Shame. We allow shame to stop ourselves from addressing such an important issue in our society, that of sexual education. And as a result of making se...moreShame. We allow shame to stop ourselves from addressing such an important issue in our society, that of sexual education. And as a result of making sex a taboo engagement, may it be with our children or even among adults, such atavistic left over monkey crap shows itself in the most horrific ways. I wish there were more books like this and more research into what can be done other than creating worldwide paranoia.(less)
What a biased, bigoted, ignorant book full of propaganda that will hurt much more than it will heal. But what can you expect from something produced a...moreWhat a biased, bigoted, ignorant book full of propaganda that will hurt much more than it will heal. But what can you expect from something produced at the height of the AIDS epidemic?(less)
Goodreads The Incrementalist I've been studying probability theory in terms of stories, how an event for a character can be independent or mutually exc...moreGoodreads The Incrementalist I've been studying probability theory in terms of stories, how an event for a character can be independent or mutually exclusive, based on time lines. I've also been studying neuroscience in relation to free will and the study of consciousness versus subconsciousness. I have been studying theory of mind and its effects on memories & ergo collective identity. Then there's Phillip K. Dick's story, "The Adjustment Team," which is about a co-evolved smarter human species that tries its best to help guide those often atavistic homo sapiens. For these reasons I became interested in reading The Incrementalist.
Its super dialogue heavy, with inserts of emails to people who remain without description which makes it even more confusing. I am reminded of Woody Allen films sans wit and a with a great deal of cliché. It also lacks any definitive distinction in voice & style between the two main P.O.V.s. Leaving a bit of mystery should not be confused with poor story establishment. It has the feel of an early draft of a manuscript. How lazy. The reader can work to understand the internal story, but not simultaneously the visualization of scene and character. It was like they were more concerned with the concept that they missed the story all together. You get the impression this is a theme that will continue right on to the end of the book, this lack of any real development, the lack of creation of characters that reveal any depth of personality or substance, the lack of any underlying ideology or premise. Bad blurb perhaps? Misguided expectations? What genre is this anyway?
I tried to read on past the sample on audiobook by way of hardcover thinking maybe the medium was the problem. No. I value my time. There are no great wisdoms to be learned by such a half-assed attempt at science fiction. (less)
Note to self: Do not follow up a book about a teenage girl dying (John Greene's The Fault with Our Stars) with a book about a teenage girl who is dead...moreNote to self: Do not follow up a book about a teenage girl dying (John Greene's The Fault with Our Stars) with a book about a teenage girl who is dead (Chuck Palaniuk's Damned). Worse yet do not follow a fantastically self-righteous romantic fairy tale where the author plays God sans plot and character motivations with a dark sardonic comedic tragedy where the author plays Satan with an eerily descriptive level of scene, structure, characters and storyline. Worse more, do not get both of them on audiobook. One to listen exclusively by day to wet ones daydreams of altruistic hallmarky bullshit and yet the other to listen exclusively at night to satiate ones very vivid dark nightmares of epic proportions. What the hell was I thinking?
But its too late for regrets. What is done is done. No better time to become enthralled in Palaniuk's modern day Dante's Inferno than the month of October. With Halloween soon approaching, leaves falling, pumpkins everywhere, no better time for such hedonistic mental masterbations.
I had feared I had outgrown my beloved Palaniuk. I once considered remarking of the material being simply infantile/rudimentary because of my own literary insecurities of which I feel I must compensate. Luckily I have moved past that error. It is with sadistic willingly psychopathic relief that I learn I still appreciate his literary genius. What a ride.(less)
World War Z A very interesting concept this fictional nonfiction chronicle. I was drawn to it right away. A good story is nonetheless a good story, des...moreWorld War Z A very interesting concept this fictional nonfiction chronicle. I was drawn to it right away. A good story is nonetheless a good story, despite whether its main characters are fighting zombies, roaches in New York City apartments, a traveling mucus or an air born fungus.
