Following Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood and MaddAdam, I decided to try another dystopian future book by Margaret Atwood. I picked A Handmaid’s tale from the bookshelf and I can’t put it down. Despair is interwoven with a strong desire to die. The handmaid is a captive, with no other purpose as to produce children for the barren Wives, a walking womb.
Glenn used to say the reason you can’t really imagine yourself being dead was that as soon as you say, “I’ll be dead,” you’ve said the word I, and so you’re still alive inside the sentence.
And that’s how people got the idea of the immortality of the soul — it was a consequence of grammar.
And so was God, because as soon as there’s a past tense, there has to be a past before the past, and you keep going back in time until you get to I don’t know, and that’s what God is. It’s what you don’t know — the dark, the hidden, the underside of the visible, and all because we have grammar, and grammar would be impossible without the FoxP2 gene; so God is a brain mutation, and that gene is the same one birds need for singing.
So music is built in, Glenn said: it’s knitted into us. It would be very hard to amputate it because it’s an essential part of us, like water.
I said, in that case is God knitted in as well? And he said maybe so, but it hadn’t done us any good.
Quote from “The Year of the Flood” – Book 2 in MaddAdam series by Margaret Atwood.
To this day The Exorcist stands as one of the most horrifying movies ever made, a legendary cinematic venture that graphically portrays an epic struggle between human lives and demonic forces. Adapted from William Peter Blatty’s best-selling 1971 novel of the same name, the film was released by Warner Brothers on December 26, 1973 and immediately played to packed movie theaters across the country. The ensuing media blitz focused its attention on both the movie’s hard-to-stomach scenes that depicted a child possessed by the devil and the fact that author Blatty had based the story on a supposedly real event that took place in the Washington, D.C. area back in 1949. The film was nominated in 1974 for ten Academy Awards (including Best Picture) and was the recipient of two: “Best Screenplay Based On Material From Another Medium”—William Peter Blatty, and “Best Sound”—Robert Knudson and Chris Newman. The Exorcist has retained a faithful following since its debut and to date has grossed over $165 million (making it the thirteenth top grossing film of all time), with video sales and rentals still bringing home healthy sums.
Karras: Hello, Regan. I’m a friend of your mothers. I’d like to help you. Regan: Why not loosen the straps then? Karras: I’m afraid you might hurt yourself, Regan. Regan: I’m not Regan. Karras: I see. Well then, let’s introduce ourselves. I’m Damien Karras. Regan: I’m the devil. Now kindly undo these straps! Karras: If you’re the devil, why not make the straps disappear? Regan: That’s much too vulgar a display of power, Karras. Karras: Where’s Regan? Regan: In here – with us. Karras: Show me Regan and I’ll loosen one of the straps. Regan: Can you help an old altar boy, Father?… Your mother’s in here with us, Karras. Would you like to leave a message? I’ll see that she gets it. Karras: If that’s true, then you must know my mother’s maiden name. What is it? What is it? [Regan vomits onto Karras]
Humanity’s curiosity and invention cannot be repressed, but the attractions of the pastoral lifestyle and the desire to avoid the complications of technological progress cannot be entirely denied, however ultimately misguided.
The book begins in Pymatuning, 100 years after a nuclear war has destroyed every city on earth. In Brackett’s world, it’s the Amish and Mennonites who survive the apocalypse. One day, a precocious boy, Len, and his cousin, Esau, come across a radio, a forbidden piece of technology that may have come from the last remaining city. The object kicks off the adventure as Len and Esau set out into the territories in search of the truth.
5th (Jewish ) Rosh Hashanah (1st day): Jewish New Year. A two-day festival during which work is not permitted
11th (Rastafari) Ethiopian New Year. The start of the New Year in Ethiopia is recognised because Rastafarians believe Ethiopia to be their spiritual homeland, and a
place to which they want to return.
14th (Jewish) Yom Kippur. Day of Atonement – the most solemn day of the Jewish year.
19th (Jewish) Sukkot. Sukkot or The Feast of Tabernacles, commemorates the years that the Jews spent in the desert on their way to the Promised Land, and
celebrates the way in which God took special care of them under impossible conditions. Sukkot lasts for seven days, and work is not permitted on the first two days.
