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The book is very descriptive about Malcolm's childhood and his views." This is the story of a man who lived life intensely, first as a criminal and then transformed into the nation's leading prophet and social critic. You get to know him as a naive student, a hip hustler in 1940s Harlem, a jailbird and finally, as a Muslim activist acutely aware that he is a target, a man who confronts danger in the face without compromise."-wvw Its easy to make assumptions of ones life through what is said, but until you read the views of Malcolm himself you cant possibly have a full understanding.
The parts in the book about Malcolm and his trip to Islam should be read by everyone who is interested in the sixties Islam time period. He tends to quietly shun the scandals and mishaps of the honorable Elijah Mohammed.
Over all it is a great bout about a great man. I recommend it to anyone!
Before converting to Islam, Malcolm X went through stages of life, which I believe many people today continue to suffer from. But I am not sure how many people nowadays can be as brave as Malcolm X in giving up many of the world's evil. The hustler turns leader journey is worthy read - even a must own!
Finally, to those who will read this book, I strongly advice you to take a look at how Malcolm X described the world he lived in and the world we are living in... nothing has changed much. The only thing that has changed is that the media and information technology has advanced society! But still being controlled by the 'devils', the American government has used these to enforce their own causes to the world when her 'own backyard is still in a mess'. Should Malcolm X still be around today, I think he would be attacking the US government of being the puppet master of the Third World.
Regardless, Cat's Cradle is a wonderful read and a heck of a time. Plot, character, and setting, as always in Vonnegut's work, take a back seat to the infectuos humor and unconventional writing style of its author.
The narrator is named Jonah, a writer who wishes to conduct a non-fiction story revolving the lives of people surrounding the Atom Bomb titled "The Day The World Ended". From this moment, our wild ride begins as we are introduced to the great cast of characters, including Dr. Felix Hoenikker, one of the so-called "Fathers" of the Atom Bomb, who may or may not have created a chemical capable of turning all the worlds water supply into ice, his family, the president(dictator)of a small Pacific Island San Marcos, Papa Manzano, and his lovely daughter, all the way down to Bokonon himself, founder of the Bokonon faith which is based in foma (lies). The journey through Vonnegut's mind is a worthwile one, if nothing else for his startling creativity, and hilariously bleak view at humanity. I will leave you with this quote from the great books of Bokonon:
"Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before. He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way."
Cat's Cradle is fast passed, deeply detailed, and very interesting. The novel is very ironic and a must read for everyone. Kurt Vonnegut weaves a great story that never lets you down. Through its outlandish turns and twists Vonnegut makes it seem so very real. This novel is definitely a 5 out of 5.
The book has graphic depictions of the horror of being on the battlefield. Although it is impossible for me to know that fear, I think the author does an excellent job of helping me picture the people in those situations. There is a frequent theme that war is for the elite returns periodically. The point of view is one of the best things of the book. It shows how gruesome war can be from a German soldier's perspective. It is easy to sympathize with the main character as his closest friends are killed.
This book isn't for the squeamish. Men die in many ways, and Remarque describes most of them. The descriptions of being out in the trenches are outstanding. But the book is a classic for a reason, and I think everyone should read it.
It would seem that a description of World War I in all it's full horror, as well as the generation it wrecked wouldn't be particularly relevant to today's society. But the whole time I was reading it, I kept thinking about this upcoming war with Iraq we seem to be tossing ourself into, how lots of people on both sides will be dying senseless deaths, how gas and chemical warfare is very much a possibility, and how SO MUCH of the book, written so many years ago, still applies.
In addition to enlighting the reader on the gritty details of trench warfare, the book delves into a lot of other themes as well--the cameraderie that war induces, the effect of the war on life outside of the war (and by extension, a soldier's interactions with his family, with doctors, with civilains), and confrontations with the idea of killing (the act of humanizing or dehumanizing the enemy).
The writing is straightfoward and easy. The characters are well developed, and the storyline is fascinating as well as multifaceted. The message is clear, and the book is very, very much worth reading.
Much more complex than the movie, the novel works on many levels. The characters are gripping, and the psychological undertones amazing. I read this first in high school, again in college, and twice during adult life, and each time I see something new in it that I hadn't seen before. In short, it is a modern masterpiece.
The book is told from the Chief's viewpoint. Chief deeply troubled psychotic, and pulling this off is Kesey's tour-de-force. Every utterance of this schizophrenic character rings true as he moves from the "fog" of fear into the real world. Not only does this progression make the novel more interesting than the movie, it makes you question certain elements of the movie.
For instance, was Mac a savior, or simply a dangerous whacko? The movie points towards savior, but the savior interpretation is merely the interpretation of a troubled mind yearning to be free in the novel. The nurse, too, seems less intimidating when you move back from the Chief's interpretation of her. I imagine that she was more humane than his inner fears and the fog that stands between him and the world would allow him to see. Once this is understood, the characters of Mac and Big Nurse become less "cut and dried," and more real, more vital and much more ambiguous. And Kesey's true purpose seems to surface. The actual characters of Mac/ Big Nurse are not important; how they react on the Chief's psyche is.
