Power (Protection)by Shaun McGonical takes you into a fascinating, sci-fi, future dystopian world. A world that battles with issue of religion, issues...morePower (Protection) by Shaun McGonical takes you into a fascinating, sci-fi, future dystopian world. A world that battles with issue of religion, issues of power and how far we should be allowed to go in our "protection" of others.
Shaun McGonical is one of the author's and founder of PolySkeptic, which is how I came across his book in the first place. While you can tell that the novel hasn't been edited by a professional, it does not detract from the content. I read a lot. These days it is quite unique that I really get stuck in with a story - especially a story of 800+ pages, but Power did just that for me.
Support a new author who dared to take the step and self-publish his book - and get stuck in a great story while you're at it. Highly recommended. Quotes
Thaleans never had any religion, not in the entire history of their world. They had never had their own concepts of gods, spirits, or any supernatural power or realms. The Bruuk sometimes joke that this is because Thaleans lack a power of imagination and abstraction that allow other races to imagine such false beings in the first place. This is also why, they say, Thaleans never had any need for philosophy; they saw only the world as it was, and thus never had to invent a way of thinking to circumvent the illusions created by minds riddled with fantasy. Of course, this may be why Thaleans don't have much in terms of art, as what the Thaleans see as art the Bruuk see as functional architecture and technology that works very efficiently.
“You know, the thing I’ve noticed is that Thaleans tell everyone that family doesn’t mean anything to them. But I think you might have the wrong concept of family, my friend.” Brax stiffened, and was about to respond when Tellinas continued; “Think about how your cities coalesced over the centuries. Think about how you share everything with your neighbors in the hope of improving yourselves. Now think about how each city is different in many ways; how you can tell a person from Patula… well, what few of them left anyway… or from Cesternatton or Zule. Your families are your cities, and you take care of one-another like extended families as a race . Family is important to you; it’s just that family is not limited to biology for Thaleans. It’s one of the things that we, as Kasarians, have in common with you, except we are well aware of it while you seem not to be… at least not so much.”
“Son, one day you’ll learn that there are some things that when known, cannot be unknown. And those things will forever change your perspective on the world. If you knew half of what I know about the Protectors, you would not want to know any more.”
As a Decade Fadesis a collection of shattered glimpses into the life of a broken man, Jody Grafton. We see little bits and pieces of his life, as his...moreAs a Decade Fades is a collection of shattered glimpses into the life of a broken man, Jody Grafton. We see little bits and pieces of his life, as his career as a singer-songwriter is falling apart and he himself tries to make sense of his life as he approaches thirty.
There were parts of this book that I absolutely loved, there is a lot of beauty, as well as a lot of rawness. Ultimately, however, I found it hard to care about the protagonist. Although most of his mistakes were made in his youth, I found myself caring much more for Jody as a young boy and man, than I did for the older, but also more cold and cynical man. Ironically though, I did love "his" song lyrics, and I found myself wishing there was an actual album. Quotes
People don’t know how to love the ones they love until they disappear from their lives.
And yet they never found what they were looking for, and so their search continued— a target without a bullseye.
Sometimes the easiest things in life are the hardest and most frustrating things to understand.
It’s lonely at the top, but it’s crowded and miserable at the bottom.
Don’t give me your heart, I can’t even be trusted with my own, was the song he sang in his head but not aloud.
“You can’t get around what you have to go through,”
He knew his sorry couldn’t fix her broken heart. If you’re careless with something for long enough, it breaks.
People often avoid the truth for fear of destroying the illusions they’ve built.
— all of which questions he dismissed casually, because women are complex, insecure creatures. And so was he.
Those three words hurt infinitely more than all the punches combined; he wanted nothing but to be loved. But perhaps to hate someone this much you have to love them immensely. For a moment he understood how battered wives could repeatedly return to their husbands.
Sometimes we have to get everything we ever wanted before we realize that everything we wanted is not what we wanted at all.
