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review 2017-06-21 11:58
Eine Geschichte in einer Geschichte in einer Geschichte
The Crane Wife - Patrick Ness

„The Crane Wife“ von Patrick Ness basiert auf einem japanischen Volksmärchen. Im Nachwort schreibt Ness, dass er die Erzählung bereits seit dem Kindergarten kennt. Ich hingegen musste sie nachschlagen. Die Geschichte existiert in verschiedenen, alternativen Versionen, die grundlegenden Elemente gleichen sich jedoch sehr. Stets geht es um einen verletzten Kranich, der von Menschen gesundgepflegt wird und sich für ihre Hilfsbereitschaft großzügig revanchiert. Ich bin froh, dass mir das Märchen völlig unbekannt war, da ich aufgrund meiner Unwissenheit gänzlich unbelastet an „The Crane Wife“ herangehen konnte.

 

George Duncans Leben lässt sich mit einem Wort zusammenfassen: unspektakulär. Er ist Inhaber eines kleinen Copyshops, der mäßigen Gewinn abwirft, Vater einer erwachsenen Tochter, die ihn nicht ernstnimmt und geschieden, weil seine Ex-Frau ihn für „nicht Manns genug“ hielt. George ist sich seiner sanftmütigen Durchschnittlichkeit bewusst und hätte niemals erwartet, dass sich daran etwas ändert, doch das Schicksal hat andere Pläne. Eines nachts weckt ihn ein unmenschlicher, herzzerreißender Schrei. Verschlafen taumelt George aus dem Bett und staunt nicht schlecht: in seinem Garten hockt ein großer weißer Kranich. Ein echter Kranich! Ist das ein Traum? Nein, das kann nicht sein, der Kranich wurde angeschossen. Ein Pfeil steckt in seinem Flügel. Kurzentschlossen hilft er dem Vogel. Als das majestätische Tier davonsegelt, ahnt George nicht, dass er soeben den Verlauf seiner Zukunft fundamental veränderte. Am nächsten Tag betritt eine Frau seinen Laden. Sie heißt Kumiko, ist wunderschön und wird all das in Georges Leben bringen, das er bisher vermisste: Liebe, Wunder und Magie.

 

Es ist nahezu unmöglich, „The Crane Wife“ einem Genre zuzuordnen. Patrick Ness tunkt seine Zehen in die Wasser vieler Kategorien, taucht aber niemals unter. Das Buch ist von allem ein bisschen, entzieht sich jedoch einer klaren, eindeutigen Definition. Organisatorisch bereitet mir ein solcher Roman einige Probleme, inhaltlich hingegen liebe ich Grenzgänger dieser Art, weil sie so viele ineinander verschlungene Themen ansprechen. Objektiv betrachtet handelt „The Crane Wife“ von George Duncan, einem durchschnittlichen Mann, dem Wundervolles und Außergewöhnliches widerfährt. Worum es in diesem Buch allerdings tatsächlich geht, steht auf einem ganz anderen Blatt. Es besteht eine hohe Spannung zwischen der oberflächlichen Geschichte und der tiefer liegenden Bedeutung, wodurch sich ein immenser Interpretationsspielraum entfaltet. Ich denke, jeder Leser bzw. jede Leserin liest etwas eigenes, sehr intimes und Persönliches aus Georges Geschichte heraus. Meiner Ansicht nach geht es in „The Crane Wife“ um Liebe und Vergebung, um das Geben und Nehmen in einer Beziehung und um verzehrende Leidenschaft. Inwieweit kann, sollte und darf man eine andere Person besitzen? Wie gut muss man einen Menschen überhaupt kennen, um ihn oder sie lieben zu können? George verliebt sich in Kumiko, obwohl ihm all die Fakten, an denen wir ein „zivilisiertes“ Menschenleben messen, fehlen. Er vertraut seinem Gefühl. Es ist nicht wichtig, woher sie kommt oder wie ihr Leben vor ihrer Begegnung aussah. Wichtig ist nur, was er für sie empfindet und wie er sich in ihrer Gegenwart fühlt. Kumiko verändert Georges Wahrnehmung seiner eigenen Person. Er lernt unheimlich viel über sich selbst; darüber, wer und wie er ist und dass es in seiner eigenen Macht liegt, sein Leben als zauberhaft, überraschend und bedeutsam zu betrachten. Ich denke, im Grunde war er dazu immer in der Lage, er hatte es nur vergessen. Er hatte vergessen, dass eine Geschichte niemals nur eine Geschichte ist, sondern Legion. Egal, was auf der Welt geschieht, es sind immer viele Menschen und dementsprechend auch viele Perspektiven involviert. Dadurch entsteht ein dichtes und weit verzweigtes Netz miteinander verknüpfter, ineinandergreifender Geschichten. Dieses Netz ist ein Wunder, weil es uns als Menschen verbindet. Unsere Leben berühren sich viel häufiger und intensiver, als wir meist annehmen. Ich finde, das ist ein wundervoller Gedanke, den Patrick Ness bis in die elementare Konstruktion von „The Crane Wife“ verfolgt. Auch sein Buch ist eine Geschichte in einer Geschichte in einer Geschichte. Jede hat ihren eigenen Helden bzw. ihre eigene Heldin, jede fokussiert andere Sorgen, Nöte und Themen. Ich tue mich daher schwer damit, George als Protagonisten des Romans zu bezeichnen. Er mag der Hauptdarsteller seiner Geschichte sein, aber im größeren Rahmen ist er vielmehr ein Knotenpunkt, ein Schmelztiegel der Milliarden Facetten, die wir menschliches Miteinander nennen.

