Author Topic: What book are you reading? And what does it do to you?  (Read 106742 times)

Sunny Offline ua

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« Reply #705 on: July 24, 2015, 21:26:36 »
And I agree with you, Julia  :)
Exactly the way I would put it: not cliché-ed yet.
And again - not the best book I've read.
But as a piece of art... While at school, I hated literary works belonging to the Classicism (and hate them still  :) ), but now I've come to understand what they actually mean: the history.
This book belongs to the kind you just enjoy - and, I must confess, almost without paying attention to its actual plot  :) But, dealing with history each and every day of my working life, I can say that it's cool! You almost touch it through this book.
Just imagine: there would be no modern vampire and "Gothic" stories if once upon a time one Horace Walpole didn't decide to break all the canons of literature... From this point of view the book looks much, much better  :)
... nothing ever comes of nothing - we pay a price for all our choices made © Sean Brennan

WalkAbout Offline fr

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« Reply #706 on: July 25, 2015, 16:32:58 »
 8) Got my library enlarged somewhat (no I don't want to think where am I going to put all the books I already have and will have in near future)



Starting with the Madam Secretary, because, as its preface states, "Many lives progress in a more or less predictable path, like water through a well-marked channel. My journey has been different. The idea that a daughter of Czechoslovakia, born shortly before the outbreak of global war, would one day become America's first woman Secretary of State once could not have been imagined. It was almost as inconceivable that someone who had not held a government job until she was thirty-nine years old and the mother of three would become the highest-ranking woman in American history. Well into adulthood, I was never supposed to be what I became". Well, that's only partly the reason why, to be honest. I'm as much interested in the period when she was the Secretary of State from historical and political sides, and she covers her family history, which is somewhat revealing (she's much older than my parents, after all...). And I love her style and language. Sure it would be slightly political read in terms of values and explanations, but it doesn't make it less outstanding in its own right... I enjoy the book so far, and I guess I would love it when finish.
It always looks like a straight line outside when everything is bent inside.

Sunny Offline ua

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« Reply #707 on: July 28, 2015, 22:38:41 »
A few days ago I found a treasure in my home library.
It's a book by Ilya Ilf and Eugen Petrov. No, no, it's neither "Twelve chairs" nor "The Golden Calf". It their short stories, feuilletons (I love the French pronunciation!), vaudevilles and screenplays. (I won't post a picture of it here for it's just a simple orange cover without any title even.)
Well, what can I say?
This book is some kind of a time-machine. It returned me to that very period when our world (the USSR - former and as it is now, I mean) was still young. When there were people who believed in the ideals - no, not of the Communism only - of some "promised society". They believed, and they noticed all it's flaws, and they tried to point them out - in their own, humorous, way.
It's not about policy. It is about people. It is about their ways of life.
This book makes the reader smile: there's no aggression, there's no "evil" in it. It is a satire, and a brilliant one, and good-natured. The authors believed that they could change something. And the real worthiness of this book is in its sincerity.
I do recommend it, although, to tell you the truth, I'm not sure these stories were ever translated into any language.
... nothing ever comes of nothing - we pay a price for all our choices made © Sean Brennan

Asphodel Offline ru

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Antw:What book are you reading? And what does it do to you?
« Reply #708 on: August 02, 2015, 10:13:20 »
I've read Joe Hill "Heart-Shaped Box".



This writer is the son of Stephen King, but it's just an interesting fact and shouldn't affect the impression about the book itself...

When I first saw the name of the book, I didn't think about a horror story (sounds kind of romantic, yeah)? Yet this heart-shaped box is a source of horror...
It's an absolutely worthy example of horror-fiction.
The main characters are a rock-star and his girlfriend, who develop their relationship and make it stronger as the story goes. It begins like this: he buys a ghost online (for fun and as a kind of another "weird" thing for collection). The purchase arrives to him in a black heart-shaped box that contains the dead mans' suit. And the events start to unfold. Sounds a bit funny? But in fact the story is quite serious, there are no "funny" moments when something that had to be scary is not scary enough in fact. It's well-written and the ghost is a proper, evil ghost.
But as I see it, the story is mainly about the people, about what is inside of them - love, or evil... And the word death is often used. And there is some blood too. Music is playing in the background sometimes (mentions of real songs and bands).

