spindle9988 wrote:Yeah same here. 20p spent so wouldn't feel wasteful dropping it but reviews seem to be really positive so feel I need to continue. Can't help but feel I could be reading something better though.
Pageof 41 First / Last
spindle9988 wrote:Yeah same here. 20p spent so wouldn't feel wasteful dropping it but reviews seem to be really positive so feel I need to continue. Can't help but feel I could be reading something better though.
Why Some Politicians Are More Dangerous Than Others|
By John Gilligan
James Gilligan's 'Why Some Politicians Are More Dangerous Than Others' is essentially a tract demonstrating the validity of the above statement. Marshalling criminal and economic statistics over a century, Professor Gilligan argues:
- Every period of Republican rule ended with a higher unemployment rate than it commenced with (even Eisenhower's presidency and the Reagan-Bush era); every period of Democrat rule had the opposite result (including Carter's).
- Income inequality rose under every postwar Republican president; it fell under every Democrat president except Carter.
- Epidemics of violent death (when the combination of murder and suicide is above 20 per 100,000 people) only commenced under Republicans, and only ended under the Democrats.
One would expect, at this point, a detailed analysis of the differing economic and social policies that are responsible for these outcomes - but instead, the author meanders into a discussion of shame and a contrast between shame and guilt cultures - which, if anything, generates more heat than light. Perhaps this is due to his background and experience as a Professor of Psychiatry working with prisoners, which led him to pinpoint shame as the major source of violence towards others. However, in emphasizing shame, other causes of violence - especially towards oneself, such as hopelessness and insecurity, are neglected. (Furthermore, it stands to reason that where unemployment is stigmatized, a shame culture would lead to political support for policies that minimize it - as is the case in Japan, yet the opposite appears to be true in the United States.)
The author ends on an unabashedly partisan note, condemning the Republican Party for using a racial divide to promote the interests of the wealthy at the expense of everyone else. Be that as it may, the most valuable lesson I draw from this book, is the enormous influence of unemployment on society. Put simply: Increased unemployment leads to increased income and wealth inequality, and together they lead to increased crime, suicide and insecurity.
This, of course, is a reaffirmation of what the Chinese philosopher Mencius noted over two thousand years ago:
A poignant excerpt from the aforementioned book:|
'In 1992, a gaunt disheveled man in his mid-40s was admitted to the prison mental hospital in Massachusetts. He appeared half-dead: mute, motionless, unresponsive. Like a zombie, I thought... The man - I'll call him Paul Williams - was admitted to the hospital and placed on suicide precautions. I waited for him to tell me where he was mentally and who he was.
The next day, when he began to speak, it was like hearing someone talk to you from deep inside a cave. To speak and organize his thoughts appeared to require so much effort, it was as if he were trying to pick up the largest boulder imaginable and throw it, when he could hardly sustain the weight. He looked drained of all emotion, all feeling, and could only slowly and with great effort try to piece together for me the story of what happened. Over the duration of the next few days, here is what he managed to tell me.
He had been a hard worker all his life, and now, in his 40s, he had had a good job as a foreman at a factory in Boston. He was living with a woman who, like him, was African-American, and although they had never married, each had a child from a previous partner, and they had a stable relationship. She was a school teacher, made a comfortable living just as he did, and he felt she was a good mother to her child and his.
Two months ago, Paul had been notified that he was going to be laid off at work - not fired, he insisted, "laid off." Not because he didn't do his job well enough. He was a good worker. The company just couldn't afford to pay him...
Paul did not know what to do next. He felt ashamed, so ashamed that he couldn't bear to tell his woman, as he called her, what had happened - that he had lost his job. Instead, he would get up every morning in a daze, dress for work, and leave the house as if he were going to work. He would stay out until his usual hour of return. At first, he spent his time looking for another job, but then he gave up - there were no jobs, it was too shameful to be rejected when he applied, he just gave up. He had lost his manhood. He couldn't even bring any money home, he explained.
Finally, his wife - as he also called her sometimes - noticed that there was no money coming in, and she confronted him. Cornered Paul had to admit the unspeakable truth. She was shocked and flew into a rage when she realized what he had been doing for the past two months, pretending to go to work when there was no work, fooling her with his foolishness. And then she uttered the fatal words, "What kind of man are you, anyway? What kind of man would do such a thing?"
