1984; society in a state of extreme dystopia, which is actually brainwashed into the people to be a state of extreme utopia.
Winston Smith, a 30 someth...more1984; society in a state of extreme dystopia, which is actually brainwashed into the people to be a state of extreme utopia.
Winston Smith, a 30 something low-ranking party member, lives the same life day in and day out; boring, repetitive, and cumbersome. Many if not all people that are a part of the middle class live this kind of life, due to the lack of culture found inside and both outside work. The party is the ruling political one in London, that runs everything from the military, to what people eat and think. It is ran by a guy named Big Brother, a rather unsettling figure-head with a huge black moustache, his face plastered on every poster advertising the party. No one has seen this Big Brother before, but he is idolized as the saviour of the way of life that exists for the people of London. The entire city is government monitored and regulated. There are microphones and 'telescreens' on almost every inch of public property, and even inside every middle class person's home. Telescreens are video screens watched by the government in real time, that can see and hear everything a person does and says in their home. They also exist at work, and watch every move a person makes. People are indoctrinated and brainwashed into believing everything the party says to be correct, even if it changed on a whim. The party even goes as far as to change history, as in who is winning what war and who is ally. Anyone who thinks, even self consciously otherwise, will be dragged off by the Thought Police to one of the various Ministries to be tortured and executed. Individualism is completely oppressed. Most people truly believe, thanks to the party, that it is the for the survival of their way of life. Those who don't, try to join the Brotherhood, an underground agency against Big Brother and keen on spreading the truth about the party.
The class structure is similar to today's, with an upper, middle, and lower. The upper is elite, wealthy, high up in the party, and rare. The middle is larger then the upper, and relatively dependant on the upper due to circumstances such as jobs and beliefs. The lower is the largest of all, larger than the upper and middle put together. Telescreens don't generally exist in the areas where the lower classes reside due to their uneducated, and because of this considered unbothersome nature. The lower are not a large part of the workings of society at all, though they make up more then half the population.
Winston believes it is the year 1984, but is unsure along with everyone else, due to the party's tendency to erase history on a whim. There is a war going on with the bordering continent of Eastasia, and they are currently allied with Eurasia, even those these facts are sure to switch at any time due to whatever best suits the party's interests. Winston has become increasingly fed up and irritated with his life and the party, but suppresses it due to fear of being caught for his thought and arrested by the Thought Police. Winston goes to work and tries to spot people that might maybe, possibly, think just a little like him. He starts to think about his co-worker O'Brien, and how there is definitely something hiding under his calm, intelligent demure. There is another co-worker, Julia, a 26 year old a part of the Anti-Sex League, that Winston frequently thinks about killing. This is due to his suppressed feelings of sexual desire. Sex and love are discouraged by the party, and indoctrinated into people's minds to be replaced by feelings of hate for the Brotherhood and love for war in the form of patriotism instead. Winston commits his first crime by purchasing a little black book and writing in it, in almost non-discreet presence of his telescreen, hidden in a cubby that just covers what he is doing. Writing in a book is not illegal, but Winston is also certain it would become illegal if they ever found out what he was doing. This one act sparks the rest of Winston's actions and thoughts, leading up to the turn in the book that involves him, O'Brien, Julia, and the Brotherhood. Avoiding telescreens, microphones, and thinking too free of thoughts, Winston embarks on a dangerous assignment that not many middle class citizens even have the capacity to think about.
The book was extremely disturbing. But, an amazing and necessary depiction on government control and the affect it can have on society and people. It keeps you thinking for hours. Winston's character was obviously not the most bright, but still thought he had it in him to rebel against the party. Throwing Julia and Winston together in a way was an extremely intriguing twist. Book is an obvious classic, one that should be read by EVERYONE. Characters are well thought out, and static throughout the entire book, which gives it an intense dynamic. You know what's coming but you don't want to believe it, not for a second. MUST READ.(less)
Pirate Latitudes is an obviously unfinished novel depicting the short yet extravagant adventure of a young, rather attractive but talented pirate name...morePirate Latitudes is an obviously unfinished novel depicting the short yet extravagant adventure of a young, rather attractive but talented pirate named Hunter, in of course, finding treasure. However, the treasure isn't buried under sand on some exotic island. Instead, the treasure Hunter seeks is the huge Spanish War Galley located in the port of the heavily armed fort of Mantanceros. This fort just so happens to be manned by Hunter's long lost enemy, Cazalla, a Spaniard who murdered Hunter's brother and is known for his cruel and rather torturesome treatment of both prisoners, slaves, and crew. Hunter gathers a, what he believes, loyal and talented crew for the plunder. Hunter embarks on an extremely dangerous and tasking journey, one that ends up nowhere close to where he expected.
