Catcher in the Rye is the story of a teenager, Holden Caulfield, who tells us about a few days of his life after he got expelled from school; it is aCatcher in the Rye is the story of a teenager, Holden Caulfield, who tells us about a few days of his life after he got expelled from school; it is a marvelous story with a unique style and an intriguing plot. I believe this is one of my favorite novels.
Even though I loved this novel; I cannot say it would appeal to everybody. For one thing, its language is not proper, and is full of all sorts of swearing. Additionally, nothing much really happens in the story, so people who like stories with lots of action might not like it. The interesting aspect in this novel is the depth of character that Holden had, and your own reflection on this character. At least that's how I see it.
I liked Holden, at least towards the end. It's true he is a failure, and he is so negative, yet there is a good guy inside him. His main problem is that he lives in a society with a different value system than his own, which is something we stop very little to think about. What the majority thinks is right is not necessarily the right thing; the best way of life might not be wasting over twenty, or maybe even thirty, years in formal education.
I think the thing I loved most about this novel is that it is very real. Holden really exists, and we rarely even listen to guys like him and see how they think. The author made us hear Holden, and not just that; I felt bad when Holden decided to stop telling us more. I wish he did. ...more
Pride and Prejudice is special for many reasons; for one, its style and language – albeit sometimes difficult – are delightful beyond comparison. OldPride and Prejudice is special for many reasons; for one, its style and language – albeit sometimes difficult – are delightful beyond comparison. Old texts are often dry and hard to read, which is discouraging to readers. I truly loved the way some words are used, and wished language would still be dealt with the same way. I wonder; is it really the language of the age, or a superior skill Jane Austen possessed?
The way culture is portrayed is also very interesting; it is too different than any I have observed, but – I feel – closer to our culture than the western culture. The way it works is so annoying at times, but at others it is just perfect.
Character development is superior in this novel; the author knew how to build our hatred towards some characters. Lydia I learned to truly despise as time went on, just as others would; her mother I never liked anymore than herself, and felt pity for those who had to tolerate her before the novel started and after its conclusion.
Mr. Darcy I hated at first; just like others did, I prejudiced him! I shared Lizzy's feelings toward him in almost all parts of the story (Not that I loved him the same way she did, you get my point!), how better-done can the story be? Elizabeth Bennet; charming! I will not enumerate every character in the novel and mention how I felt about them, but what I mean to convey is: I felt like I got into the novel, and I love it.
Is it perfect though? Not really; not for me at least. I would have hoped for a novel that contained less difficult expressions, just so that I can get more out of it. Sometimes I felt really lost and had to reread a few times – without anymore luck even! ...more
Memoirs of a Geisha is an amazing novel that discusses the life of a Geisha, a Japanese artist-entertainer. Both its very exotic setting, with its extMemoirs of a Geisha is an amazing novel that discusses the life of a Geisha, a Japanese artist-entertainer. Both its very exotic setting, with its extremely different value system, and its fascinating plot, which grabs your interest early on and keeps you waiting for more all along, contribute to making this novel a special book worthy of reading.
The best quality in this novel, in my opinion, is the way the narrator (Chiyo), tells the story. Her reflections concerning much of the events in the novel are very similar to those of the reader. At least I felt I could connect with her, and approved of – even if I didn't always agree with – many of her actions. The pain she suffered is well-depicted in the novel, we almost start to feel that pain with her; we often share the same surprises with her about the different things a geisha should or should not do, and even share the pleasures of success regardless of the fact that most of us despise the geisha way of life.
A slave, sold by your own family, and trained for the sole purpose of pleasuring men, whether you like it or not. Imagine living such a life; I know I cannot. Yet, at some point, you are happy that Chiyo succeeded in becoming a geisha. If that's an indication of anything, it's the skills of the author.
They say a geisha is no prostitute; well, that may be true, but as the story truly shows, the main revenue for a geisha is through sex, at least when she is a successful one. To me, sex for money, no matter how much you sugar coat it, is still some form of prostitution.
I don't like what she did with Nobu, but I understand her perspective. Our emotions are not necessarily affected by how other people treat us, but by how we feel about their behavior. The chairman in my opinion was much more the Chiyo type than Nobu is, and her dedication to reach him amazes me, though not the methods she used to achieve it after her desperation.
The destruction of Hatsumomo was, in my opinion, the brightest point in the story. I feel that the story, and the geisha life, has changed forever after the Second World War, so Chiyo, or any other geisha at the time for that matter, could not have been more successful after the war, nor could the story be more fun.
