The beauty of the written word is never complete without realizing the strength of its equivalent spoken word. That is poetry in its basic form.
At a young age, William Blake saw angels in a tree sometime between 1765-67. This experience prompted him to study drawing, engraving, and lastly, painting--probably to record visions not generally seen by common people in his time. In his later years he suffered poverty and neglect but his rare talent in literature, illustration, and his visions earned him a unique position in British history. Spiritual, mystic, or just a plain dreamer, one thing is certain and it's about his highly visual and symbolic literary skills reflected in his works.
Take these two stanzas from the introduction of Songs of Experience (the part where he introduces himself as a poet):
Hear the voice of the Bard! Who Present, Past, & Future sees, Whose ears have heard The Holy Word That walk'd among the ancient trees,
Calling the lapsed Soul, And weeping in the evening dew, That might controll The starry pole And fallen, fallen light renew!
I observe some apparent misspellings but they are printed in this book exactly the way they are in the original engravings and notes by the author. Those words have the traces of being archaic, progenitors of the present-day words easy to spot since they all sound common (shew-show, eccho-echo, extacy-ecstacy, akeing-aching, embrio-embryo, desart-desert, etc.). This is my reason for the emphasis of the spoken word here. Try reciting a passage or two, and you will like how they sound.
This is my favorite excerpt from There is No Natural Religion:
Application: He who sees the Infinite in all things sees God. He who sees the Ratio only sees himself only. Therefore: God becomes as we are, that we may be as he is.
Nature is imagination itself--he declares in his letter to Dr Tusler. I could not agree more. Because as a poet if you cannot project to the audience the picture in your mind and its symbols, then you already failed as a communicator. The message is no longer the same and the bridge is lost between the creator and his creation.
Overall, this is a neat collection of selected poems by William Blake published by Phoenix Poetry. The chronology of Blake's life in parallel to historical world events in the final pages is a big bonus. This one is highly recommended as an introductory William Blake read.(less)
By reading the back cover blurbs and synopsis in Goodreads, I was expecting a part spook-fest and part mystery novel but it wasn't.
The ghosts here do...moreBy reading the back cover blurbs and synopsis in Goodreads, I was expecting a part spook-fest and part mystery novel but it wasn't.
The ghosts here do not really spook as they pop anywhere like an annoying stalker and when I encounter an eight-foot tall dragon glittering, while puffing a cigarette, I thought this was less a ghost story/the "Sixth Sense" and more like a "Never Ending Story" for grown ups. But I agree with readers in saying that this one is tautly written, the length of the story was never rushed nor extended and the characters were colorful and vivid, as real as the bad-mofo roommate archetype you always see in Hollywood movies. Imagining the dragon singing a Cat Stevens song is simply hilarious.
But once again, this is not Urban Fantasy. My reading experience for this book can be summarized in three distinct transitions: from a perspective of a simple ghost story, to urban fantasy and conclusively, as magic realism. Daniel Clausen likes Haruki Murakami novels and I can see it in this novel. Murakami readers and fans will surely like this book and I recommend it.
References to the '80s pop culture is quiet amusing for this reader also loves watching the original run of MacGyver series when he was still a kid. Though we know that all authors are not free from political or ideological bias, a gaijin view of the Japanese landscape and culture here is very noteworthy. You can see that Clausen appreciate the simplistic beauty of the Japanese countryside. Though it's not one of my favorite genre today, as a reader, I appreciate magic realism if it's highly symbolic and it will really help this book if Clausen redesigns the cover to be more symbolic of Nagasaki the way he wants the world to know more about the city.
"Let's go Narj, time to take our vitamins break!" "What vitamins?" "Vitamin U." "What vitamin U?" "Yusi!"
For the health-conscious urban worker, the cigare...more"Let's go Narj, time to take our vitamins break!" "What vitamins?" "Vitamin U." "What vitamin U?" "Yusi!"
For the health-conscious urban worker, the cigarette break can never be considered as health supplement. But if you've been part of a construction project, a cigarette break is the best break you can always exploit. If I compare that kind of vitamins in the construction site with this non-fiction by AA Patawaran, the latter is more healthy and essential and never sarcastic.
I'm sure students of the English language will see this worthy on their shelves, on the pedestal with Strunk & White's The Elements of Style and Stephen King's On Writing. If you're looking for reasons and procedures on the "why" and "how" of writing and if you are looking for the right dose of inspiration and references across the media, the lifestyle journalist has plenty to share. Even by knowing his first encounter with the printed word is enough to reassert you, apprentice of the craft--are not alone.
