Where books are chronicled from beginning to end, and never stop being read.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Modest Proposal

“In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

It is an indictment of the sheer lack of regard for our most precious gifts, children.
Even in recent times, with continuous reform and new policies and rules, how many actually apply to improving the inadequate living conditions of the indigent and at-risk children?

The ridiculous pun on the mindset of society makes the reader look into their own hearts and minds. How many ways can we cook a child? Why not make them an invaluable source of sustenance? They're not good for much else...

We take for granted that children will survive anything. Perhaps their youth makes them resilient and their young minds will be more likely to forget or forgive the general neglect of society, parents, and/or the politicians. We blind ourselves to such ugliness. This proposal, written in 1729, is frighteningly applicable even after more than two centuries later. How can we as a society say that we learn from our past if we have similar problems today?

A Modest Proposal is a blunt satire on the absolute shame of every citizen. As individuals lose their humanity and sense of decency, if they forget what separates the human race from every other life form; then they may as well be reduced to nothing more than savage beasts who eat their own young. The single most valuable attribute contained within the human psyche is compassion. 

We must not allow ourselves to become so jaded. Evil will always exist. Bad things will happen to good people, but so do the good. It wouldn't hurt to look inside ourselves and find that little bit of something; call it what you will, idealist, propagandist, dreamer, or optimist. Allowing ourselves to become completely desensitized will mount to an epic failure in procuring a better future for all of our children. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

To be or not to be, that is the question...

The list of necessities before taking a plunge into this epic tale:

-Sweet Coffee
-Strawberry Jam Cookies
-An over-sized pillow
-An old, warm blanket 

The book resembles my dour mood on this cold and foggy day. 
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
How can we say that we have truly lived before delving into one of William Shakespeare's greatest tales?
A story of a love so deep, a pain so tragic, that it causes the demented meanderings of a once noble and great man.

But is it truly a sinister plot of betrayal and murder? Or is Hamlet an insane byproduct of a weak mind that snapped as easily as a fine thread of spun sugar? 

In this writer's humble opinion, he is a tragic hero. With a heart so pure and a mind so strong in spirit and will, that he never doubted the lingering suspicions cast upon his noble person. His incredibly agile and convoluted mind allowed him to ruminate and digress back and forth over every avenue of deceit. Unfortunately, his noble bearing, excellent swordsmanship and superb intellect were not enough to prevent the slow crippling of his mindset.

"To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, 
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to..."

His soliloquies give us pause. They make us stop and consider the underlying wisdom of his words. History has made him one of the most referenced characters of all time. Love him. Hate him. Call him names. Give him praise. He has stood the test of time. For generations before us and for further generations that succeed us, he will be a constant, unchanging reminder of tragedy, manipulation, flawed susceptibility, and defeat. 

The hero and the madman in us all.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Heartwarming Story

Sometimes we truly do forget the people behind the scenes.

Rabbi Harry Berkowitz and transit employee

A story that grabbed my attention.

We should honor the everyday people who put forth an effort to do good in a desensitized world. This is my tribute to Rabbi Harry Berkowitz in NYC.

He helps NYC transit workers cope with horrible disasters. It's a fact that most people are more concerned with the person who jumped in front of a moving train than the person in that train who blames him or herself for not being able to stop on time. No one asks about the trauma that the train operators have to live with.

Can we honestly say that it isn't a bit selfish to commit suicide with such cavalier disregard?

Unless a person is a hitman, I doubt people go to work telling themselves that "today is the day I kill someone". 

It's something to ponder seriously and perhaps it will give us all a moment of introspection when next we see or deal with such a grievous event.

Disney World Details by Laura Schaefer

Who said you have to be an adult?

I feel like a kid when I thumb through Laura Schaefer's new book, Disney World Details.
It could be because there are no words, and only pictures to dissect. Or it could be because each picture, with it's bright colors and happy themes, both excite and challenge your mind. No matter what, you'll find yourself engrossed in a plethora of riveting fun.