“Sometimes love is sad. Sometimes it drops your heart from a great height and it shatters into a million tiny shards, and those shards are sharp and painful.”
“I look at it like this: love wins, but love also ends, and when it ends it’s painful. So winning— at least a part of winning— is painful.”
Suite Francaise is the fascinating manuscript found years and years after it was first written by Irène Némirovsky in 1941. Némirovsky, a Russian Jewi...moreSuite Francaise is the fascinating manuscript found years and years after it was first written by Irène Némirovsky in 1941. Némirovsky, a Russian Jewish immigrant, wrote this book while hiding from the Nazis, but died in Auschwitz in 1942. The manuscript had been hidden in her daughters' suitcase, but for years no one read it, as they thought it was her private diary. Once they realized what they had found, the manuscript was published.
Suite Francaise only has the first two parts, of what Némirovsky had planned to be a four or five part symphony, in the style of War and Peace. Sadly, she was never able to finish it. While I really enjoyed the novel, it does feel unfinished, and to a certain degree unpolished. Which is such a shame, because it has so much potential, and it saddens me that we will never be able to see what could have been, if she had been able to finish it.(less)
"It is important that you know: I love you. Of course I have no idea who you are. But I have no real idea who I am either, so it seems fair to me."
Forget Yourself by Redfern Jon Barrett is is a fascinating look into a dystopian future where people show up in a tiny world, naked and with no memories. How people shape and create societies, our often futile attempts to fit in, and the difficulties of not being mainstream, polygamy, wife classes, queerness and gender identity are just a few of the issues covered.
Although I felt the ending was a little disjointed, I really enjoyed the novel itself and devoured it in just a couple of days - greatly recommend it. Quotes
“I think it’s really sad that you can hate more than one person but not love more than one person.”
“Blondee, you’re interested in what you can get for yourself. You’re interested in how you perceive yourself, who you are, what you are. You’re interested in how others perceive you, in who they see you are, who they think you are. You’re not interested in talking: you’re not interested in thinking. You’re just trying to make an identity for yourself, trying to build a person out of the lump of flesh and hair which landed here. It’s exactly the same as all the others. There’s nothing left but you, because you’re trying to build a whole new person, and if that doesn’t take the whole of someone’s time, the whole of someone’s mind, then I don’t know what does. “Of course everyone here needs an opinion on that, someone to test that experiment on. Someone to judge their achievement. So they get their little lovers and spend all their time impressing them. They try to impress them with this whole person they’ve built. But it’s pointless, neither is paying attention, neither is listening because really all they can hear is themselves. Each person trying to impress the other simply so they can impress themselves. Eventually it fails because no-one is really listening to anyone and they get angry, or frustrated, or bored, and the only time the other person then exists is as a nuisance they need to get rid of. And so they do. They get rid of each other and continue their experiment, searching for a whole new person to be a judge of it and start the whole fucking process over again.
“I don’t think anyone does, not really.” “What?” “What else is there to say?” she asked. “No-one does? No-one has any memories at all? But what about the book, what about -” “And they’re memories, are they?” “They’re memories of the outside, of the old world, how things were, of the world before.” “They’re not memories.” She sounded certain, spread before me as still as stone. “Then what are they Burberry?” “Inventions. Stories. Creations.” She was quiet for another moment. “I’m sure people think they’re real.”
“I hear you, Blondee. I hear you. I know what you want. You don’t just want to rebuild yourself like everyone else here. You want to rebuild everything, all we have, all by yourself. But you’ll destroy it first, there’s no other way. Do you know that? You’ll destroy it. I won’t let you. How could I let you? You’re destructive. We were wrong, so wrong to label you a minor. You’re the worst of anyone here.” He paused for a moment to catch his breath. His voice softened. “Blondee, I’m aware I’m angry at you. And you’re angry at me. Neither of us will listen – anger closes the ears. But you must pay attention to me: stop this. Stop this whole thing. What we have now is fragile, more fragile than you realise.”
