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The meaning of drumming (or life?) comes in many forms, and many disguises. As Hart begins to unluck the secrets to why humans desire to express themselves in music, one can't help but say, "YES!". Hart, and to a certain extent, Jay Stevens, put into words what drummers and other musicians have felt all along but have never known how to express. The journey ends up being a look inward; not just for Hart but for the reader as well.
After reading this, I had my wife and father read it. I explained, "This is how I feel about drumming."
The companion CD and sequel book, "Planet Drum," are nice additions but the book stands by its self as an outstanding source for understanding music at its most basic form.
This book will move you.
Maurice spends most of his time avoiding the people in his life--his father, his emotionally detached wife, Joyce, and his lonely daughter, Amy. He does have time, however, to initiate a sexual relationship with Diana, the bored, talkative wife of the local doctor.
As Maurice begins increasingly detached from his domestic life, he begins to "see" things--including the ghost of Dr. Thomas Underhill--a 17th Century villian who may or may not committed 2 ghastly murders.
Unfortunately, no-one believes Maurice's sightings, and it does seem up for grabs whether or not Maurice is hallucinating or whether this is all just the result of Maurice's alcoholic binges.
Underhill seems to have a message for Maurice, and, unable to resist, Maurice takes the bait and begins to unravel the Underhill mystery in a detective style.
Maurice is a marvellous Amis character--lacking the self-deprecating humour and comic talents of Jim Dixon in "Lucky Jim," Maurice is weaker and not as likeable. Nonetheless, the hand of Amis is clearly visible.
The book was gripping at times and amusing at others. I laughed and laughed when Maurice attempts to set up "The Orgy" between Joyce, Diana, and, of course, himself! I loved the way he tried to introduce the subject to his wife--in spite of the fact that he receives ample warning signals to the contrary. If you enjoy this book, I can heartily recommend "Lucky Jim"--another brilliant Amis novel.
Allington -- a boozer whose ghost-sightings are written off as hallucinations by just about everyone he knows -- is the proprietor of The Green Man, a small English inn. A pitiable character, Allington is going through somewhat of a mid-life crisis. He is mentally unstable, and much of the story convincingly shows us a man who is living on the borderline between a disappointing world that he can't handle sober, and a frighteningly confusing one in which he must remain in control lest he truly lose his mind.
Through snatches of conversations with the ghost of the Doctor and with a dashing young man who just so happens to be the embodiment of a bemused and slightly cynical God, Allington is brought to discover the power that both good and evil can wield from beyond the physical world that he knows.
I must warn you that I had some crazy dreams on nights that I stayed up late reading this book before bedtime. Much of the novel's suspense is psychological, and since Amis' formal style of writing can be cumbersome at times, you may find yourself reading passages two or three times to undertand fully the nuances and foreshadows within.
But at more or less the mid-point in his career Amis experimented with a series of genre novels. Of this series _The Alteration_ was science fiction (an alternate-worlds story in which the Reformation never happened), _The Riverside Murders_ is more or less in the English murder mystery tradition (that is, there is more interest in the puzzle than in the US crime novel, but at its best the English whodunnit is also more likely to give us human characters rather than groteques). _The Green Man_ is the last and most successful of the series, and is in the horror genre.
As a horror story "The Green Man" offers only mild chills, but its other rewards are substantial. It's a portrait of Maurice Allingham, drinker, womaniser and host of The Green Man, an English hotel with a fine table, excellent wine list, and a couple of picturesque ghosts, though with no recent sightings.
Maurice is both cynical and observant, yet he misses much of what is important of what goes on around him. The things he misses include sinister stirrings around him that indicate that the supernatural elements around him have not been so much extinct as dormant, and are now reawakening. More importantly he fails to observe almost everything of importance about those who are closest to him, his long(ish) suffering wife, his lonely, resentful teenage daughter, and his son, who has already moved on from him.