This book is an apparently well-researched and actually documented event of history, one that Crichton tried to bring to life through story. The whole idea of a pirate themed story is intriguing, but the execution is too simple. The book progresses way to quickly, with little to no character development throughout the story. All the characters are introduced at the very start and they are described right then and there. From this point you can basically predict what is going to happen in the entire book. It's understandable that it's a real historical event and that you can only twist events so much, but it could have been dragged out a little better. Another reason why I believe this book was still on his hard-drive when he died. The love and sex in the book is good, but not great. Like stated previously; a little more dragging out would've been more interesting.
Overall though, the book is not terrible. He's a major league writer, and it shows through even in this piece of work. The plot twists near the end are pure Crichton gold. You almost sort-of expect it but then when it happens you are like 'ah no! really?'. Some of the battles in the book are not badly depicted either. The epilogue was really enticing as well, although it leaves you rather sad on what happens to some of the characters..
If you like Crichton and are familiar with his work, read this book, if not just out of pure curiosity. Get your own opinion on it. I have read other Crichton work before and I just feel it is very unfinished. But does not what-so-ever lack potential. Hunter becomes the best and favorite character, just because he has the most insight throughout the entire book. Easy read. (less)
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is an interesting "tale" to say the least. The books depicts a humble but ambitious shepard who embarks on a quest for h...moreThe Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is an interesting "tale" to say the least. The books depicts a humble but ambitious shepard who embarks on a quest for his own Personal Legend (always capitalized). Read further for explanation.
The book starts out with the shepard boy, age unknown but my best guess would be around 17, who has just settled down for the night in a run down church. His flock are settled for the night around the church and the boy is left to his own thoughts. He starts to ponder his recurring dreams where he is led by a child to the pyramids, where he discovers a buried treasure. He leads a lonely but not unwanted life. It is found out that the boy's Father had other plans for him, but the boy insisted he become a shepard and travel the lands of Andalusia, Spain (where he's from). From the beginning you can tell that the boy is generally happy with where his life is.. until he meets the old wise king.
The boy happens upon this king, dressed in rags, in a marketplace while waiting to do some business with a merchant. He at first tries to ignore the annoying old man, but gives up when the old man is insistent on conversation. The boy becomes finally intrigued with what the old man is saying when he recites the boy's recurring dream and his father's and mother's names.
He tells the boy that the dream is his own Personal Legend, something that everyone has but not everyone chooses to seek out and fulfill. The old man gives the boy instructions on fulfilling his own Personal Legend and opens his rags to reveal a breast plate of solid gold encrusted with jewels. The old man says that he is actually an old wise king and that he exists in order to help people fulfill their own Personal Legend and help them understand the universal language of the universe. The universal language of the universe is basically depicted in the book as a language that involves omens, signs and other miracle like happenings that can be deciphered by any human, animal or object in the world.
With his new found knowledge on omens and fulfilling one's own destiny, the boy sets out to Egypt to find the treasure that his is own Personal Legend. He meets many different people along the way, some good and some bad, and ultimately grows to know his own heart better then anyone could, something that is essential in fulfilling one's own Personal Legend.
As you can see, the book is deeply routed in myth, if that is even the right word. Sayings such as "Personal Legend" and "Soul of the World" are frequent and thrown together in a jumble of different varieties and ways that rarely make sense. The book has adventure to be sure, but it's filled with symbolic and ritual, almost religious meaning, something that is definitely not my style. The boy grows a significant amount on his quest and it is somewhat entertaining to read about. My biggest complaint about him is he supposed to be 17 or so, but when I was reading my better guess for him was 12, the way he thinks and talks makes him seem way younger then he is supposed to be. I give this book only two stars mainly because A) The adventure and plot are good and B) I like the ending. In the long run, the book is extremely, no, to easy to read and I often caught myself not even paying attention to the words and having to re-read.
