The author is an affable guy. Nary educated, in policy, world affairs, economics, fine arts, or even travel (yet he rates hotels for Forbes Travel). But he seems to have his heart in the right place. The first 3 chapters are dotted with minor (or not so minor) inaccuracies, as well as some of his mindful drivel. The passage where he tried to overcome petty bitterness in not winning the grand prize in the birth lottery, swimming naked in the Persian Gulf was probably the most enjoyable part to me (~p.16-19)
While his intention was certainly admirable, his reasoning came across rather juvenile, and his research, despite obvious fervor, fell short. W.r.t the state-of-the-world that he covered in his personal musings (and much of the footnotes) in the first 3 chapters, he was simply not well-versed enough to discuss them. The fact that anyone who regurgitates the results of a Google search can have a byline today, "facts" never vetted before going to print, is a sad sign of the times.
I struggle to muster enough interest to push through the rest of the book. Even tho he does provide amusing anecdotes of foreign cultures.
I hope someone will tell me how the rest is gonna go.
Growing up in small town Minnesota, with some passage on life living with tornadoes.
I couldn't get into this book. By p.45 nothing (!) has happened. IGrowing up in small town Minnesota, with some passage on life living with tornadoes.
I couldn't get into this book. By p.45 nothing (!) has happened. I was misled, like another reviewer said, to believe that this book would tell me about life as a gravedigger.
The 45 pages I read sounded like a litany of family anecdotes, dotted with how this and that sparked the author's early curiosities on mortality. This may suffice for a transcript on the H Thanksgiving family reunion. But for a book, there was no story arc and a bit rudderless. ...more
Quit after 18 chapters, I couldn't take it anymore as this eccentric author planned her sister's funeral like a bCatharsis of an emphatic narcissist.
Quit after 18 chapters, I couldn't take it anymore as this eccentric author planned her sister's funeral like a bridezilla does her wedding. How shallow, materialistic and self-aggrandizing can one get? Even when driven by genuine emotions? She never gave the eponym of her book a voice until nearly 1/2 the book was over -- only then did we hear a direct quote of her dead twin that gave us a glimpse of that sister's character.
The only thing that kept me going this far was a sense of perverse curiosity. I kept peeking around the next corner to see if she would drop something truly psychotic.
What? Wish I cud have all that time back.
===== ===== ===== (at 13%) born 1977, the identical twins were raised by a mother who endured beatings from their dad.
At age 24, both were in grad school. It was the last yr for Christa (photog) and the first yr for Cara (writer). That yr spelled tragedy for Cara as she got raped by a drunk in the park. Her marriage didn't survive. As she clung to her sister Christa, the photog started a 5-yr photo project shooting herself and her twin.
By 28, Cara OD'ed. This is Christa's cathartic memoir of their twinhood.
----- After 4 chapters (40+ pp), the story skimmed their childhood, their father's abuse (of mother & sisters) & focused mainly on their sisterhood as adults....more
A clever plot of intertwining a fictitious character with a historical figure, our silent movie star Louise Brooks. Story took place in Wichita, KS anA clever plot of intertwining a fictitious character with a historical figure, our silent movie star Louise Brooks. Story took place in Wichita, KS and NYC, NY. 1922 - ?
i love controversy. This book elicited scathing criticism from the NY Times. Most major papers (like papers from LA, Chicago, or the Christian Sciencei love controversy. This book elicited scathing criticism from the NY Times. Most major papers (like papers from LA, Chicago, or the Christian Science Monitor) just ignored it, which makes it a MUST-SEE (!)
B4 I take my first look at the subject, I want to quote (aptly or inaptly) the top 3 popular quotes by Noam Chomsky:
“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum - even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.”
“The whole educational and professional training system is a very elaborate filter, which just weeds out people who are too independent, and who think for themselves, and who don't know how to be submissive, and so on -- because they're dysfunctional to the institutions.”
“If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all.”
1 more: “Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, and it will sound like it's from Neptune.”
Twin biographies from a pr of Jewish brother & sister (13 & 3 year olds) who fled the Nazis of Europe aboard a cruise ship with their parentsTwin biographies from a pr of Jewish brother & sister (13 & 3 year olds) who fled the Nazis of Europe aboard a cruise ship with their parents in the fall of 1939. Unexpectedly, they arrived in Shanghai, China & found an enclave of Jewish settlement (established since the 20's and 30's by Russian Jews, ref p.51).
I love the young voices of this memoir(s), especially that of the teenage brother. Despite their circumstances his read on life was full of adventure & wonderment.
The author claimed to have studied emotions for 30 yrs. His Jewish heritage made him attuned to the cruelty of others & many examples he sited occThe author claimed to have studied emotions for 30 yrs. His Jewish heritage made him attuned to the cruelty of others & many examples he sited occurred in German camps.
The writing style is conversational.
Ref 1: The author mentioned cold water expt on p.2. The Russians had some experience with that in the Solovetsky prison camps (on Solovetsky Islands) during the 1920's and 30's. "God's Gulag" is a short & provocative article on the remote archipelago's monastery and prison history. When Stalin and Hitler were chummy in the 30's, German officers visited the island and studied its “correctional” regimen, gleaning elements that they would soon put to use in the holocaust. ("God's Gulag" By Jeffrey Tayler, Jan/Feb 2012 ATLANTIC MAGAZINE): http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/a......more
I had expected an anthropological survey of pop migration, I was wrong. This is more a like a really really steady gaze into Karachi's development asI had expected an anthropological survey of pop migration, I was wrong. This is more a like a really really steady gaze into Karachi's development as an example of instant cities.
We barely got into the birth of K as Pakistan's capital by ~p.60, pretty slow going for an outsider like me.
The author does not: 1. fully make a case for y Karachi is better suited for the study of instant cities than others; or 2. truly match the POV of a native. Yet it is probably still worth a read.
i've only gone 5 chapters, stay tuned.
----------------------------------------------------------------- 60% done: Parts 1 & 2 are a yawn. Chapters 9 & 10 (Part 3 : New Karachi) is really more in line with what I'm looking for.
80% done (3 chapters left): TMI!! Even with dead-ends! The author may have specific themes for specific chapters, but instead of just laying down his conclusion with supporting evidence, he reported his daily foot marches: where he went, what he did, whom he met & how they received him -- even on dead-ends! For example he could easily have just given the final paragraph (p.198) instead of dallying the entire chapter 12....more
"Adler makes the provocative claim that the Laotian immigrants of the 1980s were in some sense killed by their powerful cultural belief in night spirits ...
Her argument amounts to a stirring and chilling case for the power of the nocebo, the flip side to the placebo effect."
"The ethnic group fought a guerrilla war against the government of Laos with U.S. backing during the Vietnam War. When the Laotian communists won, many Hmong struck out for America to avoid reprisals. The U.S. government decided to scatter the Hmong randomly across the U.S. to 53 different cities, breaking up the immigration patterns we generally see. In short order, the Hmong organized and made a "secondary migration" to California, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Unemployment was obscenely high, and the sense of community that many had enjoyed in the old country was gone.
Some Hmong felt that they had not properly honored the memories of their ancestors, which was a known risk factor among the Hmong for being visited by the tsog tsuam."
Sleep paralysis is known to just about all cultures: Among Hmong ppl: "tsog tsuam" Among the Chinese: held by a ghost - "bei gui ya" In Newfoundland: the Old Hag ......more