I am giving 5 stars to "Life without Principle," "On Civil Disobedience," and the following chapters from Walden: Economy, Where I Lived and What I Li...moreI am giving 5 stars to "Life without Principle," "On Civil Disobedience," and the following chapters from Walden: Economy, Where I Lived and What I Lived For, Reading, Solitude, Higher Laws, Conclusion. The rest of the book was about nature. While I'm thumbs up when it comes to experiencing nature, I'm thumbs down when it comes to reading about it. I wish I could appreciate the way he describes grass blowing in the wind and ants fighting with each other, but I just couldn't, so I'm not rating his nature writings. His philosophy, however, is great. He can be a sarcastic little bastard too. I didn't learn much from his philosophy, since I already have his beliefs and a very simple lifestyle, albeit not in the woods. But it was very comforting having a dead friend to hang out with for awhile.
Everyone considering joining the military should read "On Civil Disobedience" and the Conclusion to Walden. I wish I would've had Henry as a respectable reference the time a date walked out on me for calling military men mindless robots. I wish I would've had Henry as a reference all those times people criticized me for never reading the newspaper or for not owning a home. But I have that sexy pile of bones as a reference now! Oh Henry, I wish I could be the hoe you used on your bean field! Anyway, below are some of my favorite quotes:
"In proportion as our inward life fails, we go more constantly and desperately to the post office. You may depend on it, that the poor fellow who walks away with the greatest number of letters, proud of his extensive correspondence, has not heard from himself this long while." (Replace post office with cell phones and blackberries and the world is flooded with inward life failures).
"Nations are possessed with an insane ambition to perpetuate the memory of themselves by the amount of hammered stone they leave. What if equal pains were taken to smooth and polish their manners? ....As for the pyramids, there is nothing to wonder at in them so much as the fact that so many men could be found degraded enough to spend their lives constructing a tomb for some ambitious booby, whom it would have been wiser and manlier to have drowned in the Nile, and then given his body to the dogs."
"To a philosopher all news , as it is called, is gossip, and they who edit and read it are old women over their tea." "The news we hear, for the most part, is not news to our genius. It is the stalest repetition."
"What is called politics is comparatively something so superficial and inhuman, that practically I have never fairly recognized that it concerns me at all."
"Of what use the friendliest disposition even, if there are no hours given to friendship, if it is forever postponed to unimportant duties and relations?"
"Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion. What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate."
"The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it."
"...for our houses are such unwieldy property that we are often imprisoned rather than housed in them."
"Men have become the tools of their tools."
"...be a Columbus to whole new continents and worlds within you, opening new channels, not of trade, but of thought."
"Merely to come into the world the heir of a fortune is not to be born, but to be stillborn, rather."
"What is it to be born free and not to live free?"(less)
**spoiler alert** I just read an article today about 125 writers who were asked to compile their top 10 favorite books. These 125 lists were compiled...more**spoiler alert** I just read an article today about 125 writers who were asked to compile their top 10 favorite books. These 125 lists were compiled into one top 10 list and Anna Karenina was number 1. I read this book several months ago and immediately felt stupid for giving it 2 stars (which was a generous rating). So I did some research on the book to see if I missed something. It turns out I didn't miss anything. I believe Tolstoy did an amazing job on character development. However, I hated every single character. They were all obnoxiously whiny. I understand Tolstoy was trying to show how society ruled people's lives, and once again, he does a great job. However, 900+ pages about adults wandering through life as puppets being controlled by society is painful, especially when no one is really fighting for individuality. It was about a bunch of characters crying "woe is me" in their own unique ways. Kitty makes herself seriously ill because no one will marry her (boo-hoo). Levin runs off to the country and pouts because Kitty rejected him (tear). Karenin holds his son hostage and won't grant Anna a divorce because she left him for really sucking as a human being (sniffle). Anna, who does make a half-assed attempt at freeing herself from society, ends up becoming the most obnoxious character of all and kills herself (yeah - this means the book is almost over). But not before Levin, who actually didn't care what society thought of him, decided to abandon free-thinking and follow God's word. Normally, this would be taking a step backward, but Levin's thoughts were so dull that I am glad he decided to stop thinking. The book had a happy ending after all. It would have been nice if this book had a hero - someone with a set of balls. The name of this book should be called "Society Puppets."(less)
I've noticed a lot of people get very hostile when writing reviews about books they didn't like. I understand why after reading this book. However, I'...moreI've noticed a lot of people get very hostile when writing reviews about books they didn't like. I understand why after reading this book. However, I'm going to try and remain calm. This book was a great idea, but poorly executed. The person who wrote the musical obviously knew this because he rewrote it. The musical deserves 4 or 5 stars. The book deserves 1/2 a star. It's been awhile since I read this book, but I remember wondering why Elphaba was considered evil? And the only answer I could come up with was because the author said so. Gregory does not explain anything in this book. Things are the way they are because he says so. I felt like I was 5 years old again and asking my parents why the sky is blue and where babies come from and never getting an answer. So frustrating. If you simply must read this book, get it at the library and save your money for a ticket to the musical. (less)
I was on Amazon.com and saw that they would recommend books for me if I typed in a book that I liked. So I typed in Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins a...moreI was on Amazon.com and saw that they would recommend books for me if I typed in a book that I liked. So I typed in Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins and Amazon came back with Perfume: The story of a Murderer. Seriously, Amazon? The only thing these books had in common was the word "perfume." I normally don't like murder mysteries, and was about to dismiss this recommendation when I read that it was Kurt Cobain's favorite book and it was on his nightstand when he died. Hmmm? Kurt seemed to have a deep, disturbed soul, so I thought maybe this would be a sick, twisted read to keep my disturbed soul company. And it was! Perfume is the most unique book I have ever read. It starts out slow, but stick with it. You will not be disappointed, unless you have a shallow soul that can sustain itself on chick lit. The book is about a boy, Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, who is never loved his entire life because he is different - he has no scent. Society bred this murderer, so you feel sorry for him, rather than his victims. He murders to capture the scent of his victims in order to create a scent for himself so he will be loved and accepted. I won't say anymore except this book has the craziest ending I've ever read in my life. Perfume is definitely in my top 5 favorite books. Moral of the story - don't hate people because they are different or they will grow up disturbed and unloved and possibly murder your daughter someday. Or maybe they will just steal your ipod. The possibilities are endless.(less)