At school, there was a story that stuck in my head from being told at an assembly when I was young. I have no idea why this one in particular stayed wAt school, there was a story that stuck in my head from being told at an assembly when I was young. I have no idea why this one in particular stayed with me, but I always wondered where it came from. Now I know - it was one of Aesop's fables.
This is a real treasure trove for anyone wanting short stories to tell to youngsters to encourage them to prize their friends, the good things they have in their life and the virtue of patience. There are other stories which have more to do with accepting your lot in life and not striving above it which I feel belong more to a time long gone by but even these can, when balanced with other moral messages, encourage a stoic attitude to life. I would recommend it to any primary school teacher or parent, particularly those who don't wish to rely on religious parables when storytelling with the aim to teach lessons to the young....more
Dreadful. I can see many young impressionable minds being swayed by it unfortunately. I'd struggle to pick out one point above any other, but the twisDreadful. I can see many young impressionable minds being swayed by it unfortunately. I'd struggle to pick out one point above any other, but the twisting of other people's words and beliefs for the purpose of creating something fitting their politics better ranks pretty highly. Hateful piece which has been well deconstructed by many feminists already. Ugh....more
One of my favourite plays, you can't beat Wilde for acerbic wit tied in with social commentary. I was in this play as the darling Miss Cecily Cardew,One of my favourite plays, you can't beat Wilde for acerbic wit tied in with social commentary. I was in this play as the darling Miss Cecily Cardew, and remember the great problems we all had at first in managing to get through our lines without laughing!...more
I know it was well written, but I must admit I didn't particularly enjoy it. I found most of the characters irritating and found it difficult to findI know it was well written, but I must admit I didn't particularly enjoy it. I found most of the characters irritating and found it difficult to find a way in to their way of thinking....more
Much Russian literature, this included, is a labour of love. It is hard work making headway at first, and sometimes I felt I didn't understand where TMuch Russian literature, this included, is a labour of love. It is hard work making headway at first, and sometimes I felt I didn't understand where Tolstoy was leading me. Yet I now feel that that is half the point; do we ever really know where we're going in life? What better reflection of it therefore to have some of this echoing through a literary work. This is a book about life. It soaks to your core.
You fall in love with the characters and their lives and therefore as is the case with loved ones, begin to be interested in what they are interested in. When something good happens to them, you find yourself walking down the street later beaming with smiles. When something bad happens, you sink into melancholy. Tolstoy shades the people within the book in such a way as to make them real; not just a 'goody' or a 'baddy'. Nowhere before have I seen this so perfectly executed....more
Picked this up in a charity bookshop and it left me with the romantic notion of wanting to travel remote areas on horseback. Highly unlikely, but thisPicked this up in a charity bookshop and it left me with the romantic notion of wanting to travel remote areas on horseback. Highly unlikely, but this enchanting book takes me part way there....more
I was delighted to get this book through LibraryThing Early Reviewers, having done a module in Media Movements and Radical Politics in my final year aI was delighted to get this book through LibraryThing Early Reviewers, having done a module in Media Movements and Radical Politics in my final year as an under-graduate. This book by Garry Leech documents the rise and fall of the FARC revolutionary group in Colombia. The FARC have a reputation in the media as a guerilla group engaging in violent terrorist acts, frequently contravening human rights as stated in international law; they may not be entirely wrong but it is, as Leech illustrates, far from the whole story. Leech makes his approach as an independent journalist who has spent a substantial amount of time deep within Colombia, garnering a unique insight through in depth interviews with members of the FARC, as well as their opposition.
Beginning with exploring the violent inception of the FARC, violence perpetrated primarily by government forces and government funded paramilitaries, their turbulent and dynamic history is explored. The FARC's Marxist-Leninist inspired ideology, and its implementation on the ground by politically educated guerilla forces, fighting for the rights of the subjugated peasantry of the rural expanses of Colombia are well explained. I would therefore praise Leech for creating a concise explanation of the group's ideological and tactical presence.
I would further praise the critique of the neo-liberal economic regime impressed upon the people of Colombia by a government handed large 'aid' bundles by America. The figures quoted by Leech well illuminate the increasing inequalities faced by people in Colombia, people forced in many cases to resort to growing coca (for use in cocaine) due to poor infrastructure eliminating the opportunity to transport perishable foodstuffs. The FARC's role in attempting to build and infrastructure through taxing corporations in the area (hence kidnapping for non-payment) was something of which I was not aware. The group also attempts to provide an education, and means for switching to different crops for the peasants in many areas. All of these things are invisible in the majority of the mass media - not surprising given the sound-bites they are spoon fed by the Colombian and US government. Yet Leech brings them to the fore in this easily readable book - a great introductory text for anyone wishing to learn more about radical politics, Marxism/Leninism in action or guerilla organisations.
