Eli and Charlie are the Sisters brothers, infamous killers; we read the recollections of Eli: introspective, shy, polite and chubby, he writes the stoEli and Charlie are the Sisters brothers, infamous killers; we read the recollections of Eli: introspective, shy, polite and chubby, he writes the story of a complicated job that changed his and his brother's lives. I can't say more than this for obvious reasons. The short chapters take us from Oregon to California and back, in the middle of the gold rush. Characters are mostly rough and tough frontier blokes or prostitutes, very little in between. This wouldn't be particularly conducive to a good or original read, but I found that the narration moves on thanks to Eli's polished, almost moralistic style, which is in stark contrast with the coarse people and violent actions he describes. You have to wonder how he came to be a killer and so he does. Even his brash, outspoken brother Charlie is not as simple as his actions suggest. This is a melancholic, somewhat anticlimactic story with several unexpected hilarious scenes. It made an enjoyable read....more
Il racconto del viaggio intorno al mondo di Vespaman non mi è piaciuto più di tanto. Avevo in testa un altro tipo di libro, senza ragione, e non era qIl racconto del viaggio intorno al mondo di Vespaman non mi è piaciuto più di tanto. Avevo in testa un altro tipo di libro, senza ragione, e non era questo. Il nostro eroe è sincero, scrive come mangia (male), sbaglia, si perde. È umano e ne ammiro il coraggio/stupidità, ma l'ambizione del viaggio, lunghissimo, è tale che ogni luogo viene sorvolato brevemente, per poi dover essere abbandonato in nome del viaggio stesso. Arrivato a metà mi sono spesso chiesto perché questa anima in pena si fosse imbarcata non una, ma quattro volte in queste odissee a due ruote, ostinatamente alla ricerca della difficoltà, tra luoghi brutti e spesso povertà, e pazienza che il mondo non è una cartolina. Altri viaggiano intorno al mondo, si saziano, magari lo rifanno; lui no, non si è quasi mai fermato per anni, nomade in Vespa incapace di creare qualcosa. Le peripezie del nostro mi hanno lasciato ben poco e la sua scrittura così e così non ha aiutato. Ci sono stati momenti descritti in maniera magnifica, ricordo il Sahara, il Brasile e il Perù, ma il resto è diventato una lista di toponimi e chilometraggi. Continuiamo a sognare, comunque....more
It seems like I don't digest these funny, sort-of-autobiographical books well. I can't help it: I'll laugh here and there, but I can't bear the narratoIt seems like I don't digest these funny, sort-of-autobiographical books well. I can't help it: I'll laugh here and there, but I can't bear the narrator. Mr Sedaris is, after all, just very human: a spoiled child, sometimes funny, profound in unexpected places, mostly behaving like a perfect idiot. He's making fun of his weakness and lack of direction - that's the whole point, but I find the mechanism of self-deprecating tiresome and I only get the humour half of the times, e.g. the painting episode, with its finale which just made me skip a couple of pages in anger, whereas I think it was meant to be a side-splitting gag. Or one of those insightful moments, I am just confused. We all have embarrassing episodes in our teenage / early twenty years, thankfully, and they're funny to recall among friends years later. We also enjoy the stories of our friends' stupid acts. After reading this book, I've learnt that the same does not apply for a stranger. I shall stick to fictional characters....more
This one was better than the previous two volumes in the saga, which I had read without them leaving too much of a trace behind. Good for a break betwThis one was better than the previous two volumes in the saga, which I had read without them leaving too much of a trace behind. Good for a break between books. I had at least the feeling that something was happening in this one as our heroes approached the goal of their quest. The combat scenes around which the plot revolves are fantastic. These books are sword-fighting porn, so to speak, so you just to want fast forward in between. The sub plot taking place in Rome still doesn't make any sense and the characters, mostly medieval cardinals, are pedantic and completely out of place. I will purchase the next one if it's cheap....more
The Long Earth idea has huge potential, but drags on quite a bit. Nothing really happens until about halfway through the book: the narrator does make tThe Long Earth idea has huge potential, but drags on quite a bit. Nothing really happens until about halfway through the book: the narrator does make the reader curious about the whole system, by revealing tidbits of information and that's about it - not that one should know everything, of course. Are the Earths infinite? Are they in the past? What is 'stepping' between worlds anyway? Again, huge potential and daydreaming opportunities. It often felt like reading 'The Book of the New Sun' by Wolfe: a series of beautiful images loosely connected, but not really flowing, like browsing through a medieval bestiary. This book is more fun and not creepy, mercifully. I was very biased when I started: I wanted to like this series out of adoration for Pratchett (I don't know the works of Baxter) and I can't help comparing the writing. This is not the Discworld, it's another saga with a different personality: letting go of that silly thought made it more enjoyable. I don't know if I will continue reading the series, however much the ending begs a continuation....more
