Thursday, August 30, 2012

My Ishmael by Daniel Quinn


Ok so technically this book had a lot of unbelievable elements, talking gorilla aside. But again, that's not really important. I think I liked this a little better than Ishmael, because there was a lot less weed-pulling with Julie than with Alan, and more getting to the point. It also gives somewhat of an idea of how things could be changed - through information dissemination and experimentation ('inventiveness'). I still think it's not possible, but trying to change minds and the way we live seems like the only worthy endeavor in the world, even if it is futile.

On another note, I find it interesting that every negative review of a Daniel Quinn book I've read is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of at least one of his basic concepts. People are so resistant to change they are too panicked to even pay attention to his complete line of thinking. Sad.

See my review of Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit also by Daniel Quinn

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Deadlocked (Sookie Stackhouse, #12) by Charlaine Harris

Deadlocked (Sookie Stackhouse, #12)  by Charlaine Harris 

Rating: 3/5

I actually liked this one better than the last several books in this series. Once I was able to swallow the bile raised by Harris' lazy, unimaginative writing, that is. I did enjoy the mystery and sped through this book in one night. That's pretty much the only way I can stand reading this series - if I go really fast I don't get as stuck on its faults. I did think this was hilarious: "I drove to Shreveport without noticing the blue skies, the shimmering heat, the big mowers, the eighteen wheelers." (p137). Really? If you didn't notice these things, how do you know they were there? LOL I did appreciate the lack of all the repetitive re-introductions and descriptions of things & people that have appeared in almost the exact same form in every book so far. I'm not sure why certain characters made random, unnecessary cameos - filler? Anyway, considering the paltry time and effort required to read this book, I gave it a generous 3 stars. If it had been more involved I think I would've been more resentful at its poor quality.

See my reviews of 
Dead Until Dark (#1), Dead in the Family (#10) and Dead Ever After (#13)

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Story of B: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit by Daniel Quinn

Rating: 3/5

I won't nit-pick about the details of Quinn's theories, because I can't argue with the over-all message that our culture is self-destructive. I'm one of those people who thinks it's too late, however, and unless the author's further books can spell out the HOW, my cynicism isn't going to change. As a work of fiction, this book is pretty weak, but that's not why I read it, so I don't care.

See my reviews of Ishmael and My Ishmael

Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit by Daniel Quinn

Rating 3/5

I can't disagree with the message of this book, in essence that our "civilized" way of life is destroying our world and will, if unchecked, result in our own destruction. This isn't news to me. But I'm with the protagonist, highly doubting enough minds can be changed in time for us to do something about it, and also in having no clue how to go about changing minds. I don't even know if reading this book could actually change anyone's mind, but I think the best use of it would be for young people who haven't given the subject much thought.

I understand why the message was presented in this format (though I haven't figured out why it had to be a telepathic gorilla) - some people might need to be led step by step like the protagonist. However at times I did feel like the author's theory and explanation could've easily and more efficiently compiled in an essay, without the sometimes condescending & repetitive dialogue. But I suppose it may not have reached its widest possible audience in such a format.

The "facts" and reasoning were not flawless here, and the whole Genesis bit was oddly drawn out and might possibly be alienating to some fundamentalist types (atheist or Christian), which is counter-productive. Still, it would be ridiculous to argue with the main point - if we want to survive, we must become sustainable. I mean there is no way around that, knowing what we know (scientifically) it's just common sense.

This book does leave me with questions, though, and maybe they're addressed in Quinn's subsequent works. The main one I have is why some of the Leavers suddenly became Takers in the first place. There is no attempt to explain why, after 3 million years of living in peace with nature, some humans just up and decided they were going to be the masters of their own domain from now on. How did that paradigm shift occur? Why did, to use the author's metaphor, Adam decide one random day to eat that apple? What provoked it when everything was supposedly going along just fine? This I don't get.

Anyway, it was a decent book, and if it makes somebody out there realize The Big Lie, good on it, though from my perspective it's always been pretty obvious, and I didn't really need to hear it from a gorilla. RIP Ishmael.

See my reviews of Daniel Quinn's My Ishmael and The Story of B