Irvine, CA, United States | Member Since 2013
Having just read Invisible Cities by Calvino today, just about everything is at least swirling in newness of possibilities, like Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, or Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's travels.
I'm still in the rabbit hole, and don't know what I may have been smoking.
The story is of tales of cities visited by Marco Polo, as told to Kublai Khan. Sounds simple, but we realize that Marco Polo is the experiential adventurer in the world, while Kublai Khan is the intellectual summarizer of Marco Polo's experiences. Well, even that is up for grabs in the end, as who has the handle on reality--the adventurer or the intllectual?
At one point, Kublai Khan has reduced everything to nothing more than a chess game, black versus white, but in so doing, he looses all meaning. Then there is Marco Polo who has many adventures to report, but are they real, or just strung together experiences of illusion?
These philosophical positions are not new, but the experience of them is in the way that I like to be challenged by the new.
You were born in Podunk, USA with common values--be a good person and all will be well--or be a bad person, and then you die. Well, what if you do not have those options? What if I could tell you a story to rock the foundation of these beliefs? You do not need to be an unbeliever--just anyone. Whatever you think makes it ok to go to sleep at night--no longer applies. There is only one reality you (or any of us) will wake up to, only one reality you will die to: Come to Mother!.
Norman Mailer, in Vanity Affairs reflects American Psycho "attempts to create art can be as intolerable as foul manners." This combination of relentlessly depicted nauseating descriptions of designer clothes, menus and furniture mixed with outlandish violence, described in hideous detail, and an antagonist (Bateman) whose inner dialogue and outer actions do not fit either the psychology of a serial killer or any other known human personality. Total failure--it would feel better to spend a week stabbing your brain with an ice pick. At least get the book so you can skip the monotonous agony, although you just get to more of the same.
Really enjoyed the future world of possible viral threat, a little sketchy association of the cause of that threat based on society's lapse into technology, and a very disappointing resolution of this banal morality tale.
Gabriel Marques Garcia was not given the pulitzer prize for "One Hundred Years of Solitude" for an incredilbly good reason. The first half he wrote his heart out as the novelist he is, as he did in Love In the Time of Cholea--a clear novel from beginning to end. What the hell happened after the first half of 100 Years? He just went off line. WTF. This not only makes me mad as an individual, but rage against a professional/author who betrays his position as a professional/author. Unbelievable, and shocking. What a great story for the first half. Unbelievable. Betrayal.
Fields knows how to tell scientific stories as human interest stories, with drama and interest like very few others. He knows what is significant, shares that significance from a scientific point of view in personally engaging ways. If you like neuroscience, this book is for you. Rather than thinking of the "other" brain, I now think of both brains, neuronal and glial as one brain, just like the left and right hemisphere are one brain. A success of both science and story-telling.
On as many levels as possible, this towering philosopher for the ages, tormented soul and liberated intellectual, has set the bar bar for courage and value, leaving most United States Marines in the dust.
He established the spiritual, intellectual and physical norm for "weakness leaving the body."
If you look at his intensity as a war for the individual against false authority (master) and against false submissiveness (slave) you can then understand how his battle is to establish true value in life, as opposed to false submissiveness or brute authoritarianism. Enjoy.
It is natural to develop and transform throughout the life cycle. "It" was a classic in terror, perhaps unequaled, and much lamented in wanting another. However, King is a master story-teller, perhaps his true core.
Now his core is telling a story, in "Joyland" that is perhaps one of the richest character development stories of his career. He seems to relish in making every second sentence of personal significance through humor and observation in the context and character of his story (as opposed to George Carlin--gut wrenching humor).
As others have observed, this is not the same as his "It" novel, (although it is a ghost story), but in its place is a character development, play of romance, coming of age novel in which "it" becomes sex. Is this a loss of story-telling, or a maturation of story-telling? I vote for the later. Enjoy.
It is interesting how this is also a summary of his own works, a commentary on Nietzsche by Nietzsche. It is not only a summary of the minute daily observations and habits he has worked out for his well being (despite incredible physical suffering), but how he is, in the face of suffering, nevertheless affirmative of life. However, far from focusing on the minutia of his life, he is actually founding the value of life on a revolutionary view of life as independent of classic morality which had dominated society in the form of Christianity (the dominant force of moralism at his time), and in the form of German Idealism (rationalism and moralism as reflected in the Kantian categorical imprerative). In place of historical and religious false valuation, Nietzsche advocates the spirit of Dionysus (versus Apolo), to live creatively, energetically and courageously in the spirit of Zarathustra, his magnus opus.
If you like continually not knowing what is going to happen next, and discovering the next harrowing clue and dangerous predicament, then this classic Dan Brown scavenger hunt with cataclysmic implications is for you.
Constructed around the symbology of Dante's Inferno, this is a fast action adventure through fascinating historical cities by the familiar protagonist Robert Langdon, and a freaky-smart attractive leading lady (Angelina Jolie?)
It gets a little slow around the end of the first third of the book, then takes off again.
Nothing is ever what you expect.
This is the definition of suspense.
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