Yet, another bright point was the encounter with the Chairman. Since Pumpkin caused the Chairman to run into Chiyo and the Minister, I knew the Chairman and Chiyo are going to have a future together. In fact, when Iwamura Electric called for Chiyo to the Ichiriki Teahouse, I guessed – correctly – that Nobu won't be there, but the Chairman.
The most disappointing thing in this novel, in my opinion, is the way the author talked about the US. If the novel had talked about any other place than his country, this might have been tolerable, but when an American author, writing a novel that takes place in Japan for the most part, makes the main character fall in love with the US, and talks about it like a country much better than Japan, there is something wrong. Unless, and I hope this is the case, he did this mainly because the actual geisha upon which he based his novel had described this to him. Then I might accept it. ...more
This book discusses the origin of the universe, its future, and the way it could have developed to its current state, and bases all that on physics. IThis book discusses the origin of the universe, its future, and the way it could have developed to its current state, and bases all that on physics. It dives into the part of physics whose sole aim is to devise a unified theory that describes everything in the universe, or at least do that as much as possible.
The book starts out by discussing theories as they developed, beginning with theories we all are familiar with and consider trivial, and then showing how they have proven to be wrong in describing special events. After that it dives into the theory of relativity, and shows how this theory fails at a certain point. Following that, it discusses quantum mechanics, which seems to become important at the point where the theory of relativity failed.
Then, the book goes on trying to combine these theories along with other ideas to reach the unified theory. It does not exactly get there by the end of the book, but this does not make the book any less wonderful.
A Brief History of Time is not a source of information as much as a mind opener. It provides a new vision of the world, in a form of an interesting model. It does not delve into the physics part of these theories as much as the philosophical part. It shows how human thought tries to solve the problems they have, and more importantly, that we always do not know the full truth, even when we think we do.
Theories discussed in this book all had problems. Many of them we could not even find observations for that match the predictions. However, they are the result of thoughts. They are sometimes merely put based on what we observe, and one more observation simply destroys them.
According to [Stephen Hawking], it has not been proven that time travel is impossible. It has not been done, and it is not likely that it would, but he provides an explanation on how this could be made, if the universe matched some certain models.
This book also shows one very interesting thing. It shows that a big part of science is an attempt to prove the inexistence of God. They keep trying, and it gets harder every time they go further. And even at the end, when Stephen Hawking could get to describe a self-contained boundary-less universe, there was the question of how this universe came to be.
Even if we try to model a perfectly self-contained universe in which no supreme intervention is needed, this does not mean that 1) supreme intervention is not possible, and 2) this universe created its own. The fact that the universe is very sophisticated only suggests that thought should have been put into it, and that it is not created by random.
There is a theory called the anthropic theory, which I understand as: The universe is the way it is because this is the only way there could have been intelligent beings who would at the end ask "How did the universe come to be that way?" and question their very own existence. I personally find this theory very cyclic, and see that it simply calls for the thought of the existence of God anyway.
Another way to get away from the idea of God was to suggest that an infinite number of universes exist, and that we live in this one because it is the one whose properties are suitable for our life. Nice explanation, but why is it more 'sensible' than the idea of a supreme being? It is so simply because it does not expect you to believe in a supreme being, I suppose. I do not deny the thought that God could have created various universes, but that is beside the point.
At any rate, I am just simply providing some of the thoughts that result from reading this book. I enjoyed it to the fullest, and I intend to read its sequel, The Universe In a Nutshell sometime in the future. ...more
While the book is not the ultimate bit of art, the least I can say about it is that it is worth reading. I wish I could tweak it a bit and adjust someWhile the book is not the ultimate bit of art, the least I can say about it is that it is worth reading. I wish I could tweak it a bit and adjust some of the wording issues, and that would make it much better. One of the biggest problems the author has is that he loves repeating stuff, sometimes to a really annoying extent.
The story simply discusses the author's view of what would happen after a person dies, which is, as he says, meeting five people who make him understand the world better. The story walks us through the 5 people Eddie (The main character in the story) meets in heaven, and at the same time tells us the story of his life in a somehow nice fashion. ...more
This book talks about punctuation; the signs we use less and less as time goes on. I'm bad at using them - as you should have realized from reading thThis book talks about punctuation; the signs we use less and less as time goes on. I'm bad at using them - as you should have realized from reading the above lines, but I try my best. The book talked a bit about the how of using these punctuation marks, but it concentrated more on their value, the artistic feel to them, and their sorry decay.
Let's say that I did not find the book special, but it was very much worth reading. I like two main things about it: It contains information I really needed, since I do want to improve my English skills; moreover, the writing style, opinions, and feel of the writer reminds me of many of you - grammar nazis (Should I have an apostrophe in nazis? ;))!