If you like deeply symbolic and almost religious meaning turned into a mythical like story about fulfilling destiny with omens, read this book. It's filled with them. If the "Personal Legend" sounds strange to you, don't. It only gets worse.(less)
This book isn't really my style, but it was one of the books that I watched the movie for and vowed to read. I read the first couple pages and was ins...moreThis book isn't really my style, but it was one of the books that I watched the movie for and vowed to read. I read the first couple pages and was instantly intrigued and continued to read it.
The Lisbon household, a place of strict rules paved over by unrelinquishing parents. The book starts out with the portrait of 13-year-old Cecilia, the youngest girl of the household's attempted suicide. She slit her writs while taking a warm bath, clutching onto her prized laminated photo of the Virgin Mary. She was, to her dismay, saved before she could cross over to the other side. This single event sparks the cascade of a series of events that eventually leads to the downfall of life as they know it in the Lisbon family.
The Lisbon girls, the very images of innocence and fragility. Cecilia being the youngest, there is also 14-year-old Lux, 15-year-old Mary, 16-year-old Bonnie and 17-year-old Therese. The girls are kept under tight lock and key by their socially deficient and religious parents, Mr. and Mrs. Lisbon. Mr. Lisbon's being a math teacher at their school leaves them even less freedom in their young lives. The book is set in the 70's, a time well known for it's tumults against adolescence. Besides all these downfalls considering their home and social lives, the girls all have strikingly unique and bright personalities, personalities that never get the chance to reach their full potentials. A group of boys loved and worshipped the Lisbon girls from afar for their entire adolescent lives, only to have them ripped from their grasp before they could save them from themselves. This book begs the question, what happened to the Lisbon girls, and why?
I hate to end a book review with a question mark like that but that's the only way I can think to say what needs to be said. The mystery of the Lisbon girls, who are they, and why they chose to live the way they did with little rebellion is a mystery in itself. The book is extremely poetic, with very beautiful metaphor that isn't hard to understand but does take some thought and contemplation. It doesn't try to tell you why, but more how and what so you can make your own conclusion. The icing on the cake is the boys who have loved the girls from afar, and tried their best to grow up with them despite their physical detachment. The more interesting character of the book is Lux, with her rebellious and libertine attitude. I gobbled up the parts about her and think I could read a whole book just about her. The fact the Kirsten Dunst plays her in the move sure helps with mental picture as well. The book only gets three stars from me, because I think there should be more. But looking at it in a different way, it is extremely realistic. If you like books set in the 70's, depicting pre-teen and teenage life through a distortion of different events and their interpretations, with a poetic twist, read this book.(less)
Oryx and Crake is an amazing treasure of a novel. I've had the book on my shelf for quite some time and never gave it a second glance (it was given to...moreOryx and Crake is an amazing treasure of a novel. I've had the book on my shelf for quite some time and never gave it a second glance (it was given to me by my friend who is not entirely good at reading.) Anyway, some friends at work were having a book club meeting and I decided to read the book. One of the best choices I've ever made..
Oryx and Crake is a post apocalyptic novel based on Earth, around the ever changing life of Jimmy/Snowman. That sounds so very boring, but it's get so much more sciencey fictioney, even though Atwood said it was more of an "adventure romance" (I would prefer not to call it that). We are introduced first off to Snowman, living on a warm, quite tropical, food depleted beach. Snowman has a scraggly beard and smells horrible, so I assume he's been living on this beach for a little while already. There appears to be some natives which he calls the Crakers, and they come in every possible human skin color and come and pester him on occasion.
Flashback occur frequently in this novel and they describe Snowman's past life. This is our introduction to Jimmy, which was what he was named before everyone on the Earth died. Our first introduction to Jimmy is him 7 years old or so, living in a compound with his brilliant scientist father and Sharon his over-bearing, vengeful, cigarette smoking mother.As Jimmy grows older, the situation between his parents gets steadily worse. Mention of Jimmy's father spending to much time at work and around a certain young, boobful lab tech named Rhonda. The company Jimmy's father (and mother used to) work for is called OrganInc and they are currently developing ways to grow human organs inside of pigs. They live in the compound, a place built by the company and ones like, where an entire life can be lived. School, malls, clubs, shopping markets, everything exists in this compound so someone doesn't have to leave it and go to the Pleeblands for everything. The Pleeblands contain the normal people, people who aren't so lucky to have animal-engineering-scientist parents who live inside the compounds their entire lives. You can of course leave the compound once you get clearance, but the Pleeblands are being depleting of resource fast and disease is almost a given. So basically, the rich people are okay while the poor to middle class people become more and more uncivilized, while the earth is pushed to it's limits for supporting the population.