Though we are invited to see through Allingham's eyes, we are also given a portrait of Allingham, a man who has gone a long way on charm but is finding that trait not enough, any more, to stave off the consequences of various kinds of misbehaviour. With women he finds that they are still prepared to bed him, but they no longer seem to like him much. With his drinking he finds he can still lie to his doctor, but he cannot deny - at least to himself - the danger signs: shakes, mild strokes, visual and auditory hallucinations. And his teenage daughter still resents his absense from her life; but she is coming close to not minding any more.
Some critics have missed the strength and trenchancy of Amis' critique of his male narrators. Amis is often accused of misogyny for portrayals such as the women in "The Green Man", when in fact it is principally the narrator who Amis is mocking, not the women the narrator comments on.
This is the book that contains the famous "threesome" scene, in which the two women participants soon lose interest in the male narrator who believes he set up the scene. Maurice tries and fails to attract at least some attention, find a spare limb to involve himself with, and eventually gives up and gets dressed. The scene has been misread from time to time; it is probably not intended as a portrait of what Amis thinks must inevitably happen in a threesome, but rather a comic come-uppance for a character whose extreme selfishness, sexual and otherwise, is well delineated.
Both women then leave Maurice for good, showing in doing so considerably more strength or moral dignity than Maurice has yet managed. (There is a redemption, of sorts, towards the end of the book, when his attention is finally focussed, almst too late, on his daughter.) But Amis is, in most of his career (_Jake's Thing_ and _Stanley and the Women_ being exceptions) a more painful critic of male behaviour than of female.
Amis' use of the darker English folklore - the "Green Man" and "Thomas Underhill" myths - are also interestingly sinister. And the portrayal of "God" as a slightly camp, terribly urbane young man is one that has been hugely influential - in an unacknowledged way - in popular culture since "The Green Man" appeared.
By the way I think it clear that the supernatural events are "real". Maurice is not given his shakes and hallucinations to indicate that he is an unreliable observer in the manner of Henry James' governess in "The Turn of the Screw". The contrast is pointed, in fact, with an entertaining parody of James' prose style in the book. It is clear that Maurice does not "see things" in that sense or to quite that extent (in fact his trouble is that he does _not_ see things). Rather, Maurice's shakes, voices and palpitations mean that he will not be believed by his family, and he is forced to deal with things on his own.
This is a very fine comic novel, with mild horror and (as often with Amis) a little more depth than it pretends to.
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Realizing that the city's lone defenders, The Grey Swords, are woefully outmatched, Whiskeyjack and Dujek offer assistance. Because there are other more powerful forces propelling the Pannion, former enemies of the Malazans also offer alliance. The Warlord Caladan Brood and the mysterious Tiste Andii Anomander Rake march with WhiskeyJack and Dujek to Capustan amidst an uneasy truce.
In the midst of this, the child, Silverfox is aging at a rapid rate as she attempts to fulfill her destiny. Ganoes Paran learns the price of having walked within the sword Dragnipur, a tribe is reunited with their Gods, an ancient wrong is righted, ordinary people become heroic, heroes are shown that they are all too human and a mortal man attempts to save a God.
Right from the start in the first book where we are plopped in the middle of a devastating war and see a young girl possessed with the spirit of a deadly assassin, we are immediately wrapped up in the lives and fortunes of a great many interesting people. There is Whiskeyjack the beloved leader, who is weary of war and politics. There is Tattersail the clever mage whose reincarnation comes at a devastating price. There is Ganoes Paran , once a pawn to be played, becomes a master of the game. There is the fat, affable Kruppe who confounds everyone he meets. There is the mysterious (and wonderfully monikered) Anomander Rake, who has untold powers and hinted at sorrow. There is Empress Laseen, who may not be as evil as we think. And there is Quick Ben, who has many surprises up his sleeve.
Although the subject matter of bloody, horrible war (along with rape, torture, cannibalism and possible world destruction) can be quite heavy, there are still glimpses of humor and wonder in his writing. I like the world he has built. I like the deep history that we learn as the stories progress. I like the idea of the Deck of Dragons where the hierarchy of Gods manifests itself in a deck of cards. And I especially like the fact that while I am pretty sure whom to root for, I am not always sure whom I should root against. Even the seemingly unsympathetic characters seem to have good reasons to do what they do.