My main critique however is that Leech's view is incredibly one sided. Whilst he does make note of the human rights abuses perpetrated by members of the FARC, they are brushed off, with little investigation into the processes used by the group for disciplining members. Whilst government statements are highly critiqued, such statements by the FARC are seemingly viewed through rose tinted glasses. Although many peasants appear to be having a more comfortable life in areas supported by the FARC, is this really just a lesser of two great evils, or something which really should be carried through to a national level using their policies? Is there really as little corruption in the FARC as Leech claims? I know he does cover these points, but only in brief, and I think that more academic stand-points on on the FARC would be interesting if added to this text.
In summary, whilst I would prefer a less one sided account of the FARC, this is a group which has received little more than purely negative coverage in the media. Therefore I would tend to suggest that it may be excusable to lean more in the FARC's favour as their viewpoints have simply not been expressed. Leech does issue critique of FARC policies in places, and in general I found this a fascinating book, and certainly feel wiser for having read it....more
Since Watership Down has been one of my all time favourite books since I first read it years ago, it was in a sense inevitable that I would at some poSince Watership Down has been one of my all time favourite books since I first read it years ago, it was in a sense inevitable that I would at some point read Shardik, also by Richard Adams. Shardik is a mythical tale of a great bear who comes to symbolise hope, and potential for a new golden age for the Ortelgans. This story follows the path of Shardik, but also of Kelderek whose life becomes intrinsically linked with that of the bear.
I loved this book for its detail, which helps the reader become absorbed in the histories and coming fates of the nations involved. The characterisation is for the most part well handled, but I felt that like Tolkien, there was a certain amount of descriptive work which could have been done without, and was merely reiterating character development which had already been covered. There were genuinely poignant moments, which I will not spoil for the reader, but overall I found the book a bit of a slog. More suited to the Lord of the Rings fan than a die-hard lover of Watership Down....more
This book was a bit of an impulse buy, largely made because I was told I could get a book for free as I had two from a 3 for 2 section. All I can sayThis book was a bit of an impulse buy, largely made because I was told I could get a book for free as I had two from a 3 for 2 section. All I can say is that I am glad I effectively got it for free as opposed to paying good money for it.
The concept itself is a good one, collecting an anthology of material from different authors and putting it all together like documents gathered after the event of the crisis. The effect was to be something along the lines of World War Z, and I was looking forward to a bit of nice brainless zombie fiction (apologies for the brains pun). Unfortunately having such a mixture of authors means that the really poor writers had nowhere to hide, being shown for all their dreadfulness against some really good pieces. This is the reason why I haven't given this book a lower score; there are some little gems in there, but overall, I was not impressed....more
Great book in so many ways, most of which I am sure will have been covered by other reviewers, so I'm just going to go ahead and get this off my chestGreat book in so many ways, most of which I am sure will have been covered by other reviewers, so I'm just going to go ahead and get this off my chest:
Ok Charlie, I get it, it's a metaphor. Your metaphor is about as subtle as a breeze block across the head, do you really then need to spend the next paragraph explaining exactlty what it means? I'm not a complete imbecile!
Oh Charlie. Oh dear dear Charlie. This is where we're supposed to look past the obvious, blatant anti-Semitism and bleat on about what a wonderful pieOh Charlie. Oh dear dear Charlie. This is where we're supposed to look past the obvious, blatant anti-Semitism and bleat on about what a wonderful piece of literature it is on the grounds of attempted social reform. Yeah? Well, if you have one of those cringing senses of humour where you like hiding behind your hand and thinking 'oh my god I cannot believe he just said that!' then this one's potentially for you. Asides from that, this reads nice and easily, you can tear through it pretty quickly, it's not in the least bit subtle. But then we must remember the reason it's on here is probably largely down to its historical importance through a time of class upheaval and Poor Law reform. That and because it was turned into a happy clappy musical. *facepalm*...more
Marx. It's nice, like Victoria sponge, but I prefer gateaux such as Foucault and Adorno and Horkheimer. They further advance the ideas started by MarxMarx. It's nice, like Victoria sponge, but I prefer gateaux such as Foucault and Adorno and Horkheimer. They further advance the ideas started by Marx (like gateaux advances the idea of cake). Marx is naive (here ends cake metaphor), but then he was relying on historical context...ah the benefit of hindsight... Really, if you like Marx, read The Culture Industry, in Dialectic of Enlightenment, by Horkheimer and Adorno (of the Frankfurt School)....more