squirrel drinks beer

Deliver Us From Evil


I am reading Sean Hannity's "Deliver Us From Evil" . I am on page 200 of 296 and thus far the book is GREAT!

Okay, I will admit that I was a democrat before I picked up this book and when I firs saw it and read the back cover, I chuckled to myself. But this chuckle was a nervou chuckle stemming from somewhere inside. What I didn't realize at the time is that I did not know what to think about what he says on the back cover... and so I chuckled as a quick reaction defense. But I listen to four talk show programs a day (liberal and conservative) and one of them is Hannity. And over time I came to realize that I didn't disagree with him as often as I thought I did. It wasn't that he changed my mind... but that I was already agreeing. Only when things came into a Republican/Democrat light did I switch my position to the Democrats consciously. I began to wonder then, if the positions of both parties were put out there without the labels, which ones would I suscribe to and what party would I then belong to? As it turns out, I aligned more closely with the the Republicans.

So then I began to read this book to see if I could disagree with it as a good, intelligent Democrat. But as I read it I agree with a lot of what Hannity is saying. There are some points raised against the book in the review section on Amazon's page. First, I do not have a problem with a person making money from a book on politics. Why should I? Does it make his arguments less valid? If the complexity of the arguments go up, maybe those that use this argument should bolster their critical thinking a bit. One critic of the book says that WW1 scholars believed appeasement was used to give time to rearm... Wasn't Hannity talking about WW2 instead of 1? Hannity also doesn't say that Democrats are bad, he mentions a couple who have shown backbone, but that the leadership of the party has lost its way and is more interested in appeasment than solving our own problems. He traces this from Carter forward. He doesn't say that Britain's appeasement was the fault of Democrats, nor does he say that conservatives are always right. Krannert completely missed the points made in the book with his criticism. Hannity has said repeatedly don't vote for the party, vote for the person (even if he/she is a democrat), but he makes a good case that the current leadership of the democratic party is lacking character and leadership. Does he include F.D.R. in this spineless group? No.

The book is a good read and I highly recommend it. I couldn't read it as a card carrying liberal because I did not open myself up to intellectual honesty. I chuckled at the book. It wasn't until I began to realize that perhaps my beliefs were not bound by labels and party lines. It is prevalent in the progressive and liberal community that anything from the "right" is automatically wrong, without so much as a glance at the opinion. When it is looked at, it is done so to attack. Still, I would recommend this book to anyone.
belly

undead authors

Hello, I am sorry if this isn’t allowed in the community. Feel free to delete it. However this is something that everyone should get the opportunity to see.

Recipe to Cure your Boredom and Fulfill your Need to Read

1.join undead_authors LJ Book Club

2. Nominate and Vote for Books written by authors from many cultures and worldviews

3.Read, Review and Discuss among LJ's savviest intellectuals *wink*

4.Repeat steps 1-3

5.Relax and Enjoy undead_authors


In short this is a community that doesn’t focus solely on books by old/dead straight white men. This is for all of you who are into books by today’s authors but still love the classics. This is for you no matter what color you are or where you live once you know a good book when you see one!
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night

Literary Criticism and Philosophy

(cross post)

Glancing at my desk for a moment I see the stacks of books, the one on top being Don Quixote. I laugh to myself, thinking of the absurdities of Don Quixote of La Mancha and the thoughts of those dealing with him (currently a group of goat herders) who think him mad (which he is). And I've read the introduction, realizing that this is a satire by the author against chivalry and nobility and such. But I give pause to myself and reflect. Don Quixote is an older man... and what would he be doing if not the duties of a knight-errant? Would he make his rounds in his small village, read books, sit at home? What is he doing currently? Sitting in the sunshine on a horse (frail though it is), pursuing in body the ideals in his mind. The thought that comes to mind is that in the former he would simply be living (if it can be called that) and with the latter he is living for something. A grand difference.

