Book Review – One Hundred Years of Solitude

One Hundred Years of SolitudeOne Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was really surprised to be as engrossed in this book as I was. I am always a little skeptical when “everyone loves this book,” but I was pleasantly surprised. The characters are wild and crazy that I couldn’t look away. In most cases, the story is one giant train wreck of a family who’s generations repeat the same mistakes over and over. I was fascinated to see the variation in each generation, yet also saw how the family traits carried down the line. The writing was a fairly easy read, but the story was so engaging I couldn’t put it down at times. Definitely recommend.

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Book Review — Empire

EmpireEmpire by Orson Scott Card
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was very disappointed in this book. I’m a huge fan of the Ender Series, and was really looking forward to the ideas and creative story telling that Card seems to carry with him. However, I felt this book fell short of that. While his character development was on par, the overall story telling style left me unsatisfied. As other reviewers have noted, Card seemed to leave nothing to the reader’s imagination. Every time I would start creating possibilities in my head, Card would tell me outright what was going on in a very obvious manner. The action portions and some of the twists were exciting and kept me engaged, but in general, I wouldn’t say this is even a good work of his. Not a bad beach book, I suppose. It’s a very easy read, and pretty easy to pick up on the story after a break in reading.

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On Worry…

This is a segment of the Asmi Yoga newsletter. Dolly Stavros is one of my favorite yoga teachers, and always has some nuggets. This segment resonates with me (worry wart!), and felt it should be documented if for no other benefit than my own personal record. It’s written in the context of worry and the autumnal equinox (sept).

“Witness the quality of your thoughts. Will the thought-seeds you plant grow weeds or beautiful blossoms? Ritualize this equinox (time of new beginnings), by channeling your energy into that which will manifest your dreams and desires, not your doubts and dreads. Be grateful. Watch with childlike wonder as the wind blows the leaves of your life into whirls of chaos, knowing that you can rake them up later! Refuse to be unfazed by life’s storms. Life fully. Breathe deeply. Celebrate joyously this gift of life, even if it’s not perfect. Because in its imperfection, it is perfect!”

Book Review – Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the GalaxyThe Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one book I’d been meaning to read for a long time, and boy am I sorry I didn’t read it sooner! I knew mostly what it was about, and had seen the movie, so the story wasn’t all that surprising. What was surprising was the engaging way Adams had in his writing. The book is smart and humorous as well as entertaining. Who knew a towel could be so useful! And it’s not a difficult read either. It’s not overly sci-fi/fantasy, yet it touches on some very interesting philosophical concepts that will remain relevant for the foreseeable future.

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Book Review — Pygmy

PygmyPygmy by Chuck Palahniuk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a tough one to read due to the style in which it was written, and I am not one to shy away from a challenge like that. The story was fairly straight forward, but with subtle twists and turns — typical Palahniuk IMO — that take you on a journey through the mind of a young trained assassin. Really fascinating to see the impact of training (you could even say brainwashing), and that’s the part that really piqued my interest in the book. You really get an interesting look into the mind of this highly intelligent child who’s received a certain level of conditioning. Pretty dark at times, but interesting ending.

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relationship follow up

sometimes, i just have to get things out of my head. and sometimes, i have the distinct urge to put those thoughts out to the universe in a public forum (as opposed to a journal or even a piece of paper). there’s something very therapeutic knowing that my thoughts are out there for all to read…even if it’s strangers who don’t have context or even give a shit. the simple act of getting it out into the world is reassuring to me, and will calm me down.

things are just fine in my world. and my relationship with the female in the previous blog post is absolutely fine. i simply had too much swirling around in my head, my left brain spinning a giant wheel of unreal (as in fake) insecurity. it’s a bad habit, and one that’s difficult to break out of, but regular yoga and meditation usually keep me out of it. the lack of yoga is obvious lol.

