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Search tags: Word-Play
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review 2020-01-31 18:19
Stanislaw Lem: A Masterpost
Solaris - Stanisław Lem,Steve Cox,Joanna Kilmartin
The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age - Stanisław Lem
Memoirs Found in a Bathtub - Stanisław Lem,Christine Rose

The premise is that a scientist is sent to Solaris (a planet with a space station) only to discover that the 3 inhabitants which he was meant to meet have been reduced to two. Our main character, Kris Kelvin, arrives hoping to crack the enigma of the alien ocean which comprises the whole of the planet (and which is sentient). Once he arrives, strange and disturbing things start to happen such as resurrection of the dead into corporeal beings. Is the entity aware of its cruelty? Is it conducting an experiment on the scientists like the ones that it has been subjected to over the years? Have they actually gone mad?! The overarching message that Lem seems to be making is that humanity continually seeks out new worlds and beings only to impose their own values and agendas to further their reach. (Think colonialism of other cultures and peoples.) He likens it to religion and the search for redemption. (Sci-fi and philosophy go hand-in-hand more often than not as most lovers of the genre will know.) For me it's a 4/10 as I found myself putting it down and grabbing other things to read instead.

 

Now The Cyberiad completely got me back on board the Stanislaw Lem fan train. It was absolutely hysterical. This is a collection of short stories all about the adventures (or rather misadventures) of 2 (in)famous constructors as they make their way across the universe. (These journeys are called sallies which is a detail I adore.) Our heroes, Klapaucius and Trurl, are constantly trying to one-up each other not only with their creations but also with their status as constructors and benefactors to the cosmos. These robots are constructed for all kinds of constructive and inane reasons like storytelling, poetry, making war, etc. And the words that Lem makes up! I'm trying to think of a better word than delightful to describe my reading experience but honestly it was a treat to read a bit of this every night before bed. (If you don't laugh at the depiction of 'palefaces' i.e. humans then you have no sense of humor at all.) An absolute 10/10 for me. (And wait til you read the twist. O_O)

 

Memoirs Found in a Bathtub caught my eye simply for the novelty of the title and that bizarre cover. This book is difficult to sum up or even to rate as it truly has no discernible plot. Lest you dismiss it immediately because of this fact, let me assure you that there's much to recommend this title. The word play and circuitous path of our main character (who remains nameless) is satire at its finest. Espionage, counterespionage, and counter-counterespionage abound in The Building where our character has been given a very important Mission...if only he knew what it was. He is continually beset by obstacles in the form of bureaucrats, winding halls with nondescript doors, and instructions that keep vanishing. What would happen if humanity was forced to abandon its cities and move into an underground bunker? Would society, culture, and technology survive and continue to advance?  Lem weaves a provocative tale of paranoia, confusion, and ultimately betrayal. 5/10 but would have been higher had there been a plot to follow. 

 

What's Up Next: Exhalation by Ted Chiang

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa

 

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2019-08-26 19:32
The list maker
The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus - Jen Bryant,Melissa Sweet

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant with pictures by Melissa Sweet is a biography (written for children) of the creator of the Thesaurus, Peter Roget. Some of the most beautiful mixed media art has been used to enhance a subject which I imagine many adults (not to mention kids) would consider quite dry. While the art is gorgeous, I have to be honest and say that Roget didn’t lead the most exciting life so the story itself isn't exactly edge of the seat content. From childhood, he spent much of his time making categorized lists (sounds like the life of the party) which didn't help his shyness but did help him to graduate early from school. It also helped him in his preparations to become a doctor where an ability to stay focused while learning a vast amount of information came in handy. This book tracks his life and accomplishments in an easy to digest manner for kids aged 9 and up (although younger kids could understand the content with help from an adult). If nothing else, this is an absolutely beautiful piece of art and for that alone should be celebrated. 6/10 because it didn't knock my socks off or supply me with any particularly new information.

 

What's Up Next: The Birthday Ball by Lois Lowry with pictures by Jules Feiffer

What I'm Currently Reading: So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2019-02-02 01:51
Frindle
Frindle - Andrew Clements,Brian Selznick

Nick a fifth grader comes up with a new word. Despite Mrs.Granger not believing in his new word, it became a worldwide sensation. The leveling system is The Lexile, reading level 830L. Students can create a new word, write a definition and write where the word would be placed in a dictionary.

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review 2018-12-06 19:58
Take it or leave it? I'll leave it, thanks.
Tucker Grizzwell's Worst Week Ever - Bill Schorr,Ralph Smith

Tucker Grizzwell's Worst Week Ever by Bill Schorr and Ralph Smith was borne from a comic strip and is (supposedly) aimed at children. However, I found it to be so full of word play and puns that I think it would be better suited to an adult audience. In my opinion, it was a little too densely packed with jokes to the point of being somewhat annoying and obnoxious. This wasn't marketed as a collection of comic strips but it was lacking in a coherent plot beyond the bare bones 'lesson learned' tale of a cub realizing that adults may not necessarily have all of the answers to the world's questions. 

 

Apologies for the shortness of this review but some books don't lend themselves to a lengthy analysis especially when they're so middle of the road like this one. 2/10

 

 

Sorry this isn't clearer and easier to read. :-/ [The Phoenixed Forums]

 

What's Up Next: Peanuts Vol. 9 by Charles Schulz (and others)

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-01-19 16:47
Didn't get the word play of the title until I was writing out my notes
The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People - Oscar Wilde

After what feels like a millennium, I have read The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde and I totally get the hype now. Oscar Wilde's play focuses on two men who independently of the other have invented alternate personas that allow them to cut loose without (hopefully) any repercussions. One of the men has created Ernest who is by all rights a scoundrel and his creator has finally decided to do away with him so that he can settle down and get married. The problem is that his friend (the other deceitful man) has decided to take on the mantle of Ernest so that he can win the heart of a girl that he's just met. (I recommend reading this in one sitting because otherwise you're liable to get confused.) Wilde uses word play and absolutely ridiculous circumstances to discuss the folly of youth and poke fun at the whims and fancies of people who believe they are really truly in love even if they don't truly know the other person. For instance, the two women of the play are determined that they will only marry someone named Ernest but as it turns out no one is named Ernest there is a bit of a kerfuffle. After all is said and done, no one comes out on top and everyone is depicted as foolish and unimpressive. It was thoroughly amusing and I guess now I'll have to see the movie that was based on it. :-P If you haven't read it yourself and you'd like a quick, fun read this will do just the trick. 9/10

 

And yes the title of this post is true. I was staring at the book's title and then it hit me: "Oh because it's about two men proclaiming to be Ernest and they do it will all earnestness."  *facepalm* 

 

What's Up Next: The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The Portable Nineteenth-Century African American Women Writers

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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