There is one more important character that is worth mentioning without giving to much away. His name is Crake (surprise surprise he's in the title) and Jimmy and him meet each other in their 9th year of highschool. His real name is Glen, but he gets the name Crake from one of the video games him and Jimmy frequently play throughout their highschool lives to pass the time. Crake is a genious, and though him and Jimmy have a pretty tight relationship, Jimmy always assumes Crake is hiding something from him.
Overall, the book is pretty much amazing. You root for Jimmy to become something more then he is, and I pretty much fell in love with Crake's cold cool demeanor. The characters are very unique, unlike any characters I've ever read in another book. I easily rate this book 10/10. I think EVERYONE should read it. It has something for everybody. The writing is intelligent, the names of all the scientific companies coming up with different forms of fake food are so creative I never even realized most of them were saying something else until the end. Can't WAIT to read the next one.(less)
This is book is based on the romance (sort-of), of the relationship between a somewhat young girl and somewhat older man. Anastasia Steele, an English...moreThis is book is based on the romance (sort-of), of the relationship between a somewhat young girl and somewhat older man. Anastasia Steele, an English major who has recently graduated with a degree meets an intoxicating rich and gorgeous CEO by the name of Christian Grey. They both have their secrets. Some turn out to be worse then others.
It all starts out when Kate, Ana`s beautiful and cunning roommate makes Ana take her meeting with Christian instead of her because she is sick. Ana doesn`t want to go, but Kate convinces her that she is just too sick and Ana loves Kate and her charm to much to turn her down. The meeting is with as we know rich, powerful and basically famous Christian Grey. What Kate failed to tell Ana was, how beautiful he was. Ana stumbles through her meeting with Christian. He seemed to be hitting on her a little bit through it and she can`t seem to wrap her mind around why. If only she knew. She thinks about Christian, the dangerously sexy creature that she will probably get over soon. She was very wrong.
Eventually, Christian and Ana end up together. But not in the normal relationship way. Ana soon finds out that Christian is a fan of the dark bedroom arts of Dominant and Submissive. This is basically a classier and more erotic take on bondage, if that`s possible. It involves a contract, an NDA and lots of whips, spanking and sex. He wants Ana to be his new sub. He is completely taken with her smart mouth and innocence and wants her soon. Ana is extremely hesitant, but also so taken by him, she has never felt this way in her life about a male. She doesn`t sign anything but they explore each other for the next couple weeks. In many instances, Ana is taken by just how dark Christian likes things. He explains the way he is the best he can without giving to much away. He tells her very little about his childhood, just enough to keep her satiated a day at a time. She learns many disconcerting things about the man, one involving the whole reason he might even be into the whole Dom and Sub scene. Ana soon discovers that loving this man is a complete and utter emotional rollercoaster and she`s unsure she can give him everything he needs. Christian has never been in a real relationship. He`s only ever experienced the Dom and Sub and is unsure if he can give Ana the more that she keeps asking for. They both feel they deserve what they are asking for, can they meet in the middle and figure things out?
The end of the book is quite sad, even though some parts of the book are questionable. They break up over some very grey areas, which relates directly the title. The entire book is filled with the grey areas they have between them and I think the title is a direct play on that. Also that and Christian's many sides, he has many and I'm sure Ana is going to see even more in the sequel. The book is extremely, I wouldn't say girly because of the hardcore x rated sex but maybe womanly is the word I'm looking for. My only complaint would be some of the sex and how ridiculous it is for her to enjoy it that much being so inexperienced. Besides that though, the sex scenes are extremely hot and better then porn anyday. But other then that, the author does a good job describing Ana's feelings. I love the inner-goddess subconscious personification she does. It's a nice touch. Definitely not a book for men unless you really like girly books. Can't wait for the next one for some reason, maybe I'm in love with Christian too. He does sound delicious. A must read if you are a woman.(less)
This book is to put it quite simply, mind blowing. I can't believe it took me so long to get into this book and I wish I would've when it was really i...moreThis book is to put it quite simply, mind blowing. I can't believe it took me so long to get into this book and I wish I would've when it was really in the spotlight with it's movie and all that. Anyway, let's review this.