All this happened with the children looking on.
Paul went into the bedroom and took his gun out of the drawer. He came back. And to show her what kind of man he was, he shot her to death. Then he shot the children to stop the sound of their screaming, but that did not work. He could still hear them screaming. He thought he would hear that for the rest of his life.
Paul does not know why he did not shoot himself too. When I asked him why he thought he hadn't, he said, "I was already dead. I felt dead. I thought I was dead. I think I'm dead now." '
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern|
Highly engrossing novel about two dueling illusionists who work in a mysterious Circus that travels the world. Morgenstern's brilliant prose takes you through a slow but engaging story, where you discover each character intimately and sample a kaleidoscope of sensations along the way.
mowgli wrote:If you do finish it, let me know how it was
Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce|
Magical Realism comes to Leicestershire as a woman returns to her family after a 20 year disappearance, with a seemingly impossible explanation as to why it happened.
The first 20 or so pages of this were a little too soap opera for my liking but I was happy that the book turned out to be a very intelligently written story exploring the themes of imagination, love, responsibility and adolescence. Tara's story (that's all I can say without spoilers) could have done with a few more chapters, and I felt the sub plots and characters didn't quite gel with the main one, but I recommend this in the 'something different' category.
EndlessSolitude wrote:I would recommend hunter s thompson's fear and loathing on the campaign trail, where he follows the McCarthy Nixon president election. Its quite eye opening, and of course written in HST sharp mind. Also watch The house i live in, a documentary on the war on drugs in america, its very good, and draws similar conclusions - i.e private prisons needing inmates to turn a profit, hence always full - but they also have big conventions from everything from stationary companies to chair makers having vested interest in keeping it that way - they supply the goods that go in the prison etc.
PSN - Cloudsheaven
Raymond E Feist Riftwar trilogy:|
Magician: The characters were a little bit empty but the story itself was well paced and was a decent adventure. There is a little politics as well but nothing heavy. I really enjoyed the setting which has one world very much in the Tolkien mold but it is coupled to another which is a bit more unique. All in all I would recommend it: 8/10
Silverthorn: This had little character development over the first book and the story was far weaker. It was pretty much a mid sized Elder Scrolls quest. (I think Elder Scrolls owes a hell of a lot to this series). I thought this book was a big drop in quality over the first abd was far too predictable: 4/10
A Darkness at Sethanon: Despite the rather rubbish title this was a much more interesting book than Silverthorn. The scope of the story was once again increased and it was less predictable. The characters were still under developed but it was once again an interesting adventure: 7/10
David Gremmel: Quest for Lost Heroes
Really enjoyed the writing style and whizzed through the book in a week. (I am a very slow reader). I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. The setting is fairly Medievil and resolves around some guys that were legendary heroes 20 years previously. Their lives did not work out quite as well as planned and they decide to go on another adventure. Sort of a mid life crisis but for warriors. The scope of the adventure is fairly meaningless but they decide to do it anyway to recapture their youth. 9/10
Next up Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn: the Final Empire
spindle9988 wrote:Finished it the other day and I'm glad I did. It does drag on and the writing, even if intention, isn't very engaging. But it is am interesting little adventure nonetheless. Can't really expand upon that sorry as I'm on my phone and knackered but I would definitely recommend it.
PazJohnMitch wrote:You are in for one heck of a treat. First book is the weakest, but is nevertheless incredible.
Also, if you have not already read it, I would wholeheartedly recommend Guy Gavriel Kay's (i) Lions of Al Rassan (standalone); (ii) Sarantine Mosaic duology; and (iii) Fionovar Tapestry trilogy. Raymond Feist is like Enid Blyton in comparison.
Edited by regularjoe at 14:18:49 23-07-2013
If Only For a Moment by Lyn Wildwood|
If Only for a Moment is the story of man in an asylum who experiences blackouts and during these blackouts becomes a different person. The asylum's director changes and with new leadership the asylum becomes a place of terror as experiments are performed on the patients. Cole discovers a journal that tells of an alternate reality where similar events are taking place.
I like the story, unfortunately the implementation has a few issues. The switching between realities was sometimes confusing, now that may be deliberate, but it doesn't help the story flow if you have to re-read a section to figure out what was going on. The action sequences were also a little too pat, the hero dives in and easily takes out armed guards without breaking a sweat. He has no training and has been a patient for months. A minor point, but it broke my suspension of disbelief.