While I did read the books in order, I found that I actually had to go back and reread the first book in order to bring myself up to speed for this third one. The second book takes a bit of a detour and, rather than picking up right where the first book left off, it instead follows the story of Ganoes Paran's sister, Felisin and her travels in the deserts of the Seven Cities. While this was a bit of interruption in the action, it does whet the appetite for the eventual reunion of the two siblings both of whom have undergone both physical and metaphysical changes.
Sergio Ben, Cape Town
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I purchased this book for its material regarding steaming content over the Internet, and learned a great deal in the process. The chapter on QuickTime VR answered my "how do they do that?" questions, and has led me to explore the use of this technique for my upcoming projects.
The QuickTime VR chapter is a good example of the depth of knowledge used to develop this text, as it gives in-depth information on photography techniques that only a mid- to experienced photographer would know.
My only criticism of the book is that it only begins to explore about half of the knowledge needed to set up your own streaming web server, but I can hardly fault the authors for that -- it says right on the cover "A Hands-On Guide for Webmasters, Site Designers, and HTML Authors." It says nothing about being aimed at System or Network Administrators. If your main interest in this book is the setup of streaming servers, you might want to consider another book (or better yet, purchase this book along with another to round out your knowledge).
With the ... QuickTime Pro included, I can say without reservation that this is one of the best computer book values I have ever purchased. The book paid for the rest of the cost by showing me how to trick Microsoft Internet Explorer / Windows Media Player in such a way that it will not try to open your .mov files (great in a Windows-dominated environment)!
Highly recommended, even if you have only a passing interest in QuickTime.
[Full disclosure - I work for Apple on the QuickTime Engineering team, and know the author - believe me I wouldn't endorse this book if it wasn't great]
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Truly, he is the most interesting of Hammett's series characters. He is tough, ethical according to his code, and keeps his true emotions buried under the toughness and the physical bulk. He is a cynic, one who assumes that each person involved is undoubtedly lying. On the occasions that a female character makes a play for him, he assumes that she has an angle. And he, in turn, formulates his own lies which have the effect of bringing out the truth. There are times that he is as surprised at the outcome as the reader is.
Hammett is skillful in the way he keeps the op in character, and the reader needs to be alert to catch some of the subtleties such as a restrained sense of humor when the crooks trap themselves by thinking he's after them when he's completely unaware of what they've done; a buried feeling of remorse when a client is murdered because the op had the wrong assumption; a decision not to unnecessarily involve an erring wife who's resigned herself to having her infidelity revealed.
These stories indeed have literary value while being engrossing crime stories. If you enjoy today's tough police detectives such as Harry Bosch, you will find these far earlier stories engrossing.
All of the stories are good, but some are better than others. The best story, in my humble opinion, concerned a jewel heist gone bad in which the Op ends up in a gun battle in a dark apartment. The bodies stack up quickly in this one. Other stories involve a trip to Mexico, nine "clews" that don't add up, and a theft that the Op accidentally stumbles upon. All of the stories involve murder and mayhem. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how the stories would end while I was reading them, but Hammett always seems to make it end in an unexpected way. The writing style is quick and cool, with many neat metaphors I've come to expect from noir writings.
The introduction to this collection is pretty useless and boring. I recommended skipping it and going right to the meat. This is noir. Who needs an introduction? Read!
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Hard to put down, I found "The Relentless Pursuit of Everett Pick" to be thoroughly enjoyable - full of gritty characters, action, and misadventures. Everett Pick is a schoolteacher falsely accused of a crime he didn't commit. Faced with sure conviction, he's forced to flee across the American Midwest to the Badlands and the Black Hills, only to face troubles he never dreamed of.
