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text 2017-11-20 13:08
16 Tasks of the Festive Season - Square #4: November 22nd and 23rd - Penance Day
The Tremor of Forgery: A Virago Modern Classic (Virago Modern Classics) - Denise Mina (introduction) Patricia Highsmith (author)

Book themes for Penance Day: Read a book that has a monk, nun, pastor / preacher or priest as a protagonist, or where someone is struggling with feelings of guilt or with their conscience (regardless over what).

 

I meant to update this over the weekend while I was reading the book, but BL maintenance/bug fixing meant that I had to save this post until now.

 

I've read The Tremor of Forgery - a full review is still to come - and it's a book where Highsmith explores some existentialist ideas about morality and how morality is shaped. 

As it turned out, the main character spent a lot of time feeling guilty - and questioning his feelings of guilt - over current and past relationships as well as over a more tangible event that occurred during his stay in Tunisia on which the plot is based: Did he or did he not kill a man?

 

 

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review 2017-11-05 13:07
GAPS cookbook
GAPS Introduction Diet Cookbook: 100 Del... GAPS Introduction Diet Cookbook: 100 Delicious & Nourishing Recipes for Stages 1 to 6 - Andre Parker

This cookbook is supposed to help people who are having to change their eating habits. While I would probably follow this if I was alone, it would not work in this family or house. Just like other diets, I have tried, having to cook 2 or 3 meals for every meal would make it an impossible task and would not be followed. If you do have to follow this diet, I would recommend the book. 

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review 2017-10-28 00:00
Walden: With an Introduction and Annotations by Bill McKibben
Walden: With an Introduction and Annotat... Walden: With an Introduction and Annotations by Bill McKibben - Henry David Thoreau https://msarki.tumblr.com/post/166071074298/walden-with-an-introduction-and-annotations-by

What nature provides is scale and context, ways to figure out who and how big we are and what we want. It provides silence, solitude, darkness: the rarest commodities we know. It provides reality, in place of the endless electronic images and illusions that we consider the miracle of the moment.___Bill McKibben from the Introduction to Thoreau’s Walden

Simply put, I am humbled by the reading experience. Not only was Thoreau a smart and gifted writer, but he had enough courage to experiment and live alone, in the woods, and off the land. Even though the span of two years does seem brief, it was long enough for Thoreau to accumulate wisdom to share. And it seems we all could use a bit of that these days.

…Moreover, with wisdom we shall learn liberality…

There were chapters extremely difficult to stay interested in. At times I doubted the book’s ascribed greatness. But the conclusion found in the last chapter was worth the trouble and the time it took to get me there.

If one listens to the faintest but constant suggestions of his genius, which are certainly true, he sees not to what extremes, or even insanity, it may lead him; yet that way, as he grows more resolute and faithful, his road lies…If the day and night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, is more elastic, more starry, more immortal,—that is your success.

A relaxed reading of four to six pages each morning was my practice and my meditation. Rewards, though never frequent, did surprise me and gave me much to think about on any given day.

…We can never have enough of Nature. We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor…We need to see our own limits transgressed, and some life pasturing freely where we never wander…Compassion is a very untenable ground.

No one can accuse me of exhibiting too much compassion. I am guilty of other transgressions, far too numerous to list on this page. But Thoreau offers us a yardstick from which we might measure our growth as individuals.

I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one…I learned this, at least, by my experiment that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours…

Here, here. I concur and continue to go boldly for my grave.
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review 2017-10-21 20:13
The Tremor of Forgery
The Tremor of Forgery: A Virago Modern Classic (Virago Modern Classics) - Denise Mina (introduction) Patricia Highsmith (author)

The Tremor of Forgery is an odd book. We got:

 

  • a tale about ones own morale and whether or not it is the right decision to adapt the moral code of the country that your currently living in.
  • vivid descriptions of Tunesia, which confirmed my conviction that I never will revisit this country again.
  • xenophobic Americans, who are being racists in a foreign country. The comments about Arabs and their behaviour were enervating and I felt the slight urge to punch the American characters repeatedly in the face.
  • a Dane, which is equally racist. He is slightly excused because of his dog.
  • yes, a dog.
  • a possibly closeted gay main character, who strikes up a friendship with an openly gay character.
  • murder and theft.
  • a book, written by the main character.
  • a suicide.
  • a weak female protagonist.
  • a lot of couscous and a LOT of tap water.

 

Yes, it´s an odd book and not whole lot is happening in this novel. It´s not my favorite Highsmith, simply because it wasn´t disturbing enough for me. But I finished this book two days ago and I´m still thinking about it. And I don´t know what was so special about this book for me to do that. Apparently Highsmith´s writing has that effect on me.

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review 2017-09-12 11:37
Literature as a Strengthener of Character: "The Cambridge Introduction to Shakespeare" by Emma Smith
The Cambridge Introduction to Shakespeare (Cambridge Introductions to Literature) by Dr Emma Smith (2007-04-09) - Dr Emma Smith

Cease to persuade, my loving Proteus!

 

The thing about drama is that everybody has to put effort in to learn their part, then they have to work together to make the play happen. Putting on a successful performance is very hard work but the buzz children get from the performance is huge and they learn that hard work is worthwhile. The play won't work without Titania, Bottom or Puck or all the more minor parts or the person who does the lighting, the scenery, the costumes. They compete for parts but work collaboratively to achieve a result and are proud of what they achieve. What better life lessons could children learn? There is bound to be a positive knock-on effect on other subjects.  Any good play, or musical, will do this but Shakespeare has huge scope and, generally, a large cast. This is a wonderful initiative. We owe it to our pupils to open up to their imaginations a world beyond our own shores and time. The 'Metamorphoses' speak to us about the fluidity of identity and have so much to offer to teenagers confronting this issue in their own lives. They can be read with Jeffrey Eugenides' 'Middlesex' as effectively as with Shakespeare. Emma Smith is right to point to the importance of the Philomela story for 'Titus Andronicus', but the many rape narratives in the 'Metamorphoses' present serious ethical challenges in the classroom. In teaching teenagers (and not only) respect for others, you are teaching them respect for themselves. That's the main point of school and home; in their rapidly-changing world (i.e. their intellect, their bodies) these are mainstays. These are what enable them to contextualise the attacks of commerce on their minds. And anybody who thinks that good literature and art aren't great strengtheners of character is missing the point; of course, they are, because they improve human intelligence.

 

 

If you're into Shakespeare, read on.

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