 

Ich kann in dieser Rezension lediglich einen sehr allgemeinen Eindruck von „The Crane Wife“ von Patrick Ness vermitteln. Man muss es selbst gelesen, selbst erlebt haben, um zu verstehen, wie eindringlich dieses Buch mit Bedeutung aufgeladen ist und wieso es so schwierig ist, es angemessen zu beschreiben. Für mich war es genau die leise, zärtliche und ruhige Lektüre, die ich nach „No llores, mi querida“ von André Pilz brauchte. Ich brauchte ein Buch, das vollkommen ohne Härte und Aufregung auskommt, das mich sanft zum Lächeln und Nachdenken bringt. Der starke philosophische Einschlag von „The Crane Wife“ ließ meine Gedanken fliegen, ich hätte mir allerdings eine etwas deutlichere Richtungsangabe gewünscht. Patrick Ness lässt seinen Leser_innen so viel Freiraum, dass ich lange überlegen musste, was er mir möglicherweise sagen möchte. Etwas mehr Führung hätte mir sehr geholfen, die Gedankenflut in meinem Kopf zu sortieren. Nichtsdestotrotz ist „The Crane Wife“ ein wundervolles Buch, das ich gern weiterempfehle und enthält einige stilistische Perlen, die mich wirklich berührten. Oder ist ein Bücherregal als Zustandsbeschreibung der Seele etwa nicht eines der schönsten Gleichnisse, die euch je begegnet sind?

Source: wortmagieblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/patrick-ness-the-crane-wife
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review 2017-01-26 00:00
Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals
Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals - Immanuel Kant Never trust what modern writers say about classic works of Philosophy. Kant is not only relevant because of the influence he had on latter day thinkers, but, as with this work, he has something to say which makes mince meat out of most of the present day writers. If this book had been published for the first time last year, most readers would have thought it was the greatest book they had read in the decade (or even in their lifetimes).

There is a little bit of getting used to the special language that Kant uses, but it's really not hard to follow if you are familiar with Kant (I am not a philosopher but I want to learn my purpose and how best to be 'good'). He'll use 'synthetic' and 'analytic', the trick I use is since 'synthetic' starts with 's' think 'senses', and analytic is another word for math so think 'math', for 'a posteriori' and 'a priori' (I put them in this order because 'a posteriori' relates to the senses (synthetic) and is after the fact or after experience, 'a priori' relates to 'analytic' before the fact or from first principles or deductively as in a mathematical system. Two other Kantian words are 'subjective' (think 'self' sense it starts with 's' and 'objective' is an 'object' (or thing) outside of yourself.

Kant is really not hard to follow and this work in particular was clearly written such that any one can really follow it because he obviously wants as wide an audience as possible for what he is going to tell the reader. (Now, I will admit that "Critique of Pure Reason' was hard at first but once I looked up those words in the above paragraph I ended up loving what he had to say and how he said it. With Kant you always get a unique way of looking at something and it's not always as important what he concludes as how he gets there. He even says something like that at the end of CPR, but with this book how he gets there and what he says are both well worth the effort).

The reason he wants such a wide audience is because what he's going to tell the reader is an answer to one of the two great universal truths we all seek: 1) knowledge (justified true beliefs) about the world (Aristotle starts his Metaphysics with this fact), and 2) knowledge of the good (or divine) (Plato's formulation). This book is all about the second truth we all want, and to know about the 'good' one must first understand what the good is. This is what he does within this book.

