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review 2017-06-21 08:46
Even the title is layered
A Room with a View - E.M. Forster

I feel like I read a book twice as long as this was, not because it was heavy or difficult, but because it was so tightly woven. There were layers of meaning, and so much that could be inferred, and for such short pages, many characters get well fleshed out. No line is wasted. There is this... English brevity, I guess, that makes me recall the meandering tone of "Passage to India". Says something about what must characterize each people in Forster's mind, huh?

It is also a quiet way to depict a fast and turbulent romance, which feels weird in a "still waters run deep" kind of way. There is this three-way war going, between mind, heart and manners (or is it pride?, self-image? calcified indecision?), it is evident when you get to the lying chapters, and the weather tends to illustrate it, but before then, before Lucy looses her temper at Miss Bartlet at the beginning of them out of revelatory fright, it's all so sedate. On the outside; Lucy's facing the exterior gets a companion chapter on "The disaster within". She's running from love: it is scary, exiting, something unknown, and unrecognized, and social mores don't help her in disentangling from the muddle.

On the side, we get some awesome darts thrown into time old hypocrisy, such as how emancipated women are perceived or "accepted"; how men think women think about men; people abroad; obligation as it pertains to favors out of honesty (Emerson) or self-serving humbleness (Charlotte); and bunch of stuff I either posted already, or have marked down and can't speedily condense here. In case the main course wasn't enough.

Seriously, this guy had a way with words.

 

Note: I have to get another copy. Mine was abysmally translated. I turned to a digital version in original English after 20 pages or so. If you read in Spanish, avoid translator Marta Pessarrodona. She's a menace and a beast. Word confusions (she translated kitten instead of kite, for example), wrong conjugations (translated "would have" as present simple), change of punctuation, which changes pace drastically and unnecessarily (specifically, Cecil's entrance is most egregious), change of meaning of whole paragraphs (to the point of reading as the opposite). And it ts only what I caught just searching for the paragraphs I wanted to mark down as memorable while reading the digital copy! Much of this I could not understand of someone supposedly getting paid. It would have been more difficult to invent as she did.

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text 2017-06-20 00:40
Reading progress update: I've read 53 out of 240 pages.
A Room with a View - E.M. Forster

Another chapter, another quote. Chapter 5 opens with this dozy

 

This solitude oppressed her; she was accustomed to have her thoughts confirmed by others or, at all events, contradicted; it was too dreadful not to know whether she was thinking right or wrong.

 

Beyond the criticism toward women being brought up to be unable to rely on their own judgment, the extra twist that she feels isolated because she's trying to conceal something she thinks is shameful, and no one realizes. This has so many layers of taught dependence.

 

...

 

After some sideways sticking it to the way foreigners judge from a high and mighty stance, are at best downright condescending and at general make idiots of themselves (a thing he goes over in length on Passage to India), this bit about a female writer, by Miss Bartlett:

 

“She is emancipated, but only in the very best sense of the word,” continued Miss Bartlett slowly. “None but the superficial would be shocked at her. We had a long talk yesterday. She believes in justice and truth and human interest. She told me also that she has a high opinion of the destiny of woman—"

 

*cringe* I can't even begin to enumerate the amount of points to address on that one line.

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review 2017-06-15 23:48
Granpa, tell me about when you were little
Boy: Tales of Childhood - Roald Dahl,Quentin Blake

What a great biographic piece. Dahl is an excellent story teller, and puts that to use: he doesn't waste pages in the minutia, or get scared of leaving swathes of time undressed, but picks the bits he wants to tell about his early life, because they are important, interesting, colorful, defining. It turns into a very entertaining read.

It paints a picture of a time. I was impressed by his mother courage and strength (and humor, and mettle, and pragmatism... she comes across as one awesome lady), horrified by much of the sadism involved in his education, and somewhat enlightened on the reasons for his often irreverent characters.

I laughed a lot. There is humor inside every part, from the comfort of hindsight, fondness of remembrance, matter-of-fact way harrowing or ridiculous situations are described, or dry irony.

I plain loved it.

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review 2017-05-17 00:23
Incoming Rant
The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway

You know, I'd read in some posh literary review that Jake and Brett were two of Hemingway's most lovable characters, but I really can't see how that could be. I get he was painting an era, but I had the same difficulties I had with Fitzgerald's "Great Gatsby": I was bored by the characters misery (first world high class problems, people, that's what you have!); and I was enraged by the chaos and destruction they sowed all around themselves with their callow carelessness. Stupid egotistical brats.

And that's the other thing: they ARE reacting like brats. "Our parent's culture and ideology crumbled down and betrayed us! Let's rage and get drunk, and screw everyone around!" Except, you know, they are in their middle thirties. I don't say you have to have your shit together by that time or any other, God knows you never really do, and life has a marvelous way of sucker punch you when you think you have it balanced, but the over the top woe-is-me shit you are supposed to learn to manage after the hormones of puberty stabilize.

Every generation has challenges, and I reckon those that were born around the turn of the 20th century had a suck-fest of a raw deal, but what I saw inside this book was not just depression and insecurity over lost direction and of self, but a total lack of care for other people. I saw the phrase "moral bankruptcy" around, and I think that's and exact description, but it was treated as an excuse for how these particular characters act, because apparently it was a pervasive thing all around. News-flash: if everyone is a terrible person, and you act like everyone, you are still a terrible person.

 

So no, I have no love for these characters. Now, do I have any use for this book? *sigh* Thorny issue. If it was an accurate representation of the generation, I have to loose any surprise at seeing them fall right back into war; they all felt suicidal to me, and self-centered enough to blow up the world along with themselves.

 

So here's what I think: maybe it's useful, but I did not like it.

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review 2017-05-03 13:23
Measuring humanity
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Philip K. Dick,Robert Zelazny

I don't know whether to be hopeful or depressed. I think I'm a good deal of both, plus amazed, and horror stricken. There is a lot of the Sisyphean in this, which I guess is on purpose, given all the Mercer stuff (which on the last pages got trippy as fuck, of the religious hallucination variety).

 

And it makes a good job of running through many questions regarding empathy, psychological manipulation, human's social animal condition, loneliness, plus whatever I didn't get, inside few pages on an action packed day for a bounty-hunter.


Really intense little book.

 

Rachel hates him because he recognized her even while she couldn't recognize herself? (I'm unsure on this, she must have known to sleep with other bounty-hunters) Or maybe she hates him because it's another failure to fool a human, and can't understand where the failing lies.

She goes for the goat. But in the end, maybe his wife was more important. She actually cares and.. well, it felt hopeful to me. No pet, but why should you feel bereft if you can care for another person... which is a bit messed up and might be the reason Deckard is so messed up: HE doesn't care for HER.

Cyborgs are really terrifying because it's clear by the end that they are absolutely psychopathic. The spider makes you understand what the fact that they truly can't empathize really means. All the fripperies that have you in doubt make it even scarier. Of course, you have Irmgand so who knows?

(spoiler show)
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