Do you think sometimes people [readers] can put too much emphasis on novels. To the point of obsession. Base too much of their lives on them?
"It's w Do you think sometimes people [readers] can put too much emphasis on novels. To the point of obsession. Base too much of their lives on them?
"It's wonderful that literature can have that kind of effect on people. On the other hand, it's a little sad. I think the healthy thing is -- when you encounter a book that has something to offer and that can change the way you perceive the world -- if you can take those things out of it and incorporate them into your own life to help propel you down your own path, rather than becoming obsessed with that book. It's like becoming obsessed with a spiritual teacher, like a guru. The really great gurus won't allow that. They say: I'm just the vehicle through which this knowledge is being imparted, don't get hung up on me. Because then you're mistaking the messenger for the message" (T. Robbins).
At 16, I was not able to appreciate the unmistakable harshness of what really is the average human's life. That is to say, I knew people starved to deAt 16, I was not able to appreciate the unmistakable harshness of what really is the average human's life. That is to say, I knew people starved to death half way across the world, I knew there were dictators, and so on. But these are the extremes.
I did not recognize small silent suffering. For I didn’t know the man who spends his whole life toiling to no tangible end – working to work. I did not recognize wretched solitude. For I did not know he who spends his existence hopelessly drifting through the mass of humanity unable to connect with another – living only for himself.
These experiences, being so far from the life of a middle class high school student enjoying himself and his youth, I first understood the story of Of Mice and Men as a comedy, albeit tragic at times.
Reading it a second time, however, a year after graduating from college, months after working in Child Inpatient Psychiatric Services, and hundreds of hours of studying international affairs, my perception of this book has notably changed.
This time, I also laughed. But instead of laughing at misery, I laughed at hope, that is, Lennie’s dogged hope to beat work and live off the fat of the land. For even after killing Curly’s wife with his bare hands, Lennie pressed George to tell him about how they were going to have their own piece of land where they would be their own bosses and where he could tend the rabbits. Such indefensible optimism tickled my funny bone. At 16, I appreciated such seemingly impervious positivity.
Ergo, it appears on the second go-around I understood Steinbeck’s work as a tragedy, though not without comedy.
So, at 16 I found misery amusing and hope serious, while at 23 I found misery serious and hope amusing – interesting.
Kafka said “A book must be an ice-axe to break the seas frozen inside our soul,” and I agree with this notion. But after a second read, years and years later, a book may become a mirror through which to observe and survey the ever-evolving nature of our thawing and unfrozen seas, illuminating the very reverberations of the axe’s stroke.
This is one of my favorite character descriptions in Of Mice and Men (see if you can figure who it is):
“There was a gravity in his manner and a quiet so profound that all talk stopped when he spoke...His ear heard more than was said to him, and his slow speech had overtones not of thought, but of understanding beyond thought.”
This book is a rock that shatters preconceptions of self, family, morality, dreams, life, and nation - many simult**spoiler alert** American Pastoral:
This book is a rock that shatters preconceptions of self, family, morality, dreams, life, and nation - many simultaneously - and some individually.
What I felt this book had to say:
(1) No matter what a parent does, a child will have more say in who they become than anyone else.
(2) "Good people" do bad things, sick things, unspeakable things.
(3) Rich and beautiful wife's & husbands of 30 years of monogamy cheat on each other without the other knowing and have little guilt, and even enjoy the powertrip, perhaps feel freed by it - liberated by palpable change from the routine-ridden lives of middle-aged middle-Americans.
(4) Even in AMERICA, the horrors of life run rampant and destroy good hard-working god-fearing patriots with an unprovoked ruthlessness.
(5) The American dream is not an end in itself, the Dream fatally disappoints, even to those who at one time or another thought it realized.
(6) A strong self cannot be built on denial, or survive without strategic use of it.
(7) Security in self-awareness - an illusion.
Security in trust in family - an illusion.
Security in dreams(though the future usually just gets worse)- an illusion.
Security in being able to entirely distinguish between who is and who isn't a propagandist - an illusion.
Security in belief in the "social contract" - an illusion.
Security in the principle of forgiveness - an illusion.
Security itself - an illusion.
(8) Life - elusive to understanding - flagrant in pain.
I think this quote is a good encapsulation of the main character the Swede:
"And so he failed to see into his daughter, failed to see into his wife, failed to see into his one and only mistress - probably never even begun to see into himself."
This is not an uplifting book folks. But a worthwhile read nonetheless.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book:
"And since we don't just forget things because they don't matter but also forget things because they matter too much - because each of us forget in a pattern whose labyrinthine windings are an identification mark no less distinctive than a fingerprint - it's no wonder that the shards of reality one person will cherish as a biography can seem to someone else who, say, happened to have eaten some ten thousand dinners at the very same kitchen table, can be a willful excursion into mythomania (55)"
"The tragedy of man not set up for tragedy - that is every man's tragedy."
"People are infallible: they pick up on what you want and then they don't give it to you."
"You put too much stock in human intelligence, it doesn't annihilate human nature."
Please let me know, anyone who reads this, if I have Roth right, or utterly wrong, if what I wrote makes any sense, or is abstract nonsense - I appreciate your honesty.
PS I'd like to give it 2 and a half stars but I can't, so I'm going to leave it on 3 for now. ...more
I recommend seeing the film My Left Foot, in which Daniel Day Louis (one of my favorite actors, andThe story of Christy Brown is an exceptional one.
I recommend seeing the film My Left Foot, in which Daniel Day Louis (one of my favorite actors, and one of the most menacing)plays Christy Brown.
The amazing thing about some of these poems, besides the fantastic word combinations and incantation-style flow of the lines that is somehow exactly what I have been looking for in recent days, is that Brown is recognized as a foremost Irish writer, HAVING TYPED EVERY WORD WITH THE TOES ON HIS LEFT FOOT!!
I can almost guarantee that if everything you had to write had to be written with your left foot, on a type-writer nonetheless, you would not waste your painstaking time with petty, inane, or semi-intelligent ramblings - you'd have something to say worthy of your readers....more
Veil, by Bob Woodward, seems to be a thorough and unnerving account of the CIA from 1981-1987, as any accurate account of any period of years of CIA aVeil, by Bob Woodward, seems to be a thorough and unnerving account of the CIA from 1981-1987, as any accurate account of any period of years of CIA activity would be I'm sure.
I am just starting this one and will not remark much until I'm further in or done....more
I have never been a big fan of Frost. The copy I have was my Grandmother's, an avid reader if there ever was one, and I was curious what she saw in itI have never been a big fan of Frost. The copy I have was my Grandmother's, an avid reader if there ever was one, and I was curious what she saw in it.
Hitting the poetry section entitled, "New Hampshire," has left me with some interesting comparisons between Man and Nature.
Such as, how Man is awkward and dangerous to the beauty of Nature, in spite of the myriad lucid manifestations in Nature of the balance that would keep him from being this way with his fellow man as well as Nature.
This is the first time I have really enjoyed his work....more
This is supposedly one of the first fictional critiques of Utopianism. It's pretty good so far. I have not read Dickens since high school. I have a grThis is supposedly one of the first fictional critiques of Utopianism. It's pretty good so far. I have not read Dickens since high school. I have a greater appreciation for him now. I like where the story is going half-way in...but I will not post a substantive comment until I finish....more