When you read it, you start to feel together with the characters, and at some point I began to really wish that in the end everything turns out good for them. But I won't tell you about the end, maybe some of you would want to read it so I won't spoil this.  ;)

Sunny Offline ua

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« Reply #709 on: August 03, 2015, 21:36:14 »
Well, Julia, I'm intrigued by the book  :). I guess, I'll search for it.

Nina, I'm looking forward to hearing about your impression about the second one!

... nothing ever comes of nothing - we pay a price for all our choices made © Sean Brennan

Sunny Offline ua

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« Reply #710 on: August 06, 2015, 22:55:44 »
I found it occasionaly. A friend of mine brought it to me, saying "You love books, you may need it. They [those at his office making a revision] are going to throw it away". And I stood still, for that was the very book I was searching for (but I would take it, anyway, I hate when someone throws books away!).
Slavenka Drakulić "How We Survived Communism and ven Laughed"[/b].
At first, I was rather critical, for the atmosphere of the book is a bit depressing. I already knew that the people of the former socialist republics outside the Soviet Union hated the system.
But then... well, I can describe it in just a few words: the book that opened my eyes.
The author describes nothing what is new to me. In fact, I'm a child of the USSR. I was eight when it collapsed - neither too young not to remember, nor grown-up enough to understand all the negative moments of the system.
But on reading the book, I understood everything.
Yet again, nothing new, just the facts I took for granted but with explanations of why I (and not me only) take it as it is. And the book is not depressing at all. She gives the facts objectively, describing what was wrong with the system, but - involuntarily, maybe - pointing out it's good issues as well.
While the author is a native Yugoslavian, she knows perfectly well what she's writing of (and I was surprised to understand how very much alike the life in all the socialist republics was!), and manages to look right inside of all those events, explaining them to those who never lived under this system.
It's not a political report, no way. She just writes about everyday life of common people, and being a feminist, of women mostly. (And here I must say that I love the way she never forces her ideology upon a reader.)
Yes, there were quite a few moments of revelations for me in this book. But - who knows? - maybe, those who are just a few years younger than me won't be impressed by it the way I am.
But, anyway, it's a very, very interesting book if you want to immerse - just for a moment! - into the life the soviet people led.
 
... nothing ever comes of nothing - we pay a price for all our choices made © Sean Brennan

WalkAbout Offline fr

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« Reply #711 on: August 15, 2015, 05:34:16 »
I found it occasionaly. A friend of mine brought it to me, saying "You love books, you may need it. They [those at his office making a revision] are going to throw it away". And I stood still, for that was the very book I was searching for (but I would take it, anyway, I hate when someone throws books away!).
Slavenka Drakulić "How We Survived Communism and ven Laughed"[/b].
At first, I was rather critical, for the atmosphere of the book is a bit depressing. I already knew that the people of the former socialist republics outside the Soviet Union hated the system.
But then... well, I can describe it in just a few words: the book that opened my eyes.
The author describes nothing what is new to me. In fact, I'm a child of the USSR. I was eight when it collapsed - neither too young not to remember, nor grown-up enough to understand all the negative moments of the system.
But on reading the book, I understood everything.
Yet again, nothing new, just the facts I took for granted but with explanations of why I (and not me only) take it as it is. And the book is not depressing at all. She gives the facts objectively, describing what was wrong with the system, but - involuntarily, maybe - pointing out it's good issues as well.
While the author is a native Yugoslavian, she knows perfectly well what she's writing of (and I was surprised to understand how very much alike the life in all the socialist republics was!), and manages to look right inside of all those events, explaining them to those who never lived under this system.
It's not a political report, no way. She just writes about everyday life of common people, and being a feminist, of women mostly. (And here I must say that I love the way she never forces her ideology upon a reader.)
Yes, there were quite a few moments of revelations for me in this book. But - who knows? - maybe, those who are just a few years younger than me won't be impressed by it the way I am.
But, anyway, it's a very, very interesting book if you want to immerse - just for a moment! - into the life the soviet people led.
 
