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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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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 2017-05-03 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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review 2017-04-20 19:12
*pleased sigh*
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate - Jacqueline Kelly

How could I have neglected this book so long! I have found me a new all time favourite. You have no idea how lucky you are that most of the time I was too entertained to post. I have saved quotes at the rate of one-a-chapter, and I was trying to be conservative.

 

I read, and I kept researching things mentioned, from taxonomy to music or history, and having a blast through-out. I couldn't stop laughing, even during the turkey debacle (there was something inherently funny in that tragedy of childhood).

 

“Why do you want a donkey?” said Harry.
“Because I don’t think people eat donkeys. Do they?”

 

The thought that I have to get my mom to read this poped continously too. Mom is a school librarian, and has a project going where she narrates to the kids in a bi-weekly basis. Lending is at an all-time hight since it started. They discuss a lot of what she reads them in a free way, and they come up with the most interesting questions and observations. They also end up researching a lot on their own, (or plain finish the book in a weekend) since there's no obligation *snickers*. Now imagine what this book could spawn. I pestered her on the phone the whole morning (whenever I surfaced from the pages, that is).

 

There are some narrow anachronisms in general, and I reckon there must be more in particular for the region, since the author apologises in the note at the end. But really? Like one can place every bit acuratedly on ones own timeline. And no child is that aware of herself and her place in the world (hell, most adults aren't that awere of themselves), but while many observations might be too clearly worded, they still ring true to some memories of childhood impressions. Children instincts are an uncanny thing.

 

So, is it imperfect? I really couldn't tell you, since after reading six glorious months on the life of this child, my only true complain is that I wanted more when I got to the end. More pages, more time with her, more of and for her future.

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review 2017-04-09 00:59
Come on, Pirates!
Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson

Ha! Double Ha!

 

I Looooved how everyone turned on everyone at a drop of a hat on the "Pirates of the Caribean" movies. Now I know where they got it from. Bases, teams and situations changed constantly in this one. It's great fun.

 

One gets so used to classics staying in print for serious reasons, it's a damned fine good feeling when the reason it's that it's a fucking fine fun story.

 

An a toast to Silver's chronic back-stabbing disorder. He was my favorite and a very intentional dark horse I reckon.

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