Oh! And there is one thing I really disagree with the author about: The use of emoticons. If you're going to support some 'punctuation' mark that was new in the 17th century, why would you not accept one that has become new recently? Why are we humans so slow in accepting change?
Emoticons, while currently in fashion, are really descriptive punctuation marks. They have not developed fully to be acceptable in professional writing, but this will come. I already feel the need to add a smiley here and there in my exam sheets; it just feels right!
Hmm, now that I have abused all the signs discussed in this book (Or wait, I would still hyphenate some word and use some elipses, those were used in the book and I have to be a picky smart-ass ... done!), I would like to ask you to tell me as many mistakes as you can find.
P.S. I missed the brackets too, but you'll forgive me for that! Here are a few brackets for you ][][....more
Tuesdays with Morrie is a real story that occurred to [Mitch Albom] himself. Morrie Schwartz, a professor Mitch has been taught by during his universiTuesdays with Morrie is a real story that occurred to [Mitch Albom] himself. Morrie Schwartz, a professor Mitch has been taught by during his university years, gets ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis – a disease), which results in Mitch remembering his old professor and deciding to visit him. This book talks about the journey Morrie had to take towards his death, and the way it affects Mitch, along with the memories it raises. By the end of the book, I had some tears in my eyes; it was touching.
Having read two of Mitch Album's books by now, I can say that I do not like his style of writing. The way he tries to jump from the past to the present and the other way around is just not good, and his use of the present tense is way too overdone. I do believe, however, that the contents of his books are worth reading something not all that well-written.
Morrie was a wise guy; I admit. Yet, not everything he said I agree with or approve of. He tried to sound above-it-all, but that did not work all the time. One instance that really annoyed me – and is the reason why I am writing this paragraph anyway – is when he started talking about aging. Aging, he says, is something we should be looking for. Oh yeah? That's what I call sour grapes, dear Morrie. If you're interested in his reasons, you can always go read the book. I do not want to spoil too much of the book's contents.
Do you fear death?
I guess I do, somehow. I feel I have not done enough – if any – good in this world to not be afraid of what's coming next. To be honest, I'm not just afraid of death itself; I'm afraid of aging before it and becoming helpless; I'm afraid of potential pain that could come just before I have my last breath; I'm definitely afraid of what happens beyond death, when I'm left to be judged for the good and the bad I have done; when all I have left is the forgiveness of God, and his mercy.
Morrie thinks it's lucky to die slowly; you get enough time to correct what you want corrected, he believes. That's a lovely way to think of it; none of us would want to die suddenly with things needing to be finished or corrected. Nonetheless, is it really lucky to see yourself decay and get weaker day by day, there is nothing more dreadful than slow increasing pain that has no end but death.
When I was a kid, I always wanted to write this story about the guy who gets told he has x days to live; after which he'd die. Tuesdays with Morrie is just that very same story, but it is too different than what I had in mind; it's nowhere like the one I would have written.
In my story, the dead guy would do everything he wants to do, he'd entertain himself, and do all the good things he would miss when dead. He'd go look at the world, and try all the interesting things out there; he'd simply do one thing: Be selfish in his last few days. Morrie's is just the opposite, and it happens to be a really story. So afterall, I will never write my story, Morrie's story is way more impressive....more
Pattern Recognition is [William Gibson]'s most recent novel. It is the second novel I read by him, after his well-known Neuromancer. Pattern RecognitiPattern Recognition is [William Gibson]'s most recent novel. It is the second novel I read by him, after his well-known Neuromancer. Pattern Recognition was more enjoyable than I had expected, yet not of the quality I would expect from William Gibson.
In his previous novels, the author created a world of his own (e.g. The Sprawl), which is not the case here; this made his task – I believe – much harder. Pattern Recognition is set in the present world; the post-911 era. A big part of the story (its sole, in fact) occurs in the Internet, and the characters of the story drink coffee in Starbucks and use Hotmail; supposedly just like we do.
That's where I criticize the work; while well-written and interesting, I get the feeling that William Gibson is not really into this world he is trying to portray to us. He is trying to make his character look as avid computer and Internet users while he does not seem to have enough background to do so. I respect his efforts in this regard, but I think William Gibson could've done better.
His writing style is – as ever – difficult, but enjoyable; he does not always say the full story – at least not in the correct time, yet he expects you to grasp it on your own. Neuromancer was more so, but the style can still be felt in Pattern Recognition; I would have thought this is because I'm not a native speaker, and his informal style could possibly make it hard for me; however, other native speakers have told me the very same thing about his works. My lack of English expertise might just make it more difficult.
