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review 2016-02-06 00:00
Being and Nothingness
Being and Nothingness - Jean-Paul Sartre,Hazel Estella Barnes,Mary Warnock,Richard Eyre Instead of reading this book I would strongly suggest watching the "No Exit" with Harold Pinter available on youtube written by Sartre. It illustrates a large part of his philosophy of the Other, the Look and the self. And, you'll get a hint on why Sartre doesn't work today. In addition, my favorite phrase ever and the one that I make as my own comes from that play "l'enfer c'est les autres" (hell, is others), and my second favorite is "vous ete mon bourreau" (you are my torturer).

I think the three ugliest words in the English Language are "be a man" (or equivalent statements such as don't be a sissy, act like a man, your weak, be tough, stop being a woman, and so on). Books likes these are what allows that kind of thinking to take place. Matter of fact, he uses that framing in one of his examples about being too tired to climb a hill and the fear of "being a sissy" is what motivates him to keep hiking. Yes, I realized it was just an example he uses but he really goes to pains to defend it. (Even in today's New York Times (February 6, 2016), I saw a story on how China thinks they need more men teachers because the male students are "timid, self centered and weak" like girls and need to be taught to be men. I'm not making this up. That kind of thinking just permeates even today).

This book is completely passe today. Time has past it by. I'm so glad the 1950s through the 80s are behind us. This book's popularity during that time period is clearly because the way it tied itself to the various schools of psychoanalysis (Gestalt, Adler, experimental psychoanalysis, and even Freudian but with twists) and they could use Sartre's argument to re-enforce their psychoanalytical paradigms. Sartre ends the book by trying to change the paradigm slightly to what he calls "existentialism psychoanalysis". I don't think it ever caught on.

He tweaks the Freudian approach of where behavior is explained by "libido and will to power" to a paradigm that considers the 'choice of being' from the freedom the individual posses acting for the project (the future). In my opinion, all he is doing is saying instead of blaming the mother (or father), he's going to blame the person (victim). He never really gets the fact that the mind and body are different and some of our behavior is caused by our genetics (being born that way). He's really falling further down the rabbit hole and wants to blame the victim for lacking culture, community and the proper values. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (and other such techniques) and effective drugs came along in the 80s and started making a difference because they were so much more effective than "talking therapy".

His real fundamental error about seeing the world is along the lines of when he says "Pierre is not a waiter he is only acting as a waiter' and "there is no such thing as homosexuals, there are just homosexual acts".

The author really has a warped view about love with his concept of possessing and possessed and domination, and appropriation (taking). He thinks other people take away from our freedom by existing, we are always becoming, and our choices are always are own (you choose to be homosexual, or neurodiverse, or OCD, or any behavior you have). The only thing we are not free to be is not free.

Even with all my negativism expressed above, I can still recommend this book. It only cost me $2.05 and credit at my favorite used book store and I'll get credit when I most certainly return it. It's a perfect example on how we got off track as a society, but managed to move past woo from books like this one. The author is not hard to follow. (He's not really a philosopher in my opinion). Never trust other peoples opinions about someones philosophy until you've read it yourself.

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review 2015-07-27 05:30
I Almost Missed This One
The Nothingness of Ben - Brad Boney

Why didn't anyone of my book buddies ever tell me to hurry up and read The Nothingness of Ben? I've owned this book for two years and never heard a word about it. Well bad on me!
This is the story of Ben and his three brothers after the sudden death of their parents. The way they come together and connect over a healthy period of time. Travis is the neighbor who touches each one of their hearts. Brad Boney did an amazing job taking his time flushing the characters out and letting the story unfold beautifully without rushing.
The sex scenes were written with a strong voice that had a more realistic, edgier feel then most of the books I've read in this genre, he created plenty of passion and heat that never got boring.
I'd love to read something this satisfying at least once a month. Please, please...

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review 2015-01-02 18:15
Brad Boney – The Nothingness of Ben
The Nothingness of Ben - Brad Boney

Reviewer: Rich

Genre: M/M Contemporary


The novel is essentially a relationship story between two polar opposites. A lawyer name Ben and a red neck mechanic name Travis drawn together to raise Ben much younger brothers after the death of Ben’s parents.

As will all relationship; have its ups and downs, separation and a rekindling after both the men grow as individuals overcoming their pre conceived notions and immaturities.
What makes this novel rise above the norm, is the sibling interaction be the brothers as it relates to Ben and conversely as it relates to Travis.

This title is well plotted, well defined characterization and very good dialogs. Together Ben and Travis become a cohesive unit and good, if inexperience parents. Well worth a read.

Source: heartsonfirereviews.com/?p=31058
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review 2014-08-20 10:16
The Nothingness of Ben - Brad Boney

I don't know how to review this. There was stuff I liked and stuff I wasn't so keen on.

Let's start with the pros:

1) The developing relationship between the brothers; the younger three were close and seeing them grow closer to their older sibling was really cute.
2) Ben's willingness to change; even if it did take a while.
3) The camaraderie between many of the characters; Ben and Colin; Cade and Travis; Colin and Jason, the list goes on.


1) The length of time for Ben and Travis' relationship to bloom; it seemed a bit too quick in some respects, although Travis was very willing once he came around to the idea.
2) This is not necessarily about the book itself, but some of the characters: How they treated Travis at the dinner party.

I have come to notice that I like to read books that involve children in my m/m romances (One Small Thing) and that really helped me in this. They were all really great kids and I liked how they all grew and ended up really happy.