More serious was the set up of the takeover. It seems difficult to believe that such a regime where staff and patients are being held by the hospital, without any investigation. I understand that this was key to the story, but some extra details could have made this more plausible.
Now don't get me wrong, this isn't a bad book by any means. There are glimpses of real talent in the writing and with a bit more work on the details this would have been an excellent read. It is however still a good read and I look forward to seeing how this author develops.
+1 here for guy gavriel kay...love the fionavar tapestry
Thank you, especially since I didn't know about either of them.
Finished a couple of books on holiday. The first was The Professor of Truth (7/10). Based on the Lockerbie bombing for inspiration, this tells the tale of a husband and father who lost his family in the plane crash. He becomes an activist, seeking out the truth and is one day met by a retired American agent who has information that will help him. It's a commentary on the whole Megrahi thing, was he or wasn't he set up, and the first half is quite fascinating. Discussions on the need to create a convincing narrative, on choosing a culprit and then making the story fit him. It's obvious what side the author comes down on. |
After that, the second part involves the main character going off to act on the info, essentially. But it's very different and much of it doesn't actually concern the narrative of the story, but rather has its own side story going on. That said, it's still very good but I just wanted more of the main plot. So 9/10 for the first half, where you learn about the main character, his family, what happened in the bombing, what happened after and the whole conspiracy angle, and something lower for the second part.
Overall a really good read however.
The second book I finished was Wool (6/10). Again, this seemed to be a book of two halves. It starts off almost like short stories, each focusing on three different characters and through them you learn about the world they live in. Specifically, the Silo: an underground community where people can look out at the wasteland that is Earth through large screens. There's a great depressing and Orwellien-vibe to the whole thing, and I really enjoyed learning about how order was maintained, who was in charge, the different class structures and whether everything was as it seemed...
And then it abandons that structure in the second half for one big story with some of the characters you've already met. It carries on directly from the first bunch, they all do really, it's one big story despite the way it's broken up, but I found this part incredibly dragging and slow. Eventually stuff does happen but it's nowhere near as interesting as the start. So a brilliant start but a disappointing finish. It's the first in a trilogy though so I might sniff the next book out to see whether it improves, as the world is very interesting.
Currently reading The Infatuations, and it's almost certainly getting chucked as I'm bored to tears. Very well written and fantastically lyrical but overly so, at least for me. I just keep finding my mind wandering.
mowgli wrote:Thanks mate. I may well give it a read. Im on Jack reacher at the moment. Just how did Tom Cruise gott he part in this film? It woould be more suited to someone like Jason Statham or even Tom Hardy
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller|
First half is a homoerotic love story, second half is a prosaic re-telling of the Iliad. This is a missed opportunity; Miller clearly understands and adores the source material, but doesn't indulge us with as colourful and exciting a journey as the premise suggests. If she described the battle sequences with as much fervor as the hair and skin of the protagonists, this would have been a more interesting read. As it is it's competent, but nothing more.
"MEAT" by Joseph D'lacey|
really good..one of the best books I've read for a while, fast paced, interesting characters, tiny twist, slightly macabre, its was quite the page turner.
Not bad considering I picked it up in the works for 99p.
Because of that, I'll give it..
Edited by ZuluHero at 09:33:49 29-07-2013
Followed by Sara Kjeldson|
Followed is a gothic horrror novella about a young girl who is living with her wealthy and elderly aunt. She is being tutored a by an aspiring novelist and to start with it all seems reasonably normal, if a little dysfunctional. After a secret in the house is discovered things change rapidly and a nightmare chase ensues.
The pacing is pretty good, it takes a while to build, but when it does it really get's going. I enjoyed the writing style, it really evoked the period in which it is set in. There's some varied characters to keep it interesting, although they do edge a little to being a bit stereotypical for the era. The governess come novelist was the most interesting character for me.
The story managed to surprise me as the ending headed in a direction I wasn't expecting. It follows a formula I'm not a big fan off, but the author does it in such a way that I wasn't put off.
My only real complaint is that I would have liked to learn a little more about what was going on. This is the first in the series so I'm sure more will be revealed and there is enough in this story to make me want to read the next book. All in all a good read and a strong start to a new series.
