Do you remember when you were little and you sneaked up with your mates to the basement or the attic to share ghost stories or the most recent creepyDo you remember when you were little and you sneaked up with your mates to the basement or the attic to share ghost stories or the most recent creepy local event? Or even when you had contests on what was the scariest tale? No? Well then, I’m very sorry for your childhood. I consider storytelling a basilar part of growing up and spooky narratives can obviously captivate a kid’s curious attention and scare the hell out of them, at the end, and maybe share a good laugh with his or her little friends. As a matter of fact, I don’t think it is healthy for a child not to wander in these darker realms but then again I’ve never been a usual child, but I digress… Don’t expect an entangled plot, adorned by a creative writing. Don’t expect psychological in-depth. Don’t expect horrid manipulated photographs. This is a story to be told from the kid who’s sneaking up inside us to a group of wide-eyed children, pending on every word we may utter. [If you’ve never experienced this, I greatly recommend it. I do hope I’ll get the chance to read this one aloud to an eager audience.] All in all, it can be a disappointing read when you’re not a child or a young adult or simply young at heart, but it was very well entangled with the photographs and turned out to be a pleasant book. Oh I almost forgot, I’ll leave you with a final thought - all of the photographs are vintage, authentic pieces, collected over the years by dedicated enthusiasts. ...more
If you’re in the mood for some light reading, about a Celtic warrior-queen and aren’t expecting too much historical detail, this book might be a goodIf you’re in the mood for some light reading, about a Celtic warrior-queen and aren’t expecting too much historical detail, this book might be a good choice. Better yet if you’re a Marion Zimmer Bradley’s fan and therefore are curious about the ancient Celtic culture and creed. Although this was not written by the author of “Mists of Avalon”, her colleague Diana L. Paxson does justice to her investigations about Boudica. “Ravens of Avalon” is set in Britannia like most of the Avalon series and shares the religious background that “Mists of Avalon” magically presented us to. Nevertheless, it’s the only aspect they share, since the historical onsets are quite different. Being this fictional, I was presented with a much more insecure and subdued (perhaps, more human?) main character than I expected and found the writing quite plain. Another downside of this novel was the anticlimactic lack of detail, mainly in the battle chapters. When you’re reading about a bellic legend that finally asserts herself and her people against the Romans, you certainly don’t expect her to lose consciousness to the Lady of Ravens and simply wake up after the warfare is over, do you? All in all, it’s a useful read to learn a bit about Boudica and the romance she lived in such harsh times for the Celtic people, but I’m afraid it didn’t live up to my expectations. ...more
What would happen if Satan were to alight on a modern metropolis like Moscow and wreak havoc in it? That's just one of the questions asked and answereWhat would happen if Satan were to alight on a modern metropolis like Moscow and wreak havoc in it? That's just one of the questions asked and answered in this twentieth-century Russian classic, which is said to have been the inspiration for the Rolling Stones song 'Sympathy for the Devil'. Bulgakov's Satan is not necessarily purely evil; he just punishes sceptics and greedy people, and does so in extremely creative ways. He has a lot of personality, and if that weren't enough, he also has a fascinating retinue of demons and zombies who gleefully go about creating their own brand of creative mischief. The result, as you might expect, is an orgy of chaos in which people get killed, scared out of their wits, humiliated and spirited away, usually in fairly inventive ways. It's hard not to admire Bulgakov's imagination in these scenes; he really does come up with some outrageous stuff, and except for the one chapter in which one of the main characters flies over Moscow on a broomstick, you'll buy it… even the gun-toting cat who cannot be killed. That's how good his writing is. The prose flows kineticly, bouncing the reader from the time of Pontius Pilate to 20th century Moscow to a ball in honour of Satan and back again, all the while paying extreme attention to the tiniest minutiae of any one character's actions. Not suprisingly then, it manages to convey well the sense of chaos that descends on Moscow when a quad of ostensible black magicians come to town. The translated text conjures in my mind imagery somewhere Franz Kafka and Belleville Rendezvous although this can't have been the authors intention for reasons of terminus ante quem! Whether there are political undertones to the book it is hard to tell as I know little of Russia during this period. Stalin, however deemed The Master and Margarita to be subversive and therefore saw fit to ban it and in fact all of Bulgakov's works (to go hand in hand with other 'subversive' works by Shostakovich, Eisenstein, etc). Most of these have now been post-humously published. I would thoroughly recommend you get hold of a copy any which way you can and jump on board for a non-stop fantastical riot. ...more
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH. These sentences keep echoing in my head. This dystopian novel reveals a fictional dictatorshiWAR IS PEACE.
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY.
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH. These sentences keep echoing in my head. This dystopian novel reveals a fictional dictatorship of the Big Brother. Where memories and language are controlled, even people’s thoughts become more and more restrained in time, until contrary concepts become one in its (nonexistent) meaning. It was quite a frightening read. Although I don’t believe Orwell wrote it as a premonition of any sort, its futuristic analysis of political power seems quite familiar in some ways. The main character Winston Smith will probably not gain much of the reader’s appreciation for he’s "a new kind of hero: one who loses." (Faulks on Fiction 2011, p. 79). In his struggle to subvert the system, he acknowledges his death will be the pay for future freedom. YOU. ARE. THE. DEAD. George has an uncanny ability to get to the base of the human psyche, at times suggesting that we need to be at war for many different reasons, whether it's at war with ourselves or with others. That is one thing I have never fathomed: why humans feel the need to destroy and control each other. Its psychological depth makes it a captivating read. It's groundbreaking yet at the same time, purely classic. Ahead of its time, yet timeless. ...more
I think I’m still assimilating this book and probably will never absorb all of its greatness. Climbing up this mountain is surely not for the light-heI think I’m still assimilating this book and probably will never absorb all of its greatness. Climbing up this mountain is surely not for the light-hearted and I’m not sure I’ve ever read something as rich and as worthy of a second (perhaps third, fourth?) read. Over 800 pages of growth of a young, naive man – Hans Castorp- whose ideologies are being disputed by peculiar characters such as Settembrini, a boisterous Italian literary humanist, and Naphta, a sharp-tonged communist Jesuit. Set in an ethereal tuberculosis sanatorium in the Swiss Alps, where time finds an unique way of (non-)existence, Hans finds himself spending there seven years of his life, while he intended to be back in a few weeks after visiting his cousin Joachim. Thomas Mann depictures thus the numbness and the sickness of a society that could only be awakened by the roaring thunder of World War I. I can only recommend a book that has just jumped up to my top ten. Thoroughly and elegantly written, a novel about dualities that has absolutely put Thomas Mann as an aim to my next reads. ...more