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review 2017-07-24 09:52
I don't think I'll be watching this movie
High-Rise - J.G. Ballard

I was trying to explain what this was about to mom on WA, alienation, communication through violence, descent to barbarism. She said "Ah, sounds like Dogville". I left about a third in on that movie, and I don't think I'll be watching this one. It sounds like I did not like this, and, well, uncomfortable as it is, I though it bloody amazing. It's just that the madness that slowly creeps in, and has you partially numbed by the time the heavy stuff crashes in, would not have time to come to full effect in the span of movie time, and would make the impact of violence unbearable.

I realize what I'm saying is creepy as fuck, just as I was aware reading that while the characters are slowly inured to the rising wilderness, the reader is inured to the rising level of brutality. And you kind of welcome it, because you wouldn't be able to cope with it otherwise. I found, about 30 pages from the end, that I had felt more of an impact by the bottle throwing (that first act of violence perpetuated) than what was going on by the last third. Familiarity breeds contempt and repetition indifference.

Yeah... creepy as fuck.

Also, the first third or so was masterfully disquieting. In the context of that first line, which, for the unwary and squeamish, is:


Later, as he sat on his balcony eating the dog, Dr Robert Laing reflected on the unusual events that had taken place within this huge apartment building during the previous three months.


every little war waged inside a big building takes an ominous shade. I lived in a building much like the one in this book for three years while a student. It was waaay outside of my money-bracket (hell, my parents money-bracket) but the old land-lady let me share her apartment for peanuts so she could have some company. I can tell you all the petty disputes and territoriality are true to life. Though they usually don't get this bloody (except for suicides. Those were an issue on Friday evenings).

Lastly, the symmetry. 3 for each, then 2 for each, then 1 for each (though he kinda cheated at the end), and one for what's left. I don't quite get what was going on with that clean-up at the end, though. End of settling pains?

That's that for my horror roll. I think I'll pick some regency romance next.

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text 2017-07-21 18:46
Friday Reads!! 7.21.2017
The Blue Castle - L.M. Montgomery
David Copperfield (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) - Charles Dickens,Radhika Jones
Barchester Towers - Anthony Trollope,Edward Mendelson
A Study in Scarlet - Arthur Conan Doyle

Happy Friday everyone!

 

It's hot here. We are in the midst of a heatwave, which makes me want to just drink cold things and read. 

 

Saturday I will doing a mother/daughter day with my mom. Sunday I will be at the beach with my fiancee, he also wants to do a bike ride - so not a bad weekend planned.

 

I hope to finish The Blue Castle this weekend. What a great book! My friend couldn't help herself and finished it up. She loved it. I'm already recommending it to people. It makes me want to read all of Montgomery's works -  I've already picked up the Emily books. 

 

Still working through David Copperfield . I'm doing mostly audio for this and I highly recommend it. 

 

I am halfway through A Study in Scarlet and hope to finish it in the coming week. I realized how much of Sherlock Holmes I haven't read so I've resolved to make my way through the novels/stories.

 

If I finish Castle, I think I'm going to start another classic - Bartchester Towers. I liked the blurb and enjoyed reading the first chapter. 

 

What are your plans?

 

Have a great weekend and happy reading! 

 

 

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review 2017-07-05 23:04
Five for one
Las Armas Secretas - Julio Cortázar

I understand now why this one is classified as European lit all the time. I haven't researched it, but I'm pretty sure this one was written after Cortázar left Argentina, because the five stories in this volume are all set in Paris.

I was not that dazzled by this too much at first but then, my bar with Cortázar is "Bestiario", and that's a hard one to upstage in the wow (weird, awesome, uncomfortable, puzzling) factor.

Cartas de Mamá, leaving aside the historical parallelism that some scholar or other wants to saddle on it, was an excellent exercise on revealing the past through the present. Many authors could learn a thing or two about how to do back-story. Of course, back-story is the whole issue here: sins and regrets that turn into silences, and that end that is half fantasy, half delayed acknowledgement. And the great opening line:

 

"Muy bien hubiera podido llamarse libertad condicional."

 

Los Buenos Servicios was a very scathing look at how moneyed people use "the help", many times frivolously, and often callously, and how hollow the "throw money at it" approach is, which is more jarring  (and ridiculous) from the poised view of Francinet. She had more class than any of the cast.

Las Babas del Diablo is a POV nightmare. As it tends to happen when I read magical-realism, I enter a weird state where I'm paying close attention, but at the same time relax my mind and just go with it. Like suspension of disbelief, but I just suspend logic and sometimes even grammar. I find it pays off with many complex or weird plots, or speculative fiction too. Triggers galore in this one, and one VERY uncomfortable suspicion.

"El Perseguidor", now here is the jewel of the book, and the point where I started to love this collection. It was absolutely engrossing. I understand why it has been known to be edited as "El Perseguidor y otras historias". This one got to me, emotionally-wise, and I'm not even quite sure why. I guess it's that desperate search.

