Surprisingly, I had never read this book before but wished I had. It was brilliant. This story is only 107 pages long, but it is powerful in its simplSurprisingly, I had never read this book before but wished I had. It was brilliant. This story is only 107 pages long, but it is powerful in its simplicity.
George and Lennie, two migrant farm workers, are studies in opposites: small and large, quick-tempered and docile, quick-witted and slow. They are held together by a vision of a self-sufficient life on a farm they own together.
They find work in California's Salinas Valley, dreams within reach, but like "the best-laid schemes of mice and men," things begin to fall apart.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. If you haven't read it -- stop right now, and go do it! Go!...more
Former President Jimmy Carter ponders what he contends are key problems facing our country in this century in a string of essay-style arguments. ThemeFormer President Jimmy Carter ponders what he contends are key problems facing our country in this century in a string of essay-style arguments. Themes include war, the environment, civil liberties, the growing divide between rich and poor Americans, and the separation of church and state. He discusses each by referencing his experiences and religious convictions but manages to refrain from being seen as preaching his religious beliefs. Even at his most vehement, he manages to communicate effectively by commanding attention with his firm grasp of the various subjects. The former President is one of the most respected voices in the areas of human rights, diplomacy, and democracy. Some people may be turned off by his unapologetic references to his baptist upbringing, but his arguments are strong and should be respectfully considered. ...more
The premise is simple: a vampire named Louis tells his 200-year-long life story to a reporter. It’s the execution of it that makes the book special anThe premise is simple: a vampire named Louis tells his 200-year-long life story to a reporter. It’s the execution of it that makes the book special and a modern authority on vampires.
Anne Rice uses the flashback technique, anchoring the story in the present while discussing the past and allowing the story to be told in the first-person perspective by Louis. Rice also mixes up the tempo. Calm and easy scenes are juxtaposed with scenes full of violence. The resulting tension gives the story a creepy and dangerous undertone. Themes include immortality and loss of innocence. Louis finds immortality more of a curse than a gift. He contemplates suicide on occasion but finds his will to live too strong to act. By far, the strongest theme is the loss of innocence. The entire book is about Louis’ discovery of his new life and the world at large. It’s his vampire coming of age story. Claudia also loses her innocence in a profound way. She is turned as a child and becomes a violent predator, maturing in mind but never in body. One of the few weaknesses involves characterization. Rice’s characterizations are soft. Louis is, at times, shy and emotionally sensitive, and at other times, he is vicious and indifferent. Lestat also seems to be at odds with himself. He is cynical and violent, yet sometimes acts in a thoughtful and educated manner. However, Claudia’s characterizations are the most lacking. She is a monster with little personality. After reading and watching so many vampire-related books, movies, and television shows in the past, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I would recommend it to others in a heartbeat. ...more
**spoiler alert** The play is set in and near the house of Leonato, governor of Messina, a small township in Italy. Prince Don Pedro, his bastard brot**spoiler alert** The play is set in and near the house of Leonato, governor of Messina, a small township in Italy. Prince Don Pedro, his bastard brother Don John, and two soldiers Claudio and Benedick stop at Leonato's home following a war. Claudio instantly falls in love with Leonato's only child Hero whom Don Pedro formally obtains for him. While waiting for the wedding day, the happy couple and friends amuse themselves by tricking Benedick and Leonato's niece Beatrice, verbal adversaries who share a sharp wit and a contempt for conventional love, into believing that they are hopelessly in love with each other.
Meanwhile, Don John, plots to destroy the match between Claudio and Hero by employing Borachio and Conrade to frame Hero as wanton. After planting the suspicion in the minds of Claudio and Don Pedro, Don John lures the duo to witness her transgression. They see Borachio talking to Hero's maid - who they assume to be Hero - through Hero's window in the dark of night. Convinced by this hoax, Claudio refuses Hero at the altar and disgraces her before the town. Her family chooses to let everyone believe Hero died of shock while they work to prove her innocence. Beatrice and Benedick confess their love for each other in the aftermath of this tragedy.
