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Stephen King

A bag of bones * Stephen King Book Review

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”

Categories
Book Reviews

Golden Son by Pierce Brown (Book 2)

I loved Red Rising By Pierce Brown (Book 1) and as quick as I could I jumped on eBay and got book 2 & 3 of the trilogy. I was very excited to see that the amazing story of the Helldiver from Lycos on Mars is still flowing as swiftly and quickly as Book 1. I was telling the guys at work that I’ve never read such a book before: the characters are well defined, the interplanetary intrigues are worthy of Game of Thrones status and the war tales would make a German commander’s toes curl from excitement.

It’s not victory that makes a man. It’s his defeats.

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Book Reviews

Kim Stanley Robinson * Red Mars (Red Mars Trilogy Book 1)

After reading Red Rising By Pierce Brown (Book 1), I wanted to read more about Mars and I found there was a book written about 25 years ago about the first colonisation of Mars. With the SpaceX mission in mind and the talks from the previous years about water on Mars and other algae found, I wanted to see what the great mind of Kim Stanley Robinson came up with.

I know now why it won the Nebula award. This book is filled with snippets of knowledge from mathematical formulas required to break through a planet’s gravitational pull to the effects of space isolation through a long journey.http_%2F%2Fcdn.collider.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2015%2F12%2Fred-mars-cover-kim-stanley-robinson.jpg

It’s sometimes tedious but if you’re a hard sci-fi fan, you will enjoy every nano-second.

Categories
Book Reviews

Alis * Naomi Rich Book Review

This is one I found in the discount bin at my local library sale so I didn’t have a lot of expectations but this teen novel set in a dystopian future exceeded my meagre wishes. This was a story of growing up, questioning absolute authority, finding the path to walk on, making a choice and standing up for the core truths despite danger.

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Poetry

A blessing * James Wright

Emotional or spiritual experiences are especially hard to capture in words. Why did you break up with your significant other? Why do you listen to a particular Bob Marley song over and over? Why do you practice yoga? Why do you own a dog? Why is the view from a mountaintop worth all the sweat and blisters it took to hike there? It’s hard to explain.

Categories
Poetry

T.S. Eliot * The Wastelands * What the Thunder Said (V)

“What the Thunder Said” is set in various places. The first three stanzas are set in a desolate and deserted place where it resembles a true waste land, emphasizing the dire need of society for salvation. “Falling towers” and “unreal cities” indicates the destruction and corruption within society. The title of this part has been derived from an Indian legend, which says that all beings, the men, devils and as well as gods, listen to what the thunder says in order to restore life to the “wasteland”.

This part starts off with a setting of a rocky place with no water. Water here symbolizes salvation and hope, thus the beginning of part V reflects on a society where civilization is corrupted, impure, given in temptations – in need of salvation. As the poem progresses, we reach another setting where civilization is engulf in fire which is both a purifying and destructive element and it therefore plays a significant role in the rebirth and regeneration of society. This resembles an apocalypse.Later on, hope is finally coming – re-emergence of water bringing with it the hope of rebirth by the thunder. Thunder plays an important role. When it speaks, Eliot describes it as God delivering three groups of followers -– men, demons, and the gods -– the sound “Da”: Datta for humans which means to give – to curb man’s greed, dayadhvam for devils which means to have compassion and empathy for others, and damyata for gods which means to control for they are wild and rebellious. Together, God gives these three orders which add up to a consistent moral perspective, composure, generosity, and empathy lying at the core, to reach inner peace.

Categories
Pet Care

A great memorial service

The other day, I went to a memorial service. It was quite short as there weren’t many people about and the priest decided to give his “standard” service. (I have heard the “extra special” service on a different occasion.

But this one, it kinda stuck to me. Here’s how it went:

Categories
Psychology

The Birth of Conversion

IN THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF MAN, NO ONE HAS EVER BEEN BRAINWASHED AND REALIZED, OR BELIEVED, THAT HE HAD BEEN BRAINWASHED. Those who have been brainwashed will usually passionately defend their manipulators, claiming they have simply been “shown the light”  . . . or have been transformed in miraculous ways.

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Conversion can be powerful

CONVERSION is a “nice” word for BRAINWASHING . . . and any study of brainwashing has to begin with a study of Christian revivalism in eighteenth century America. Apparently, Jonathan Edwards accidentally discovered the techniques during a religious crusade in 1735 in Northampton, Massachusetts.

By inducing guilt and acute apprehension and by increasing the tension, the “sinners” attending his revival meetings would break down and completely submit.

Technically, what Edwards was doing was creating conditions that wipe the brain slate clean so that the mind accepts new programming. The problem was that the new input was negative.

Categories
Psychology

How Revivalist Preachers Work

If you’ve seen a revivalist preacher on TV, you know what I’m talking about. If you’ve read some books – you know a bit more. Revival * Stephen KingA battle for your mind
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If you’d like to see a revivalist preacher at work, there are probably several in your city. Go to the church or tent early and sit in the rear, about three-quarters of the way back. Most likely repetitive music will be played while the people come in for the service.

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A repetitive beat, ideally ranging from 45 to 72 beats per minute (a rhythm close to the beat of the human heart), is very hypnotic and can generate an eyes-open altered state of consciousness in a very high percentage of people. And, once you are in an alpha state, you are at least 25 times as suggestible as you would be in full beta consciousness.

The music is probably the same for every service, or incorporates the same beat, and many of the people will go into an altered state almost immediately upon entering the sanctuary. Subconsciously, they recall their state of mind from previous services and respond according to the post-hypnotic programming. Watch the people waiting for the service to begin.

Categories
Psychology

Can Life of Pi make you believe in God?

I’ve read Life of Pi over two years ago and being the season that it is it made me wonder how well it must have been written to make you believe in God. But does it really do that? It’s filled with doubt and fear and wonder. I would say that’s what makes a good Christian.

“Mr. Patel, Piscine’s piety is admirable. In these troubled times it’s good to see a boy so keen on God. We all agree on that.” The imam and the priest nodded. “But he can’t be a Hindu, a Christian and a Muslim. It’s impossible. He must choose…”
“Hmmm, Piscine?” Mother nudged me. “How do you feel about the question?”
“Bapu Gandhi said, ‘All religions are true.’ I just want to love God,” I blurted out, and looked down, red in the face.