22nd (Pagan) Autumn Equinox. This day is celebrated when day and night are of equal duration October
5th (Hindu) Navaratri : Navaratri (nine nights) symbolises the triumph of good over evil and marks the start of autumn
15th (Muslim) Eid-Ul-Adha: Festival of Sacrifice marking the day after Arafat. The Day of Arafat is the most important day in the Hajj ritual. This is a four day holiday.
20th (Sikh) Birth of the Bab. Celebrates the birth of the precursor of the founder of the Baha’i faith.
31st (Pagan) Samhain (Hallowe’en). Samhain (pronounced ‘sow’inn’) marks the Feast of the Dead. Many Pagans also celebrate it as the old Celtic New Year (although some mark this at Imbolc).
(Christian ) Hallowe’en (All Hallows’ Eve): The night before All Saints’ Day (All Hallows’ Day). Its origins date back over 2000 years to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. It was celebrated as a Christian festival by the 8th Century. November
1st (Christian) All Saints Day: All Saints’ Day (also known as All Hallows’ Day or Hallowmas) is when Anglicans and Roman Catholics honour all saints, known and unknown, of the Christian church. Orthodox churches celebrate it on the first Sunday after Pentecost.
2nd (Christian) All Souls Day: All Souls’ Day is an opportunity for Roman Catholic and Anglo-Catholic churches to commemorate the faithful departed. They remember and pray for the souls of people who are in Purgatory. All Souls’ Day is celebrated on 3 November if the 2nd is a Sunday.
(Rastafari) Coronation of Haile Selassie I. Haile Selassie was the Emperor of Ethiopia. Rastas believe Haile Selassie is God, and that he will return to Africa members of the black community who are living in exile.
3rd (Hindu) Diwali: Diwali, the festival of lights, is the most popular of all the festivals from South Asia. It is an occasion for celebrations by Hindus as well as Jains and Sikhs.
(Sikh) Diwali: For Sikhs, Diwali is particularly important because it celebrates the release from prison of the sixth guru, Guru Hargobind, and 52 other princes with him, in 1619.
(Jain) Diwali: Diwali, the festival of lights, is the most popular of all the festivals from South Asia. It is an occasion for celebrations by Jains as well as Hindus and Sikhs.
4th (Muslim) Al-Hijira: Islamic New Year. Marks the migration of the Prophet Mohammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina.
12th (Bahai) Birth of the Baha’u’llah. Celebrates the birth in 1817 of the founder of the Baha’i faith.
13th (Muslim) Ashura: Islamic holy day observed on the 10th of the Islamic month of Muharram. Shi’ite Muslims regard it as a major commemoration marking the martyrdom of the Prophet’s grandson, Hussein.
15th (Shinto) Shichigosan (7-5-3 festival): A festival to give thanks for children. Often celebrated on the nearest Sunday to the 15th to allow working parents to take part.
17th (Sikh) Birthday of the Guru Nanak: This festival may be celebrated by some on the date fixed by the Nanakshahi calendar: April 14.
23rd (Shinto) Niinamesei: Labour Thanksgiving Day, a national holiday in Japan and originally a harvest festival.
24th (Sikh) Martyrdom of the Guru Tegh Bahadur: Guru Tegh Bahadur was the ninth Sikh Guru and is honoured as a champion of religious freedom. He was executed in 1675 for refusing to convert to Islam.
28th (Bahai) Ascension of the Abdu’l-Baha: Marks the death of the son of Baha’u’lláh. This is a minor holy day and work is not suspended.
(Jewish) Hanukkah: Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights and marks the restoration of the temple by the Maccabees in 164 BCE. Hanukkah is celebrated at roughly the same time as Christmas, but there is no connection at all between the festivals.
30th (Christian) St Andrews Day. Saint Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, Greece and Russia. The flag of Scotland is the Cross of St. Andrew. St Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was originally a fisherman and became the first Apostle. December
1st (Christian) Advent Sunday. The beginning of the ecclesiastical year on the Sunday closest to November 30. Advent is the season before Christmas . In Western Christendom, four Sundays are included. In Eastern Christendom, the season is longer and begins in the middle of November.
21st (Pagan) Winter Solstice (Yule). Yule is the time of the winter solstice, when the sun child is reborn, an image of the return of all new life born through the love of the Gods. Within the Northern Tradition Yule is regarded as the New Year.
24th (Christian) Christmas Eve. The day before Christmas Day.
25th (Christian) Christmas Day. The day when Western Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.