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Motion Picture Camera Techniques by David W. Samuelson
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Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake
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Sunflower by Gyula Krúdy
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Patrick rated a book 5 of 5 stars
Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
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How can the honest or innocent protect themselves from the deceitful and manipulative, when the same words and gestures are all we know of other people? And how can the dishonest protect themselves from their own lies about themselves? Laclos' story...more
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Sunflower by Gyula Krúdy
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The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway
The River of No Return
by Bee Ridgway (Goodreads Author)
read in June, 2013
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Most time travel books are, in part, historical novels, which means they need to have a degree of verisimilitude to be credible, despite the incredible conceit which drives the story. This book is mostly historical novel, set in Regency England, so t...more
Patrick rated a book 4 of 5 stars
The Crock of Gold by James Stephens
The Crock of Gold
by James Stephens
read in May, 2013
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There's some fine prose in here from Stephens, and a good deal of wisdom and humor about philosophy, myth, and how to live, but Stephens loses interest in the story he is telling as he goes along, and by the end he has abandoned it altogether for som...more
Patrick rated a book 1 of 5 stars
The Ramayana by Vālmīki
The Ramayana: A Modern Translation
by Vālmīki
read in December, 2011
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This was tedious. So much repetition - not only is every battle pretty much like every other battle, with one guy matching the super special weapon of the other guy until one of them pulls out the weapon the other cannot beat, but then whatever just...more
Patrick rated a book 4 of 5 stars
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
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Martin is a compelling storyteller, but a mediocre writer. The prose is just serviceable, and some major characters are underdeveloped (e.g., Jon and Robb are bland and pretty much interchangeable), but the plotting is addictive.
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Gyula Krúdy
“Brightly and merrily swaying, like an April shower, came the young lady.

Perhaps if she had been sad and conscience stricken, like certain dames of old who left the site of their illicit love as woe-begone as the passing moment that never returns; if the lady had approached in full cognizance of her frailty, ready to forego a man's respectful handkisses of greeting, and trembling in shame at the tryst exposed in broad daylight, like Risoulette, sixty-six times, whenever having misbehaved, she hastened back home teary-eyed to her Captain; or if a lifelong memory's untearable veil had floated over her fine features, like the otherworldly wimple of a nun . . . Then Pistoli would have stood aside, closed his eyes, swallowed the bitter pill, and come next winter, might have scrawled on the wall something about women's unpredictability. Then he would have glimpsed ghostly, skeletal pelvic bones reflected in his wine goblet, and strands of female hair, once wrapped around the executioner's wrist, hanging from his rafters; and would have heard wails and cackles emanating from the cellar's musty wine casks, but eventually Pistoli would have forgiven this fading memory, simply because women are related to the sea and the moon, and that is why at times they know not what they do.”
Gyula Krúdy, Sunflower

Tony Judt
“Dissent and dissidence are overwhelmingly the work of the young. It is not by chance that the men and women who initiated the French Revolution, like the reformers and planners of the New Deal and postwar Europe, were distinctly younger than those who had gone before. Rather than resign themselves, young people are more likely to look at a problem and demand that it be solved.

But they are also more likely than their elders to be tempted by apoliticism: the idea that since politics is so degraded in our time, we should give up on it. There have indeed been occasions where 'giving up on politics' was the right political choice. In the last decades of the Communist regimes of eastern Europe, 'anti-politics', the politics of 'as if' and mobilizing the 'power of the powerless' all had their place. That is because official politics in authoritarian regimes are a front for the legitimization of naked power: to bypass them is a radically disruptive political act in its own right. It forces the regime to confront its limits – or else expose its violent core.

However, we must not generalize from the special case of heroic dissenters in authoritarian regimes. Indeed, the example of the 'anti-politics' of the '70s, together with the emphasis on human rights, has perhaps misled a generation of young activists into believing that, conventional avenues of change being hopelessly clogged, they should forsake political organization for single-issue, non-governmental groups unsullied by compromise. Consequently, the first thought that occurs to a young person seeking a way to 'get involved' is to sign up with Amnesty International or Greenpeace, Human Rights Watch or Doctors Without Borders.

The moral impulse is unimpeachable. But republics and democracies exist only by virtue of the engagement of their citizens in the management of public affairs. If active or concerned citizens forfeit politics, they thereby abandon their society to its most mediocre and venal public servants.”
Tony Judt, Ill Fares the Land

Andrei Tarkovsky
“Art is a meta-language, with the help of which people try to communicate with one another; to impart information about themselves and assimilate the experience of others. Again, this has not to do with practical advantage but with realising the idea of love, the meaning of which is in sacrifice: the very antithesis of pragmatism. I simply cannot believe that an artist can ever work only for the sake of 'self-expression.' Self-expression if meaningless unless it meets with a response. For the sake of creating a spiritual bond with others it can only be an agonising process, one that involves no practical gain: ultimately it is an act of sacrifice. But surely it cannot be worth the effort merely for the sake of hearing one's own echo?”
Andrei Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time

Andrei Tarkovsky
“I see it as my duty to stimulate reflection on what is essentially human and eternal in each individual soul, and which all too often a person will pass by, even though his fate lies in his hands. He is too busy chasing after phantoms and bowing down to idols. In the end, everything can be reduced to the one simple element which is all a person can count upon in his existence: the capacity to love. That element can grow within the soul to become the supreme factor which determines the meaning of a person's life. My function is to make whoever sees my films aware of his need to love and to give his love, and aware that beauty is summoning him.”
Andrei Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time

Tony Judt
“When Communism fell in 1989, the temptation for Western commentators to gloat triumphantly proved irresistible. This, it was declared, marked the end of History. Henceforth, the world belonged to liberal capitalism – there was no alternative – and we would all march forward in unison towards a future shaped by peace, democracy and free markets. Twenty years on this assertion looks threadbare.

There can be no question that the fall of the Berlin Wall and the domino-like collapse of Communism states from the suburbs of Vienna to the shores of the Pacific marked a very significant transition: one in which millions of men and women were liberated from a dismal and defunct ideology and its authoritarian institutions. But no one could credibly assert that what replaced Communism was an era of idyllic tranquility. There was no peace in post-Communist Yugoslavia, and precious little democracy in any of the successor states of the Soviet Union.

As for free markets, they surely flourished, but it is not clear for whom. The West – Europe and the United States above all – missed a once-in-a-century opportunity to re-shape the world around agreed and improved international institutions and practices. Instead, we sat back and congratulated ourselves upon having won the Cold War: a sure way to lose the peace. The years from 1989 to 2009 were consumed by locusts.”
Tony Judt, Ill Fares the Land

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