Kant builds a 'ground' based on reason to get at what our unconditional duties are in which we need to grasp the unconditional practical reason (morality) as maxims (universal laws) or as he says 'categorical imperatives'. Or in other words, he uses the infinite to get at our finite understanding of how we should approach life. His methodology is always a pleasure to behold and will teach anyone (including me) how to think better, and his conclusions are one of the best guides on how to live a moral life that I've encountered. I like the Golden Rule (and parts of the Sermon on the Mount), I like J.S. Mill's utilitarian philosophy, and I just love Kant's Categorical Imperatives. A combination of all three is how I choose to live.

In the end, we earthlings, need to understand what it means to be good. All moral philosophy at its root combines empathy with reciprocity of some kind and call for us to be 'good' in some fashion, but 'what is the good (or divine)' is not obvious except usually in some circular fashion, and this book gives an extraordinarily good account for it. Don't worry about the technical language, because overall it is written to be understood, and is an incredibly good self help book that could easily replace almost all the rest of the current best sellers especially the vile self help books which I walk past in the bookstore.
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url 2015-08-20 12:36
Bedtime Stories for Young Brains

 

Two studies tackle the link between reading to young children and brain activity, as well as development of vocabulary:

"Children whose parents reported more reading at home and more books in the home showed significantly greater activation of brain areas in a region of the left hemisphere called the parietal-temporal-occipital association cortex. This brain area is “a watershed region, all about multisensory integration, integrating sound and then visual stimulation,” said the lead author, Dr. John S. Hutton, a clinical research fellow at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

 

The different levels of brain activation, he said, suggest that children who have more practice in developing those visual images, as they look at picture books and listen to stories, may develop skills that will help them make images and stories out of words later on."

 

More here.

 

 

Source: rachelbookharlot.booklikes.com
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review 2015-04-08 05:50
Tale of Two Killers
Fundamental Error: A Katla KillFile - Martyn V. Halm

This long short story or short novella is one of the four of its kind that make up the Amsterdam Assassin Series along with three full-length novels. (I’m glad to know that a fourth is on the way.) One of the many things I like about this series is that Halm’s style is so unique and his characters so original that I can’t describe his work by referring to other books or authors. The protagonist is a professional assassin—a complex woman, strong and unusually intelligent, with expertise in many areas related to her occupation. In Fundamental Error, Katla’s skills with technology and explosives and her capacity for careful planning, self-control, and observation are central to the plot. There’s a deceptive calm to the narration that somehow raises the tension. The shifts in time and point of view are structured masterfully, shifting back and forth between the minutes before a terrorist’s attempt to blow up an Amsterdam shopping center and the weeks leading up to the attack. The target’s horrific goal makes this story less morally ambiguous than the others. I didn’t feel the “Oh my god, I’m rooting for Katla and she’s an assassin” amazement that has struck me as I got swept up in the novels and the other Killfiles. Not that I mind having that experience. In fact, it’s one of the marvels of this series. Halm somehow makes a woman whose job is unsympathetic—to say the least—into a riveting lead character for a series.

 

This review also appears on http://everywhereindies.wordpress.com

 

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review 2014-06-19 11:09
Book Review - The Amsterdam Assassin Series

I reviewed two books for Martyn: the Katla KillFile Book 0.1 'Fundamental Error' and Book 1 of the Amsterdam Assassin Series, 'Reprobate'.

 

~

 

The Katla KillFiles

Book 0.1: Fundamental Error

 

Blurb: The Fundamental Error KillFile (9,800 words) follows Katla Sieltjes, freelance assassin and corporate troubleshooter, on her most dangerous assignment yet. When Peter Brandt watches his brother Roel convert to Islam and turn into a domestic terrorist, Katla needs to enter into the mind of a fanatic suicide bomber in order to thwart a mass-murder attack in the shopping mecca of Amsterdam.

 

 

FUNDAMENTALERROR

 

Review:

 

Author – Martyn V. Halm
Star rating – ★★★★
Plot – very well thought out and put together
Characters – diverse, unique, good mix
Movie Potential – ★★★★
Ease of reading – very easy to read
Cover – 
Suitable Title – 
Would I read it again – Yes.

 

** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK, BY THE AUTHOR, IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW **

 

There isn't much I can say about this book without going into detail about the plot and giving it all away, but I will say that it's the first book I've read with an assassin as the main character and the first where the female lead is not weak, teary, vulnerable or scatterbrained. In fact, if you put together a list of words to describe our main character Katla, then you're looking more into the realm of : calculated, objective, precise, clear-headed and ruthless. A unique story with a realistic plot and MC, and a relatable female MC with some kick-ass action moves.