I recall a book by Nancy Watson, Practical Solitary Magick, one of the few books in matters of magic and the occult that I actually respect and do not deem to be less than romance novels. She was discussing the idea of elementals, actual elemental entities that live in things like springs, wind gusts, flames, rock.... and how she hesitated in telling her psychiatrist about them, thinking he would lock her up in the looney bin. Yet his response was that they are real, even if only in her mind, they have a life and reality of their own. Makes sense if you think of it this way, a man who is afraid of a tiger standing before him has the same reactions of a man who is standing in the dark, afraid, who believes there is a tiger in the dark watching him. Both experience very real fear, though the reality of the tiger external to the man differs in each case, the reality within the mind is similar.

So I admired Don Quixote for living his life, though others might make him out to be mad (and with the hallucinations being real).

In thinking of this, I then wondered what literary criticism might have said about Don Quixote's adventures. I'm sure there has been reams of essays on the subject. And I also wonder if perhaps one of those essays might not echo a bit of the sentiment that I've just described, that Don Quixote is an example of boldly living one's life, instead of meekly letting the currents take you wherever. But in thinking of such about literary citicisms I wondered at what the literary part was. Wasn't this really in the realm of philosophy and psychology? The literary part was the tool used to convey the message, the novel itself. Perhaps an analogy... when one talks about cars, one can get into a wide range of topics and philosophical inquiries. From freedom of movement to environmental ethics and so on, yet if one were to discuss the automotive aspect of, lets say... the environmental ethics of driving a Hummer, the discussion would revolve around gas mileage and soil disruption as it passed overland and emissions and so forth. As to whether or not these things mattered or to what degree, this would be a matter of environmental ethics, itself part of a larger topic of philosophy. Wouldn't discussing literary criticism revolve around the styles used and the tools employed to convey an idea? Foreshadowing, pacing, narrative, and so forth? When ideas outside of this are discussed, this leaves the realm of literary criticism and into philosophy.

This was my big sticking point while taking a ecoliterature class at University of Houston. We were to write papers, literary criticism, on the books we've read dealing with environmental issues and the idea of "place". I remember the professor throwing out Ed Abbey's argument that all writing is political, and he wanted me to counter that in a literary critical manner. I had a hard time doing so, because I saw the statement not as a literary argument, but a philosophical one. Abbey has lots of little philosophical tid-bits in his Desert Solitaire. When we discussed Graves Goodbye to a River, it was said that he was giving a voice to the river because it could not speak for itself. Really? I don't recall seeing this in the book. The voice that I read was the voice of contemplation and adoration by Graves while he floated down a river in Texas. Nowhere did the river say anything in the book, nor did any of the animals. Isn't it wrong to term his style "voice"? And isn't the question here really one of identification of self?

To be sure, we did discuss literary elements used, amid a backdrop of nature writing. Such as Ursula Le Guin's The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction, and Joseph Meeker's The Comic Mode. These discussed approaches used in writing to convey an idea. Yet we often got sidetracked from investigating the literary aspect of the essays and into class squabbles along the philosophical aspects of the essay. Nobody ever debated the carrier bag theory, but everyone had things to say about the feminine philosophy within the essay.

I am not well read in literary theory. I've come across some names and movements through various readings, but I know more about how to adjust the timing on the alternator on a Mustang than I do on post-industrial writing (which is to say, not much). It seems to me that if what Ed Abbey says is true, that all writing is political, then when you give literary criticism on an essay, discuss the literary aspects of it. But do not assume that your literary guidelines are the breadth of the matter when discussing the ideas within the essay. Conversely, what literary citicisms have been written about the writings of the philosophers I wonder. Philosophers will rant and rave and argue and fight over what they think Nietzshe really meant, but what would a literary critic say? And this takes me to yet another thought... because our ideas are structured the way they are, are passed on the way they are, is it truly possible to seperate the philosopher from the literary critic and vice versus?

