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review 2015-01-16 14:55
Why Everyone Should Read Cat's Cradle
Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut

“Now I will destroy the whole world.”
– What Bokonists say when they commit suicide, Cat’s Cradle, Chapter 106


You’d think a story about the end of the world – not just the world of one person, or human civilization, but all life on the planet – would be a grim affair, but Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle is replete with wit, wry humour, and a touching compassion for human frailty.

 

Vonnegut’s book is no bright dystopia, like the one portrayed in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, nor is it as unrelentingly dark as George Orwell’s 1984. It’s our world that Vonnegut so amusingly satirizes, a world in which human beings are awfully good at creating doomsday devices (atomic bombs, religions), and lying to themselves.

 

Many have said this is a story about the insanity of the Cold War, but I think it’s a short history of human stupidity. And it is as relevant today as it was when it was first published in 1963. The plot follows a narrator who is writing a book about one of the creators of the atomic bomb and in the process discovers the scientist has also made Ice-9, a substance with the potential to turn all water into solid ice. Why invent such a dangerous thing? Come on, science can’t be held back by such existential worries – it’s progress, baby.

Our world is beset with climate change caused by our technologies. As a species, we’re on the cusp of massive changes that could exceed the pace of evolution – whether from genetic engineering or through fusing our biology with information technology – and this is precisely the kind of book that everyone needs to read.

 

We need to think about what we are doing with our scientific power, not just proceed blindly.

 

Cat’s Cradle is the book that helped me find a way I could be a writer: it’s literary, but it plays with science fictional tropes; it’s funny, but there’s a point to it all. In it he invents a religion, Bokonism, that is both humane and ironic, and that puts the lie to all other human religions. He spoofs geopolitics as easily as he skewers human egocentrism. And he does it all with humour and prose that’s accessible and well crafted. It’s deceptively simple, in fact. You can’t help but be moved, and then you think, “How did he do that?”

The short chapters are perfect for today’s attention-deficit-disordered readers (at least, until we have our concentration chips implanted), so it works as a book that everyone at university could read.

 

Not to mention all the greatideas (foma: a harmless untruth) and kickass existential “Calypso” lyrics from the Book of Bokonon:

 

Tiger got to hunt,
Bird got to fly;
Man got to wonder, “Why, why, why?”
Tiger got to sleep,
Bird got to land;
Man got to tell himself, he understand.

 

Source: markarayner.com/archives/4204
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video 2014-07-21 02:53
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
The Stranger - Albert Camus,Matthew Ward
The Inferno - 'Dante Alighieri'
House of Leaves - Mark Z Danielewski
Altmann's Tongue: Stories and a Novella - Brian Evenson,Alphonso Lingis
American Psycho - Bret Easton Ellis
The Collected Stories - Amy Hempel
Blindness - José Saramago,Giovanni Pontiero
The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure, and Human Evolution - Denis Dutton
Full of It: The Birth, Death, and Life of an Underground Newspaper - Tim Hall

I was tagged by MartheBozart to do this 10 Influential Books tag. The basic idea is that I choose 10 books that have been influential to me in some way. I decided to group my 10 selections into books that influenced me as 1) a reader, 2) a writer, and 3) a...well, this tier is miscellaneous.

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text 2014-03-09 19:05
Top 10: Most Influential Books
Number the Stars - Lois Lowry
A Walk to Remember - Nicholas Sparks
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë
Twilight - Stephenie Meyer,Stephenie Meyer
Anna and the French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins
Can You Keep a Secret? - Sophie Kinsella
Seriously...I'm Kidding - Ellen DeGeneres
By Sue Monk Kidd: The Secret Life of Bees - -Penguin (Non-Classics)-
The Luxe - Anna Godbersen

This has been a thing that's been going around booktube where people list 10 books that have been influential to their lives. They don't necessarily have to be your favorite books, just ones that have influenced you. In the videos, you are supposed to list 10 books that first come to mind without really thinking about it and without stating why. Well I can't do that because I feel like I'd just end up listing my favorite books instead ones that influenced me in some way. However, most of these are among my favorite books so I fail at this and I can't just not explain myself... So It was hard for me to pick books that influenced my life greatly since reading in general is such a big part of my life but I don't think I'd have ten books that changed my life apart from reading. So instead I picked 10 books that influenced my reading life and books I like to read and want more of!