“I don’t understand. Are you not happy?” How would I know? Perhaps it’s different outside, perhaps it’s different in the real world. Perhaps it’s larger, it’s bigger and better, perhaps every heart-jump and belly flutter is a feeble tremor compared to reality. Am I not happy? How the fuck should I know?
The History of Loveby Nicole Krauss might at first glance sound like a romance novel. It's not. It is true, however, that it deals with love, and also...moreThe History of Love by Nicole Krauss might at first glance sound like a romance novel. It's not. It is true, however, that it deals with love, and also love in a romantic fashion.
The History of Love is the story of an old man who taps on the radiator to make sure his buddy is still alive - and vice versa. It is also the story of this old man in his youth, and the book he wrote about and for the woman he loved. It is the story of a young girl named after the woman in the book, and her quest to find her namesake.
I love the way The History of Love is written. The language is incredibly beautiful, yet also very simple. It is similar in style and tone to Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer, which is another favourite book of mine. Quotes
There are passages of my book I know by heart. By heart, this is not an expression I use lightly. My heart is weak and unreliable. When I go it will be my heart. I try to burden it as little as possible. If something is going to have an impact, I direct it elsewhere. My gut for example, or my lungs, which might seize up for a moment but have never yet failed to take another breath. When I pass a mirror and catch a glimpse of myself, or I’m at the bus stop and some kids come up behind me and say, Who smells shit?— small daily humiliations— these I take, generally speaking, in my liver. Other damages I take in other places. The pancreas I reserve for being struck by all that’s been lost. It’s true that there’s so much, and the organ is so small. But. You would be surprised how much it can take, all I feel is a quick sharp pain and then it’s over. Sometimes I imagine my own autopsy. Disappointment in myself: right kidney. Disappointment of others in me: left kidney. Personal failures: kishkes. I don’t mean to make it sound like I’ve made a science of it. It’s not that well thought out. I take it where it comes. It’s just that I notice certain patterns. When the clocks are turned back and the dark falls before I’m ready, this, for reasons I can’t explain, I feel in my wrists. And when I wake up and my fingers are stiff, almost certainly I was dreaming of my childhood. The field where we used to play, the field in which everything was discovered and everything was possible. (We ran so hard we thought we would spit blood: to me that is the sound of childhood, heavy breathing and shoes scraping the hard earth.) Stiffness of the fingers is the dream of childhood as it’s been returned to me at the end of my life. I have to run them under the hot water, steam clouding the mirror, outside the rustle of pigeons. Yesterday I saw a man kicking a dog and I felt it behind my eyes. I don’t know what to call this, a place before tears. The pain of forgetting: spine. The pain of remembering: spine. All the times I have suddenly realized that my parents are dead, even now, it still surprises me, to exist in the world while that which made me has ceased to exist: my knees, it takes half a tube of Ben-Gay and a big production just to bend them. To everything a season, to every time I’ve woken only to make the mistake of believing for a moment that someone was sleeping beside me: a hemorrhoid. Loneliness: there is no organ that can take it all.
Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.
And if the man who once upon a time had been a boy who promised he’d never fall in love with another girl as long as he lived kept his promise, it wasn’t because he was stubborn or even loyal. He couldn’t help it. And having hidden for three and a half years, hiding his love for a son who didn’t know he existed didn’t seem unthinkable. Not if it was what the only woman he would ever love needed him to do. After all, what does it mean for a man to hide one more thing when he has vanished completely?
It might seem like you’re limiting yourself at first, but after a while you realize that having a quarter-of-an-inch of something you have a better chance of holding on to a certain feeling of the universe than if you pretended to be doing the whole sky. My mother did not choose a leaf or a head. She chose my father, and to hold on to a certain feeling, she sacrificed the world.