Robert Langdon, an older but nonetheless very intelligent university professor is thrown into a life-threatening controversy that almost gets him, and a few others, killed. It all starts when Langdon receives a chilling phone call in his Paris hotel room in the middle of the night. Langdon is soon taken to the crime scene of the now murdered Jacques Sauniere at Paris's Louvre Museum, a well known and esteemed researcher on pagan religion. Robert was supposed to meet with Jacques earlier that night but was stood up. It only gets weirder, Jacques has positioned himself in what Robert thinks is strangely familiar to Da Vinci's drawing of "The Vitruvian Man" and has also included a sequence of numbers and another message which reads "Find Robert Langdon" written in blood beside him. Robert has no idea why he would write this, and the police are of course suspicious. Jacques's cryptologist granddaughter Sophie Neveu is soon called onto the scene to crack the sequence of numbers. All of this is done without the French Police having knowledge that Jacques is even her grandfather. It all takes a turn for the worse when Sophie alerts Langdon that the head of police is trying to frame Langdon for the murder. Robert and Sophie are taken on a wild goose chase to find The Holy Grail, a secret protected for thousand of years by Knights Templars and their descendants, before it falls into the hands of Sophie's grandfather's killers and is lost forever.
All in all, the book is huge account of the conspiracy behind the real origins of christianity and everything the church has done to keep the sacred feminine an oppressed secret. According to the book, religion was never supposed to be in favour of men, but instead in favour of women, because of the children that can be born from women and the real power that women hold in their wombs. There is also a lot of mention of sex and how it is not supposed to be something that is shamed and disgusting like the church likes to depict, but something that even Jesus took part in. The book includes the lore about the secret bloodline of Mary Magdalene, who actually married Jesus and bore his child. In the book, this bloodline is still alive and the key to finding it and keeping it safe is in the Holy Grail. That is why the Church wants to find it and destroy it, so that the secrets about the sacred feminine are lost forever. Let's not forget the title either here, throughout the book lots of Da Vinci's reasons for painting some paintings the way he did are revealed and used to get a closer and better understanding of the sacred feminine and just how much Da Vinci really knew.
I usually don't read mysteries, but with all the controversial church and christianity talk in this book, how could I not. The book is extremely well done. When Langdon is trying to explain to Sophie his reasons why her grandfather would even want to talk to him, I could not stop reading. The way Dan Brown puts the book together is SO intricately put together that all of the crazy stuff he claims in the book actually makes almost complete perfect sense. I've always been an atheist, but this book definitely supports my claim. And I like that. I love how awesome and controversial this book is, and cannot wait to read the rest of the Robert Langdon novels that Dan Brown has written. I thank him so much for this book! If you like murder mysteries with suspense and a little bit of a religious twist, read this book. If you are religious...... probably shouldn't. It might make you mad. (less)
Classic/romance isn't really my genre, and I really just wanted to read this book to say I did it. It is an extremely famous classic with a female "he...moreClassic/romance isn't really my genre, and I really just wanted to read this book to say I did it. It is an extremely famous classic with a female "heroine" and I had to know what all the fuss was about.
