A unique classical poem in which the 13th-14th century poet Dante journeys through Hell with the roman poet Virgil as his "tour guide".
Although the ve...moreA unique classical poem in which the 13th-14th century poet Dante journeys through Hell with the roman poet Virgil as his "tour guide".
Although the version I have read is a prose translation of the original Italian, the brilliance of this literary work shines in Dante's depiction of Hell, its punishments, as well as its inhabitants, so to speak. He divides Hell into 9 circles, each of which houses those who committed a particular sin. The order of the circles reflects Dante's personal opinion on which sins should be punished more severely. Furthermore, for each of the sins mentioned he describes punishments that he thinks are just and reflective of the nature of that particular type of sin.
Most baffling of all, Dante even had the guts to place his different contemporaries (presumably political rivals or simply those whom he did not like for one reason or another), among other historical characters and mythological creatures, into the different circles of Hell as he mentions how he encounters their suffering souls throughout the journey.
This piece of work is unique and audacious. One should not forget that Dante's original was, in fact, a poem! And while this work might be blasphemous and conflicting at times with my views on Hell and Divine Judgement, I think this is still worth a read.
تنظير جيد لكن الأمثلة والتدعيم قليلة شحيحة جعلت الكتاب ضعيف الإقناع وفكره هزيل البنية، ويتجلى ذلك في الفصول الأخيرة من...moreخيب ظني كثيرا ..
٢ ونصف من خمسة.
تنظير جيد لكن الأمثلة والتدعيم قليلة شحيحة جعلت الكتاب ضعيف الإقناع وفكره هزيل البنية، ويتجلى ذلك في الفصول الأخيرة من الكتاب حينما تكلم باختصار شديد عن عاملي التراب والوقت كاثنين من العوامل الثلاثة اللازمة لحصول النهضة وقيام الحضارة.
I finally own bragging rights to having read this 800-page monster-of-a- book !
Interesting five-star concepts and interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary...moreI finally own bragging rights to having read this 800-page monster-of-a- book !
Interesting five-star concepts and interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary thought showcasing the work of the human brain at its finest ! The amount of puzzles also shows how much thought and time went into writing this book; it seems almost flawless !
However, it's long, repetitive, and borderline boring at times given the dry nature of the subject(s). It could've been easily summarized in 400 pages. And for that it loses a star.
This is my first journey with a Neal Stephenson novel. And I must say, this went quite well. Sure, it might be a little dull at times, slowly-paced, a...moreThis is my first journey with a Neal Stephenson novel. And I must say, this went quite well. Sure, it might be a little dull at times, slowly-paced, and maybe even anti-climatic.
But all things considered, this is a mind-boggling and thought-provoking piece of work that definitely made a dent in my personal universe, or "cosmos" - to use the book's terminology.
Stephenson wrote an epic Sci-Fi/Fantasy treat complete with its own vocabulary (which takes you a good hundred or two pages to get used to). Combined with this is a wonderful blend of philosophy, mathematics, physics (quantum mechanics and multiverse theory), as well as history. These were all weaved together artfully by Stephenson (I'm a mere Enthusiast when it comes to these topics - but I really enjoyed the combination of ideas presented here embedded within the story).
Although the novel's length (900+ pages) is an issue to some, it still has other glaring flaws. While Stephenson's world-building is impressive and awe-inspiring; it seemed to me that this was at the expense of character depth and storytelling. At times where I expected hints of surprise from characters from sudden/shocking events, or distrusting of newly-met strangers - a normal human reaction in such situations, none were to be found. Few logical motives were explained to progress the story and tie it together into a coherent whole (so much for coherent narratives, Neal!). But one can always argue that Stephenson gets away with this by narrating/describing the events of the story in the first-person.
All in all, I chose to overlook these flaws and award this book with a perfect 5-star rating because that was one thought-provoking ride that will be hard to scrub off for years(?) to come.(less)
Wrestled with this book for 2 months, and I finally managed to put it down!
Neal Stephenson is a geek's geek, and that's what makes his books enjoyable...moreWrestled with this book for 2 months, and I finally managed to put it down!
Neal Stephenson is a geek's geek, and that's what makes his books enjoyable to me. His digressions about Greek mythology or the Knapsack Problem, among others, are what make a long-winded book like this one quite entertaining. You just learn a lot reading a Stephenson book; and after 1000+ pages, you will most likely feel rewarded. Oh and, of course, there's Neal's sarcastic sense-of-humor which I'm really fond of!
Cryptonomicon isn't my first Stephenson mammoth. I've already enjoyed Anathem quite a lot and still hold it in high regard to this day. Cryptonomicon, on the other hand, was slightly less enjoyable (not too many big ideas here, I guess). It tackles topics such as cryptoanalysis, code-breaking in WWII, digital currency, entrepreneurship, Big Data, among others. These come together quite well (especially in the latter half of the book) but is still a thriller at the end of the day.
One thing I really liked in Cryptonomicon was the timeline set during the WWII period - one of my favorite historical periods when it comes to fiction. For me, it shed some new light on WWII from an angle that I knew little to nothing about.
All that being said, however, the book's length made keeping up with the timelines and the plot quite difficult in my case. I'm not sure whether it was my poor reading stamina, or whether it goes with the book's length and the writing style. And then there's the ending which was a bit of a letdown for a book this size - but I won't say much about here.