 

1. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

I read this when I was in elementary school and it's just a really good book. It sparks my interest in learning about the holocaust and World War II and led me to read a good variety of books set during that time and plenty more that I want to read both fiction and non-fiction.

 

2. A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks

This book has influenced me in so many ways. It was my first Nicholas Sparks book that I read and is my favorite. I saw the movie first and then found out it was a book so I went to the library and checked it out. It was one of the first times I can remember reading a book because it's based off of a movie. So it sparked my interest in reading books that were based on movies and comparing! However, the first time I read this I didn't like it because it was so different from the movie. But then I gave more of his books a try and slowly fell in love with his books and have read them all to date. Then I reread A Walk to Remember and fell in love with it. I learned to appreciate both the movie and the books separately. I think it's important to do that and I love them both and they are probably both my number one favorites (#1 movie and book) I recently reread A Walk to Remember again this past Christmas and it was perfect and I want to reread it every year! His work just means so much to me :) I can say so much about his books! I love romance books so much and he's the one that started it all in that regard!

 

3. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

I actually didn't read these until the summer before my senior year of high school. When I was in elementary school and heard of them I thought they seemed lame because they were about a wizard. Boy was I wrong when I finally decided to read them. I read them so quickly and just fell in love with the series! This really sparked my interest in reading more series and fantasy! I am currently rereading the series :)

 

4. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

This book restored my faith in classics. A lot of classics are difficult to read and hard to get into and relate to. Before this book, I read Pride and Prejudice which I love the story but the writing is hard to get into. Then I started reading Jane Eyre and it was like a breath of fresh air. It's so good and definitely remains one of my favorite books! I definitely want to read more romantic classics like this one!

 

5. Twilight saga by Stephenie Meyer

I read these because they were so hyped up and I just had to know what they were all about. When I read them I didn't like them as much as others and was quite disappointed and didn't think it needed to go past one book. But it sparked my interest in vampires and also young adult paranormal books. Looking back at them I did enjoy them and glad I read them. They get a lot of hate but they sparked so much people into reading! Before I didn't read much

 

6. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

This book makes me smile :) It just sparked my interest in reading cute contemporary romances and travel and boarding school books! It's one of my favorite things to read :)

 

7. Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella

This book restored my liking of "chick-lits" beforehand I thought they were all the same thing, an overweight woman complaining about her weight and job and not having a guy and it's super cliche etc etc... And even though some of those things may describe Sophie Kinsella's books there is something different about them and they are so good. The perfect chick-lits - the ones I want to read. They are super cute, funny, and just take you away from your life and they are hard to put down! They read like perfect romantic comedies and I can't get enough! I hope she keeps writing forever!!

 

8. Seriously...I'm Kidding by Ellen Degenerous

I am a big fan of Ellen so I did want to read her books. Someone recommended checking out the audiobook.... I've had a bad experience with audiobooks as in I couldn't get into them and follow along - I just didn't like them until I listened to this book! It was so easy to follow along, it was Ellen reading it and it just felt like listening to her talk about her life and advice. It was such a good experience! So it made me want to listen to more but also become picky about what I listen to. I'm most interested to listen to books that are non-fiction about someone I admire and they read their own book. Some fiction books would be a exception if I think they'd make good audiobooks depending on how they are written. I am looking forward to listening to more and maybe expand the books I listen to one day!

 

9. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

This was a random book I bought in a bookstore and fell in love with. I love coming of age stories and also ones told in the South - ones that deal with slavery or civil rights. I keep wanting to find a book that will move me as much as this one did. I really hope I do!

 

10. The Luxe series by Anna Godbersen

This was also a book I randomly picked up because the cover was so pretty - I was actually debating on getting it because I didn't think I'd like it. When I finally read it, I just fell in love!! I love historical fiction when it teaches you about history and such but I also love when the book is set in a different time period like this series! This series was set in the late 19th century and it was so good, the setting, the romance, the drama I loved it! And definitely want to read more books set in different eras, the 20s is one of my favorites the late 19th century to early 20th century and also other decades like the 50s to the 90s.

 

________

 

I feel like there are so many more books that affected me in different ways, but these ones capture the books I'm influenced to read, mainly the genres I love to read!

 

What are some books that influenced either you in your life or what you like to read?

 

&

 

If you have any recommendations based on the books and reasons I listed, please let me know :)

 

 

 

*This tag was apparently going around Facebook and readsusieread brought it to youtube so her video will be linked below!

 

Source: www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQ7s2ydeFmM
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