Explore
 Lists  Reviews  Images  Update feed
Categories
MoviesTV ShowsMusicBooksGamesDVDs/Blu-RayPeopleArt & DesignPlacesWeb TV & PodcastsToys & CollectiblesComic Book SeriesBeautyAnimals   View more categories »
Listal logo
All reviews - Books (5)

also know as "Carol"

Posted : 9 years, 11 months ago on 26 December 2007 02:08 (A review of The Price of Salt)

great book about the relationship between two lesbians in the 50's, the decade this book was released. it deals with the lesbian relationship in a way people were not ready for in that time: the lesbianism is taken as a non-wrong thing. the lesbian couple is the victim of the society’s discrimination in this tale - not the society is the victim of the lesbian depravedness, as it would be expected from a 50's lesbian description. this is something I liked a lot in this book. but the thing I liked the most is the style patricia h. writes. she describes the ambiences were the story takes place in a very detailed way - but not so detailed enough to make the reading boring. you can easily view the beautiful frames of the northern US rural zones and the colorado hills, places the lesbian girls pass in their trip to run away from the NY society, where they are seen as something to be avoided. these girls have sex many times during this trip that takes almost all the story, but this tale is not a porn entertainment. the way patricia describes their sex is not a pervert way (lol), she omits the details. so the text is more like a “stilished” tale about a forbidden love and a in-change society. I read this was the first lesbian relationship story with a happy ending, but after reading it I don't know if that was really a "happy" ending. even so, it was an ending that could happen in the real world. that's a great book and I recommend for anyone.


0 comments, Reply to this entry

A weird tale that makes sense

Posted : 9 years, 11 months ago on 26 December 2007 02:06 (A review of The Trial (Penguin Modern Classics))

I don't know why I got so interested by Kafka after reading "The Trial". I've read "In the penal colony" once - a long time ago -, a very small tale by him and I liked it, but by that time it was only another good reading for me. I did not saw it as something to “investigate”... but when I read "The Trial" things were a lot different. Maybe it's because it's so WEIRD and I like weird books (and movies) lol. I always think if something is weird, then it must not necessarily have no logic, but it may have an "hidden" sense, I say hidden in somewhere else, maybe not in that very book's text, but - who knows - in the author’s life facts. So I took a few minutes of my life to do a research about the social context in which Kafka was inserted, I mean, the political context of the Kingdom of Bohemia were he lived. I did so because I wanted to know for sure if an interpretation I've previously did to myself of the book was close to the idea Kafka wanted to transmit thought his masterpiece “The Trial”.

This interpretation done by myself can be explained like this: Kafka lived in a very authoritarian country, were the State of Law that was supposed to exist (according to him) was not actually a real State of Law. So he wrote this book to make a critic about this model of government he hated. In "The Trial’s" story, a court sues Joseph K., a successful guy that worked in a great bank, without telling him why he was being taken to trial - he never discovered the crime he was accused of. And this court also did not follow any other law. So I see in this fictitious court created by Kafka the representation of a Leviathan... a Leviathan that represented the government of the country Kafka lived. And, in the book, K. discovers that there was nothing he could do in he's defense. He hired a lawyer but then he discovers also that what makes a lawyer to be good (in the fictitious world of the book) is the personal relationship of this lawyer with the judges and other members of the court, not the lawyer's knowledge about law. It doesn't matter's if he's PHD or not. K. tried all the ways he could find to discover what was the charge and to defend himself against it. He couldn't even - neither his lawyer - type the petition, he’s defense thesis, because he did not know what crime was he being accused of and he did not have the access to the court files of he’s case. These files - if they existed - were hidden somewhere in the court's domains with thousands of other files - lot's of pounds of old and “UNuseful” papers. So this court not only disobeyed the law, but also created its own laws, just like a T. Hobbes Leviathan. See the similarity of these two institutions. Even tough one represents the judiciary power, and the other represents the executive power, similarities between them are explicit. There was not due process of law to K. so he is taken as guilt in the end - and he dies. I think in the Kafka’s view this court was the responsible for this and all the other cases of injustice in that country. The court represents the leviathan, and the leviathan represents the Kafka's real life country government. That’s why I think it's a critique to the unwanted authority. That was my interpretation of the book.