I would still recommend this book wholeheartedly for anyone interested, at all, in any of the topics I've mentioned.
Actually unfinished. Read about 50% before giving up. Entirely dissapointing. Almost similar to what I felt after finishing Ender's Game. Maybe I had...moreActually unfinished. Read about 50% before giving up. Entirely dissapointing. Almost similar to what I felt after finishing Ender's Game. Maybe I had high expectations or was just picturing something different. At least Ender's Game kept me going.
Not sure what makes this a Sci-Fi must-read. Didn't grip me at all. Characters are 2D. It's obvious the characters aren't the focus of the story as they are dropped every few chapters in place of new ones; something that hindered my engagement with the novel on many levels.
Premise is interesting, though, despite the poor literary feel.(less)
A tear trickled down my cheek as I read the final sentence. My mind was crushed by the weight of nostalgia as I finished this book .. in solitude. So...moreA tear trickled down my cheek as I read the final sentence. My mind was crushed by the weight of nostalgia as I finished this book .. in solitude. So perfectly vivid it was, that I felt like a Buendia ghost; a ghost who has silently witnessed life across all six generations of the family.
Every few years or so, one comes across an unearthed gem of a book that forces him/her to stop, think, and reflect. One Hundred Years of Solitude is just that. A book written in a masterful fashion with skillful storytelling like that of a grandmother to her children. It simply, but not so simply, tells the story of "life".
It leaves its interpretations open to the reader, with so many hidden meanings and symbols that are woven into its fabric and the ways with which the story is told. To me, this is a very philosophically rich piece of literature; with "One Hundred Years of Wisdom" packed artfully into its shell, because that is how long I think it would take to unpack all its gems and meanings.
There are so many themes and stories that come together into a great whole, it's actually surprising how something of this scope can be made. Be it time, aging, death, wizardry, ghosts, animals, wealth, love, family, technology, war, revolution, science, etc., it's all in there.
I have so many good things to say about the prose which is crisp, and "perfect". It's hard not to find quotes that are beautiful, compact, and contain a lifetime's worth of wisdom. The imagery was vivid and the metaphors were alive and lucid. Yet, the novel stands out as an exquisite piece of writing that is far from obtrusive and forced. It is just "perfect".
It is also worth pointing out that I read the beautiful English translation of this novel by Gregory Rabassa. I am sure that this novel would not have been the same without his excellent work. I kept forgetting that this was originally not written in English.
Recommended. A true work of art. I would have given this book 6 stars out of five, if possible. "Many years later, as I face life", I hope I can get to revisit this timeless classic.(less)
I reverted back to novels to try and get back the motivation I had for reading books. It has been some time since I actually finished a book.
Let me st...moreI reverted back to novels to try and get back the motivation I had for reading books. It has been some time since I actually finished a book.
Let me start by saying that this book is pretty underwhelming for a young adult novel with so much praise. And I'm a guy who really enjoyed Harry Potter. It has been compared with "The Hunger Games" (which I haven't read, but watched) because it uses the exact same formula (maybe even the setting?).
It has an interesting setting and I was hooked when I read the first few pages but then it all goes downhill from there.
The only things I truly enjoyed about the book are the parallels I've drawn between people's different traits/strengths and the dystopian Chicago world created by Vernoica Roth.
The book, however, has a number of flaws:
1) There is absolutely no background or explanation for most of the things presented here. You're left with a gazillion questions that will probably never be answered. You can't understand the actions of the characters clearly. And you don't learn a lot about them even !
2) Lots of gaps and holes. This follows from the first flaw. Throughout Divergent, you'll find yourself jumping from event to event with no logical links between the two. It all feels somehow disconnected. Who would've thought that the main war in the story would be started by having our hero 'wake up to it'?
3) The romantic story is a complete train-wreck. First of all, how did it even start ? We suddenly find ourselves amidst 'hot cheeks' and corny moments. I really question the novel's acclaim when the author has no better words to describe romantic encounters other than 'hot cheeks and bit lips' every now and then.
4) The ending ! Seriously, in such an interesting world, you have me going "That was it?!". Completely underwhelming. I know it's the first part of a trilogy, but after finishing this one, I doubt I will read the others.
5) There are no shocking twists. Just some minor ones. Really disappointed me as I kept pushing through it hoping for something big to happen.
6) I expected the novel to be a serious page-turner. I didn't find that here, but maybe that's just me. This ain't no "Angels & Demons" where the end of every chapter pushes you toward the next.
Better than expected. Kiyosaki knows what he's talking about offering insightful tips on how to become more financially literate in order to to manage...moreBetter than expected. Kiyosaki knows what he's talking about offering insightful tips on how to become more financially literate in order to to manage yourself towards financial success.
The tips he provides are more concrete than I thought they might be (which is a good thing). However, this book could really lose some weight. If I had one word to describe this book, I would choose "insightful" with "interesting" a close second.
Some good arguemebts here and there but presented in a total mess of utterly bad writing. If this book was written in a better, more organized fashion...moreSome good arguemebts here and there but presented in a total mess of utterly bad writing. If this book was written in a better, more organized fashion, then it probably would be a must-buy.(less)