Meh. That more or less sums up my feelings toward the book. I feel like Ishiguro decided he wanted to write an existential critique on the inevitabili...moreMeh. That more or less sums up my feelings toward the book. I feel like Ishiguro decided he wanted to write an existential critique on the inevitability of death, watched The Island (...which is also awful. God it's awful. Don't watch that.), then wrote Never Let Me Go on a weekend. The minute that you figured out what was going on (which was the first minute), you were done. That's it. Nothing else happens. I wanted to like the book. I really did. I just never got absorbed by the story.
There was one line that Tommy said toward the end that made me go... "Aww"...something about being together in a river current that you just couldn't fight tearing you apart. Apparently this line is left out of the movie, which I have yet to watch.(less)
...and, of course, I mean trash in the most loving way possible. There is more meaningful material in Anne Rice's books abou...moreSpring Break trash-read #2
...and, of course, I mean trash in the most loving way possible. There is more meaningful material in Anne Rice's books about vampires and werewolves than in several more acclaimed books combined. This book marks Anne Rice's return to her existential examination of life through the lens of a monster, and it delivers on all anticipated counts.
The first and largest portion of the book is dedicated to the story of Reuben Golding and his transformation into a werewolf. Rice fills the pages with intricate descriptions of architecture, history, setting, and character like only she can. The final portion of the book ends in a combined history of werewolves/theological speculation on the nature of god/the universe/humanity and the relationships therein.
This book was everything I have come to love about Anne Rice packaged in a tightly polished form. Some favorite lines:
"...he felt in all his parts that the striving of all living things was a form of prayer."
"Talk is suspect. When we talk about our lives, long or short, brief and tragic or enduring beyond comprehension, we impose a continuity on them, and that continuity is a lie."
"We always come back to that--that both the brutal world and the spiritual world are sources of truth, that the truth resides in the viscera of all those who struggle as well as in the souls of those who would transcend the struggle."(less)
The Good: I enjoyed the book for the most part. It was a perfect trash read for a one day spring break car ride. The theme of personal identity in the...moreThe Good: I enjoyed the book for the most part. It was a perfect trash read for a one day spring break car ride. The theme of personal identity in the face of suppression was lightly uncovered but could have been expandeddddd.
The Bad: First person present tense. Ughhhh. I will say that I can understand why Collins could feel the need to use the present tense to keep the suspense of the games alive, making it seem like the future was not set in stone. But the actual execution combined with Katniss' first person dialogue not only make the sentence structure awkward, but at times infantile.
I know this is YA fiction, but many of the characters, backgrounds, and themes could have been rounded out. Of course, the history behind the plot was left unexplained, as Katniss was kept uniformed of events which did not aid in her subsistence living, but there was a gaping hole left for character development. Maybe the second book will do a better job of fleshing things out.(less)
I hated this book. It does, however, get two stars simply because it contained a kick-ass gun-wielding evil cyborg Jesus. I mean, who doesn't love tha...moreI hated this book. It does, however, get two stars simply because it contained a kick-ass gun-wielding evil cyborg Jesus. I mean, who doesn't love that?
There is something to be said for taking artistic/non-traditional approaches to a book's structure. When that approach leaves the story line clear as mud coupled with what I suspected was an already difficult reading due to translation from Japanese, there is nothing good to be said. While things do become more or less clear if you trudge it out until the very end, you will want to throw the book (or kindle) against the wall more times than is healthy before you make it there.
The good things that this book does have going for it are: beautiful opening prologue of the creation of the universe, massive scope and scale, fun conspiracy-esque infusions of exogenesis, ancient aliens, different dimensions, and, finally, existentialist reflection on life, destruction, and the relentless search for meaning. I couldn't help but feel that if the book wasn't so muddled, it could have been something I really would have enjoyed.