"Las Armas Secretas" you know how it's going to go almost from go. Or maybe it's that I've read enough Cortázar to understand the clues he leaves. Or, maybe more, this sense of having read one of his before, about a big house in San Isidro, that has similar elements, but I can't remember to which collection it belonged to contrast.

You know, the more I write, the higher I want to star this. I realize it made my brain jog, and my thoughts come back to it whenever I wasn't reading.

Not his best, but for "El Perseguidor" alone, so worth owning it. I predict re-reads.

 

And there it goes my 4th of July extra. I devoured it, lol

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review 2017-06-28 17:36
A thought-provoking analysis of the end of times and the Messianic Era

 

 

Daniel Friedmann’s Roadmap to the End of Days is a thought-provoking analysis of the end of times and the Messianic Era, controversial and misunderstood subjects. Mr. Friedmann dares his readers to consider his arguments with an open mind and confront their own mix of scientific and religious core values.

 

The book begins with the story of a small boy who comes home from Sunday school and retells to his dad the story of the Exodus and parting of the Red Sea. He describes Moses as a strong wrestler who God sent behind the enemy lines with a team of engineers. His mission was to rescue his people and lead them out of Egypt. Awestruck, the dad asked: “Is that really what the teacher taught you? The boy replied, “No, Dad. But if I told you the story the way the teacher did, you'd never believe it!” Mr. Friedmann uses this allegory to prepare readers as he presents his arguments in a simple and understandable way.

 

The book keeps the author's familiar rhetorical style. Each of its 10 well-developed and interesting chapters starts with an introduction to its topic, concludes with a summary of the collected data and their interpretation, and leaves the reader wondering: “Where will it lead me?” Friedmann skillfully reconciles and explains the Apocalyptic prophesies based on physics, history, the holy Bible, and the Torah (including its books of commentary), and he clarifies humanity's key role in its outcome. To help readers understand how God and humans differ in measuring time, he utilizes Einstein's theory of special relativity. I highly recommend the reader take the time to explore the extra documentation provided in the appendixes, glossary, and endnotes as it facilitates the understanding of this challenging topic.

 

To put his message in context., the author offers the following disclaimer on page 69: “The sources are clear: no one can know the exact form of future events, or their timin

 

g.” However, by recognizing the signs, we can prepare ourselves for fulfillment of the prophesies and reduce casualties.


In sum, as the author observes on p

age 85: “The purpose of our existence is to bring both ourselves and the world back to its original state of spiritual sensitivity to create a dwelling place for the Divine Presence in this world”

 

When the author contacted me to end

orse and review this book, I did not hesitate. Having reviewed his previous book, The Broken Gift, I knew about his earnest style and had no doubt he would provide food for thought in another high quality and well-documented masterpiece. The book exceeded my expectations, captivated me through the journey, and enlightened me regarding this fascinating topic.

 

I highly recommend this book to readers who dare to examine new possibilities and are able to examine them closely without personal bias.

 

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided in exchange for this review. Reviews expressed are solely those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review.

 

 

 

 

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review 2017-05-17 00:23
Incoming Rant
The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway

You know, I'd read in some posh literary review that Jake and Brett were two of Hemingway's most lovable characters, but I really can't see how that could be. I get he was painting an era, but I had the same difficulties I had with Fitzgerald's "Great Gatsby": I was bored by the characters misery (first world high class problems, people, that's what you have!); and I was enraged by the chaos and destruction they sowed all around themselves with their callow carelessness. Stupid egotistical brats.

And that's the other thing: they ARE reacting like brats. "Our parent's culture and ideology crumbled down and betrayed us! Let's rage and get drunk, and screw everyone around!" Except, you know, they are in their middle thirties. I don't say you have to have your shit together by that time or any other, God knows you never really do, and life has a marvelous way of sucker punch you when you think you have it balanced, but the over the top woe-is-me shit you are supposed to learn to manage after the hormones of puberty stabilize.

Every generation has challenges, and I reckon those that were born around the turn of the 20th century had a suck-fest of a raw deal, but what I saw inside this book was not just depression and insecurity over lost direction and of self, but a total lack of care for other people. I saw the phrase "moral bankruptcy" around, and I think that's and exact description, but it was treated as an excuse for how these particular characters act, because apparently it was a pervasive thing all around. News-flash: if everyone is a terrible person, and you act like everyone, you are still a terrible person.

 

So no, I have no love for these characters. Now, do I have any use for this book? *sigh* Thorny issue. If it was an accurate representation of the generation, I have to loose any surprise at seeing them fall right back into war; they all felt suicidal to me, and self-centered enough to blow up the world along with themselves.

 

So here's what I think: maybe it's useful, but I did not like it.

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