Falling in love with the printed word is just a first step. To make it alive, you have to feed it with discipline and commitment--even to the extent (and more importantly) of sacrifice. On a lighter note, his take on punctuation, the usage of the serial comma (Oxford/Harvard comma) is agreeable. It may vary on each user, but I can see his point.
This vitamins of a book never lacks encouragement, even for the language that "has been murdered many times over and every generation bemoans its death among the succeeding youth." For he assures us that "language survives every massacre and will always do…"
I think it's also true for the writer. Because he's the one in charge for the survival of language and it is his duty and privilege to create something that will outlive himself. This one I stole from Chuck Palahniuk.
More than you can imagine. On the surface, you would think that this is just one of those...more**spoiler alert**
How catchy and outrageous can a title get?
More than you can imagine. On the surface, you would think that this is just one of those novels with the basic 'around-the-world-in-XX-days' premise or perhaps another adventure and romp through 'space and time.' But this one is an exemption deserving to earn the reader's attention, especially for somebody out there who loves history and travel. This is not just an adventure story of one person--a centenarian with a Masters in Explosives title in his proverbial "resume," but a story of a group--and how they were able to unite themselves like a family when only weeks ago they were perfect strangers to each other, some even wanting to kill another. What the F right?
It's so tempting to compare Allan Emmanuel Karlsson with Forrest Gump. I can see it from book reviews in Amazon, Shelfari, and Goodreads. But I refuse to compare the two even if they have something in common, and that is coming from the simple lifestyle in the suburbs. The two may be fruits, but you can't compare apples to oranges (or to lift a comparison from the book--you can't compare vodka to banana liquor). With or without being aware of it, Forrest Gump have done something for American history. But Allan Karlsson have done lots of things for World History in crazy and funny ways. If you love WWII stories, you will appreciate this book more. Allan Karlsson provided his expertise and antics in World History after meeting an all-star cast of characters like General Franco, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Harry Truman, Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, Soong May-ling, Chiang Kai-shek, Mao Tse-tung, Kim Il Sung, the young Kim Jong Il, Lyndon Johnson, Charles De Gaulle, and Richard Nixon. And to top it all, there's an elephant, and a dog to join the party too.
As a novel I can say it's well-written by a Swedish author with a background in journalism. After Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo, the popular Nordic invasion of Western Literature rages on and it is here, surprisingly in the form of a funny story by Jonas Jonasson. It's a welcome and a cool departure too from serious themes of murder and detection by Larsson and Nesbo.
If you're a Filipino, just take it easy on the notoriety of formalin-induced Swedish meatballs made in the Philippines mentioned twice in the novel. Formaldehyde is of course, not country specific and anyone can do it anywhere but at least, it's nothing against the cardboard-filled Siopao buns made in China. Your choice--Bola-bola or Asado?
There's always a time in your life when you hunger for freedom, without thinking of consequences that went beyond the boundary of normal foresight. Al...moreThere's always a time in your life when you hunger for freedom, without thinking of consequences that went beyond the boundary of normal foresight. All you can ask is more time, and more glory as high as the boundary of the exosphere and the earth. You're not thinking of crashing back to earth, all you want is the trip and not the destination for choosing life only to turn your back from that one final step of entering that threshold. Can't blame you. Because you've got another plan, the mothershite of all plans that will finally end the skaggin' days with the radges, with pishes and shites, leave the losers on their own, and go incognito in a new country perhaps in a new name--a new identity. That was always your strategy, to keep right on to the end of the road.
The skull-covered version by Vintage books in 1994 is way too cool than the one with a tongue-waggin pussy cat of the same publisher in 2007 so this explains my choice of book cover here. And that intro paragraph is actually my message to the main character Renton.
Written in Scottish accent, I never imagined that this funny book deserved a sequel but Irvine Welsh did. But it has to wait. This is a highy entertaining book perfect for adult readers who can keep their morals intact but still enjoys stories playing around with morality and soceital conjectures. Imagine one dirty and wildest fantasy and it wont measure up against the stories embedded in this novel. A waitress making her revenge through her 'magical' soup and her 'special' chocklit desserts, a lout shaggin his preggo sister in law on the eve of his brother's funeral, a stoner who cant see that he's shaggin a young nymph way below her legal age. It's all too f*ckin hilarious and hysterical, only to hit a brickwall and feel pity to the characters who suffered the disease of anti-body positive. This is actually the trait that made the book an exceptional one.
