When there are ambulances and fire trucks at the scene of an accident, it is so very hard to avert your eyes. But you mu“We were all young and cruel.”
When there are ambulances and fire trucks at the scene of an accident, it is so very hard to avert your eyes. But you must. What is seen can never become unseen. Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll is the disturbing portrayal of a high school tragedy of the sort we read about too often in modern headlines that, like her graphic narrative, can’t become un-seen or un-known once it hits our retinas. The usual, inexorable, social politics of humans grappling for popularity goes from horrible to unspeakable. Gripping, raw and unforgettable, this is best read with self-aware discretion. ...more
Arthur Dent’s initial problem of bulldozers destroying his home on an otherwise normal Thursday morning soon becomes miniscule compared to the demolitArthur Dent’s initial problem of bulldozers destroying his home on an otherwise normal Thursday morning soon becomes miniscule compared to the demolition of the entire planet minutes later by a fleet of Vogon constructor ships making way for a new Hyperspace Bypass. Fortunately, his friend Ford Prefect is not in fact human, owns not only a Sub Etha Senso Matic, which successfully thumbs a ride on one of the passing ships, but also happens to be a traveling reporter for the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a “wholly remarkable book,” whose cover is emblazoned with the words Don’t for times such as these which inevitably pop up.
Being a rather unpleasant Vogon, the Captain of the ship first tries to kill them with his poetry, then when that fails, chucks them into space. Just in time to not die of asphyxiation, Ford hails yet another ride with, quite literally, the most unlikely starship in the Galaxy, the Heart of Gold. Recently stolen by two-headed Zaphod Beebleblox and his girlfriend-for-the-moment Trillian, it runs on cutting edge technology fueled by the Improbability Drive, discovered by lucky chance by a janitor.
Zaphod, whose memory problems are most likely self-imposed for the safety of all involved, leads them to a fascinating planet whose sole economy caters to the ultra-rich consumers of custom planets, where they meet Slartibartfast, who is able to show them on tape how and why the earth was made, by whom, and for what purpose. Then they get shot at and saved accidentally by a depressed robot, just in time for a snack at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. ...more
Young Octavian, despite his elite education, does not know he is a slave until the horrible events of the Revolutionary War begin to upset the town ofYoung Octavian, despite his elite education, does not know he is a slave until the horrible events of the Revolutionary War begin to upset the town of Boston outside his posh residence. He has been raised as a cultured, superbly mannered prince, being taught the classics and music and mathematics well beyond the ordinary American. He has enjoyed some small fame as a musician, as well, among the highest echelons of New England society and beyond. When funding for the Project falls through, however, his status as a disposable laboratory rat comes as only the first of many graphic traumas. Soon, scarlet fever ravages the household, and death itself mocks him into near madness. He escapes his pretty prison, only to find a life barely worth living. Through the crucible of hope, betrayal and horror, he is transformed into the Traitor to the Nation as he fights against injustice. No creature can survive on its own flesh, and a nation that feeds on the lives of countless humans for its economy and protection will ultimately destroy itself. This historical novel warns that cruelty can only produce disloyalty, and that failure to learn from our past sentences us to repeat it ...more
“Nothing, I have decided, could waste precious life more than trigonometry and logarithms,” sums up the school years (“where I am ridiculed for simply“Nothing, I have decided, could waste precious life more than trigonometry and logarithms,” sums up the school years (“where I am ridiculed for simply showing up”) of Steven Patrick Morrissey, most famous face from the Smiths Indie rock band of the 1980s. Born good looking yet of old-fashioned Protestant Irish self-loathing, his only escape from morose, awkward shyness lies in literature and in music. In both, he becomes whole yet blessedly invisible, and as the years bring his band success, he shares this gift to the world’s fellow counter-cultural sufferers. Soulful, melodic, deeply intelligent, and unabashedly sardonic, he sings out loud what we were afraid to say: “Humans certainly are oddities.” We all are, and yet history is made of people killing those slightly different from us. Claiming faulty emotional development, he both fears yet longs for intimacy, creating a fascinating tension between wanting to be left alone in his sunny garden during the day, while basking in the glow of thousands of fellow oddities singing his words back to him at sold-out nighttime venues. He gives, and he receives, and he occasionally reaps that most elusive of all prizes, “the day before you as yours alone to do with as you wish....more
Oscar Wilde knew all too well the ironical value of a good reputation. His masterpiece on this theme, The Picture of Dorian Gray, portrays the war betOscar Wilde knew all too well the ironical value of a good reputation. His masterpiece on this theme, The Picture of Dorian Gray, portrays the war between the outward charm of the eponymous young man, “a type of everything that is wonderful and fascinating in life,” and the effects of his degrading lifestyle out of the public eye. Naïve and twisted by self-pride, he is easily convinced by peer pressure to flout morality, that in fact doing so is the only honest human virtue. The effect of his choices, invisible to many who know him, is transmuted to a painted portrait of him, rendered by an ardent admirer. Even at the outset, something about the painting seemed tragic and fatal, yet its beauty so attracted even the subject himself that he enshrines it within his home. Mysterious and horrifying changes begin to manifest within the painting itself as Dorian’s profligacy spirals out of control, leading to the novel’s chilling and unforgettable climax. Dorian learns that “'Each of us has Heaven and Hell in him,’” warning not only against hidden sin, but also the idolatry of a perfectly unspoiled public image....more