Oh, thank you very much for this wonderful review! I'm going to obtain this book once I finish with my current reading list! Especially I am interested because she is a former Yugoslavian. As for "eye-openers", now, years later after I learned English well enough to converse freely and read books, I understand why so many books were prohibited by Communists  ;D ;D ;D
As for the review you are waiting, soon I will start reading that book, I have almost finished Albright's bio. Gave me much understanding into how much, even I, was clouded with propaganda. Not that I view everything the USA does now in rosy colors, but many things have a complete background for me now.  ???
It always looks like a straight line outside when everything is bent inside.

Sunny Offline ua

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« Reply #712 on: August 15, 2015, 19:09:19 »
I'm glad you like it, Nina  :) The book is really worth of being read. By the way, it was not forbidden in the USSR, for it was written in 1990, but if that occured a bit earlier, be sure, it would be. I'm all with you in the question that in English you sometimes may read things you'll never (or rarely) find in Russian :)
You've really intrigued me with Albright's biography, so this is the next book in my reading list (still waiting for the review of "The Lost Heart of Asia"  ;D )!
... nothing ever comes of nothing - we pay a price for all our choices made © Sean Brennan

WalkAbout Offline fr

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« Reply #713 on: August 16, 2015, 18:20:22 »
I'm glad you like it, Nina  :) The book is really worth of being read. By the way, it was not forbidden in the USSR, for it was written in 1990, but if that occured a bit earlier, be sure, it would be. I'm all with you in the question that in English you sometimes may read things you'll never (or rarely) find in Russian :)
You've really intrigued me with Albright's biography, so this is the next book in my reading list (still waiting for the review of "The Lost Heart of Asia"  ;D )!
Ah, understood! Well, as for another eye-opener I can recommend a Bunin's book (yes, that Bunin, with his alleys) I came across during my last year at school, it is called "Under the hammer and sickle." where he relates the Revolution story in its bloody, routine clamour as he witnessed it. I have a 90s edition, published by some independent publisher in Latvia. But do not eat in advance and be prepared to lose appetite for some time after. I warned you :) But perhaps you've already read that)

To be frank, and as a side note, the ideal behind Communism is very beautiful. How it turned and turns out to be... eh.  :-\
It always looks like a straight line outside when everything is bent inside.

Sunny Offline ua

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« Reply #714 on: August 16, 2015, 23:16:36 »
I do agree, Nina! In fact, that ideal is shown perfectly well in Ilf's and Petrov's short stories I've mentioned above (they truly believed in this ideal, trying to show with their satire its flaws and hoping they really can mend them). And... well, in quite a few other books of the Soviet period you, undoubtedly, read at school  :) But what it turned - and, as you've noted still turns - to be is a topic for a very interesting but pretty long discussion in itself  ;) The only thing which really grieves me is that it has become so much distorted with the passing of time that it's really hard to tell lies from truth...  :-\
As for Bunin - thank you very much! I'll search for the book (for, actually, I've read mostly on his alleys - and a bit about him in Irina Odoevtseva's "На берегах Сены"  ;D ), I must have it somewhere in my library (the quest is to FIND it). I hope I won't lose my appetite - I'm rather a "resistant" comrade  ;D

And - as a side note  :) - what an interesting topic this is! It's great to have such a place where you can share - and be understood. People shun books nowadays (or, at least, serious ones)... unfortunatelly.
... nothing ever comes of nothing - we pay a price for all our choices made © Sean Brennan

WalkAbout Offline fr

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« Reply #715 on: August 17, 2015, 16:10:43 »
I do agree, Nina! In fact, that ideal is shown perfectly well in Ilf's and Petrov's short stories I've mentioned above (they truly believed in this ideal, trying to show with their satire its flaws and hoping they really can mend them). And... well, in quite a few other books of the Soviet period you, undoubtedly, read at school  :) But what it turned - and, as you've noted still turns - to be is a topic for a very interesting but pretty long discussion in itself  ;) The only thing which really grieves me is that it has become so much distorted with the passing of time that it's really hard to tell lies from truth...  :-\
As for Bunin - thank you very much! I'll search for the book (for, actually, I've read mostly on his alleys - and a bit about him in Irina Odoevtseva's "На берегах Сены"  ;D ), I must have it somewhere in my library (the quest is to FIND it). I hope I won't lose my appetite - I'm rather a "resistant" comrade  ;D