Then, as I said, I wanted to confirm if this was true. And I read in a Kafka's biography I found in my university’s library – a full-of-dust book printed in 1974 that looked like no one had touch it since that year, even thought that’s a very good and detailed biography - that this interpretation of “The Trial” done by myself was not wrong, but was also not complete. The thing is that actually the tale "The Trial" is not a critique to the government only, but it's firstly a critique to the concept of "authority". And the Kafka’s life facts I discovered in this biography explains it very well. Kafka was born in a jewish family and his father was very bossy when Kafka was a children. His father was always giving him orders and if he did not complied with it, then he knew there would be a severe punition. Once Kafka, still a very young child, was asking for a glass of water. He’s father did not want to give him any water for a reason the book doesn’t tells and the child (Kafka) started to cry and ask for it again and again. As result of that "annoyance", the father locked him outside the house, in an Oriental Europe winter day. If the snow and the coldness did not bother Kafka so much, in the other hand the people that were passing in the street seeing him in underwear did bother him – a lot. This episode was remembered by Kafka when he was a grown up man. I think he became traumatized. His father created in him the hate against any authority. When he was young, he hated the father's authority. When he was older, than this hate was extended by the family pressure for him to study law. "Anything that is not literature [including law, for sure], bothers me", he wrote once in a letter to a girl, friend of him. And latter, this hate of him was extended to the state authority, that government he hated. And maybe he hated it mostly by the fact it was a powerful authority and less by the fact it was bad for the people. I don’t know. No one knows for sure. But as you may see, that corroborates that interpretation I previously did about the book. I think many people have previously think the same about the book…

Now I'm satisfied that I could understand this book. My curiosity is “cured” hahaha. I think I would not have to spend more time in understanding it lol... I still know almost nothing about Kafka, but this little I know is enough to satisfy my curiosity, so I'm ok with it. I just wanted to understand the book. Anyway, it's a good book and I'll surely read another one piece by Kafka, someday. But there are other titles I want to read first.

It’s possible there are other interpretations that will make sense concerning “The Trial” too. If someone knows any, please post it. It’s really fun to discuss about such stuff – weird stuff that makes sense after a major research.


0 comments, Reply to this entry

Very good!!!!!!!!!

Posted : 9 years, 11 months ago on 26 December 2007 02:04 (A review of Germinal (Oxford World's Classics))

This is the story about a city of the 19th century inhabited by miners. Zola describes very well the reality of the working class during the industrial revolution, with all details: the hungry, the disease, the poverty, the dust, the pollution, the shit, the dirtiness, the young girls getting pregnant before menstruating by the first time, the children working in the mines, covered by the black dust from the mines, the old having to work because they have no money to live the few years of the rest of their lives, and all the other real facts of that time in the european nations that are now past (in Europe, but not in other places around the world).

This situation was the reality of many european towns. Zola took one imaginary town located somewhere in northern France so the tale could take place. Although this is an imaginary town, it's so close to that time's reality that you'll forget it's an imaginary town after starting the reading. This detail doesn't matter, then.

So we got that people, being explored by their bosses - the mine owners - who were rich and lived a very nice life in some chateaus, eating and drinking the most delicious foods and wines, dressing the fashion clothes and doing mostly nothing all day. This is a summary of the differences between the miners and the mine owners’ situation and I could guess that would be a very appropriate scenario to someone make a revolution. And this is exactly what a young guy tries to do. He arrives in that miserable town looking for a job. Maybe a village would ask him "why are you coming here to find a job? Can’t you see we got no job, no money, no nothing?" and he would answer "you're like everyone in everywhere... so it would make no difference if I moved to anywhere else". and he was right.