That said.... I'm having trouble with it. There's very little voice distinction between characters and it sounds so contrived to me. I've read oral histories and seen oral histories performed. If it is compiled well, you can laugh out loud, you can cry and you can scoff at what is shared. Realism is essential. This lacks a sense of reality or any form of oral style variety that should normally be found in such an undertaking. It reads like it was written by a teenager because of this incessant naiveté & a sort of myopic backstory research as to how infrastructure has and will again break down. With so many historical references to draw from, how did he get this so wrong? Contagion was more interesting.... Outbreak.... I can envision them as books, as chronicles, the characters interviewed from their perspectives, but this book is like one guy masquerading as multiple one-dimensional characters.
Plagues are pretty boring in general, but seeing the lives of the people affected in the moment, now that is interesting. The novel does a great deal of telling and not showing. It also showcases an unfortunate social theory permeating our culture, that of willing immediate detachment from your fellow man which is inhuman and therefore unrealistic. People normally tend to try to convey things in a sort of raw, fragmented way, with attached guilts & regrets they fear to admit which separates it from actual fine literature, but also allows the audience to connect. What's even worse is that it's fluid in all the wrong places, like action sequences. Seriously?!
Since its an oral history, I waited to get the audiobook. I'm quickly regretting it. The accents are horrible. There's a difference between a japanese accent & a rural chinamen just as there's a difference between Palestinian & an Israelite. Like hello? It was frankly insulting and I cringed. I tried to push through, but it sounded like more and more of the same writing. When I got to the general character quoting Apocalypse Now by saying "extreme prejudice"? I think I lost it. Is this guy basing all his military knowledge on film or did he do any research? Not to say this wasn't a huge undertaking. It really was and I have respect for the attempt. I just think not every person should have such typecasted perceptions of the situation. People are often wrong and spend more time in reflection justifying their poor actions in retrospect than anything. I would of much enjoyed hearing that in tone, style and description. But you know what? I'm spoiled. David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas) has forced me to expect a lot more from this kind of literary pastiche. A for effort. B- for execution. What's the learning curve on that?(less)
If it were a comedy then at least we could then excuse the lackluster, lackadaisical, insipid, cliché attempt at this literary world's creation. A par...moreIf it were a comedy then at least we could then excuse the lackluster, lackadaisical, insipid, cliché attempt at this literary world's creation. A part of me did not want to be critical of this storyline the same way it is wrong to judge a child's first attempt at a journal entry. You want to encourage their minds to grow in innovation and therefore will excuse their obviously myopic & atavistic perception. Life has not taught them that the world is more than just "the goodies and the baddies." They are unaware that to base an entire set of characters on their own personal fears, desires and delusional sense of self-worth showcases an immaturity beyond reprimand. You pity their stupidity, but understand it is not a willing ignorance, that in time their eyes will open and potentials shall be fulfilled. This is merely the growing pains of what will one day be prudent observations. You can look back and say, "Look sweetheart! See how you have come such a long way! Your humility and your yearning to develop your craft has produced such depth in story you originally could not even conceive!"
Right. You're a grown fucking woman! Do you suffer some sort of literary and film amnesia? This is like some sort of gross supernatural fantasy pastiche, void of any meat or substance. And now its a movie? Where's my absinthe?! I need a drink! (less)
Goodreads GMC Before the 18th century, (& the advent of the novel) stories were much more complicated. They revealed a great diversity of stories w...moreGoodreads GMC Before the 18th century, (& the advent of the novel) stories were much more complicated. They revealed a great diversity of stories within a story, a multitude of characters with back stories in varying depth and precision. They explained various ideas, ideologies and conventional wisdoms. They remarked (often in allegory) on philosophical and metaphysical virtues. They were written poetically; a time intensive endeavor in itself. To be able to write (as in have the wealth to do so) and write well (as a classical education would afford) was not something everyone was capable of accomplishing. Mere literacy did not dictate the ability of composing a story as our ubiquitous prose narrative of today has argued. The incessant emphasis within commercial fiction to put plot over story has oftentimes deluded the very relevant truth about literature. Life does not neatly end. Alas we are left without many resolutions