And - as a side note  :) - what an interesting topic this is! It's great to have such a place where you can share - and be understood. People shun books nowadays (or, at least, serious ones)... unfortunatelly.
:) I guess this quote I stumbled upon a couple of minutes back from the book I'm reading might sum up some part of our discussion, since it's a view of somebody out of the system to wreaks of which we are now heirs: "The core problem with Communism is that it subsumes the right of the individual to the supposed interests of society, and once you have discounted individual rights, it is a short step to discounting human suffering". To which I personally would like to add a Russian saying "За лесом деревьев не видно" ("You can't see trees beyond the forest"). And thank you for mentioning that book by Ilf' and Petrov -- it is interesting, a year or something back a watched a documentary on them, based on their diaries and it was deeply absorbing, probably this book would be as well, if it is at all attainable xD. Of course you do know they visited America by Stalin's direct consent and even request? So that they would write of it later? Was a thunderbolt to me.  ;D Not everything was bad, and something was just great, but time has its toil on everything and everyone.

As for books shunning... I think the percent of those who read for knowledge didn't alter much, we just lost a great chunk of people who read mostly for pure entertainment, and once there appeared an easier kind of entertainment they succumbed to it. But words always precede movies ;) So I believe in the better ;)  Curiosity killed a cat, after all, and writers still write faster then movies are being made :))
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Sunny Offline ua

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« Reply #716 on: August 17, 2015, 19:53:19 »
A very good quote, Nina, - as well as your addition (thank you for posting it in Russian, I would not recognize it when written in English  ;D ). The system had its positive moments, and quite a few, in fact. And, nowadays, we feel a lack of those positive moments (and, especially, that rather blind and naive, yet still true and sincere belief in a better future). Naturally, there were negative moments, too - but here I can add little, for your words on this question are really brilliant.
Of course, I know Ilf's and Petrov's "One-Storied America"! It's one of my beloved books, btw :)
The book I've mentioned (their short-stories), is attainable. I've got a Soviet edition, it's a set of their works. I remember having seen it on ozon.ru, so I guess you can find it anywhere.

As for books - here, again, you must be right :) Given the situation in the cinema, where most films now are remakes (or sequels) of older ones, I hope that people will turn to books once again, in search for something new. I just hope that the culture of American "yellow books" will not absorb us entirely. (It was my nightmare coming true when I saw a yellow book on "War and Peace" by Tolstoy - the full version of which I, personally, "tortured" for somewhere about 3 months, but still I managed it!  ;D ) But, on the whole, I'm rather optimistic on this matter, too  :D
... nothing ever comes of nothing - we pay a price for all our choices made © Sean Brennan

WalkAbout Offline fr

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« Reply #717 on: October 28, 2015, 20:29:56 »
A huge detour, for the time came to, you know...



mixed with



So to speak, healing learning time.
It always looks like a straight line outside when everything is bent inside.

WalkAbout Offline fr

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« Reply #718 on: November 01, 2015, 13:52:11 »
And a slight addon of:



To check a thesis nagging me for quite some time now: I think, well...that true intelligence isn't possible without emotions.
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WalkAbout Offline fr

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« Reply #719 on: November 08, 2015, 05:23:53 »
Okay, this is a difficult read, but anyway. If all things in my life are in one theme, it is time to give it a go, so...
This is not even a detour, just a raw honest book I actually wince even writing about, how darn difficult it is... The only solace is that this woman is a researcher and it was difficult for her as well. Mgodhowdarnhardallthisis



"To believe vulnerability is a weakness. To forecrlose on our emotional life out of a fear that the costs will be too high is to walk away from the very thing that gives purpose and meaning to living."

"Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and autenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.

I know this is hard to believe, especially when we've spent our lives thinking that vulnerability and weakness are synonymous, but it's true. I define vulnerability as uncertainty, risk, and empotional exposure"

AAAAEEE, here we go, what I've been taught all my life. Go blast to pieces. That's going to be painful.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2015, 05:33:52 by WalkAbout »
It always looks like a straight line outside when everything is bent inside.