Seen in this way, the novel traces one of Joseph Campbell's grand mythic themes: The liberation of the masculine psyche from the chaotic rubble of the mother dominated chaos (can you tell this interpretation is based on my college paper?). This journey, which Campbell describes in his "Hero With a Thousand Faces," is a man's major mission early in life. To be free, a male must liberate himself from the feminine and establish himself in the real world. Mythic literature the world over teems with this theme. A man's inability to liberate himself from this dark, restraining yet safe world is a major cause of many psychoses. Kesey has managed to bring that myth into the modern world, and the effects are just as amazing and relevant as the original myths were.
By the way, I received an "A+" on my college paper, which took the novel apart along these lines. I hope that a student here or there stumbles on this. There is ample room for exploration in this book that seems so simple on the outside, but so deep and complex the deeper you dig. This is, after all, the mark of a truly great work of art.
At the same time, don't let all this "noodling" ruin such a perfectly enjoyable book. [Noodling (v)- The cursed blessing of a liberal arts and science education. :-}]
I had to read _One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest_ for my Literature and Film class, and I don't think I've ever enjoyed a book "for school" as much as I enjoyed this one. I'd never seen the film before I read it, and not knowing the plot presented in the movie was definitely worth it.
If you've seen the movie (and even if you haven't), read the book for Dale Harding. Those who've seen the film will remember him as.. a rather dislikable character at odds with McMurphy throughout. He was done a -great- disservice in the film, and was by far my favorite character - I read it mostly to experience scenes with him.
Ken Kesey's prose is quirky and elegant - with such descriptions of physical idiosyncracies that I've never seen so accurately written - such as the way he describes Harding as trapping his pretty hands between his knees and folding his thin shoulders about his chest like green wings. It's difficult to understand at times, since the narrator, Chief Bromden, is also a mental patient on the ward and sees things differently than a sane person would - but anything he says that's hard to grasp at the beginning slowly becomes clear as the narrative goes on.
_One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest_ is made brilliant by a number of things: the beauty and eccentricity of the prose, the development of character, the layers of plot and subtext, and the subtle messages, meanings, and morals scattered throughout the pages in such a way that you learn them but don't realize they're there. I highly recommend this book - it's one that will stay with you again and again, and is warranted a second and third time reading.
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The story begins in 1947. Stingo, a cocky but nevertheless self-deprecating young Southerner, gets himself fired (with flair!) from his job in a prestigious, rather stodgy publishing firm. He gathers up his savings and moves into a boarding house, with plans to write The Great American Novel during the rest of the summer, or at least until his money runs out. Almost against his will, Stingo is drawn into a relationship with two of his neighbors-- the gorgeous Sophie, a survivor of Auschwitz, and her Jewish lover Nathan, an oddly compelling but often terrifying man.
Meanwhile Stingo tries desperately to have sex with a girl, any girl. The retelling of his hysterical failures are intertwined with Sophie's tortured memories of the death camps of Poland. And then the truth about her experiences, as well as the truth about Nathan, is revealed. Ow.
Styron is an amazing writer. He makes me gnash my teeth at my own pitiful efforts to write. This is his best work.
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Blood Meridian is a literary masterpiece and a page turner. Note many books can reach that distinction.
The story is archetypal and mythical, but the style and narration are objective and naturalistic, the great periods of American literature, romance,realism, naturalism, and minimalism are all represented in the texture of this novel. McCarthy is a masterful stylist reminiscent of both Faulkner and Hemingway. His language is objective, vivid, and mesmerizing. And nowhere is there a better literary rendering of the topology and geology southwestern deserts in than this book. While the experience of reading this novel is unique, I also think it would make a great American film.
But the book is much more a than historical novel. Blood Meridian is the story of an innocence lost- an innocence not of single character in the book (none there would admit to naivete), but lost by the whole of mankind. In the character of Judge Holden, Cormac McCarthy gives us the final outcome of man's thirst for knowledge and experience: the elegant sadist. All things are known unto him, and (once known) may not exist without his consent. The judge gathers the facts of his world coolly and precisely- but he does not store them to create. He gathers them simply to show the ownership and stewardship of his world, of himself and all creation. As all things are known, so are they destroyed- as lightly and as simply as their weight and measure has been taken. His knowledge is the deepest knowledge of all: the hollowness of his own heart. In this way he is the horrible (and logical) product of Adam's first taste of the Tree of Knowledge.
The language of this novel is a delight, both exacting and all encompassing, and the details of its descriptions are shared with a carnal glee. The amazing work of McCarthy's text is that it calls to be devoured, and eaten whole. It's no accident that the reader feels a partipant in the predatory cycles of the world of novel- and it is only after he has eaten that he realizes what it is he is digesting.
The novel is made up of a collection of letters written by Celie firstly to God and then to her sister Nettie. She begins her 'diary' by explaning that she is so ashamed of her life and scared of expressing herself that she can "tell nobody but God" about the sexual, physical and mental abuse that she recieves from her "father" and her husband to whom she starkly refers to as Mr_____.