That said, I still loved this book, and I felt sorry when it was over because I wanted more. The plot – I admit – is quite unrealistic with its many twists, but it's a novel and that sometimes makes a novel better! Why not just appreciate it? I intend to read more of his books in the near future, after I take a break by reading some other works....more
Catch-22 is a term I knew since I was pretty young; in the past, it was a mere term to me, and I have never associated it with a book (Or a movie, forCatch-22 is a term I knew since I was pretty young; in the past, it was a mere term to me, and I have never associated it with a book (Or a movie, for that matter). I learned it from my father and did not know how did it come to be (He did not either; he learned it from someone else). Somehow I felt a special affinity towards this term; it was not a common one around here and nobody else, except my dad, seemed to know it; I explained it sometimes to friends of mine. To me, all it meant was: A situation in which someone is going to lose no matter what they do, and these losses are of similar nature.
A few months ago, I learned – somehow – that Catch-22 is in fact a novel. I decided then that I should read it, and a few weeks ago I got the book and put it in my planned readings list.
Catch-22 is a very interesting novel. It takes place during the Second World War, and displays – through interesting wit, imagination, and extreme sense of humor – the life the American army encountered there; mostly through Yossarian's struggle to return home and the lives of people around him during this period.
I enjoyed reading it – mostly – but there was a catch (Not Catch-22 though, luckily!); the novel started out by jumping through time – back and fourth – and providing loosely related bits and pieces of these people's lives; that was not hard to follow – I used the number of missions to keep track of the chronological order, but the lack of a continuous plot made the novel feel like short stories, and – to be honest – feel boring at times. I almost decided to stop before reaching half the book; it took me around a week to get there; suddenly though, the story started to come together and start being really enjoyable (That was almost halfway the book). Only then did I start to love Catch-22 as much as I expected to at first, and I read the second half in almost one day.
I loved the logic [Joseph Heller] used there, the catch and all; the circular arguments were sometimes amazing – especially since they are almost realistic! The way he portrayed bureaucracy was impressive. I loved the Chaplain; hated Whitecomb; enjoyed Milo; laughed at Cathcart, Peckem, Dreedle, and Korn; empathized with Nately; I respected Yossarian deeply, as he proved to be the man!
I'd have cut out some bits to make it more continuous and enjoyable; I hated the monotone that started to appear at some point, but other than that, it is really a great book and definitely worth reading! I have got its sequel, Closing Time, and I look forward to reading it at some point. ...more
Reading Lolita in Tehran is an autobiography of the life of its author, [Azar Nafisi]; by describing her life, the author gave a very interesting depiReading Lolita in Tehran is an autobiography of the life of its author, [Azar Nafisi]; by describing her life, the author gave a very interesting depiction of the life in Iran after the revolution. As an expert and a teacher in literature, she colored the autobiography with a touch of literature; novels, as one probably would guess, had a major role in this book. Some of them gave her an explanation of certain situations, others suggested solutions, and she was always on the watch for these hints.
This is one of the most wonderful books I have read; it very clearly displays the effect of radicalism on people of political and religious backgrounds; it shows the pain of war, the constant fear, and gives very good insight on the Iran-Iraq war.
I do not claim to agree with all of her opinions, I don't; I sometimes felt that she herself is doing exactly as the regime did to her, displaying an extreme and inaccurate perspective, or taking an action that would only hurt her in the end.
Additionally, while I have enjoyed reading her stories, some of them work just too well for her to be real; everybody just happens to have the right quotes to say at the right time, oh, except for those who aren't on her side. Oh well, but then again I may be wrong.
There is one thing I felt bad about while reading the book; some of the novels discussed in details there are Lolita and Pride and Prejudice, which I have read, but others, like The Great Gastby, Daisy Miller and Invitation to a Beheading I haven't read, and through what I read about them in the book, they seem to be indeed worth reading; unfortunately though, reading about them in the book spoiled them for me, since the ends of these novels were actually mentioned in the book.
Islam was criticized a lot in this book, but most of the things they criticized are things I personally oppose. Ayatollah Khomeni (And the Iranian regime in general) is a Shi'ite Muslim, and I am a Sunni Muslim; there are many differences between the two. I am no expert in the Shi'ite belief, and wouldn't want to say invalid information about it (I am not sure if what Khomeni says is followed by all Shi'ites—and I believe a lot of the things I'll mention here are not followed by most Shi'ites), but I know that things related to having sex with minors, sex with animals, and temporary marriage are prohibited greatly in Sunni Islam. Those are things that I can recall now, among the things that struck me as shocking, but there could be more.