Laughter and pity--these two are part of consequences of choosing life. And I thank Mr Welsh for reminding me of that through this good read of British fiction, a good romp, a good trip. Good thing as a reader, I'm already old to know the difference.(less)
Before reading I thought that this question was totally metaphorical, especially after seeing the film adaptation...moreDo Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Before reading I thought that this question was totally metaphorical, especially after seeing the film adaptation by Ridley Scott. But it wasnt. Electric sheep does exist in this novel along with the rest of "animals" representing the real, breathing animals currently extinct in the face of the planet after a nuclear war. Replicant animals here are considered as objects of status symbol, the same as owning an endangered species and keeping it like a trophy and a household pet.
But the best part here is the author's depiction of androids in contrast to animals. Humans in this age adore animals but despise the androids. Androids may appear highly intelligent, logical and skillful with varying degrees according to their model/type but they have no empathy nor sense of moral judgment. Philip K Dick while writing this in 1968 probably was thinking more about the android's lack or absence of soul than the absence of what we consider today as emotional intelligence. A scientist can never manufacture courage and spirit in a mechanical beast.
This book can really make the reader think beyond the current prejudice and beliefs about the sense of self and identity. PKD toys with your thoughts, and what made this a classic sci fi novel hinges on the idea that the main protagonist here, the bounty hunter---Rick Deckard, could possibly be an android---the very thing that he's been hunting for all his life. As a reader of thriller fictions, one can never forget the feeling of paranoia when you encounter that interrogation scene in a secret agency. Deckard may have proved that he's a genuine human based on his fluctuating empathy but his alienation with his job and the system itself is not that far from the situation of the replicants. Man and machine both seek survival and freedom. Maybe, this is what the loyal PKD readers refer to as his trademark "mindfu*k." But it's a cool "mindfu*k" none the less.
This novel is also not free from historical biases, but I forgive the author. The idea that Filipinos eat boiled dogmeat with rice is a recurring racist issue but I think it's understandable since the author puts it in the eyes of an obscure android. I just want to clarify that eating a dog meat is not exclusive to one race only. This book being written with good extrapolation, also never runs out of funny ideas and scenes. The emotions in reading this is different to the moody, dark, and melancholic atmosphere of its film version Blade Runner. If the movie ended with a dramatic scene, the book ended with a funny scene of Deckard realizing that his newly discovered toad is actually a fake one, complete with an electronic control panel.
My final comparison is this: if the movie was dramatic and mythological, the book was cynic and philosophical. The end.(less)
The subtle sarcasm may be seen in that title of a fictional, twisted love song but SUPER PANALO SOUNDS! by Lo...more"Dont Be Scared, I Wont F¤¢# You Anyway"
The subtle sarcasm may be seen in that title of a fictional, twisted love song but SUPER PANALO SOUNDS! by Lourd De Veyra still reminds me more of Tom Wolfe's Electric Kool Aid Acid Test and the film Almost Famous (with ultra hot Kate Hudson as the lead groupie chick) since as soon as you begin to enjoy the rise of the greatest postmodern pinoy rock combo, you will be doused with an ice cold beer to realize that the end also, has just begun. Typical ending for a good story that would have best represented a rock n roll generation if only this book was published in the 90's.
But this central theme will probably make De Veyra's novel a distinctive one given that first; I cannot remember a great Filipino novel that centers on the life and death of a rock n' roll band and second; the obvious warning of taking the high road tells us that it's also not that different from taking the low road.
More like a period novel/historical fiction than just a cautionary tale, I can also remember Barriotic Punk by Mes De Guzman but the carrier story in that book tells us more about a group of die hard punks in the 80's as mere followers of the movement (since they can hardly be considered as artists) and not as frontliners themselves in De Veyra's story. In short, the kids of Barriotic Punk belonged to the mosh pit while the kids of Super Panalo Sounds! belonged to the stage.
The punk-jazz combo of Vic, Milo, Dax, Budik, and Zorro may never be that different from other bands but if you're a music collector, you should be on the lookout for their one and only missing album, courtesy of a man mysteriously named Malcolm. The catch is, everything exists in the fictional world. Except for Pepe Smith himself.
Extra Joss: This book officially contains 162 pages and I tried counting the number of 'fu€k' words and its derivatives. My tally is 86. It doesn't mean anything for sure, but if my count is wrong, somebody let me know.
To a lot of people, understanding the motivation of America's most wanted hacker is always outweighed with a bucketful of doubt. Given the events that...moreTo a lot of people, understanding the motivation of America's most wanted hacker is always outweighed with a bucketful of doubt. Given the events that took place way before Windows 95, years before MS Office became a household name, my understanding of Kevin Mitnick's motivation is as simple as what he claims---he did it because he could and to maintain at the top of his game within the community earning the respect of his peers. He did it not really to earn but to learn more about the craft, given his childhood fascination with magic tricks and his gift of gab--talking his way out of troubles.
