Welcome to one of my favourite horror stories from Stephen King. Set in a very tight space (a supermarket in a small town), with a larger-than-life event going on outside (a mist spreading out and killing whoever dares to go outside), the story analyses human behaviour in crisis situations.
The Call of Earth continues the story of Nafai, his family, and the few other people selected by the Oversoul to leave the city of Basilica, and their former lives.
When the human refugees from a ruined Earth founded a colony on the planet Harmony, they determined that this world would not be devastated by the endless cycle of vicious warfare that had characterised human life from the beginning.
They didn’t try to change human nature. Instead they installed a powerful computer, called the Oversoul, and gave it the task of governing human affairs by subtly influencing human minds. That was millions of years ago. Now the Oversoul is growing weak, breaking down. It must be returned to Earth, to the master computer called the Keeper of Earth, to be repaired. The Oversoul must have human help to make that journey.
Last night I dreamed I walked once more in the house of my father’s childhood: under my feet the cool marble of the entrance hall, above my head its high ceiling of wooden rafters: a thousand painted flowers gleaming dark with distance.
Short-listed for the Booker prize and acclaimed by critics worldwide, Soueif’s novel certainly seems promising: in 1901, Lady Anna Winterbourne travels to Egypt, where she falls in love with an Egyptian patriot and is swept up in the country’s struggle for independence from British rule.
I think I’m going through a phase. This is a 2002 Gold Medallion Award winner! And I thought it was pure crap! There was nothing but bad writing and the bold promise “This stunning page-turner will convict the hearts of readers to live in the light of eternity” failed to deliver.
I’m not sure I disliked it so much due to the fact that it’s a “shove religion down your throat” type of book or due to the fact that it was a little fiction followed by a lot of non-fiction report on the Christian persecution in China.
Yes, I’ve seen the movies before, yes I know it’s a thing, no, I’m not interested in donating any more money for causes like this.
This book is about two men who were roommates and friends in college but now are two worlds apart and haven’t been in-touch for twenty years. When their paths finally cross once again they realise that they are two worlds apart (spiritually speaking). As the story unfolds you find your self face-to-face with the persecuted church of China and the amazing love (to a sickening point) of a born-again Christian.
I tried so hard to make this book work, but I stopped after like 45 pages. I usually try to give sci-fi a good third of the book before quitting, but this on is just too confusing. She takes so many basic concepts so far from their original meanings that it’s hard to get anywhere. I definitely love pushing boundaries, but some sacrifices have to made for the sake of comprehension.
Sit back and imagine if Nietzsche wrote religious fantasy. The basic plot is of a young-ish woman who has religious experiences in a future world where secular religion is considered pseudo, and current religion is based on parables/”Pictures” told by the Tellers. The Founders are similar to “real” saints. It was very distracting to have to read the many odd parables or random streams of consciousness about lions, snakes, and chocolate chip cookies
I’ve seen the movie at the cinema at the start of last year and I was absolutely enthralled with the concept. A black man joining one of the most bigoted and uncultured and ignorant cult there is? The KKK? That must be a good read!
I was thoroughly disappointed in the book! Read in a dull voice with dry facts and “I did this and I did that” type of sentences, I was soon looking to get some dialogue, a bit of action, something! Anything!
The story is pretty much the same as the movie:
As the department’s first black detective, Ron Stallworth thought it might be interesting to see what would come from answering that ad. Figuring on a few pamphlets, maybe a brochure or leaflet, he wrote a note to the P.O. Box, using his real name and asking for promised information. To this day, he’s still not sure why he used his name, and not one of his undercover aliases.
On November 1, 1978, he received a call on the department’s undercover line.
The caller identified himself as a “local organizer” of the Ku Klux Klan who was trying to raise membership there in Colorado Springs. He asked Stallworth several questions, then invited him to meet in person; they agreed upon a time and, once they hung up, Stallworth swung into action.
He asked for permission to proceed and for a colleague’s help, but was denied; sure that this could be a major matter, he went to higher authorities. He already had in mind a sharp colleague who was white and could “be” Stallworth when Stallworth needed to attend Klan events… because the real Ron Stallworth, remember, is a black man.
For the next ten weeks or so, Stallworth and his co-detective, Chuck, worked their way into and through the Klan. They attended rallies and meetings, thwarted cross-burnings, and Stallworth spoke many times with Grand Wizard David Duke. There was certainly danger in what he’d done but mostly, because of the amateurishness of the organization he’d infiltrated and the mistaken tenants its leaders held, it was a lesson in absurdity.