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review 2014-04-03 11:30
Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown - Holly Black

"The tan carpet was stiff and black with stripes of dried blood, spattered like a Jackson Pollock canvas. The walls were streaked with it, handprints smearing their dingy beige surfaces. And the bodies. Dozens of bodies. People she’d seen every day since kindergarten, people whom she’d played tag with and cried over and kissed were lying at odd angles, their bodies pale and cold, their eyes staring like rows of dolls in a shop window."


There's a lot of blood in The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black. There's a lot of fangs-tearing-throats-out, stringy gore and insides exposed to the world. But beneath it all is fluff. This book is built on a foundation of fluff. And as far as I'm aware that is not a very stable building material.


Tana wakes up after a night of drunken partying to find the bodies of all her friends torn apart by vampires. But then in Tana's world, vampires are a constant threat. An outbreak of vampirism has swept the globe leaving humans afraid to leave their homes after dark. With her infected ex-boyfriend and a random stray vampire in tow, Tana heads to Coldtown - one of many quarantine areas where all vampires and all infected are legally required to go to keep the rest of the population safe. What follows is a confused fumbling for some kind of point to what has happened and a rather half hearted romantic story line with some mild threat along the way.


Tana is a pain in the ass. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is written in the third person so it's kinda difficult to grasp what the fuck is actually going through Tana's brain when she puts a live and bloodthirsty vampire in the trunk of her car and then drives around with him just hanging out in there. Her judgement drops down a further notch from "insanity" to "officially brain-dead" when she invites him to drive while she falls asleep on the passenger seat. These are not the happy-clappy sparkling-in-the-sunlight, drinking-deer-blood vampires focussed on family unity we all came to know and hate when we had Twilight foisted upon us. These are dangerous, vicious killers. Tana had her arm ripped open by her own infected mother:


"That was seven years ago. The doctors told her father the memory would fade, like the big messy scar on her arm, but neither ever did."


And yet, Tana shows zero caution when dealing with this creature. Ditto for her recently turned and highly dangerous ex-boyfriend, her being perfectly happy for him to waltz around a very busy tourist destination on their way to Coldtown and giggling it off when he lunges for her throat multiple times. Tana spends a lot of time giggling inappropriately, like when people have died, when people are about to die and when people are in the process of dying. Death is treated with a lighthearted chuckle throughout this book. But this makes no sense. Tana has witnessed the seven years long grief of her father over the death of her mother. Why doesn't she hold more value in human life ?!!


"If she was going to die, she might as well die sarcastic."


Uhm. Okaaaay. I guess as long as Tana manages to have a right good laugh before she's dismembered and fed upon by a savage creature of the night, it'll all work out fine. For a book so packed with descriptions of open wounds, blood geysering from torn arteries and brutal stabbings there really isn't a whole lot of menace or urgency because death is dealt with so casually. I felt no more than a sense of mild alarm from most of the characters throughout and this really took the edge off the tension.


There's the usual relationship drama - girl falls in love with a murderer. You know what I'm talking about. I'm getting real tired of this shit. Shit like this:


"Allow me to explain how my whole life has prepared me for this moment. I am used to girls screaming, and your screams - your screams will be sweeter than another’s cries of love."


What. The. Fuck.


This is how Gavriel - the random vampire Tana brought along for the ride - rolls it seems. Gavriel is an ancient Russian vampire. He has killed countless people. He is self-centred, vindictive and aggressive. So Tana falls in love with him. Natch. What's with all these chicks making eyes at criminals?!! What's with all these girls who have no care for their own self preservation?!! I don't get it. Am I missing something ?!! Is there something hot about dating a guy who could jump up and murder me when I least expect it ?!!


But, hey !! In this reality - murder is cool. It's glamorous. TV shows and Youtube videos are being made about life inside Coldtown, depicting it as one epically rad non-stop partay. These Coldtown vampires are celebrities, admired and loved by all for their bloodlust and swagger. I really don't get this either. These creatures have torn the world apart, have killed loved ones and destroyed communities and yet there's message boards and forums and whole websites for people who want to be just like them. Why ?!! Please help me understand - why would anyone aspire to hunt down and savagely kill people by biting them to death ?!! I'm very confused.


I'm also very confused about what the fuck actually happened about two thirds of the way into this book. The story seemed to implode into a giant black hole of nothingness. It became very convoluted with a lot of flitting from one place to the next without actually getting a whole lotta shit done. And the twist ?!! Crap. Epically crap. One of the most boring surprises (if I call it that) in literary history. I did not give a single fuck. Not one. Behind all the gore and all the atmospheric lighting there's really not a whole lot going on. The plot moves at snail's pace because there's not enough of it to drive the story forward. There's a helluva lot of info-dumping, long and meandering backstory and running, just running without any substance. Extra characters were thrown in, it appeared to try and add some urgency but really no. Just no. This only made for a poor attempt to grasp at some meaning and reason for Tana's ridiculous actions. I wasn't buying it. Especially as the conclusion basically added up to Tana murdering a guy and then immediately heading down the disco with all her mates to party the night away. What the actual fuck was that ?!!


My two stars are awarded for Holly Black's great writing. The description was awesome and the dialog was tight. But other than that this read a lot like another tired, well trodden story of a bunch of "cool" vampires prancing around and chowing down on humans with little consequence. I was not amused.


See y'all after !!





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