For the first part of this touching novel Celie's life seems to deteriorate from one day to the next. after being raped repeatedly by her "father" at just fourteen years ols she gives birth to children that she is not allowed to keep. She is then forced into an unhappy and abusive marriage. Despite this she remains uncomplaining and puts up with her shocking situation.
But as her journey continues, Celie meets the colourful, head-strong Shug Avery who, with the help of other women such as Sofia, teaches Celie to respect herself.
By the end of this compelling novel, Celie finds peace within herself. She learns to accept her past, come to terms with the present and look to the future with hope.
Through this novel, Walker also manages to examine the African-American culture and the struggle of black women to free themselves from the demeaning position where society has placed them.
It is a moving portrayal of one woman's struggle to freedom, who represents the strength and resiliance of thousands of black woman in the deep south of the USA.
This brilliant, eye-opening novel cannot be missed.
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Honey, welcome to real African American literature, impossible to translate to film for this is patience reading. Patience, free at last, free at last!
I've read SOS going on four or five times now, floored, awestruck, enraptured each time, every twist and turn a new surprise arrives. Milkman is a wonderful archetype for a Black man searching for what he can claim as his own. His mind, his body, his sex, money? What is his and not tainted by the past, by racism, by internal family feuding? This is what I call a "Patience Book", you have to sit with it the way you would sit with a child on a Sunday afternoon. Patience. You have to breathe in rhythm with this book. Morrison is one of those few writers that it's silly to ask all of your questions of even after you finish the book. Pick it right back up and breathe, savor each page, have patience. It is not an easy read for it is literature and you are reading, truly reading. Not surfing through pulp fiction knwoing that the hero lives, the heroine is saved and everybody sleeps well on the last page. Uh uh. Patience. What else but patience could you use to understand Magdalene, Pilate, Corinthians? My all time, all time, all time favorite literary scene that chills me, tears me up, knocks me around hard and then uplifts me: Pilate at the funeral. "That was my baby, That's my baby, AND SHE WAS LOVED!"
Honey, welcome to real African American literature, impossible to translate to film for this is patience reading. Patience, free at last, free at last!
"Song of Solomon" is a complex story that borrows from history, African mythology (The Mwindo Epic of the Congo) and the rich tradition of American Literature. No other contemporary American novelist can compete on the same level as Morrison. Her writing is believeable, inciteful and always lyrical. "Song of Solomon" is clearly a must for any english professor's list of great reads.
[This is my review from four years ago, but it still applies.]
Song of Solomon is probably the most brilliantly thought out stories ever put to paper. Morrison adds little details here and there early in the novel, and many times throughout, that seem to be used only to show the eccentricty of the characters or just to throw a little humor in there. But every single story behind the story, every little 'joke' or amusing tidbit about some characters past ties together in the final chapters in a literary feat I have yet to seen matched.
Dickens presented stories wide in scope, with many characters and symbols to show a culture or to present a political idea. Morrison does the same, only she makes every word matter. THERE IS A REASON you learn such and such about Pilate in chapter 2, or that this comment is made about Guitar by this character, and it all jells, aboslutely, thoroughly beautifully by the close of the book.
Song of Solomon cannot receive enough superlatives from me. I have yet to read Beloved or Jazz, Morrison's other two supposed masterworks, but I can only hope I will be equally if not moreso dazzled by them.
When you reread Song of Solomon, as I have done twice, you not only come to find the secrets and reasons hidden along the backroads and tangents of the characters' lives that went previously unnoticed, but to re-immerse yourself in the brilliance of the story that has always been and will always be there.
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When Huxley wrote the book in 1932, it was seen as a far-sighted prediction. Now, this horrible future could be awaiting us just around the corner. This book contains many parallels to modern life. Just as in the book, religion has almost been eliminated from public life, and replaced with total materialism. Now, everyone in the industrialized world worships themselves. In the book, every human baby is cloned, grown in bottles, and sleep-conditioned in the ways of society. We have already started down that perilous path. We may have already cloned the first human baby, and DNA engineering is not far off. Will this be the fate of our future? Only time will tell.
Overall, my impression of Huxley's book is that it is a very good work. It is very accurate and reasonably well written, although I believe he stressed unimportant things at times. On the whole, it was a very thought-provoking novel. I had a hard time putting it down.
1984 is a straightforward, easy to read, entertaining tale of a dim future.
Brave New World is more philosophical and a harder to read than 1984. However, if you are willing to stick with BNW--afterall it's not THAT long--you'll come away amazed at the book.
What makes BNW so unique is that it remains accurate and possible even though it was written nearly 70 years ago. Huxley did it just right.
This story is humorous as well as bleak, and one can eiasly see how our modern society is quickly entering into a society much like the one found in the, "brave new world."
This may be among the best s.f. books ever written--along with Dune--and should be required reading. Often, it is. No doubt in a hundred years or more, this book will become a main part of the s.f. cannon. Or, however, if Huxley's predictions are true, Our Ford may not allow it.
Afterall, it IS a tad old. (read to find out why this is funny)
Summary: Go read it already!!! It's worth it.