Hmmm.... my laundry should be done now.
squirrel drinks beer

(no subject)

I just finished reading the book The Crystal Shard by R.A. Salvatore. Wonderful! Salvatore is currently my favorite author. Anne Rice still holds the title of most influential in my life, but these days I get more excited about the release of an R.A. Salvatore book than an Anne Rice book. Speaking of which there is a new one out now, Drizzt and the 100 Orcs or the 1000 Orc Army or something... I can't remember. I've got several more Drizzt books to read before I get to the time frame where the new one is set in. I never did finish Salvatore's book on Star Wars Episode 2, Attack of the Clones. It isn't Salvatore material. What makes Salavatore wonderful is that he effortlessly weaves grand pictures into small detail, and minor events together, and all with great timing. Reading one of his books one can briefly travel down a couple of different ethical paths of thoughts, all amidst the background of heroic adventure. The Star Wars book he did was based on the movie and it robbed him of his ability to set a seamless pace in the story. The episodes 1 and 2 of the Star Wars movie are, I believe, not flowing enough. They are too choppy for my likes, too many one liners and many of the scenes have the feeling that first and end portions of the scenes were cut out and all we get to view is the middle. Salvatore tries to remedy this in the book, but the leash that Lucas has set is too tight and the book isn't enjoyable.

hello

Hello - I've been lurking for a while, but it's nigh time I made a post...

Currently I am reading Lost by Gregory Maguire. It's a compelling blend of mystery, comedy and fable. I greatly admire the work of Maguire, including his other two novels Wicked and Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister . Gregory Maguire binds each tale he weaves to a fable from the past ( A Christmas Carol, The Wizard of Oz, and Cinderella) but tells a fresh, new story from a more adult and egalitarian perspective. Maguire takes the black and white/right and wrong tone of beloved childhood books and colors them with a more realistic shade of gray. He asks all of the "big" philosophical and political questions with witty dialogue, disturbing observations, comic relief, and lucid prose.

Another favorite author of mine is John Kennedy Toole. I recently finished reading his The Neon Bible , which is a complex yet short novel of small-town life in the Southern United States circa 1940. Toole wrote The Neon Bible as a teenager, which makes the work all the more impressive. He only wrote one other novel before his death, A Confederacy of Dunces , which is a Pulitzer Prize winner and a must-read for anyone who appreciates tearing off the masks of society with a tone of twisted humor.
squirrel drinks beer

(no subject)

I am a hair's breath from finishing the book The Brothers Karamazov. My admiration for Dostoevsky has grown even more. This book is like a rich meal. Lots of readings are like sugar cookies, they are fast to give you the goods, the emotions, and lows, the villians and heroes and that is that. Soon afterward it is all gone, erased from your body and soul. This book sits in your gut digesting like a thick piece of steak and potatos. Its going to take a while. At the first I identified with Alyosha's naive innocence and purity toward the world. His insistence on honesty strikes me as something to strive for. I sympathized with Dmitry's sensualist outbursts, his unruly behavior and passionate heart. Yet tonight it is Ivan that I feel the closest to. I was happily shocked and entertained when in the last portion of the book the Devil came to meet Ivan. Ivan is, for one who hasn't read the book (and I strongly recommend this book as a great piece of literature in all things human) the cool, intellectual, scientific atheist. It is his voice and reasoning that reminds me much of my self recently. Ivan was visited by the Devil in a hallucination (as the doctors called it, a brain fever) and he was rather let down that the Devil appeared in the guise of an old sponging gentleman and not a terrible brutish devil with smoke and wings and thunderbolts. There was no magic in the old gentleman's visiage.
squirrel drinks beer

Mind of the Raven

Smithsonian, Feb 2000 v30 i11 p150
Mind of the Raven. (Review)_(book review)
Full Text: COPYRIGHT 2000 Smithsonian Institution

Bernd Heinrich Cliff Street Books/HarperCollins, $25

bernd heinrich dedicates his most recent book to "Matt, Munster, Goliath, Whitefeather, Fuzz, Houdi, and Hook," his favorite ravens. Heinrich, an internationally known biologist, also snapped a photograph for Mind of the Raven's preface, showing his infant son, Eliot, snoozing in egalitarian proximity to six raven hatchlings. It is captioned: "My last batch of youngsters, including Red, Blue, Yellow, White, Orange, Green, and Eliot." By the final chapter, we are unsurprised when Heinrich describes the captive ravens that he studies not as his "subjects" but as "interesting friends."

