contemporary literature in an age of idiocracy. Cue music, Ella Fitzgerald "At Last"...more
When I read how Marie Lu would be attempting to recreate a modern day "Les Misérables," I was quickly reminded from an excerpt from Jon Kozol's so verWhen I read how Marie Lu would be attempting to recreate a modern day "Les Misérables," I was quickly reminded from an excerpt from Jon Kozol's so very poetic Children of the Ashes. He vividly paints the picture of the impoverished children panhandling on the streets of downtown New York City ever so ironically, at the Les Mis theatre door. The theatre goers were greatly disturbed upon being faced with the fervent reality of destitute poverty while awaiting their adventure into a pretend one. Eventually there were great efforts to sweep this under the rug. I would enter an excerpt for my explanation if I had the book on hand. Maybe another day because my depiction gives no justice to which the severity and debilitating accuracy of their plight is projected. Only children of privilege, blind and detached from the reality of poverty in current day America, may find this book entertaining. If of course you are capable of looking past Lu's lack of voice, style, prose, description and character distinction, (Maybe none of these things are necessary for her video gaming enterprise, which is clearly her usual demographic) then Lu's ever so cliché storyline is simply a poor regurgitation of conclusively beautifully conceived literature of the past. There's this prevailing theory that young adults today lack the intellectual capacity of a generation before and a generation before that. It is a forced concept propagated in the publishing of books of lower and yet lower analytical capacity that parallel the dumbing of our children as surmised from declining standardized test scores. What an embarrassment....more