Elizabeth Bennet is the second eldest in her family which includes 4 other young women and her mother and father. She has only 1 other sister who is older then her, Jane, and then her 3 other sisters, Mary, Kitty and Lydia; Lydia being the youngest. The Bennet's aren't rich but they certainly aren't poor, and the book describes life in the 1800's from the perspective of Elizabeth, who seems to be not just your average young woman. She is her father's favourite, for her quick wit, sharp tongue and thoughtfulness that is unheard of in any other young lady in her town and from the way it appears, in all of London during these times. The book is set it rural England, and really lacks clear definition of exactly where they are and what the scenery is life. From what I can gather, it's as if they all live on acreages in the English countryside but with no land that they themselves farm. The town gets stirred up a bit when a very wealthy and handsome newcomer arrives and takes up residence not far from where the Bennet's are settled. Mrs. Bennet becomes instantly obsessed with getting at least one of her daughters married off to the sweet and amiable Mr. Bingley, the young bachelor who owns the land. Mr. Bingley isn't alone, he has brought with him his best advisor and friend Mr. Darcy, who is twice as handsome and Bingley and twice as rich, but of the most rude nature. Bingley's two sisters are also in attendance, and have an agenda of their own. Mr. Bingley is introduced to Jane, the prettiest and eldest of the Bennet sister and also the most kind at heart, and Bingley takes a liking to her straight away. Bingley's characters is of the most amiable, says Mrs. Bennet frequently and she is absolutely convinced that Jane will be married sooner then later to Mr. Bingley. At the same ball that Jane and Bingley met, Elizabeth had a brief encounter with Mr. Darcy. This brief encounters spirals into a handful of random meetings between the two, where Elizabeth always stays on top of the situation despite Mr. Darcy's first words ever spoken to her which were less then rude. One of Bingley's sisters becomes extremely jealous of Elizabeth, even though Elizabeth has no real idea if Darcy cares for her or not, nor does she really care. Overall, the book shows how a complete transformation of ideas, thoughts and perspectives towards another person can happen and what happens to the two people it happens too. I have no idea how many years the book spans over, maybe 2? 3? but in the end, I was really surprised and pleased with the ending even though I knew that that exactly was going to happen since about halfway through. The book definitely includes a lot of self reflection on Elizabeth's part and is no doubt a story of coming of age, so to speak, in a weird 1800's sort of way. You can't help but root for Elizabeth in everything she does, and how poised and classy she ends up looking compared to the rest of her friends and acquaintances. I really respect the author, Jane Austen for making this book with such a strong female influence in a time such as the 1800's when women were severely oppressed. The book isn't really my style, and was very hard to follow sometimes. I only have one real complaint, there was no real leading up to when things were going to happen like you expect from books wrote more recently. I would be reading a page and BOOM, all a sudden a major plot twist and I would actually have to stop and take note lest I forget. Anyway, the romance in this book is EXTREME, in an innocent womanly kind of a way so if you like classics/romance/females rule kind of book, read this. It's worth it once you get to the end.(less)
Time's Eye, dual written by Arthur C. Clarke (whom's work I'm familiar with) and Stephen Baxter (no idea who he even is). Unlike Arthur's more famous...moreTime's Eye, dual written by Arthur C. Clarke (whom's work I'm familiar with) and Stephen Baxter (no idea who he even is). Unlike Arthur's more famous works, a space anomaly takes place right on Earth and leaves numerous differentiating groups of hand-picked humans destined to try to pick up the pieces. Space-time has literally been ripped apart on Earth, leaving the planet in shambles. It appears that the Earth has become a giant puzzle with different people, eras and land masses all thrown together in one big jumble. The armies of Alexander, Genghis Kong, the 1800's colonial British along with modern US and UK marines are brought together. The anomaly isn't random either. Giant eyes litter the landscape, at seemingly, and sometimes rather calculated intervals all over the Earth. The remaining people on Earth are left with more and more questions as they travel amongst diminished or all-together missing cultural and religious sites. Is there a greater, higher power behind all of this? If so, what is their purpose? Is this the work of God? The list of questions isn't answered, only added too.
The book is slow for the first couple chapters, adding the boring details necessary to progress the story properly, building character, etc. The last 100 pages are the best part. Smooth injunction in the last couple chapters into what I'm assuming the 2nd book will be about. Both authors do a very good job making the next book look extremely interesting. We know that Bisesa, is going to get her way, but what happens afterwards is totally up in the air and to the imagination of the reader. Definitely going to read the next book. The authors also do a very good job splicing in physics, and other explanations involving the cosmos. I don't understand them half the time, but when I do, I feel smarter and they really are a motivation to read more work by either Baxter or Clarke. The integration of differing famous figures of history together on one Earth is creative. Especially when you throw in people from the year 2037 who obviously know the outcomes of many of these historical figures lives. Character development is prominent in the main character and a couple others, but I hope it progresses deeper in the 2nd book. You can't tell apart the author's writing, maybe they just write extremely similar? Either way extremely cohesive work. Worth reading, I recommend this for Space Odyssey fans or people looking for a strange, spacey twist on history.(less)