Heinrich is analytically objective in his research, the quintessential scientist. But his experiments can be as improvisational as jazz. Once, the faint rustle of his trousers in a blind sent feeding ravens flapping away in terror, leaving the carcass to their much smaller blue jay cousins. "Just for a test," writes Heinrich, "I loudly whistled 'Oh, Susanna' and athletically jumped around in the blind." The blue jays- unlike the sissy ravens-ignored him.

In November 1997, this magazine reported on Heinrich's unusual upbringing (raised in a German forest, later on a Maine farm), his studies of bumblebees and insect thermodynamics, and his abrupt mid-career switch. "I have lived and breathed ravens since a date I will remember: October 29, 1984," Heinrich writes. That was when he noticed a raven-ordinarily solitary-yelling to attract other ravens to share a carcass it had found. After months of spying from treetops (the possibility of falling is an ornithological occupational hazard), he discovered that youthful ravens recruit others to a carcass so they will outnumber older, mated pairs, who would otherwise drive them away. That prompted him to undertake a long- term study of raven cognition. This book reports his latest findings.

Ravens, he has concluded, are individuals, and aware. It is probably instinctive for a raven to exhibit high status by erecting feather "ears" and flaring out its leg feathers, as if wearing baggy pants, in the fashion of today's youth. But Merlin, a pet raven Heinrich observed in California, had tiffs with his owner, Duane. If Duane, upon coming home from work, neglected their greeting ceremony, Merlin would sulk. Once Heinrich saw Merlin listen raptly for two hours as Duane and another man played rock music on guitars.

We also meet Jakob, a German physician's bossy pet raven. "'The raven always wins,' the Herr Doktor told me," writes Heinrich. Heinrich knew from Jakob's mouth lining- black rather than immature pink-that he was the household's alpha, the dominant one.

"Klaus told me that whenever he gets mail, Jakob demands his fair portion of it," says Heinrich, adding that it is Jakob's pleasure to shred junk mail into confetti. Jakob also insists on being given, for his destructive pleasure, cardboard boxes and mail-order catalogs. Finishing them off, Jakob gives Heinrich a mighty peck on the thigh. "I was told he wanted the ballpoint pen with which I was taking notes," he reports, informing us that he quickly surrendered the pen.

Heinrich theorizes that ravens coevolved with wolves, and with early human hunters. To survive among such dangerous, wily predators, they had to become intelligent, too. Their keen curiosity evolved as a way to find food. It explains, Heinrich says, why ravens are so attracted to foreign objects such as baubles.

Heinrich has determined that ravens crave potato chips, fear ostrich eggs, befriend some ravens and detest others, and fall in love. He has found that ravens enjoy puckishly pulling the tails of hawks, as well as engaging in such games as hanging by one foot, shredding a beer can, stuffing tennis balls into tubes, "king of the bathtub," and drop-the- rock-on-the-dog.

Testing how his tame ravens identify people, Heinrich discovered they flew off in fear when he wore a hideous Halloween mask. If he wore familiar clothes, however, they did not mind if he approached them "faceless," a knitted green stocking cap pulled down to his chin. "On the other hand," he writes, "when I came dressed up in a bear suit they were quite alarmed, especially when I did the 'bear walk' on all fours." He tried exchanging clothes with a neighbor lady, with mixed results. A black mask and wig spooked them. Crossing his eyes and rolling them up troubled the ravens not at all. Dark sunglasses were OK. So was limping. But they definitely feared hopping on one leg. How about a kimono? He writes: "After my thirteenth approach in the kimono, they again allowed me to get next to them."

What can you make of a bird that dares to pull the tails of wild wolves, yet flees in terror from a pile of Cheerios? Heinrich says: "I have come to touch the world and the travails of a totally different yet kindred being that makes me feel less alone."

Richard Wolkomir, a frequent contributor, is based in Vermont.