time and time again. All writing today is innately fantastical in origination to appease the whims of already *zeked market willing to consume the flesh of any story remotely resembling a pulse. Words have in the past and should today be experienced. The mode of style, prose and rhetoric should not be so nauseatingly homogenous. The often cliché and formulaic pieces of which define "plot" should be and often are the bane of any literary artist's attempt at aiding in creating any worthwhile experience. In the book GMC, the writer equates commercial fiction success with what I consider to be the raping of literature through the act of blasted "plot." Virginia Wolf herself hated this concept as much as I do stating that the novelist is a "slave" to the necessity of selling books and that she longed for a fiction that could be free of " plot, comedy, tragedy, no love interest, or catastrophe." E.M. Forster called the novel in itself a "low atavistic form," for which GMC firmly attests. We are demanding less and even less of our readers by pandering to this accepted ideology propagated by corporate sanctioned "market research." Is it surprising that we suddenly believe that innovation comes from solely corporations and not individuals? We are de-evolving our once well educated minds. We cannot ask more of readers if we ask even less of ourselves. Writers have a responsibility to the public to not simply entertain, but to question, to illustrate and to show. If your answer to the next Great American novel is to compete with the film medium than I have some news for you honey. You've already lost. Lets talk about film. This book is so incredibly inept that it sees no distinction between the two mediums (it is more a novelist guide to film adaptation if anything). The film industry is dying for the same reason print is dead. People are tired of these idiotic blockbusters that come out weekly. They are DOA. People want stories that have meat, that have substance, not product placements and 3D glasses. Riddle me this.... Why was the novel Cloud Atlas amazing and the film adaptation total crap?
*zeke - n. zombie v. to be a zombied Linguistic origins: World War Z(less)
After easily reading halfway through this utterly engaging, oftentimes pretentious, romantic not comedy, I had to ask myself the question, "If these c...moreAfter easily reading halfway through this utterly engaging, oftentimes pretentious, romantic not comedy, I had to ask myself the question, "If these characters did not have cancer, would I still find them interesting?" At times I felt the writer too struggled with this, but with cancer being such a defining part of their goals (don't die), motivations (live with purpose), and conflicts ("I gotta outlive four of these bastards" "Regular people (people without cancer) just don't understand what it's like"), it is hard to see where the cancer ends and the person begins. They are by no means one dimensional characters, but oftentimes seem to carry the same voice. It is difficult to be able to see them without cancer interacting and pushing for certain things. If they were to go through life unaware or in denial of their debilitating disease, they would probably be constantly asking themselves, "Why is everyone so nice?" Would their parents be so involved in their well being and social lives? Would doctors have meetings over their health? Would driving instructors let them on the road? (A sick person could only allow another sick person to drive when they really can't). Would celebrities sign balls or invite them to their homes? Of course not. In the days of the consumption, polio, cholera, etc., birthdays were days to be treasured, but in our current affluent society, they are just as easily forgotten. The premise that a mother would sob and say, "I won't be a mother again," because of the death of their child to cancer? Lol. Guess she should not live during a Depression. Please don't read Angela's Ashes. More than anything, this book to me is an eloquent and delusional nightmare in the ideology it preaches, that of the rightness in consumption. It is difficult for me to feel sympathy for the child with cancer in America mainly because we give people many diseases worldwide and can prevent even more, but choose not to. We give entire families cancer right here in coal country on purpose! And with so many Americans without healthcare, flying out of the country for procedures they could never afford stateside if they can afford anything, it's just a bit nauseating. The protag is a vegetarian because she doesn't want to "take any more lives"? She lives in fear of being a grenade on the hearts and minds of the people who make contact with her? I'm really struggling to compartmentalize in order to understand the perspective of young Hazel, but oftentimes she strikes me as selling a brand more than sharing her own personal wisdoms, that of consumerism and literary worship. Little Ann Frank documenting her inevitable fall to the cancer Nazis except she isn't real. " I made it up," pronounces John Green effortlessly. Six months of volunteering at children's hospital must of really impacted him enough to write this. I applaud is genuine interest, but when asked how his readers can help cancer kids? John Green his blunt in saying, "A: volunteer and B: give money..." because "cancer is a disease" that's "progress in research of cancer" is solely based in lots of it. Wow. So let us not even address Cancer incorporated? To quote one of my characters, Janey Weinstein, ""I think I'll do an art show after this whole mess is over, featuring work that shows the truth about breast cancer, for the often hopeless, hapless, powerless and debilitating disease that it is. The dim light at the end of the tunnel, decorated by pink ribbons, angel pins and Teddy bears." She goes on to say, " Here's a book title The Good Side of Cancer: An Economic Perspective. Or how about Cancer Inc.? How about that? I mean most people who contact cancer are done procreating and are retired anyway, living on the proverbial government tit, so this is good! Real good for business. And there's ever expanding career opportunities too. There's more than the surgeons and oncologists, all that cancer research and treatment. There's also behavioral scientists, therapists, motivational counselors and a whole self-screw book line." I'm pretty sure she meant to say self-help. " There's holistic medicines, there's books on the powers of whole foods and nutritional supplements. Goes on and on. And I can't help thinking that maybe this is all one big distraction so nobody asks the right questions. There's no money in the cure Sam. Nothing at all. So here they give me pep talks and hand me Suzie the Bear. Doesn't seem right. Not right at all." So where does that leave me? Playing grammar police with the adjectification of nouns? (ie: "acting teenagery") Oh God no! This is a literary version of a pity fuck, but at least you don't feel so dirty in the end. You feel "blessed" to have read it right? I know John worked really hard to get this cancer commercial "just right." For years he worked with friends, family, editors and his publicist to portray the right side of cancer. It still feels unjust to put a bad grade on the branding of cancer, no matter how misguided his efforts may be, but oh well. Five freakin' stars it is. Marketing research well done jerk! Where's my handkerchief? No, not that one. The one that says female with a capital F. You're wrong John! You know women! You are so wrong! This generation of teens will be quoting this book for like forever "or something" "or whatever."(less)
From what I understand now, in the United States it was the Civil War that turned memorialization into an industry. The Great American Sendoff which m...moreFrom what I understand now, in the United States it was the Civil War that turned memorialization into an industry. The Great American Sendoff which masquerades as the traditional American funeral service is nothing but. The American way of death was actually quite simplistic before the parade of the dead 16th president turned embalming to the mainstream as well as the snowball of other amenities that ensued. And a natural burial appears to be a return to the environmentally sound belief of Genesis 3:19; unto dust shalt thou return of which our culture consumerism has obliterated from memory. I just don't particularly like the layout of this book. It appeals to the conservationist, the naturalist, the humanist & the environmentalist, but how oh how would I breach this subject with my grandparents, let alone any culturally demented human being for that matter? For the average American who refuses to even bring a reusable bag to the supermarket or recycle their soda cans, how can I get them to sit down and think about the most dreaded experience of their life, their own death? It shouldn't be a hard sell. Save money, save the planet and die humanely as your ancestors intended. So why hasn't everyone already read this? When I told my husband that I wanted to be buried right out back on our homestead so I could nourish the land that once nourished me, he told me it was illegal. So I took it a step further. "Okay, then illegally compost me then." He chuckled, but I was dead serious. It appears to me that funerals are not about honoring the dead, but rather cushioning the egos of the ones left behind.(less)
I anticipated being inevitably disappointed, but instead discovered a deeper understanding of myself and ergo why I love books. I am profoundly obsess...moreI anticipated being inevitably disappointed, but instead discovered a deeper understanding of myself and ergo why I love books. I am profoundly obsessed with not just writing stories, but sharing a perspective in its most raw form. I must say that for the life of me I never did feel like I could ever find le mot juste to cut it. Now I understand why. I don't write books. I write experiences. I want to be experienced. I continually seek means to utilize these new technologies and yet my form (the printed word) remains anachronistic refusing to evolve with the times. Why? "It's important to remember that pages were invented to hold words; words were not invented to fill pages." That's it! Thanks Jeff! Nail on the head. Jeff Gomez manages to say a great deal more about the history of this art form of self-expression than I could of ever anticipated. And this world of ever budding technology still manages to be pertinent today. I regret my arrogance and I am thankful for my conquering open mindedness which afforded me this opportunity to learn.(less)