Two night watchmen discover the plot when they overhear Borachio discussing his crime. The local police bring the evidence to the prince and Leonato. Hero is vindicated, and Claudio grieves for her "death". Leonato insists that Claudio marry another of his nieces who is very similar to Hero in looks. He agrees and meets his masked bride at the alter where she reveals herself to be Hero. They are joyously married. Benedick then asks Beatrice if she will marry him, and after some arguing they agree.
This is my favorite Shakespeare play. Love it! Love it! Love it! While I enjoy the play's main impetus - the highs and lows of the relationship between young lovers Hero and Claudio, it is the courtship between the older, supposedly wiser lovers Benedick and Beatrice that makes the play so memorable and brings me back again and again. Benedick and Beatrice argue with a wickedly sharp wit and have a history filled with antagonism. The verbal war between the two is fascinating and entertaining each and every time I read it, bringing more enjoyment with each reading. The eventual evolution of their relationship from witty adversaries to sincere lovers brings real humor and compassion to the play. Benedick and Beatrice are older and more mature than most couples in Shakespeare's comedies but reveal themselves, by their unhealthy verbal competitions, to be childish and less knowledgeable than others in the ways of love.
I also recommend watching a live performance, but the film version with Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson as Benedick and Beatrice is exceptional. ...more
Cheney provides a turbulent account of bipolar disorder. Her broken recollections mirror her disoriented extremes - from soul-killing despair and lethCheney provides a turbulent account of bipolar disorder. Her broken recollections mirror her disoriented extremes - from soul-killing despair and lethargy to the out-of-control exuberance and impetuousness. Caught in her impulsive behaviors, she shifts from numerous seductions - men and danger - to suicide attempts - danger and death. Her memoir exposes the frustration inherent in bipolar disorder - the difficulty to sustain relationships and employment as well as the inability to judge your own emotional state. The eternal questions - how happy is too happy? how sad is too sad? Do the side effects of the medications outweigh the benefits of treating the symptoms?
The most disturbing part of this book is the cold detachment with which she describes her own rape and suicide attempts as if it had happened to a stranger. It makes me that much more appreciative that my own bipolar disorder has never led to most of these situations, and I have found a medication regimen that is effective in controlling my symptoms....more
Harry's story continues in my favorite book of the series.
In this third adventure in the life of the boy who lived, we are introduced to Hogsmeade, aHarry's story continues in my favorite book of the series.
In this third adventure in the life of the boy who lived, we are introduced to Hogsmeade, a purely magical village, Azkaban, a magical prison, Professor Sibyll Trelawney, one of my absolute favorite professors, as well as Sirius Black, my very own Gary Oldman fantasy. While Voldemort is not present, Harry and company expose his servants who are plotting ways to bring Voldemort back to full health and power. The end of the book is slightly unresolved and leaves many questions to be addressed in the fourth book. While the first book addresses the morality of immortality and the second book exposes the fallacy of racism and the worth of pure bloodlines, the third book looks deeply at mistrusted allies, trusted double agents, and the injustice of a fear-driven legal system.
Foer provides a compassionate and honest voice in the polarizing debate on both meat-eating and the factory farms that meet the ever-increasing demandFoer provides a compassionate and honest voice in the polarizing debate on both meat-eating and the factory farms that meet the ever-increasing demand for animal products in this country and throughout the world. In an investigation spurred by the birth of his son and meeting his dietary needs, he exposes factory farms and offends our sensibilities with the harsh realities of the brief, painful existences of chickens, turkeys, pigs, cattle, and fish. It's a book that should be read by every person who pulls out a chair and sits at the dinner table.