The message is simple: make "art", ship it, connect to the audience, move on and make better "art". You will not always succeed, you will not make eveThe message is simple: make "art", ship it, connect to the audience, move on and make better "art". You will not always succeed, you will not make everyone happy - you shouldn't try to. After a few chapters, I started wondering what could all that "art" have to do with me (and why had I bought this book anyway?). That's because Godin throws the word "art" - no quote marks in the book - around a lot and without too much introduction, and elaborates on it extensively. The point is, "art" in this context can and is work, so also productive activities, not just painting/dancing/music etc. There you go: your work can and should be art. From the author's point of view, this is not about being fancy: the industrialist economy of making stuff, selling stuff and building a reliable, predictable consumer base is on its way, thanks to connection. The next step is a connection economy, more humanized, where it is more important to reach out and be human. In such an economy, you can't just work following the procedures, you need to make art out of work. With this definition of art, anyone can make art: it could be a product, a performance, an initiative at work, a book, anything. Someone will still be doing the production-line kind of work, in its broadest industrialist sense, not you (hah!). Key features of such art is that it creates connections with the audience, which means, not everyone; that it's risky; that nobody will pick you to do it, so don't wait and go; and that there is no other way, apparently.
This book will require some digestion. I like the message of heroism, I've grown a strong feeling against selling more stuff to a stuff-rich world - which, ironically, is my line of work - and I'm definitely up for more human connection at work. I'm rather risk-averse and for folks like me there are many catchy nuggets to be found in the pages. Many feel like genuinely good coaching: pushing, empowering, a little in your face. The nuggets are hidden in a lot of mud, so to speak and I considered dropping the book a few times, only to find another shiny nugget a few pages later. Well played!
I did not like many things in here: first of all, I expected more examples connected to the working world, naively, in hindsight: this book is about having no map and going out there, not a Harvard case study. So I appreciated the short examples at the end, at least it eased the nagging feeling that I'd been reading a pile of nothing - the author might have said that it's a reaction of the "lizard brain" exposed to something dangerous for the status quo. At times it felt like reading a brainwashing manual, since the message is delivered countless times in many nuances. A lot words are spent about connection, but on the other hand about as many are about not necessarily listening to criticism. You choose your audience as an artist, make art for them and not listen to the rest. It works logically, I just can't put my finger on why I don't like it.
I should go and make some art now, whatever it might be. Start small, fail a bit, make something bigger....more
Mettiamo da parte la trama: sapete che è un romanzo in versi liberi e parla di precariato post-lauream e post-doc. Il mondo interiore del protagonistaMettiamo da parte la trama: sapete che è un romanzo in versi liberi e parla di precariato post-lauream e post-doc. Il mondo interiore del protagonista ci viene dischiuso pagina dopo pagina: il giovane è al limite della depressione, alle prese con la transizione apparentemente impossibile oltre il mondo dell'università e del dottorato. La Padova delle vie sporche degli appartamenti studenteschi a basso prezzo, i discount con gli immigrati a margine della città e della società, le fermate degli autobus in periferia, i bar che si riconoscono, il Veneto razzistello delle vecchiette sospettose e arcigne, non aiutano. Il linguaggio risulta spesso pesante, come fosse un testo dei Marlene Kuntz che non finisce mai, ma finisce per entrare in testa e si va avanti pagina dopo pagina. Se avete vissuto Padova come studenti e conoscete il Veneto, questo libro vi colpirà con la precisione e la forza di immagini e sensazioni che avrete provato almeno una volta, anche di sfuggita, e questa precisione vi impressionerà. Di sicuro è successo a me, specie quando ho trovato sulla pagina immagini della mia città natale (Montebelluna), quei grigi autunnali sui fossi delle strade di periferia e le frasi fatte dei trevisani medi esposte come mai avevo letto. Se invece non avete molta dimestichezza con Padova e non vi interessa l'inquietudine di un veneto verso la sua regione, vi risulterà indigesto....more