This book is just short of being amazing. The plot is solid and engaging. The characters are well drawn. The skill of the writing is top notch.
This vo...moreThis book is just short of being amazing. The plot is solid and engaging. The characters are well drawn. The skill of the writing is top notch.
This volume of the Unwind dystopian quadrilogy is a juvenile book I would highly recommed to young people. I would also recommend it for the pleasure reading of adults. I think it is one of those crossover books like Harry Potter or The Hunger Games. I would say it is as good as The Hunger Games.(less)
Loved it. This is a wonderful and successfully done example of alternative publishing format. Wonderful understated stated story of a woman's life in...moreLoved it. This is a wonderful and successfully done example of alternative publishing format. Wonderful understated stated story of a woman's life in Chicago.(less)
"His Dark Materials" is a highly imaginative trilogy. The people have animal familiars attached to them for life with an invisible metaphysical cord.
I...more"His Dark Materials" is a highly imaginative trilogy. The people have animal familiars attached to them for life with an invisible metaphysical cord.
It is a steam-punk world including a dirigible pilot.
There are creatures with a symbiotic relationship with a plant that they make hoops out of. The creatures travel in herds by rolling inside of the hoops. The hoops are so hard that the only way the pods can be broken out of them so they can reproduce is by being used as they are by the traveling creatures.
The heroine is a strong girl, child character that we see personal growth in throughout the series.(less)
I picked up this book in the summer of 1985. Over the next three years I read and reread it seven times. Once I realized it was going to be a multiple...moreI picked up this book in the summer of 1985. Over the next three years I read and reread it seven times. Once I realized it was going to be a multiple reading event I started varying my approach with each pass by dividing the book up into chunks and reading them in different orders. During my sixth run-through I did it backwards. I started with the last page of the book and read each page until I got to the title page. After that, I really had the content down and during the seventh I was able to comprehend everything like I would any other book during the first read through.
Why would a 21 to 24 year-old be motivated to do such a thing? Because it intrigued me. During each reread I picked up a little more. I liked what I saw, and during each pass I held more of the over-all picture in my mind. What he wrote was and is important to me. Because in the end, I believe Sartre was right more often than not.
He characterized us with the phrase "Man is the being who is what he is not and is not what he is." I think the way he worked that out in theme after theme explains a lot about what humans are, our behavior, and the reason we do the things we do. The last major section is easy to read. It outlines a new psychology based upon his phenomenological existentialism. I have always wished I could find such a thing.
In the decades since, I have returned to the book when my inner compulsion reaches a tipping point. I believe the last time was within the last two or three years. It will probably always be my number one favorite book.(less)
I have just finished reading both titles in this hideous volume that I bought through Amazon books titled "On the Fourfold Root of he Principle of Suf...moreI have just finished reading both titles in this hideous volume that I bought through Amazon books titled "On the Fourfold Root of he Principle of Sufficient Reason" by Arthur Schopenhauer. I call it hideous because the printing standards are low. The publisher is such a nonentity that they don't have a webpage. The publisher hasn't even taken credit for their work anywhere on the book. It is just listed as Davies Press in the Amazon description. These are odd behaviors for any business wanting more business.
I am convinced that someone owns one of those print on demand machines that some libraries have. They have taken a file in which someone has scanned the book with the settings for 300 DPI and black and white and just printed it without looking at what they had. The letters of the words are often splotchy or missing so that I have had to halt my reading to figure out what many of the words were supposed to be. This happened often enough that it diminished the pleasure of reading the book.
Also, the second title in the volume is not mentioned on the cover or the title page. Nor is it mentioned in the Amazon description. I get the feeling that the publisher had no idea what their product was. Also, as I got into the second title there were places that looked like copies of hand drawn underlinings of words from a library book. I haven't contacted Amazon because I have had the book for a few months. My experience with the product just kept getting worse and worse the further in I got. Yuck.
About the first title "On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason" by Arthur Schopenhauer, which comprises the first 189 pages of this truly hideous edition. It is the 1855 revised 3rd edition of his Doctoral Thesis from the 1815. I read this book because the author tells us to in the introduction to his principle work "The World as Will and Representation". In the introduction of his principle work he tells the reader not to even bother with reading the book if we are not willing to do the following: 1) Read both volumes of "The World as Will and Representation" twice. 2) Before starting with that the reader is to have already read his "On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason". 3) The reader is required to be familiar with the works of Kant and Plato. According to him these are the minimum requisites for the reader to have any hope of understanding his philosophy at all. Of course, there are other things he recommends the reader to have read ahead of time as well, but the above are the minimum requirements. He also wrote that he did not care if any individual reader became confused or frustrated or didn't like his writing because he didn't write for individual readers, instead he wrote for the ages. He was confident his readers would find him throughout the ages.