The Rattler is a ghost story that starts over a century ago and continues into the modern day. The start is wonderful, a gothic feel that really captures the time andf sets the story up well. I would have happily read more about the events in that era.
The bulk of the story is set in the modern age, a family move into a new house where strange things are occuring. I'll admit I wasn't as keen on this part to begin with. It was well written, but the mundane activities seemed to drag it down a bit. My opinion changed when things started happening, the mundane acted as a welcome counterweight to the horror that the young girls encounter.
I've two issues with the book, the first was pacing. It got off to a slow start, but then built quickly. Then about halfway through it lost it's way and delved into backstory for a few chapters. This threw the pacing right off, although once it recovered all was good again.
A more minor point was that everyone in the story talked to themselves. It made it feel like the story was full of mental paitents.
Still those issues doesn't stop 'The Rattler' from being a well writtem ghost story. It blends the traditional with a modern setting well. A good read.
Pete Dexter - The Paperboy|
Gripping story taking place in 1960's Florida about two journalists, a convict, and his fiancée who wants to prove he is innocent. Very well written, very atmospheric, highly recommended.
JG Ballard The Complete Short Stories: v. 1 - Pretty good stuff. There are probably about 30 stories in it and it's more hit than miss. There are some fantastic idea's in some of these stories and it really shows Ballard at his most creative. I particular enjoyed chronopolis about a future society that have outlawed clocks and subliminal man about a consumerist society that has got totally out of control.|
If you have never read any Ballard this is probably a good starting point.
Edited by glaeken at 09:39:34 05-08-2013
I am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe|
Was a good read up until the last 250 pages which were a total whiny mess forcing me to park the book for a month.
The Scream of Angels by David Haynes|
This is horror writing at its finest. The author takes us back to the beginning of the 20th century, we visit Paris where a theatre of the grotesque horrifies audiences with dramas of blood and agony. I've read the author's previous Victorian era horror stories and enjoyed them immensely and this proved no exception.
The story tells of a writer of the macabre who journeys to Paris and joins the aforementioned theatre to help write new gruesome plays. Paris is an odd contrast of style and horror and the author evokes this wonderfully with his writing. The story is great, a true horror all the way through, but that alone isn't what makes this a great book. The writing itself matches the style of the time, truly transporting you to a different era. Yet he also manages this while maintaining an easy descriptive style that is a joy to read.
This really is a most excellent read, a must for any horror fans, but be warned, it's not for the faint hearted!
|Ive strted the old Sherlock Holmes books. Really good reads actually|
drhcnip wrote:Another +1 for the Fionovar Tapestry - It's been a long time since I read it but I remember it coming together perfectly.
Everybody should just calm down a little bit and have a nice cup of tea.
Fucking brilliant. In my top-3 sci-fi list ever.
The Time Machine by H G Wells|
I was still in school the last time I read this. I remember enjoying it back then as one of my first forays into science fiction. It was with some trepidation that I started reading it again as part of the KUF book club. There have been many things I enjoyed as a youngster that haven't lived up to their memories. Thankfully this wasn't the case with The Time Machine.
As with all great science fiction stories it's based around a big idea, in this case what does the future offer us a species. H G Well's thoughts on this are a bold vision, all too often glimpses into the future take us to better technology, or of a race that conquers the stars. This isn't the case in this book. It poses the question, what left for mankind if we make our lives so comfortable that further progress isn't required?
This book fully deserves it's classic status, it's an imaginitive story and is well written. It might seem a little anachronistic for modern readers, but I love it. It's in keeping with the time and has an elegance that keeps me reading. That being said it does have a few issues. The main one for me was that it was too short. It would have been nice to learn more about the Morlocks in particular.
The sequence at the end stand outs for me, the trip into the real far future is stunning. A classic book that any fan of science fiction should read at least once.
It's amazing really how short a book it is given how influential it's been. I am actually surprised Well's never went back to the subject as there was so much more he could have done with it. If you have not read it it's worth checking out Stephen Baxter's time ships which is a sequel and well worth reading.|
Anyway just finished the Concrete Island by JG Ballard about a man that becomes marooned on a traffic island. It's basically Robinson Cruse set in West London. It's a nice twisted read of insanity and an uncaring modern world.
Edited by glaeken at 09:32:24 12-08-2013