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review 2017-12-12 12:55
Casting your brain into big questions
Stories of Your Life and Others - Ted Chiang

I went in all big eyes and heavy heart and cheating, starting with the story I was curious about after watching the movie. It was sadder in it's determinism, but it was all that (and it had emotion, lordy, did it have emotion).

 

About half way through this book (and with my brain much hurting, I get so immersed into these Big Question explorations), LeGuin's introduction for The Left Hand of Darkness (I was very much taken by them, book and intro) kept popping into my thoughts. The part where she says taking a concept to it's maximum expression is like concentrating any chemical element: it causes cancer.

 

The stories vary in nature and theme, they are interesting, and unique. And in a sense, bleak. Lacking in hope, some in sentiment, some in... something. I can't quite put my finger on it, but while amazing, thought-provoking explorations that filled me with wonder or questions, each tale left me with this vague sense of depression. Which had little to do with whether they had happy ending or not (most are a dagger), since Le Guin does that, you blubber like a fool, and still makes you love it and leave bittersweet hopeful. So, not the presence of pain. Maybe more like a general lack of joy to balance them (for the most part).

 

Anyway, it is a really good book to think about or discuss, and it delves into some interesting territories (I'm itching for some looong research and reading on some things that went over my head). Different and exhausting. Will read more of the author.

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text 2017-11-26 22:16
Reading progress update: I've read 35%.
Stories of Your Life and Others - Ted Chiang

I'm reading out of order, so I'm starting on "Understand". Two things strike me starting off the bat: I would NEVER admit to memorizing those 14 digits so fast and well as to recall them backwards (I realize that I might be a paranoid "too-genre-savvy" book-worm, but still); and (given that phone-call) this guy is about to find out what a social curse true high intellect is.

 

Aaaannnd right after the guy asks for it. Goodness! This guy has never read or watched any sci-fi, or wish-fulfillment stories.

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text 2017-11-26 05:09
Reading progress update: I've read 25%.
Stories of Your Life and Others - Ted Chiang

Well, it looks like I'm getting back into the reading saddle with a vengeance. This is stunningly gorgeous, and the writer seems to like the big questions.

 

I'm moved beyond words and feeling mighty greedy for a Spanish copy of my own, and I'm just two stories in.

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review 2017-10-15 15:04
Hospice Whispers: Stories of Life ★★★★★
Hospice Whispers: Stories of Life - Rev Dr. Carla Cheatham

A short book and quick read that uses brief vignettes to illustrate some key principles of providing hospice care. The principle audience is chaplains, but I feel it provides good, useful information for all professions, and probably even for lay people who may be looking for ways to support family or friends who are going through an end of life experience.

 

Thoughts:

  • Snippets of science-based knowledge regarding the patient experience and abilities at end of life and through the progression of dementia and how physical changes can impact a person’s ability to perceive and process information and to communicate. Using that knowledge, we can look for ways to help people find peace and contentment at end of life. The focus can shift from what they can no longer really do as they decline physically and cognitively, but to what they can still do.
  • Offers examples of practical tools and techniques to connect with patients and their families
  • Reinforced over and over – we cannot presume to know what the patient and family need. We are not the experts on knowing what their end of life experience should look like. We must be respectful to the ethic of autonomy and dignity that we are called to honor. For some people, it’s physical closeness and prayer. For some, it’s popcorn and games of dominoes. For some, it’s watching TV shows that may include violence and explicit sexual content.
  • Reminder that there may be family history and dynamics that we don’t know about, so do not make assumptions based on the information available to us. We cannot make judgements, determine who is right or wrong, make excuses, or take sides in conflicts. We can only use the information to “be more aware of how the grief process and medical care are being impacted by those patterns”.
  • Reminder that we are not there to “fix”, only to provide support at end of life. Must develop the ability to just “be with ourselves”, not filling up the silence with noise and distractions, so that we can just “be” with our patients, and to “sit with compassionate equanimity” in the midst of another’s spiritual, emotional, or physical pain.
  • Hospice workers must set boundaries and engage in self-care, and bring a healthy and full self to their work, not look to take self-fulfillment from the patients and families that they are there to help.

 

Quote: “Chaplain, if one more kind, loving, well-intentioned, good-hearted person tells me my momma is in a better place, I’m gonna slap the shit out of them!”… I took her hands and said, “On behalf of all the kind, loving, well-intentioned, good-hearted but misguided people who say stupid things, I am so sorry. And when you slap the shit out of them, tell them you have the chaplain’s permission to do so.”

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review 2017-09-22 13:28
Cerebral, disquieting, and addictive
Stories of Your Life and Others - Ted Chiang

I've become an instant fan of Ted Chiang after reading his book Stories of Your Life and Others. It's such a breath of fresh air to read a really phenomenal collection of short stories such as this one. I had been itching for some truly delicious science fiction and this collection delivered. From the opening story about the Tower of Babel, it is obvious that Chiang is a unique voice in sci-fi and I only wonder at why it took me so long to have him on my radar. While each story is unique, they are all equally fascinating, consuming, and vaguely unsettling. I forgot a few times that what I was reading wasn't actually true which is disconcerting when you're reading about people being blinded on the streets by the sight of heavenly creatures or a drug that when given to patients who are brain dead can not only bring them back to life but elevate their IQ. Suffice it to say, this is a book that any sci-fi junkie (or newbie wanting to get their feet wet) should immediately seek out. Take your time and indulge because this is an author that should be savored and not rushed. 10/10

 

Source: Goodreads

 

What's Up Next: Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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