The Known World was a terrifyingly good read. It shows how easily humans can become inhuman for all the seemingly right reasons. How close to the surface our intolerance and bigotry still is however much we claim to be civilized, moral and socially conscious. The great lesson of this book is that despite our horror of and moral outrage at the treatment of slaves in the South in those dark times, we still manage to cast a blind eye to the continuation of this behavior in different places, against different peoples and cultures. We have no right to claim our moral superiority as long as people are enslaved anywhere by anyone AND we fail to act against it. Jones has not just written another slave narrative. He has held a mirror to the face of modern humanity and shown its fatal flaws.
I read this book because of its media hype as a beautifully written story with deep metaphorical meaning and importance. Imagine my disapointment when I discovered, after white knuckling it through the entire, unabridged version, that it was all hype. By book's end not only did I not care if Pi lived or died, I found myself rooting for the tiger to end all our misery! Had I not been retiling my floor at the same time I was listening to Pi, I would have considered the hours a total waste of time. Fortunately my floor looks great and my sense of accomplishment outweighed my feelings of frustration and boredom. Don't look for the great, life altering symbolic message hidden in the story. There isn't one. This is a "Magic Christian" dressed up in exotic eastern costume that exploits the shallowness of moderns the way the Beatles' movie poked fun at the exploitation by materialism and shallow spiritualism in the 60's. It's an empty tale for an empty people. The message becomes, as the French so succinctly put it, the more things change, the more they stay the same. At least Magic Christian was a good ride until you hit the wall of self recognition....
The Stupidest Angel was the stupidest book I have read in a long time. After reading Moore's other religious satire (Biff), I was extremely disappointed in the crassness and complete lack of any redeeming qualities in Stupidest. It wasn't funny, it wasn't witty, it wasn't even satirical. It was just plain STUPID! I guess Moore got the title right after all!
Paolini shows amazing skill for one so young. Eragon is a great adventure with plot twists and turns, interesting, 3 dimensional characters that you love or hate and an amazing attention to details that blurs the lines of reality and fantasy. Eragon reads as a story told, not an invention from Paolini's imagination. Paolini proves himself a master storyteller!
I was disappointed by the lack of new material covered and by how often Kerry missed calling a George a George. Why didn't Kerry draw the connection to Bush's failure to oppose the expiration of the assault weapons ban and the NRA's later published promise to support Bush to the tune of millions of dollars in ads? Why didn't the moderator tell Bush that the no child left behind act wasn't the answer to any question he didn't want to answer? Why didn't Kerry call him on it? The whole thing was too staged, too bland, too nothing new today. Kerry was good with the facts, but slow to capitalize on Bush's errors, failures or incorrect statements. Bush was, well, Bush. We got another hour and a half of reality according to Bush. I was especially mystified when he said his no child left behind act would obviate the poor minimum wage we pay in this country. As if when we are better educated we wouldn't mind only making $5 an hour thus saving him from needing an actual plan to raise workers out of poverty. Yea, you're poor, but look how great your education system is! (Uh, when I actually fund the thing enough to make a difference,that is!) I hope no American voter was really hanging on the hope and idea that the debates would help them decide who to vote for. If they were, then our democracy is in a whole world of hurt and these debates, this election are only a symptom of a much greater problem afoot in America today. Listen and weep. I'm burning a copy for historical purposes. How 'bout you?
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