“It was,” says Stallworth, “as if Dennis the Menace were running a hate group.”
The Good Bits:
The story was good and the description of how he was initially treated by his policemen peers was pretty accurate for the time period and was pretty funny at points. The idiocy of the KKK members was pretty funny too. Where this book excels is in exposing what a hack many of these hate groups are/were in the 1970s. Advertising their meetings in the newspaper? David Duke answering the national headquarters phone line?
Instead of painting the KKK as pure evil, Stallworth looks at the complexity of the group and what drives its members towards heinous acts and an irrational aversion to non-whites and multiculturalism. As he gets closer to Grand Wizard David Duke, his position becomes even more endangered of being discovered.
The Bad Bits:
There were so many abbreviated groups that after a while I stopped caring which group was on what side. I also hated how every so often the author had to remind the reader how he was the one in charge of the investigation by parenthesizing that he was the one the KKK members were talking to, even when some of the conversations were with his partner playing him undercover. He didn’t need to keep reminding me that it was him running the show.
Stallworth’s lengthy charade amounted amounted to little more than a funny story and speculation regarding crimes that may have been prevented. He himself admits that the tangible effects of this operation were tenuous at best.
It’s a dry read and I found myself meandering over course of the book. The whole book comprised of the Colorado chapter and he didn’t give the insight of the KKK
As a kid I understood that people were different colors, but in my head white and black and brown were like types of chocolate. Dad was the white chocolate, mom was the dark chocolate, and I was the milk chocolate. But we were all just chocolate.
This is the life story of comedian Trevor Noah as he looks back on his childhood growing up as a mix-race child in Apartheid- South Africa. He looks back at the most important person in his life, his mother, and how he shaped his life, his future, his true being despite her circumstances as a single mother living in a very traditional country and then as a victim of spousal domestic abuse that ends with a gunshot.
In 448 pages, one of my favourite authors, Orson Scott Card, explores the life of Moses, life in Egypt, the Israelites slavery accounts and his adoption into one of the most powerful families – the one of the pharaoh.
This was quite an interesting read. Did you know that Moses stuttered? Did you know that his real mother breastfed him and taught him the language of the slaves? Did you know that the princess adopted the boy she found in the river to consolidate her power and said that the River God gifted her an heir? Did you know that instead of killing off the offspring of the Israelites as a form of population control, the Egyptians asked them to put them in a boat in a river and if they topped over and died it was the will of the Gods?
What about the fact that the priests had such a great power and were involved in politics and that the only way that Pharaohs could escape them was to declare themselves Gods?
It was a good book. Initially created as a play for Broadway, the script was taken and converted into a book to be read alongside other biblical stories like Sarah (Women of Genesis, Book 1) By Orson Scott Card and Rebekah (Women of Genesis) (Book 2) – Orson Scott Card
The muses are ghosts, and sometimes they come uninvited.
I read this one while I was still in high school and I thought it was quite dark and (in parts) extremely troubling. This was an amazing book then and I wondered whether it would have aged well like wine. And I re-read it again over the span of two days, skipping over parts I knew well and cared little about, spending a lot more time on the parts that were interesting.
Set in the Maine territory King has made mythic, Bag of Bones recounts the plight of forty-year-old bestselling novelist Mike Noonan, who is unable to stop grieving following the sudden death of his wife Jo, and who can no longer bear to face the blank screen of his computer.
This is how we go on: one day at a time, one meal at a time, one pain at a time, one breath at a time. Dentists go on one root-canal at a time; boat-builders go on one hull at a time. If you write books, you go on one page at a time. We turn from all we know and all we fear. We study catalogues, watch football games, choose Sprint over AT&T.
We count the birds in the sky and will not turn from the window when we hear the footsteps behind us as something comes up the hall; we say yes, I agree that clouds often look like other things – fish and unicorns and men on horseback – but they are really only clouds. Even when the lightening flashes inside them we say they are only clouds and turn our attention to the next meal, the next pain, the next breath, the next page. This is how we go on.
First published in 1998, Bag of Bones was an instant #1 New York Times bestseller. It was lauded at its publication as “hands down, Stephen King’s most narratively subversive fiction” (Entertainment Weekly) and his “most ambitious novel”