What a cute little old poop.
I finished reading "On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason" march 8th. It is a difficult volume. I immediately reread the book because the first reading became more a matter of getting my bearings within the work than an actual reading of the first 80 pages. I completed rereading the entire thing 4 days later on March 12.
I would recommend this book to someone with an interest in New Age philosophy. (view spoiler)[ 1) Schopenhauer's big idea was that all things, both animate and inanimate have a Will. The Will is the primary aspect of existence for any thing. He calls it the 'thing in itself'. The Will of each thing competes to be sensed as a representation in the world at the expense of the Will of other things also desiring to be represented as part of the World.
2) The only difference between the Will of humans and of other animals is that other animals have a lesser experience because they are not capable of abstract thought. They live in an eternal present because they have no concept of time or causality.
3) The book describes the correct beginnings of the ancient philosophers and how subsequent thinkers have gotten some things right but have mostly taken wrong steps in their attempts to understand the world. Schopenhauer describes the four aspects of reality and of mental viewing necessary for knowing a thing in the world. (hide spoiler)]
"On The Will in Nature" begins on p. 190 and runs through to p. 380 of As of today I have read the entire volume. That means I have read "On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason" Twice in the past few weeks and "On The Will in Nature" once.
The first 15 pages are bluster from the author. (view spoiler)[Then he discusses what he means by an inanimate or animate thing having a will. He sees the human soul as a secondary entity within humans. The Will is the primary structure of our being. Then the intellect and the soul are at least two parts of a poly-existent entity.
Schopenhauer discusses the nature of the existence of plant life in a chapter of its own. Of great interest is a chapter he calls animal magnetism. In "On the Fourfold Root..." he is quite clear that there is no organ of our bodies that allow us to sense or have a relationship with God. For this reason, he says, his philosophy cannot be the foundation of a theology. Yet, his chapter on animal magnetism describes how the Will of a person can effect the Will of weaker persons, lower animals, or inanimate things, producing the effect we describe as magic.
The following chapter called 'sinology' discusses how his thoughts are described in the Buddhist and Hindu religions, though he was not aware of the beliefs of those religions when he wrote his first book. He sees this and many other scientific studies of the early to mid-1800s as confirmations of his philosophy. I had warmed to Schopenhauer as I reread "On the Fourfold Root...". However, he gave me a bad taste the more he discussed Buddhist and Hindu religions. by the end of "On the Will and Nature" I was back to thinking of him as a maniacal jackass. But he is an interesting enough jackass that I intend to finish reading "The World as Will and Representation". I am currently up to page 300 of volume 1. (hide spoiler)]
The reason I have been looking at Schopenhauer is because I listened to an audio book on "Life After Death" by Dinesh D'Souza last year and he said some intriguing things about Schopenhauer's philosophy. He (Schopenhauer) posed the possibility that our individual identities are an illusion and that in reality we are one person. If that were true then it gives a new meaning to Christ's injunction to love your neighbor as yourself. I found it to be an intriguing enough idea to look at Schopenhauer myself. After all, if D'Souza's interpretation of Schopenhauer is correct then "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" suddenly has a new force to it. It makes sense that we would be created so that our decisions to harm others is actually directly harming oneself, even if we don't realize that that is what is happening. The idea has the bizarre logic to it that I have come to expect from spiritual teachings.
In the end I wanted to see if Schopenhauer wrote what D'Souza said that he wrote. Last Summer I happened upon an inexpensive Dover set of "The World as Will and Representation" at a used bookstore. I snapped at the opportunity to satisfy my curiosity. The past few months have been slow reading as I tried to get through "On the Fourfold Root..." the first time. In Dec. my mother-in-law gave me a copy of "The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick" as a Christmas present. As it turns out PKD was a Schopenhauer fan. As I complete Schopenhauer's two titles in the hideous volume I can see the influence.
For me reading Schopehauer is worth the time and effort.
This is Faulkner's first book and the one his publisher would only publish if it was cut down to a third of the submitted manuscript. The excised part...moreThis is Faulkner's first book and the one his publisher would only publish if it was cut down to a third of the submitted manuscript. The excised part became "Soldier's Pay." This is the full manuscript and it is difficult why anyone would want to tamper with perfection.(less)
This is more of a book to make you think about things than it being a book that will provide you with reliable facts. The argument of the book is that...moreThis is more of a book to make you think about things than it being a book that will provide you with reliable facts. The argument of the book is that we have genetic programming that is approximately a million years old that has helped our species to survive. That programming is causes disastrous behaviors for us during the past 10 thousand years since our social behaviors have changed. And it is even more true during the past 150 years of industrialization.