These days, a professional hacker is highly motivated---financially, and knowing a piece of their history is every technology consumer's first defense. In this age of the selfie and global selfishness (how ironic is that, for the I-me-myself gadget addict?) reading this book is your first defense.
This story of a phone phreaker transforming into a black hat and eventually, luckily as a white hat is very entertaining and insightful. I would consider Mr Mitnick a very lucky man for being advanced in his time in using computer and modern technology and for being skillful with social engineering. Being advanced is a singular trait of a lot of savants in technology and I can still remember the Filipino programmer who wrote the notorious "I Love You" virus and walked away from it because that time the law against coding and proliferation of a computer virus does not exist in the Philippine Constitution.
Mitnick's insider views and exploits of the bureaucratic processes to hide his identity and land a job after another across cities before finally being caught by the FBI is highly detailed. From breaking the security codes of Nokia, to accessing the NEC servers, and using the USC servers as a storage locker, up to befriending Steve Wozniak the co-founder of Apple and meeting one of his fans the uber-geek filmmaker J.J. Abrams in the days of his captivity, watching him win, struggle, and transform with his obsession is very insightful indeed.
An excerpt from the author's bio: Kevin Mitnick, the world's most famous (former) hacker, is now a security consultant. He has been the subject of countless news and magazine articles and has appeared on numerous television and radio programs offering expert commentary on information security. He has testified before the U.S. Senate and written for Harvard Business Review. Mitnick is the author, with William L. Simon, of the bestselling books The Art of Deception and The Art of Intrusion. He lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.
How on earth had the Mexicans who live in the land where corn was first domesticated, become dependent on imports of US corn? How did the Philippines-...moreHow on earth had the Mexicans who live in the land where corn was first domesticated, become dependent on imports of US corn? How did the Philippines---a once primary rice exporter, became the world's biggest importer of rice, regularly sourcing 1-2 million tons of its annual rice requirement in the international market? Why did the structural adjustment in Africa failed so miserably, a contention that is no longer disputed by the World Bank? Why did the Chinese Communist Party need to regain the peasant confidence after joining the World Trade Organization? These questions are actually not mine. But any geopolitical eyes can perceive it, and it's in the book carefully dissected, analyzed, and ultimately answered by the professor from UP.
Though I deeply sympathize with the displaced and dispossessed peasants and farmers(including the Korean farmer Lee Kyung Hae who took his own life in protest against the WTO in 2003), there are still a lot of "new" thoughts (or maybe late realizations) in this book that really made me think again of my personal views on this currently hyped Global Age. Perhaps, this might be the best description of this book and I encourage you all to read this one.
Here are examples of those points:
---Agrofuel (biodiesel, ethanol, etc.) as a renewable source of energy still contributes to global warming and cannot be considered as a solution (or the lesser evil, if you want to push it) to climate change. ---The best solution to Global Warming is still, cut the energy consumption. We are all guilty of overconsumption. ---Unless they make policies in favor of the peasants, the World Trade Organization will always be nasty. And the World Bank-IMF, nastier. ---The biggest investor in the Philippines is...the government itself! ---There are double standards in the international free trade rules and it sucked. ---The Food Sovereignty paradigm proposed by Via Campesina and their advocates is a sound plan that values the back-to-nature principles of farming and the community-centered food production. This will be the biggest headache of the transnational capitalists and profit-centered policymakers. ---Agrarian Reform Program in the Philippines will never succeed as long as the lawmakers (Members of the House of Representatives) are landlords themselves. The President PNOY himself is also a landlord! ---Land is now the desired commodity
This book is an eye-opener, and a paradigm shifter too. Too bad, we are living in an extremely Capitalistic World and majority of the people will never understand him. (less)
The story is not that original as what I wanted to expect from Neil Gaiman and I think that P. Craig Russell should also take the credit for his artwo...moreThe story is not that original as what I wanted to expect from Neil Gaiman and I think that P. Craig Russell should also take the credit for his artwork in this graphic novel edition.
Traditionally, we know that Angels have a higher level of being and divinity (compared to man) being the messengers of God and servants of His will. For some readers, seeing the Angels becoming like mere mortals under the influence of Eros may be a great thing, but it didn't work that much for me.
Still, I give both Gaiman and Russell 3 stars for the gutsy adaptation of a short story (written by Gaiman himself) into the form of graphical fiction. (less)