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Archive for the ‘Bookshelf’ Category

This morning I began the daunting task of moving over 500 saved books in my Amazon Shopping Cart that have accumulated since 2004 over to multiple sorted wish lists. And what a task that was.Before I order anything, I’ll need to read the 20 or so books that are stacked up in my room. I’m starting with Steven Pinker’s The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window Into Human Nature which has me very intrigued after the first 100 pages despite my complete lack of knowledge in the area of linguistics.

Now I can order something from Amazon without having to save everything that is in my cart, and friends or family members can see the books I’m interested in… 😉

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Fragile Things is a book for Gaiman fans. His
fantastical craft is apparent here in several of the stories, but are
watered down by sub-par additions to the collection.

Fragile Things starts out strong with some of the best stories in
the collection but wears thin. My favorite story was about a writer
living in a fantasy world that thought his world mundane when written,
so he decides to write about toasters and standard life… I can’t do
the story justice in my description but it truly is amazing. I also enjoyed the stories about the Sherlock Holmes/Lovecraft world and the personifications of the twelve months.

The best part about the collection is reading each story and then
returning to the introduction to see the setting for which Gaiman wrote
each story. It really takes you inside the mind of a writer.

Eventually I found myself slogging through to the end just to reach
the American Gods novella which was entertaining and fun because of the
return to Shadow’s life though ultimately lacking in substance.

Not a bad collection, but not a good one either. Gaiman still has a
ways to go to catch Ellison and Bradbury in writing short stories.
However, still a rewarding experience overall because the gems in this
one truly shine.

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I recently posted my first ever GoodReads review and I really like their system. It is better than Listal because of the unique focus on books. Listal remains a great place for movies and such, but GoodReads is better for books. Here is my first ever  GoodReads review of Beelzebub’s Tales:

Beelzebub’s Tales is a massive 1200 page epic which is equivalent to de Toqueville’s Democracy in America in scope and practice. Gurdjeiff writes Beelzebub as an extraterrestrial astronaut who describes his experience with the strange and illogical inhabitants on the planet Earth. He describes every facet of human life and even details the odd beliefs held by specific cultures. Written in a style which prevents passive reading, it is a difficult volume to read through but truly rewarding and worth the effort.

One example which stood out was Beelzebub’s description of the need of every American to go to Europe and how they romanticize over Paris and other European cities. The most hilarious portion of this example is Beelzebub’s conversation with an American in Paris who is teaching American tourists how to dance the foxtrot. This particular American was unable to be successful in his business teaching Americans how to dance the foxtrot in New York… but because everyone wanted to go back to the US after traveling in Paris and tell their friends that they learned the foxtrot in France, this entrepreneur was making tons of money.

There are more tidbits of wisdom, humor, insightfulness and advice throughout the epic than can ever be divulged in a short review. In fact, Gurdjeiff’s closest pilgrims do not initiate discussion about Beelzebub’s Tales because the experience that each individual has with the book is considered beyond language, and it truly is. 

The first book in Gurdjeiff’s All and Everything series, his goal in the writing of this book was to remove all the many years of false experiences and hardened opinions of potential readers. I can definitely exclaim that his goal was actualized in this work. 

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