But, such is life. It is what it is, and it's not what it's not. (less)
I appreciate what this book does for the LGBT community (especially those who are religious) in extending the ideas of liberation theology to a people...moreI appreciate what this book does for the LGBT community (especially those who are religious) in extending the ideas of liberation theology to a people group that is commonly shunned or condemned by modern day religion. The calling for a dissolution of boundaries, unlimited love, and acceptance is something with which I am fully on board. I also recognize that this book is a collection of views, and cites mannny opinions, not just Cheng's.
That being said, the two star rating stems from, what I feel, are more than a couple of points that are not only ridiculous, but also detrimental to the gay community.
Early on, in commenting on the passages traditionally used to condemn homosexuals, Cheng states that the 'sin' of Sodom and Gomorrah was not homosexuality, but inhospitality. Fair enough. Cheng then goes on to suggest, however, that given that promiscuity on the part of gay people is, perhaps, a spiritual gift of hospitality. 1) Ridiculous. 2) Homophobic--not all gay people are promiscuous. Yes, some gay people are promiscuous, but many are interested in close monogamous relationships. To suggest otherwise is to play up negative and harmful stereotypes. Furthermore... I'm not condemning anyone that is promiscuous (you do you), but don't paint it as a virtue. Sluttyness is not next to godliness.
Secondly, the book goes to weird town when the author either attempts to or cites those who attempt to sexualize god and therein draw allusions to the gay community. There is some attempt to view the old testament god as what the author calls a 'divine top' and the Israelite people as the submissive 'bottom.' The oversimplification of the bottom/top relationship is, once again, homophobic and does not belong in a book centered on queer liberation theology. To say that such a relationship is centered on domination is wrong. The book then takes the train one stop further to crazy town and decides that since the bible mentions slavery, war, and apparently leather somewhere in there, god must be fully on board with BDSM. Oooookay.
In short, the book tried to do a good thing and did have some good points, but certain portions failed utterly, in my eyes, and even sank into homophobia.(less)
Wow. I have mixed feelings about this book. Almost every review written here bemoans the lengthy, dull middle section of this book, and I have to agre...moreWow. I have mixed feelings about this book. Almost every review written here bemoans the lengthy, dull middle section of this book, and I have to agree. I had to put it down for about a month and a half and then force myself to trudge through the tedious history. The rest of the book contains the intensely beautiful, deep, and conflicted writing that I have come to expect from Anne Rice, and I can't help but feel that it would have ranked among my favorites of her books had it only been for less painful background. At the same time, I have to admit that the history did give the story a breadth and fantastic fullness.
Anne Rice's books contain some of the most honest and heartfelt questions on good, evil, suffering, mortality, religion, and existence, hidden in what some write off as cheap fiction. Don't make that mistake. Ann Rice is something more, and this book is not an exception to that rule.(less)
I am not one to dislike a book because of the absence of likable characters. In fact, I look down upon those who criticize a book solely because they...moreI am not one to dislike a book because of the absence of likable characters. In fact, I look down upon those who criticize a book solely because they "can't relate to any of the characters" or "just didn't like ANYooonee". That said, the characters in this play are not only very unlikeable, but exhausting to deal with for 200 some odd pages. This is not a play to relax with. Fortunately, I did find the characters very relatable, in that they are broken down and attempting to create meaning in an absurd world. Albeit, they go about that goal in a very shit-astic way. Nonetheless, an...meh.(less)
"Let's go." "We can't." "Why not?" "We're waiting for Godot."
"We wait. We are bored to death, there's no denying it....moreWaiting for Godot in three snippets-
"Let's go." "We can't." "Why not?" "We're waiting for Godot."
"We wait. We are bored to death, there's no denying it. Good. A diversion comes along and what do we do? We let it go to waste. Come, let's get to work! In an instant all will vanish and we'll be alone once more, in the midst of nothingness!"
"...one day we shall die, the same day, the same second, is that not enough for you? They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more."