But overall, I am very satisfied; an extremely original narrative, and a very enjoyable biography; she knows how to make the reader smile while reading her discussions with her students, and cry at some of the painful incidents. I needed to read a book like this one....more
A Short History of Nearly Everything is an amazing history of human understanding of the world in which we live; it describes the evolution of scienceA Short History of Nearly Everything is an amazing history of human understanding of the world in which we live; it describes the evolution of science to its current state, and gives credit to those who helped get our understanding to where it is now. Humorous, yet full of useful information, this book is a masterpiece among general science books.
This book starts from the basics; building on the obvious observations we can all see, and show how humans advance with this information to deduce more and more elaborate theories about various areas of knowledge. It shows us how most new theories were rejected as radical and later embraced, and how the scientific community wasn't always fair. It goes on until it reaches the current human knowledge in these areas, and shows us how lacking this knowledge is, and how much more we humans need to learn.
In addition to the huge sum of information provided in this book; the author keeps reminding us how lucky (Or, well, unlucky, if you don't like your existence) we are to exist. How many factors had to be just right for us to be here, and how delicate our existence is.
The author made a good deal of effort to get this book done, and he did a good job in my opinion. I doubt he was fully accurate in everything he mentioned, but his effort is appreciated nonetheless. He went and talked to scientists in various fields, visited a lot of relevant places, and read a lot. He produced 400 pages that are well worth everything we study in high school about science, in my opinion; the actual science without the attached gory math.
I recommend this to everybody who likes reading about science. You might find much of the actual information very trivial, depending on your area of expertise, but I believe you'll still learn a lot from this book; if not the science itself then how it evolved, who the people who brought it were really, and – most importantly – how little we know and how much there is for us to discover yet. You just should read it....more
In The Art of Deception, [Kevin Mitnick] discusses the thing he's best at: Social Engineering. Social engineering is the term used in computer securitIn The Art of Deception, [Kevin Mitnick] discusses the thing he's best at: Social Engineering. Social engineering is the term used in computer security to describe the manipulation of humans in order to break through a security barrier, and is sometimes referred to as hacking the mind.
In the first chapter of his book, usually referred to as The Lost Chapter (As it wasn't published with the final version of the book), Kevin Mitnick tries to convince his readers that he is innocent – or at least that he isn't a "criminal". I believe he made good points in this chapter, and wish it was published.
The book isn't about Mitnick, though; it's about social engineering. If he was ever on the dark side, he is no longer there. He now works as a security consultant, and this book is designed to help improve security awareness, and help us all avoid being deceived by social engineers.
The bulk of this book consists of different stories of social engineers getting their job done, followed by advice on how to avoid such kinds of attacks. Just like any security book, this book can also help the bad guys improve their skills, because it offers many ideas on how you can trick people; however, if the good guys read the book, they would laugh at the bad guys' attempts and say "Ha, I know that one!" No, really!
The idea of the book is very interesting, and some of its stories are really smart; however, I must admit that it gets a bit repetitive towards the end. The authors are trying to separate different stories into different chapters, but the differences between the ideas in these stories are sometimes so small.
The ideas represented in this book are applicable to more than just computer-related systems (Hey, you don't have to use them to steal money, but they're good to know anyway!); however, due to the fact that information is closely associated with computing nowadays, you'll usually find a lot of technical details in the book. But anyway, as long as you use a computer, you'll most likely be fine reading it!
The authors have just completed a new book, The Art of Intrusion. It looks like it is going to be more technical, and more geared toward hacking than social engineering. I probably will give it a try sometime. ...more
A Wrinkle in Time is a children's fantasy novel with a significant element of science fiction; its thoughtful ideas, intriguing plot and amusing conveA Wrinkle in Time is a children's fantasy novel with a significant element of science fiction; its thoughtful ideas, intriguing plot and amusing conversation style make it enjoyable to read; yet, it often borders on being overdone.
The novel tells us about Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin, and there travel in the universe in order to rescue Meg and Charles Wallace's father. Just like every rescue novel, this was not exactly easy.
The novel was generally good; however, it had some problems in my opinion. I do not like it when novel try to push knowledge down your throat, especially on matters like religion. They do that a lot in children's novels, assuming that children aren't smart to pick up implications on their own (so they just put it right out). Children are smart, and they do understand; we should not underestimate them. This novel did try that with many subjects, not just religion.
My other problem with this novel is how far the author's imagination gets sometimes. I like some imagination, and don't mind it, but this gets too much. A good fantasy novel, in my opinion, should give the reader enough enforcement of the world rules they have already been shown before bringing up new rules or exceptions. Why is it almost different every time they tesseract? The story doesn't give enough feel of consistency. ...more