Holding hands, for example, is a way to remember how it feels to say nothing together. And at night, when it’s too dark to see, we find it necessary to gesture on each other’s bodies to make ourselves understood.
So many words get lost. They leave the mouth and lose their courage, wandering aimlessly until they are swept into the gutter like dead leaves.
I filled the sink with soapy water and washed the dirty pots. And with each pot and pan and spoon I put away, I also put away a thought I couldn’t bear, until my kitchen and my mind returned to a state of mutual organization. And yet.
there are two types of people in the world: those who prefer to be sad among others, and those who prefer to be sad alone.
He learned to live with the truth. Not to accept it, but to live with it. It was like living with an elephant. His room was tiny, and every morning he had to squeeze around the truth just to get to the bathroom. To reach the armoire to get a pair of underpants he had to crawl under the truth, praying it wouldn’t choose that moment to sit on his face. At night, when he closed his eyes, he felt it looming above him.
And then I thought: Perhaps that is what it means to be a father— to teach your child to live without you. If so, no one was a greater father than I.
At the end, all that’s left of you are your possessions. Perhaps that’s why I’ve never been able to throw anything away. Perhaps that’s why I hoarded the world: with the hope that when I died, the sum total of my things would suggest a life larger than the one I lived.
That was the end of my search to find someone that would make my mother happy again. I finally understood that no matter what I did, or who I found, I— he— none of us— would ever be able to win over the memories she had of Dad, memories that soothed her even while they made her sad, because she’d built a world out of them she knew how to survive in, even if no one else could.
I am not a fan of being "told" the story, rather than being "shown" it, and I felt that Nicholas Sparks did this a lot in Safe Haven. Halfway through...moreI am not a fan of being "told" the story, rather than being "shown" it, and I felt that Nicholas Sparks did this a lot in Safe Haven. Halfway through the book it started getting better, and more exciting, but the ending was just unrealistic and spoiled it for me.(less)
I normally enjoy reading classics - they are usually classics for a reason. Lately however, I have been disappointed. Les Miserableswas long-winded an...moreI normally enjoy reading classics - they are usually classics for a reason. Lately however, I have been disappointed. Les Miserables was long-winded and old-fashioned - but at least it had a beautiful story.
Last week I read On the Road by Jack Kerouac and it was such a disappointment. I had great expectations for it! Supposedly the "soul of the beat movement" (whatever that is), sounded great.
However I never got to care about any of the characters, and by the end I actually despised most of them. I know it was a different time, but no matter the time I can't stand books that minimize violence against women or the purposeful destruction of other people's property for no reason.
In my opinion, On the Road is a book about not caring at all about other people and the affect you have on their lives. Using people, their property and their money, and just do whatever you want.
I did enjoy the parts on living your own life, not the life other people want for you, and breaking with traditions, but to me that didn't make up for the bad parts.
If you have read it, what did you make of it? Quotes With that being said, there were still a few quotes I enjoyed.
But then they danced down the streets like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’
And I said, ‘That last thing is what you can’t get, Carlo. Nobody can get to that last thing. We keep on living in hopes of catching it once for all.’
Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together; sophistication demands that they submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk. Not courting talk – real straight talk about souls, for life is holy and every moment is precious.
This is the story of America. Everybody’s doing what they think they’re supposed to do.
A pain stabbed my heart, as it did every time I saw a girl I loved who was going the opposite direction in this too-big world.
because I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till I drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.
I really really wanted to love Cloud Atlas, because I love the premise of it, and the trailer looks excellent. The book isn't bad as such, but it is j...moreI really really wanted to love Cloud Atlas, because I love the premise of it, and the trailer looks excellent. The book isn't bad as such, but it is just so slow moving, and I was half-way through it before I really started caring about any of the characters - and just as you start caring about one character you move on to the next. The layout is interesting, and from a theoretical standpoint I really liked it, but in praxis it just didn't work for me.(less)