 

~

 

The Amsterdam Assassin Series

Book 1: Reprobate

 

Blurb: Blessed with an almost non-existent conscience, Katla Sieltjes, expert in disguising homicide, views assassination as an intricate and rewarding occupation. Hidden behind her male alter ego Loki, Katla receives anonymous assignments, negotiates the terms with clients through electronic means, all to protect her identity. Her solitary existence satisfies her until she meets a blind musician whose failure to notice a ‘closed’ sign causes him to wander in on Katla’s crime scene. And Katla breaks one of her most important rules - never leave a living witness.

 

 REPROBATE

 

Review:

Author – Martyn V. Halm
Star rating – ★★★★
Plot – very well thought out and put together
Characters – intriguing, relatable, likeable
Movie Potential – ★★★★
Ease of reading – really easy to read
Cover – 
Suitable Title – 
Would I read it again – Yes.

 

** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK, BY THE AUTHOR, IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW **

 

I really enjoyed this story. But let me start off by pointing out the one or two things that didn't work for me. They are all because of personal preference. First off, we deal with the FBI, DEA, a hired killer and some experts in this book, so a lot of the 'official' stuff goes over my head. For example, the DEA/FBI talk, the martial arts moves and the technical terms are just pretty words to me, so I had to let my imagination do the rest - not really a problem, but something I thought I should point out. Also, I'm not a big fan of having accents written out. I had to read a few bits of dialogue over twice to figure out the real meaning.

Saying that, the rest is all good. The story started with a fast, great hook that kept me interested. I loved how we were left in limbo at points of the story to jump from Katla's perspective to Deborah or Simon's. I love when we're left on a cliffhanger waiting to find out what's going to happen to our favourite characters while we see what's going on elsewhere. I think the use of the FBI and DEA was a genius touch. It gave me - the reader - the feeling of being 'in' on the secret of what had really happened and waiting to see if the FBI or DEA would cotton on or not, and how.

It did take me a little while to get into the book, but that's just because of the genius of the author's writing. I loved Katla from the minute I read 'Fundamental Error', before jumping into this novel and by the time we moved on from her story I only loved her all the more. Especially when Bram came into the story. He was a class act of a character. He lightened the mood quite a bit, while providing a realistic reaction to Katla's chosen career and personality. I loved that he got to know her for who she was before he knew anything about her job.

I also have to admit that I really liked the little characters: Painless Paul and his grandson, James Creoux, Zeph, Kourou and the Japanese staff. They were all nice touches to an already well written and intriguing story. I liked that we got to know a little about Bram before we 'officially' met him as well. I will admit, however, that when we first met him I got him mixed-up with the elderly man walking his dog outside the store and spent two chapters thinking he was old. Way too old for the way Katla started thinking about him. ;) But, I will blame that on not feeling well and trying to devour the story too quickly.

Having absolutely no experience of Amsterdam at all, I enjoyed getting really vivid descriptions of locations throughout the story. It wasn't overly done or done too often and it let me really set the scene for the characters. I also love the little bit at the back of the book, letting us know what locations are pure imagination, like the amazing Roustabout. I'm a big fan of Jazz, so I was really pleased to have little touches of it creeping into the story every now and then. I like to think that me and Bram would get on really well. I also happen to have a really morbid fascination with murder, crime, crime scenes and forensics so I would have no problem chatting to Katla either.

Overall, I loved the focus on Katla and Bram, even when they weren't directly in the scenes and I thought the gradual development and conclusion of the plot was perfect. It made it more realistic than having everything happen within hours or days when we all know that real life is never that accommodating, especially when it comes to crime scene investigations.

I'm rating this story a 4 instead of a 5 for two reasons: 1) the technical jargon going way over my head and 2) the ending. I think it maybe ended a little abruptly, but I'm undecided of whether this is a good or a bad thing. At the moment it's a bad thing, because I can't go straight into the next book, which I think is the point of the cut off.

However, I will definitely be reading the rest of the series soon.

 

~

 

Where to Buy Martyn's Books:

 

Kobo

Barnes and Noble

iTunes

Nook

Amazon

 

~

 

How to get in touch with Martyn:

 

E-mail: katlasieltjes@yahoo.com

Mailing List

Blog

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Source: ellelainey.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/book-review-amsterdam-assassin-series
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