My Stroke of Insight – Review

My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal JourneyMy Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A close friend gave me a copy of this book, knowing I have a strong interest in the mind, how it works, and how we can change parts of it. Taylor has had the incredible gift of intelligence and awareness to be able not only to recall the events of her stroke and recovery, but also be able to communicate the events and the things she learned throughout the process. I found the information deeply moving, and was encouraged to know that the things I experience (my left brain negative loops) are not only normal, but somewhat controllable. While I know the stroke was a big challenge to Dr. Taylor, her story has SO much value to people who have had a stroke, friends/family of stroke victims, and pretty much anyone interested in how he can change his perspective on life. We all have a left and a right side of our brain, and it’s a matter of how much practice each side gets.

Highly recommend. It’s a pretty easy read, even the neurosciency stuff.

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sometimes, i feel i’m a failure at relationships. it’s generally with women. i seem to be completely inept at maintaining a relationship with a woman without fucking it up at some point…multiple times usually. i just don’t do well with expectations and shit like that. i’m not who you want me to be. i am who i am. and sometimes, that means i open up at the most unexpected time. i’m an introvert for god’s sake. the fact that i even open up at all should be worth something. but i often feel it’s worth nothing…or at least not good enough. there have been only a handful of people who know me well enough and have the patience and understanding enough to hang in there with me.

hopefully, this current one will hang around since she’s the only close female i have left. guh why couldn’t i have gotten the “express your emotions” gene like the rest of the female population?!

Under the Dome – Review

Under the DomeUnder the Dome by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was really excited to read such an intriguing tale, and I was certain King could deliver. The story was intricate and the characters spanned a wide range of good, bad, and ugly. All manner of angles were touched on as well. What happens when you put a small town under a dome, cutting them off from all society, supplies, and the things we all take for granted? Who holds the real power in those situations? And when an evil person gains immense power, how do the good people of the town react to save themselves and the town? So many questions about the true humanity of people. The only reason I couldn’t give it 5 stars is I felt like the story just kind of ended. There is some big stuff that happens, but the wrap-up was nothing to speak of. Definitely recommend it.

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A Clockwork Orange – Review

A Clockwork Orange A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I had really high hopes for this book. When I first began the book, I was surprised at the language used by the narrator, and found it fascinating how you can learn a language simply by context interspersed with known language. That “side-journey” definitely added to the story. However, much like Slaughterhouse-V I was disappointed as a result of my expectations. The book definitely touches on some interesting aspects of society and how we handle violence and disrespect of authority. It also addressed some of the ethical challenges in reforming violent offenders. All interesting topics, but I really was looking for more twists and turns, more commentary on how society deals with the issues, and in general deeper exploration of things only touched on. I can’t wait to see the movie now, though.

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House Of Leaves – Review

House of Leaves House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I was really looking forward to the quirkiness this book promised. I had heard it’s a tough read, and just flipping through it proved that with some of the pages having only a couple of words, paragraphs written upside down or even backwards, and footnotes upon footnotes (making reading rhythm somewhat broken). The first few hundred pages were fascinating as the story builds, and freaky tales unfold. However, as I moved into the last hundred pages or so, I got a little tired of the psycho-babblings of a messed up crazy guy. I felt like the end of the book was a huge letdown with very little closure on any of the characters’ perils. It seemed as if Danielewski simply got bored of writing it, and just trailed off.

I actually enjoyed the whackiness in which the book was formatted as I felt it added to how the broken story was communicated (very effective technique, IMO). It really spoke to the fear, confusion, and general “crazy” that the characters were experiencing throughout. If you’ve been curious about this book, I recommend it on the sheer fact that most of it was entertaining to read, but don’t feel obligated to finish it lol.

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slaughterhouse-five review

Slaughterhouse-Five Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
i wish there were half stars because i really want to give it 4.5 stars…not 4 but not 5 either. it wasn’t the most amazing, rivetting book for me. however, i found myself wanting to read the book, wanting to find out how the details of billy pilgrim’s life fit into his own world view.

vonnegut’s writing style is very unique, and it did take some time for me to adjust (especially coming off of middlesex). i think his writing style is what can really turn a reader on or off towards him, so keep that in mind when you read other reviews. this was my first vonnegut book, and found the story fascinating. sure you get some basic details about the entire story up front, but they were only teasers to me. vonnegut has a way of giving you bits and pieces that make sense, but leave you wanting to know more.

i will definitely be reading more vonnegut in the future. and ultimately, if you’ve never read any of his work, you should at least give him a try.

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