From stirring the joyful memories of a reminiscing adult or piquing the interest of a child's first look into the happiest place on earth, the challenges of each level will inspire all ages. The levels, ranging from 1 to 3, begin with simple, easy to identify pictures and get harder as the challenge goes on. The Disney Imagineers behind the scenes create true magic; these images from all around Disney World will make you want to visit the real thing time and again.

Looking for an adventure in a book?

Start here.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Anthem by Ayn Rand

A Novella for your Thoughts

Imagine a world that shuns free thought. Free speech is banned and forgotten. The masses so oppressed that they no longer remember a time that people had rights.

A very long time ago, every inch of liberty we waived in the name of safety and security was another step toward relinquishing our most treasured right: freedom. We spoke in the name of democracy, yet our own government told us that they would decide what is right or wrong. They would decide what private citizens would be able to own or possess. They knew better. We should not have the right to decide. Should not have the right to stand up and disagree. Our slowly eroding Constitution had disappeared completely. Creating "we", there was no longer individuality.

Enter Anthem.

There is no creativity. There is no free thought. There is no learning outside of what is allowed by the powers that be. The individual does not exist. And any violations are punishable by death.

It is important to remember and read, perhaps re-read such a novella. To remember who we are as a society and that what we fight for is a bigger ideal. What would we be willing to give up just to feel a little security in the present? For short term desires, what have we sacrificed and lost for good?

Don't treat it like a quiz. This book is most certainly dangerous. It will expand your mind and question your own foundation. Be who you are. Be you. It's a New Year, start it off right with this daring novella.

Nourished By That Which Consumes

This is on my "to read" list. 

Nourished By That Which Consumes, by Joseph Ephraim.

This was  one of those "happy accidents" that I occasionally have. The author, Joseph Ephraim, sent me a tweet about checking out the prologue of his book here: sample prologue.
So wonder of wonders, my curiosity piqued, I clicked the link and read the first few pages. It shows a definite potential to be something quite fantastic. 

This gripping tale takes place in Singapore, the sheer desperation and hopeless plight of the main character, Yu-Lin, and her gambling addicted father, sets a sorrowful scene of the tribulations and nightmares ahead. 

That's just from the prologue.

Plus, at $2.99 on Amazon.com for the digital copy, it's hard to pass up. I'll keep everyone posted on another review after I read the book.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Good Times in the Hospital: A Medical Memoir

We enter into a hospital and our assumptions are blown away because we realize that people are people... Even doctors. They aren't nameless blobs that are cold and unfeeling. James G. McCully sheds light on some more humorous situations that we often don't get to see. His statement pretty much sums up the book itself, "If you think it is insensitive to laugh at doctors attending their patients and entertain ourselves with yarns of patients lying in their sickbed, you are reading the wrong book"
Good Times in the Hospital tells us all that we can't take life too seriously. Laughter is just as important as diet and exercise.
A collection of heartwarming and humorous stories. I would definitely recommend you add this to your list of books to read for 2013.

An All Time Favorite LOTR


Need I say more?

I don't think Tolkien, with his incredible imagination, could have seen the success this book has had. And for those of you who have been living under a rock, somehow missing this book, read it. Read it now. It's an incredible epic built upon a fantasy empire. Orcs, Hobbits, Elves and Trees, all speaking to you and telling tales. 

FYI, quick warning, beware of the edition you purchase. Though I have nothing against paperback formats, there are numerous complaints from people out there about some recent versions that have had spelling errors and sub-par glue. Yes, I said glue. The books supposedly fell apart. So do your research.

It's well worth the purchase. Buy quality!


Join me on this journey

We begin a journey somewhere far, and we won't turn back no matter where we are.
Come with me and see for yourself, the heights of wisdom, the depths of hell.
Close your eyes and imagine a world, fraught with perils, adventures and spells.