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photo 2019-09-12 19:25

“The Testaments" by Margaret Atwood feels both more prescient and more hopeful than "The Handmaid's Tale“. In 1985, women’s rights seemed assured and the world described in Gilead was a strange dystopia. Sadly, Gilead seems like a real possibility now. “The Testaments”, set 15 years after the events of "The Handmaid's Tale," shows that the Republic of Gilead is a theocracy teetering on the brink of self-immolation.

 

The story this time around is not just one woman's inner turmoil and her often-lonely struggle to stay sane in the midst of a life of religious slavery. In "The Testaments", instead of just the story of Offred, this book features the stories of three radically different women all caught in the same morass.

 

Agnes Jemima, who was raised to be a compliant Commander's wife, questions what she knows. The vicious Aunt Lydia describes her past and protects herself by gathering secrets. And Daisy, an anti-Gilead activist, begins a dangerous mission: going undercover as a convert to the faith in hopes of helping to take Gilead down from within. Once again, Atwood has crafted a chilling cautionary tale about the suppression of women's rights and a society twisted by that destruction.

 

In our current era, the story has a powerful and terrifying resonance because so many rights have been curtailed, and it is much easier to see how the lines of our society can be easily redrawn by self-interested charlatans using religion to further their own agendas. Freedom is under threat, and "The Testaments" shows us exactly how it happens, and what the consequences look like.

 

Today is the release of "The Testaments" -- a feminist parable for our time and of our time.

 

http://nednote.com/margaret-atwoods-the-testaments/

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text 2019-08-02 15:35
Neal Stephenson's New Book

Neal Stephenson

Neal Stephenson's most recent work is two novels in one. 

Novel #1: There is, as you may have heard a vast self-indulgent re-telling of various mythologies, including allusions to Summerian mythos and Biblical mythos. That part is boring, video-game-derived fan fiction written clearly by someone who thought it would be cool to pretend to be Milton for awhile, but has the parse vocabulary and flat descriptive power of the lackluster contemporary SF milieu. Imagine great mythic poetry rewritten by someone who has never read the King James, and you'll get the gist. I don't read a novel to read about the events of a video game, where there is no inner struggle, no character growth, and no sense of real human activity. Pretty sad as a novel. 

Novel #2: 
However, this videogame-style post-death story is wrapped in a highly compelling vision of our emerging future, which contains all of the brilliant observations, near-future forecasting and prescient insights that made me a Neal Stephenson fan in the first place. How easy would it be to "fake" a nuclear attack using social media? Pretty damn easy, and Stephenson shows us how. How rapidly would the midwest population's evangelical righteousness drift into a full-throated embrace of the Old Testament's Levitical dictates? Pretty fast, and Stephenson shows us a just-that-side-of-n0w reality. What is it like to live on the coasts in the high tech circuit today, and yet feel a kinship with a bygone middle America? Yep, that's here, and it's pretty poignant. This real grounded story in the novel is powerful, real, visceral and demonstrates all the wonderful power that Stephenson can bring to bear as a novelist. 

Stephenson just needs a stronger editor who can tell him to knock off the blowhard self-indulgent crap (Novel #1) and focus on a real story with real characters (Novel #2), which in the end is more compelling and more emotionally powerful and contains pointers to both the worst and the best of our shared future.

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review 2019-04-24 12:21
Review: Welcome to New York by Luana Ferraz
Welcome to New York - Luana Ferraz

The cover is really attractive and eye-catching. Bright and colourful, filled with happy vibes, forcing the attention towards itself. After reading the book I loved the cover even more because of it's significance to the story.
The story takes place in a coffee shop, Green bean. Alana and Harry are the protagonists of the story. Both of their personalities are similar in several ways. They are both introverts, and both of them have dreams with no hopes of achieving them.
"Welcome to New York" tells about the lives of Harry and Alana. It tells about their regrets, fears, hopes and their dreams. It is a clean romance. Anyone interested in the concept of true love should read it. 
The character development was fantastic. I loved the plot. The book was a little long for me, but the story and the characters kept me hooked. The author maintained a sense of mystery around certain aspects of the character's lives which was revealed in due time and made the reading experience better.
I received an ARC from Booksirens and I'm voluntarily reviewing it.

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review 2019-02-03 15:48
Review: The Stereotypical Freaks
The Stereotypical Freaks - Howard Shapiro

"Life after eighteen sucks"... Dennis Leary once said, and I'd amend that slightly to also include " life before eighteen as well".
The story takes place in a typical High School (East Slade), where everyone is stereotyped in their roles and personalities. Dan (a geek) and Tom (a smart kid) are best friends and a part of their two-member basement band. When a Battle of the Bands is announced at school Dan want to take part, but Tom doesn't because they don't have a lead guitarist and a drummer. This is where the other characters are introduced, Marcel "Mark", a football star and Jacoby (a weird foreign exchange student). Together they make a band called "The Stereotypical Freaks". Because they are stereotyped at school and freaks because they are not what their labels dictate.
"These labels don't define us"
When one of the members reveals a life-changing secret, winning the competition takes on a whole new meaning.
I LOVED the book. It was a normal life comic about four teenagers who are sensitive and are not afraid to show it. When I started to read this book, I thought it would be a fun quick read. I was wrong. I was happy everyone got what they wanted at the end, but it was an emotional journey, for the characters in the book as well as the readers. It was a different kind of comic than I usually read, but it was exceptional in its own way.

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review 2019-01-30 08:18
Review: Shattered by A.K. MacBride
Shattered - A.K. MacBride

Hope is what keeps the world alive.

Shattered by A.K MacBride is a story about diminished hopes and dreams. About people who believe they are too broken for someone else. 
Harper ran away from her abusive husband when she was pregnant. And now, six years later she is still afraid he will find her and doesn’t stay at the same place for more than a few months. But Willow Creek is different. She likes it here, has a real friend who cares about her and a neighbor who is hell bent on dating her. 
 Logan yearns for a family he can’t have. But after seeing Harper and her son, his desire skyrockets. He wants her, and she creates a safe distance from him. 
I liked the story. There was emotion, there was love and a cute kid. The kid stole all the limelight. It was adorable how he looked up to Logan and how Logan behaved when he was with him. The other characters were blurred for me. Logan’s brother was the only one with a lasting effect. 
This was a one-time well-worth read for me.

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