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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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review 2016-09-08 02:31
The sinking and the after shakes
Hearts in Atlantis - Stephen King

Damned tearjerker. To paraphrase Bobby's mom "life is unfair". And boy, do I have mixed feelings about her character. Most of my screming-at-the-page moments came thanks to her. Anyway, the first story ripped my heart out, and I loved it. 

 

The second was a mix. Kinda' like the charactes, their age and the era. Jumbled and confused, almost angels and petty devils. Liked it. Not as much as the first.

 

The third was the puzzler. Interesting bridge, but wtf. Also, he has a good life, life isn't fair. Maybe.

 

The fourth took fime to hit it's stride, but really got to me on the last two-five pages. Had my watterworks well primed and going. Ready for the last story.

 

The fifth was  the coda. Full circle. And maybe life is unfair, but sometimes is kinder than we expect.

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quote 2016-09-07 06:01
As a group, the instructors were a lot more sympathetic than I ever would have guessed; most bent over backwards to help us not only pass, but pass high enough to hold onto our scholarships. Only Skip's calculus teacher was completely unreceptive, and Skip was doing well enough there to skate by without any special help. Years later I realized that for many of the instructors it was a moral issue rather than an academic one: they didn't want to read their ex-students' names in a casualty list and have to wonder if they had been partially responsible; that the difference between a D and a C-minus had also been the difference between a kid who could see and hear and one sitting senseless in a VA hospital somewhere.
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review 2016-01-22 02:49
The unstable bridges
A Passage to India - Pankaj Mishra,Oliver Stallybrass,E.M. Forster

What a beautiful piece about a sad limitation of humanity: the bridging of cultures. It's uncomfortable, poignant, lovely, and human.

 

I don't know how much more I can say, since there is actually little plot to the work itself, the pages being driven by description, be it of places, of people and their relationships, of mundane clashes of two cultures emulsified. And by dialogues. God, those meandering dialogues. There is no other word, even if it sounds like I got bored by them, because not only I wasn't, I found them so... so... well beautiful. Right there with the end page, from over which I'm still sucking up my snot, because...

 

Fuck it. If you are into long worded, slow paced classics, just read.

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