Bumblebees and insect thermodynamics, and his abrupt mid-career switch. "I have lived and breathed ravens since a date I will remember: October 29, 1984," Heinrich writes. That was when he noticed a raven-ordinarily solitary-yelling to attract other ravens to share a carcass it had found. After months of spying from treetops (the possibility of falling is an ornithological occupational hazard), he discovered that youthful ravens recruit others to a carcass so they will outnumber older, mated pairs, who would otherwise drive them away. That prompted him to undertake a long- term study of raven cognition. This book reports his latest findings.

Ravens, he has concluded, are individuals, and aware. It is probably instinctive for a raven to exhibit high status by erecting feather "ears" and flaring out its leg feathers, as if wearing baggy pants, in the fashion of today's youth. But Merlin, a pet raven Heinrich observed in California, had tiffs with his owner, Duane. If Duane, upon coming home from work, neglected their greeting ceremony, Merlin would sulk. Once Heinrich saw Merlin listen raptly for two hours as Duane and another man played rock music on guitars.

We also meet Jakob, a German physician's bossy pet raven. "'The raven always wins,' the Herr Doktor told me," writes Heinrich. Heinrich knew from Jakob's mouth lining- black rather than immature pink-that he was the household's alpha, the dominant one.

"Klaus told me that whenever he gets mail, Jakob demands his fair portion of it," says Heinrich, adding that it is Jakob's pleasure to shred junk mail into confetti. Jakob also insists on being given, for his destructive pleasure, cardboard boxes and mail-order catalogs. Finishing them off, Jakob gives Heinrich a mighty peck on the thigh. "I was told he wanted the ballpoint pen with which I was taking notes," he reports, informing

Named Works: Mind of the Raven (Book) - Reviews

Mag.Coll.: 102B0987


Article A59199640


I love this book!
squirrel drinks beer

GREAT

I kept reading and reading from "The Brothers Karamazov" last night. I am no literary critic and reading such often bores me, what with their interpretations of post-modernism and romanticism and this and that. I sometimes wonder if maybe the story hasn't been lost. But here is a thought about why I love this book so much. A plot is thought, by myself, to consist of actions between characters amidst the background of circumstances. Skywalker pilots an X-Wing in battle on the Death Star during a rebellion against the Empire. How much of the substance of the character is actually part of the plot? If the plot is generally behaviors amidst environment, where does the heart come in? Yes, books give pages to the feelings of their characters, but rarely have I seen it to this magnitude. For if I were to chronicle the events of one of the characters it shouldn't take half the number of pages to tell where he's gone and done. But the important considerations are the motives and the motives have histories as well, and thus the reason for such a large book. This is not a book for a snack, a quick fix of "chicken soup for the soul" where a one dimensional emotion streaks across the sky for an instant, dying just as quickly. This is a feast, a long feast. The reader dines on many points, thoughts, passages... can take her time. It is a book to be read and savored, like a true dining experience... not a quick meal heated in the microwave because one feels peckish.

I am 6/8 of the way through the book. Thus far it is among the best that I've ever read. Anyone who loves the human condition, whether it is the experience of joy, passionate love, honor, thievery, cunning, spirituality, bonds of friendship, buffoonery and more... should read this book.
devil

Wonderful book thus far

I am into the first six chapters or something of "The Brothers Karamazov" and thus far I love it. The characters are wonderful, I do not know which one I want to follow the most. Just when I get used to the behavior of one guy, say Dmitri, I am shuffled off to another one. And did I say that they were all different? Oh they are! Very different. I can appreciate very much the style of writing from Fyodor and the only way I can describe it is this way...

Remember the Monty Python skit where a man goes into the police station to register a complaint. However the sergeant at the desk can only understand him if the civilian talks in a very high voice. Likewise the detective can only hear in a very low voice, while others can only hear very slowly spoken words or very fast spoken words. To watch the skit and to see everyone talking and jumping from one "voice" to another. Fyodor does just this. He narrates teh story in one voice, and each character talks in another. I was really impressed in the scene at the monastery when all the brothers and Miusov, two priests, the elder, and one novice.... nine people.

But it isn't just the characterization... it is the depth of their beliefs. There are ample opportunities for the reader, even very early in the book, to read the thoughts or heart-felt convictions of a character and to say to one's self "thats how I feel".

Thus far a beautifuly written and intriguing book.