It's never too late to read this American classic. I'd guess that if you grew up in the US, at some point in time you'd read this.
The setup of MaycombIt's never too late to read this American classic. I'd guess that if you grew up in the US, at some point in time you'd read this.
The setup of Maycomb, Alabama feels almost like Márquez's Macondo, a place detached from the current time with some material influence at slower pace. The lineage of families described in details, and perpetually summer. The narrative told from the point of view of a young girl allows us to ease into this small town in the South.
As the story of racial injustice unfolds, it becomes clearer to us that it was 1933-1935 in Alabama. The towns people are described with various denominations of Christianity, while united on the fact that Caucasians rule over the African Americans. It makes us face the ugly fact that the pillars of freedom and equality were built atop the enslaved people. In many ways, in 2018, the situation has not changed. Like in Maycomb, we pretend to follow due process while the rule of law is never equally enforced.
Just a few weeks ago, Stephon Clark (22 year old) person was shot and killed by two police officers of Sacramento, California, in his own backyard. The police shot 20 rounds, and the autopsy showed that six of the bullets were shot from Stephon's back. Even in the news headlines, he's described as "the unarmed black man" instead of a 22 year old person with two kids. I doubt that the police officers would even face an indictment for their murder.
A key factor in 'To Kill a Mockingbird' is the taboo of interracial relationship. This reminded me of what Nikole Hannah-Jones said in 'Linda Brown’s Landmark Case' (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/30/po... "The schools are clearly not about sex, but there is the fear that kids would getting to know each other on a personal level. And when you get to know someone on a personal level, maybe you gain attraction with them. And then suddenly all of the racial fears of the South, which has always been wrapped up in fears of sexuality of Black people. They all come down to this intimacy in the classroom that White parents absolutely were going to do whatever they could to avoid."
Later she continues: "What NAACP was able to show in the North is that Federal, state, and local officials conspired to create segregated housing. They would gerrymander attendance zone so they would do something very similar to what Linda Brown faced in Topeka, where the attendance zone for Black kids would go past the closest White school to all-Black schools, and White children would be zoned to all-White schools. Or, they would build schools only in deeply segregated Black neighborhoods or segregated White neighborhoods. They would close down a school if was getting ready to integrate, and open a school in segregated neighborhood to avoid integration." In other words, the North never desegregated. America is Maycomb....more
I got the whole series as a Christmas gift, and it's not something that I would've picked out myself. But hey, that's sort of the point, isn't it? AftI got the whole series as a Christmas gift, and it's not something that I would've picked out myself. But hey, that's sort of the point, isn't it? After a few pages, it was one of those books that's difficult to put down. Not just because it's a thriller, but a lot of it owing to just fluid writing compared to the awkward storytelling by sci-fi authors that I normally deal with.
The description of the superficially charming small town was immersive, as well as the surreality of the experience the main character goes through. Halfway into the story, I was starting to worry how the book is going to pick up on bizarre timelines and inconsistencies, and wondered if the characters were vampires. I am happy to report that in the end it all made sense....more
Red Mars is a science fiction classic written in 1992. This book is everything I wanted and more, starting with first hundred astronauts and cosmonautRed Mars is a science fiction classic written in 1992. This book is everything I wanted and more, starting with first hundred astronauts and cosmonauts migrating to Mars to build the infrastructure such that more people can migrate. By the middle of the book, thousands of people migrate to Mars. The book explores various dimensions the epic project, not just technological challenges, but psychological effects, personality differences, and political interests by superpowers. The geography of Mars is written in vivid, majestic details.
1990s feels so close, yet it might as well been 19th-century Russia. Basically the only rational actors in Red Mars are all white men from United States. Female characters from Russia and Japan are described either to be emotionally unstable or worse cunningly manipulative characters who use sex to advance their career. Various different cultures and religious groups are described with somewhat predictable stereotypes of a tourist who visited the country for a week - to be fair described mostly in favorable way.
Sadly, I am not really sure if the reality of space exploration would be any different if it were to be launched in 2026 given that NASA or UN politics are mostly dominated by men. So maybe the present day readers should swallow this bitter pill as an inadvertently likely depiction of how Mars exploration would be chronicled....more
For some reason, I expected this book to be about the nitty gritty details of Mars colonization, so I was a bit disappointed when it turned out to be For some reason, I expected this book to be about the nitty gritty details of Mars colonization, so I was a bit disappointed when it turned out to be a spaceship adventure, or "space opera," interspersed with noir detective genre. Overall, the book is well written, and was a fun read. As I'm done reading, I am also starting to see 'Leviathan Wakes' as a series of thought experiments with various parameters.
One of the repeated themes is the impracticality of the space warfare. Planets (like Earth and Mars) and asteroids are sitting ducks; and anyone who can get into the orbit can drop large rocks that can destroy major cities. Spaceships too operate at the edge of survivability (metal cans floating in space) that it doesn't take much to poke holes and disrupt them. If two planets went into a war, there would be mutual destruction. These parameters dictate how the governments behave under certain situations.
Throughout the story, the effects of gravity comes up in different ways. For example, there's a limitation on the acceleration of space travel due to how much G our bodies can withstand, and for how long. This adds a sense of reality, compared to the "hyperdrives" that go beyond speed of light.
Another thought experiment that is explored is the racial tension between the Belters (people who were born in the Asteroid Belt) and Inners (born on Earth/Mars/Luna), in addition to the usual ethnicity. The theme comes up often, to the point it feels a bit forced at times, but it's an interesting topic. I should point out that even though the crew of Rocinante is racially diverse (for example the pilot is from Mars with Indian descent, and has Southern drawl), the two leading characters are depicted as white male, each pursuing a woman of another race (for example, Julie Mao is implied to be partly Asian). So part of it is sexualized exoticism for the nerds. Nonetheless, because of the mutual distrust and prejudice between the Belters and Inners, this setup gives opportunities for the white characters (and by extension readers) to go through both explicit and subtle aggressions as a minority group.
There are many other things like ethics of shooting down vomit zombies, and the fact that I can use this book to talk about these topics alone may make a good reason to pick this book up....more
I forgot my Kindle on my way to Japan, and picked this up at an airport bookstore. I enjoyed reading 'The Martian' on the flight, and as I was traveliI forgot my Kindle on my way to Japan, and picked this up at an airport bookstore. I enjoyed reading 'The Martian' on the flight, and as I was traveling around Japan. The journal log format made my own traveling more interesting, as I could survive the ordeal of Mars vicariously through the main character.
While there are many sci-fi, often there are elements of unexplained technological advancements (like human-like androids and alien civilization). The only leap The Martian makes, seemingly, is that US government has the willingness to fund and execute Ares program. The rest of the story, it feels are based on existing body of science, which is explained throughout the story in detail. Even the human drama we see later in the book is around NASA politics.
The book achieves an impossible feat of being entertaining while focusing on the most mundane details of space exploration such as CO2 percentage....more