An example, food was scarce for the majority of human history. Our genes urge us to eat all food we can get our hands on as it is available because you don't know how long it will be before there is food again. We have the same urge but there is always food around us. The result is that the same urge that helped us to survive is now urging us to eat until it is killing us.
Another example, for most of the history of humans if you heard a story about something happening to someone then it was probably someone that you knew. In fact, if you heard of someone having good fortune then it was reasonable to believe that you could have the same good fortune because you didn't run into very many people in a life time. That same sense that you too can reasonably have good fortune is not true if you are expecting to win a jackpot lottery, or become an entertainer, or a sports figure.
The above is one example of the way that our senses of proportion are not accurate for the world we live in. That messed up sense of proportion results in things like math being really hard for us. The authors develop the theme of our poor sense of proportions and how it causes unproductive behaviors and poor decisions.
As I said, this is a book to make you think. It is not necessarily telling you the way things are. Either way it is a good read. (less)
I read this book upon Stephen King's recommendation in his book "Danse Macabre". He said it was an excellent book about obsession that is not for the...moreI read this book upon Stephen King's recommendation in his book "Danse Macabre". He said it was an excellent book about obsession that is not for the faint of heart.
I read it and agree. It is an excellent book of obsession. A thing I thought of last night is that the story is a lot like the movie "Ben-hur." (view spoiler)[It is the story of a pair of tight buddies who become murderous to each other throughout the novel. (hide spoiler)]
Not only is it a great story that gives a picture of turn-of-the-20th-century San Francisco, it is an extended dramatic study of human human psychology showing how simple good-hardheartedness can turn to obsession and how love and goodwill can turn to hatred and murder. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
"The Grifters" is my favorite Jim Thompson novel. This superably crafted book is character driven, provides a riveting plot, and gives us a rich pictu...more"The Grifters" is my favorite Jim Thompson novel. This superably crafted book is character driven, provides a riveting plot, and gives us a rich picture of the culture of con men (grifters) during the 1940s or 1950s.
It is another of those novels that is begging to be interpreted using "Being and Nothingness" as a guide.
Roy Dillon, Lilly Dillon, and Moira Langtry do not engage in Bad Faith regarding the con. Their work is to deceive and to take advantage of the greed and carelessness of others for their own profit. Yet, they are unblinkingly honest with themselves and with each other about who they are and what they do. The book provides dramatic examples of the permutations of Authenticity and Bad Faith as it is found in the work of Sartre.
(view spoiler)[On the other hand, their love lives are a fascinating tangle of Authenticity and Bad Faith. Roy and Lilly are definitely attracted to one another, despite being son and mother. Roy has an affair with Moira because she is so much like his mother. The relationship appears to be a release valve for the desires Roy hasn't dealt with concerning Lilly.
In fact, as shameless as Lilly is about everything it is almost a wonder that they were not a couple, despite all normal human and societal restraints. She does not get her way in this because Roy keeps a continual distance between them.
In the end Roy takes steps to give up the con and to embrace normal relationships in both love and professionally. In the middle of the novel Lilly wrecks his relationship with Carol Roberg when the affair moves toward becoming more than a tool for Lilly's use. At that point Roy begins to realize that he wants to be free of his mother's weird influence.
Moira is outraged when Roy refuses to become her partner in the long-con. She takes the refusal as a rejection of the influence she thought she had over him through their physical relationship. In her anger she becomes morally outraged by the sudden understanding of the nature of Roy's relationship with Lilly. She believes the worst about them.
Surly, Moira was engaged in Bad Faith by not understanding the nature of the relationship until there was no chance of Roy becoming her partner in the long-con, and once her influence over him was rejected. At that point moral outrage was better than understanding that she had lost in her bid for Roy. This incident in the novel is rich in capturing so many shades of Bad Faith. The way the theme is worked out throughout the novel makes it worth reading for that alone. (hide spoiler)]
It is the novel that "Nausea" should have been but isn't. Let me iterate. This is a well-crafted novel, worth reading just because it is a good story. Granted, the relationships are pretty weird. They are so far out there that if Thompson had gone out any further then it would have been an offensive book and I wouldn't be writing this review. As it is, I do not consider the book to be prurient or even dirty. I consider it to be a solid piece of modern American literature that is well-worth reading. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)