Wasn't a huge fan of this book. Made me chuckle a few times, but was never really grabbed by the plot. Doesn't really go anywhere and the characters aWasn't a huge fan of this book. Made me chuckle a few times, but was never really grabbed by the plot. Doesn't really go anywhere and the characters aren't incredibly interesting. This is my least favorite Vonnegut so far. Hopefully it won't get any worse than this. At the end of the day, it wasn't a terrible book, I just didn't enjoy it as much as the other Vonnegut novels I have read....more
It is hard for me to think that this is the first review I have written of one of Robert Anton Wilson’s books. Cosmic Trigger Volume One: Final SecretIt is hard for me to think that this is the first review I have written of one of Robert Anton Wilson’s books. Cosmic Trigger Volume One: Final Secret of the Illuminati is the first of a three-volume autobiographical and philosophical work that explores various conspiracy theories. Wilson’s other works, such as The Illuminatus! Trilogy or Schrödinger’s Cat Trilogy, are also wild rides.
Wilson never rejects nor embraces any of the conspiracies he discusses, but writes in such a way that the reader can easily fall prey to believing in them. It is interesting to notice how my opinions concerning these ideas change as I go further down the rabbit hole with Wilson. This book follows his experiences during a time in which he attempts to grapple with the idea that “reality” is mutable and subjective to the observer. This is a psychedelic concept that many who have undergone psychedelic experiences share.
Wilson uses several models for his experiences, which he calls “reality tunnels” - belief systems that one subscribes to in an effort to shape his perception of reality. It is his belief that all models are separate from an objective reality, but one can perceive the models without subscribing to them. This he calls “model agnosticism.”
I really enjoyed this book, and am currently working on completing the second volume of the trilogy....more
Widely considered to be the ultimate compendium for Grateful Dead history, Dennis McNally’s A Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful DeWidely considered to be the ultimate compendium for Grateful Dead history, Dennis McNally’s A Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful Dead is an extremely dense book. It has taken me a long time to finish it, but it was extremely well-written and contained a lot of information that I did not know prior to picking it up.
The book follows the Grateful Dead from their 1965 gig at Magoo’s Pizza in Menlo Park, CA to Jerry Garcia’s death in 1995. McNally was the official band historian beginning in 1980. There’s a lot to be found in this book, from musical trivia and lyrics, feuds between the band members and crew, a sense of what being a Dead Head is all about, etc. It is essentially an encyclopedia for the Dead.
The book is presented mostly in chapter format, with an occasional “Interlude” thrown in. These Interludes do a good job of breaking up the flow of time for the reader, making it easy to read such a long book. I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to read, but at times it felt like information overload - I mean, I love the Dead but I don’t need to know absolutely everything! But the good side of this is that if you want to know anything about the Dead, you can probably find it inside.
Published in 2003, the book doesn’t have any information on The Dead’s reunification in 2009 (which I was fortunate to witness firsthand) or the musical developments of Phil Lesh and Friends, RatDog and The Other Ones in the mid-200s. But that’s to be expected, and considering this book is about the Grateful Dead, and not the side projects that happened after Garcia passed, there really isn’t anything missing.
Good as Gold is Joseph Heller's third novel. The main character is a Jewish freelance writer named Bruce Gold. The book centers on several awkward sitGood as Gold is Joseph Heller's third novel. The main character is a Jewish freelance writer named Bruce Gold. The book centers on several awkward situations with Gold's family, publishers, government buddies and a few love affairs. Most of the characters are unbearable and cruel to one another. The situations are unimportant and the dialogue is so unbelievable and inorganic it is frustrating to read!
The plot never really seems to go anywhere to me. I feel like Heller's writing ability has fallen off a little bit each book so far. Luckily, God Knows is his next work, and I read about half of it about ten years ago and remember laughing quite a bit, so hopefully it will live up to my memory. I don't think that Good as Gold is a terrible book, but it certainly isn't a great book either. One of the only things that saved it for me is that the main character is a writer, which I found personally compelling. I probably won't be returning to this one again....more
Vast Active Living Intelligence System. This is the concept that Dick conjures up in this book. VALIS is the first book in the final trilogy that he wVast Active Living Intelligence System. This is the concept that Dick conjures up in this book. VALIS is the first book in the final trilogy that he was able to finish before he died. It is not the first PKD book that I have read, but it has inspired me to seek out more of his works. At this time I do plan on reading the following two books in this trilogy, The Divine Invasion and The Transfiguration of Timothy Arthur.
The main character is Horselover Fat, a man who is increasingly losing his grip on “normal reality.” “Horselover” derives from the etymology of the name Philip, and PKD’s surname in German means “Fat.” Fat occasionally writes about himself in the third person, and Dick mentions early in VALIS that the character was developed to allow him some “much needed objectivity.” Most of the book is written in a first-person-autobiographical perspective, and Dick and Fat are treated as two separate characters.
The main topics of discussion among Fat and his friends are spirituality and philosophy. The three friends have entirely different viewpoints on these topics, but all seem to agree that Fat is insane.
VALIS is a fresh and intriguing take on the analysis of the structure of the world, and the meaning of life. Rather than explain anything concretely, Dick allows the reader to sample many different religious and philosophical explanations of the world before coming to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter. They’re all essentially the same. The book didn’t really grab me until the second half, but once it did I was hooked. I can only hope that the next two books are as interesting.