Be warned: Everett Pick is not your standard hero! In fact, at first he seems a pitiful loser when he wakes up and discovers that his beautiful, but deadly girlfriend, Mary Fae, is attempting to kill him with a shovel because he's planning to leave her to return to his ex-wife, Juliet. Escaping with his life and not much else, the broke Everett drives 600 miles to his ex-wife's home in Black Hills dressed only in his underwear.
Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to be better off in Juliet's hands. An advocate of a New Age Religion, Juliet worships the mystical "Ascended Beings" and becomes more and more out of touch with reality as the story unfolds. Her sole purpose is to attract followers to worship the Ascended, no matter what the costs to herself and those around her.
Ev Pick undertakes a series of misadventures from being shot in the leg and falling down a canyon while avoiding and interacting with various characters in the Black Hills town of Rapid City. Examples include the wife-beating militia leader, Vernon Sarvis and the town's preacher, Moses Brubaker, who seems to have committed all of the 7 Deadly Sins of life (especially Gluttony and Greed!)
Despite all his misfortunes, Ev displays courage and compassion while under siege from the militia members, the FBI, the sheriff, his ex-wife, and a murderous computer genius. You glimpse the tenderness that Everett can exhibit when he becomes attached to the doomed Lorena, the 18-year-old pregnant wife of the heartless Vern Sarvis.
An unlikely partnership forms between Everett and the local Sheriff, Lonny Gunderson, who comes a close second to Everett for surviving mishaps such as a treacherous deputy and militia members armed to the teeth. Together, Ev and Lonny discover a dark conspiracy unfolding in Black Hills that threatens the life of everyone living there... but will they be too late to uncover the truth?
While reading the book, I kept wanting to know what else could possibly happen to Everett and how or if he would survive his next mishap. I learned that despite all his faults, Everett Pick was a true hero in every sense, regardless of my original opinion. If you enjoy reading Stephen King, you'll love Steven Fisher's book.
I have only one warning... this book is filled with coarse language so I don't recommend it for young readers.
Review by Eva Almeida, eBooks N' Bytes Reviews
I despise the term "page turner" but Relentless Pursuit is such a book. The characters are vividly portrayed, Vern in particular. Vern (the antagonist) is the total and utter repersentation of what mankind can become if unchecked, what is evil in all of us. Everett, or plain Ev, the Jesus-like figure of the book. Poor Ev weathers all, doubts, fears, yet triumphs in his ability to accept fate.
The Relentless Pursuit of Everett Pick is quite possibly one of the best books from a new author I have ever had the privilage to read.
it draws you into its spiral... I couldn't put it down.
if ev pick has a middle name it must be "bohica" (bend over, here it comes again!)
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The book is an easy read and offers good advice for those who still have the psyche to listen and act. But the disturbing point is that many of the example patients discussed in the book are unable to pull out of their funk. Will this psychological malaise become an epidemic among boomers?
The book is definitely worth reading. "Self-handicapping" and "overextension" are significant concepts developed by the author. The book would be better with fewer cute terms such as "Supernova Burnout" "Goldilocks dilemma" and "sundae fallacy."
The book has been written by an adjunct faculty member at Harvard Medical school. The academic level is - as far as I can judge - impeccable. The author quotes on many occasions from actual patient-cases which are common enough that many a reader will recognize some of his or her own headaches. One notices that an effort has been made to write a book that is accessible to the general public. However, the book does maintain a certain academic tone that will be off-putting to some people. There are no exercises, questionaires, or the like that would involve the reader a bit more with the subject matter.
Whoever thinks that reading this book and applying a few quick-fix exercises here and mental readjustments there is going to enable them to continue like before, just happier, is extremely mistaken. Dr. Berglas points out that a lot of the misery discussed is a direct result of some deeply engrained characteristics of our culture. For most people, following up on Dr. Berglas' suggestions will imply a drastic (but doable) change in lifestyle.
Being somewhat of an academic myself with a keen interest in psychological issues, I found the book extremely valuable. The value to you depends on how you personally feel about the above. However, my advice: if in doubt, buy it!