I'd been dabbling in veganism before reading this book, but now I feel compelled to stop eating animals and animal products permanently. If I can't bring myself to kill an animal myself or witness the slaughtering process, I won't let others do it for me while I remain willfully ignorant of how meat ends up on my plate. ...more
**spoiler alert** It's the book that started a phenomenon so there's not much I can say that hasn't already been said. I remember the first time I att**spoiler alert** It's the book that started a phenomenon so there's not much I can say that hasn't already been said. I remember the first time I attempted to read it; I dismissed it as children's lit, but once I gave it a fair chance, I was enchanted by the magical world Rowling created.
Once Harry Potter -- a lonely, mistreated eleven year old orphan -- learns he is a wizard, he is set upon a course that will test his abilities, but moreover, he is set upon a course of self-discovery. He is joined in this journey by two new friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The trio find themselves entangled in a search for the sorcerer's stone which brings Harry face to face with the most feared wizard in their world, the wizard that killed his parents, and while they are successful, Harry knows that it's only a matter of time before he will have to face Voldemort again.
To those who love the movies, I highly encourage giving the books a read. It's a much richer experience. To those who've avoided the Potter phenomenon like the plague -- you're missing out on something outstanding....more
In this second book, J.K. Rowling focuses on two main themes: tolerance and personal choice.
In the magical world, there is a delineation between thoseIn this second book, J.K. Rowling focuses on two main themes: tolerance and personal choice.
In the magical world, there is a delineation between those of pureblood and those of mixed or muggle blood. The plot of the novel explores this idea through Salazar Slytherin's intention to wipe wizards with non-magical ancestors - mudbloods - from Hogwarts. Harry's ancestry is mixed - a pureblood father and muggle-born mother - while his very gifted classmate and friend Hermione Granger is muggle-born. However, Harry and Hermione are better wizards than Draco Malfoy, the heir to a pureblood family whose wizarding ancestry can be traced back for generations, proving that hard work rather than blood are more important factors in future success. Slytherin House is filled with pureblooded students that Rowling portrays as inbred and, in most cases, less intelligent than their counterparts in other houses. There are few pureblood families left but being pureblooded is a badge of honor among those who have few other accomplishments. Even those pureblooded wizards outside of Slytherin House, such as Ron Weasley and Neville Longbottom, are not as intelligent and accomplished as Hermione. On the other side of the issue, the Dursley also reinforce the idea of us versus them. They abuse Harry, verbally and physically, because of his wizarding heritage. The Dursleys, especially Vernon, pride themselves on being normal which in their minds is superior to wizarding kind.
Dumbledore explains the importance of choices when he reassures Harry that Harry was correctly sorted into Gryffindor House.
"[The Sorting Hat] only put me in Gryffindor," said Harry in a defeated voice, because I asked not to go in Slytherin." "Exactly," said Dumbledore, beaming once more. "Which makes you very different from Tom Riddle. It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."
While famous from the moment he became the boy who lived, Harry does not rely on his fame to protect him. He chooses to use each moment to learn a lesson or skill that will aid him in future endeavors. Quite simply, he is making the decisions that will shape his life and, in turn, will bring him closer to the eventual, final confrontation with Voldemort. ...more
It’s 1876, and business is bad for Emily Edwards, local witch of the tiny settlement of Lost Pine. With everyone buying patent magicks by mail-order,It’s 1876, and business is bad for Emily Edwards, local witch of the tiny settlement of Lost Pine. With everyone buying patent magicks by mail-order, she’s faced with two equally desperate options. Starve or use a love spell to marry the town's richest man.
When the love spell goes horribly wrong, Emily reluctantly accepts the aid of Dreadnought Stanton—a pompous and scholarly Warlock from New York—to set things right. Together, they travel from San Francisco’s Barbary Coast, across the United States by train and biomechanical flying machine, to New York's Mirabilis Institute, only to find that love spells are far more complicated and dangerous than either of them could ever have imagined.
It's a steampunk-western-magical romance that I discovered on Goodreads. The premise was intriguing so I decided to give it a try. I enjoyed it but would be reluctant to recommend it to others. I'm a massive nerd who likes strange things. However, if you're adventurous, give it a try. ...more