If James Joyce was a one-man literary IRA, then Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea are the literary Al Qaeda. As these groups can be viewed as either...moreIf James Joyce was a one-man literary IRA, then Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea are the literary Al Qaeda. As these groups can be viewed as either terrorists or freedom fighters, depending on your point of view, so it is with this book.
As is probably not ironic for a book considered to be the holy grail of conspiracy theory, it's definitely not difficult to perceive the Illuminatus Trilogy as an act of intellectual terrorism. This is not an easy book to read. Time, location, perspective, and identity can and do shift without warning in mid-paragraph, sometimes mid-sentence (making an interesting model for the idea of the 'collective unconscious'). The best analogy I can think of for this book is that it's like reading someone else's acid trip, and that someone else is criminally schizophrenic and watching 15 televisions at the same time.
It is definitely a product of it's generation. The copious drug use, and underlying philosophies are very typical of most of the underground cult classics of the '70s that I've read, but for the most part it's brilliantly insightful, and has many fantastic aphorisms that you'll probably want to repeat later. It's also beautifully self-satirical, which is probably a good thing because if this book took itself seriously it really might have been an act of intellectual terrorism.
You will probably either love this book, loathe it utterly, or possibly even think it's totally ridiculous. If you're not up for a difficult read, you may not want to bother. But if you do find you like it, you might be happy to know that it's a hell of a lot easier to read the second time through.
It's my understanding the Neil Gaiman wrote Neverwhere (the novel) because he was so disappointed with how Neverwhere (the BBC television series, also...moreIt's my understanding the Neil Gaiman wrote Neverwhere (the novel) because he was so disappointed with how Neverwhere (the BBC television series, also written by Gaiman), turned out. And Neverwhere (the novel) is a decent enough, as far as novels go, but compared to the rest of Neil Gaiman's work it's definitely below par. It's well written, and is full of colorful and compelling characters, but overall it seemed to me somewhat formulated, and predictable.
That said, it's probably worth reading once. The Neverwhere universe is a very interesting one, full of magic and possibility. I hope someday Neil will revisit the Neverwhere universe and, with his much matured writing skills, make full use of its potential. (less)
If you've only ever viddied the movie, do your self a favor oh my brothers, and wrap your rookers around a nice hot cup of chai, or milk-plus (if that...moreIf you've only ever viddied the movie, do your self a favor oh my brothers, and wrap your rookers around a nice hot cup of chai, or milk-plus (if that's your preference), and viddy the novel. Viddy, and viddy well my little droogies.
It's disturbing, and Bog help us all the day it's not. The horrific becomes casual, and evil--real evil--walks the streets with impunity. There is a reason this novel has held such a high place in pop-culture for so long: because it's possible; because it's a highly polished mirror held high to show society its own ugliness; because it's woven from threads of truth most of us would rather pretend don't exist; because it's haunting.
A Clockwork Orange is one of those books I think everyone should read at least once.
I would recommend finding a copy of a UK edition though, most of the copies printed in the US omitted the last chapter, and it's an important one. It totally changes the reader's relationship to Alex, and ties together the questions of free will which are otherwise left floating in the US editions. In short, that last chapter totally changes the whole tone of the novel.
"If all people learned to think in the non-Aristotelian manner of quantum mechanics, the world would change so radically that most of what we call "st...more"If all people learned to think in the non-Aristotelian manner of quantum mechanics, the world would change so radically that most of what we call "stupidity" and even a great deal of what we consider "insanity" might disappear, and the "intractable" problems of war, poverty and injustice would suddenly seem a great deal closer to solution."
This book is all about getting you to think critically about your own critical thinking. Old Bob combines ideas from quantum mechanics, relativity, general semantics, yoga, Zen-Buddhism, ethnomethodology, and even non-Euclidean geometry to completely smash the old Aristotelian world view.
This book will make you realize things about the way you think and the way you view your world that you may never have imagined. You will discover that you actually have two heads, that what you thought was logic is a joke, and that the word "is" is a damned dirty lie.
If you like to think often, or you if you only like to do a little recreational thinking on the weekends, you absolutely must read this book. (less)
I gave Gatsby kind of a low rating. It's not because I thought it was a bad book (I'm definitely glad I read it), but because I guess it's just not my...moreI gave Gatsby kind of a low rating. It's not because I thought it was a bad book (I'm definitely glad I read it), but because I guess it's just not my thing. It's like a Hemingway novel collided with the setting of a P.G. Wodehouse novel, but long after all of Wodehouse's interesting and entertaining characters had packed off back to England.
If you're not a fan of novels like The Sun Also Rises, you probably won't be a fan of this one either. (less)