Also, there's a funny bit about post-mortem erections.(less)
This book renewed my gratitude for the freedoms that we all too often take for granted. Many throughout the world do not posses even the most basic hu...moreThis book renewed my gratitude for the freedoms that we all too often take for granted. Many throughout the world do not posses even the most basic human rights. Miss Saberi was clearly in a position of prominence that was able to lend some aid to her case. I could not help but think about the countless others who do not have such an advantage and face being forgotten behind bars. Fortunately there are people like Miss Saberi to draw attention to such cases, as she bravely does with this book. Very good. Very quick and compelling read.
-In addition to the repressive, radical government that we are used to seeing portrayed, this book also provides a window into the ordinary day to day lives of real Iranians. I hope that Miss Saberi has plans to continue the book on which she was originally working. It would be worth the read.
On a note unrelated to the content of this book and unhelpful to anyone reading this commentary, the coolest part of this book was the signed front page:
To Steven Denton, Best wishes in all you do to defend the basic human rights of others - Roxana Saberi March 24, 2011
Thanks, Austin! I had to stop at least a couple times reading the book and think how cool it was that the author had held this book. Dunno why, but it was...a neat connection, I guess. Wish I could have met her.(less)
For Cioran, the heights of despair is seeing behind the curtain of life: a both maddening and desirable place to be. Brought on by suffering and a lac...moreFor Cioran, the heights of despair is seeing behind the curtain of life: a both maddening and desirable place to be. Brought on by suffering and a lack of justification (not explanation) for that suffering, being suspended on the heights of despair brings a lost perspective. At times desiring annihilation and at others in love with life, Cioran captures the beautiful contradictions of life.
At times, it feels as if twenty-two year old Cioran is simply choosing a topic and then striving to say something profound. This is excusable, however, as he normally does manage to say something profound.
(4/5) Quotes I Liked:
Naiveté is the only road to salvation. But for those who feel and conceive life as a long agony, the question of salvation is a simple one. There is no salvation on their road.
Knowledge is the plague of life, and consciousness, an open wound in its heart.
Only the mediocre want to die of old age. Suffer, then, drink pleasure to its last dregs, cry or laugh, scream in despair or with joy, sing about death or love, for nothing will endure! Morality can only make life a long series of missed opportunities.
I am displeased with everything. If they made me God, I would immediately resign, and if the world were just me, I would sunder myself apart, burst into tiny pieces, and disappear. How can there be moments when I feel as if I understand it all?
I am a fossil dating from the beginning of the world: not all of its elements have completely crystallized, and initial chaos still shows through.
After having struggled madly to solve all problems, after having suffered on the heights of despair, in the supreme hour of revelation, you will find the only answer, the only reality, is silence.
Oh, Cioran, how I do love thee. I read this after On the Heights of Despair and was disappointed by the lack of wonderfully titled sections included i...moreOh, Cioran, how I do love thee. I read this after On the Heights of Despair and was disappointed by the lack of wonderfully titled sections included in the former. Cioran gives us an unstructured 100+ pages of blurbs of thought on God or the lack thereof, saints, music, art, life, and death, and it is perfectly twisted.
"Such fierce longing to press God on my heart as if he were a loved one in the throes of agony, to beg of him one last proof of his love only to find myself with his corpse in my arms!"
"Philosophy is a corrective against sadness. Yet there still are people who believe in the profundity of philosophy!"
"Without God, everything is nothingness. But God is the supreme nothingness."
Did someone mention it on another review? I don't know... Maybe it was in the introduction. It's interesting that Cioran's father was a Romanian Orthodox priest. He knows a great deal about theology, but he can't wrap his head around the absurdity of life and God.(less)
This book is a very nice collection of stories, which show humanitarian crises from an individual human perspective. Topics covered include East Germa...moreThis book is a very nice collection of stories, which show humanitarian crises from an individual human perspective. Topics covered include East Germany, Iraq, Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia/Croatia.(less)