By the way, this revolutionary guy, protagonist of the story, is named Étienne. As I previously said, he was once an ordinary guy who has nothing and was pleased to find a job in the mine, despites of the awful working conditions. He was faded to continue being this forever. But one fact in his life might have been the only one that changed his fate for good: the day he knew Souvarine, a russian guy who left his country due to political issues back there. I don’t know exactly what issues were those, but the fact is that he’s a communist who found job in that mine in northern France and decided to stay there to live with he’s demons, he’s frustration to be another brick in the explored-miners-and-working-class-members wall, a reality he couldn’t change. Maybe that explains he’s quiet or never-talking personality. All he liked to do is to smoke a cigarette and to drink a good cup of beer in the few free time he had and to pet a white rabbit during this relaxing time, sitting in a chair, alone in a table, in some ex-miner’s pub who made it to leave the work in the mine and open his own business thanks to a relation with the miner owners.

So, one day, Étienne, after a terrible work day in the mine, tired and thirsty, decides to go to that pub to have a beer. That’s when he meets Souvarine. They become friends and create the habit to meet every day there with other as well thirsty miners. They talked about their common problems: the long ours in the mine, the lake of money and food, the lots of children to take care, etc. Étienne did not have family but he seemed to be the most revolted guy of the group. Souvarine starts to lend him some books by Marx, and other socialist advertisement material so Étienne becomes to identify his situation with the solution proposed by the books. He starts to dream with the revolution. And then, he starts to PLAN it. He was successful in convincing the explored miner population of the town to follow him in the revolutionary cause and many conflicts with them and the police starts to take place.

But there is a time that Étienne’s knowledge considerably grows and he became a totally different person than the miners who followed him. This knowledge growth was due to the continue reading of economics, sociology, political and law books. He becomes something like an intellectual person. And he also starts to receive gifts from the miners like clothes, food, shoes, etc. In summary, he became somebody different from the miners. He became some kind of rich person and his authority inside that large group of people becomes unquestionable. Anyone he considered as a traitor is punished under he’s orders.

The bourgeoisie (the miner owners) see him as the main enemy and fights him by not paying the salary to those who follow him. So people become hungry and Étienne leadership starts to fall apart. Some desperate people go back to the mines and restart the work so they could have something to eat. Étienne punishes them in a terribly way. But as his revolutionary mates starved, he was always well dressed, clean and had something to eat. That’s when he realizes he’d become a fake version of the miner owners himself. He became what he was fighting against and he felt ashamed of that.

I think this is very interesting because it’s a lot different from other revolutionary tale: the Che Guevara’s one. This latin guy is taken as an example of perfect hero that was simultaneously smart, good looking, brave and strong. This is ridiculous. The image built around Che was mostly like a pop boy band member’s then a communist revolutionary’s! I see nowadays people using shirts with the Che’s pic – capitalist people. These shirts are mostly expensive and this people seems to think they are in someway a revolutionary. When I say “this people” I’m referring to the people of the universities from my city (I don’t know if the students of other ares are the same, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they are), who let their beards grow without any shaving and use cheap look clothes that actually are not so cheap. The do it only to exhibit a Che look. And they call themselves revolutionaries! Bastards. While they’re sitting in a bar, finding other students with their fake cause, their parents are working in some office, making money, hiring and resigning their employees as any capitalist would do. That’s how these self-called revolutionaries student’s parents make money to buy them these shirts, pay the university for them and everything else. And this very students who call them revolutionaries will be the same as their parents as soon as they graduate and realize they want money, cars, and everything everybody wants.

Étienne is for me all these self-called revolutionary student’s who doesn’t know much about revolution and wants just to be popular in the campus. They don’t care if there is people starving to death in some remote areas of the country. And there are in fact a lot people in this situation. I hate these fake “revolutionary” students and I love the way Zola critiques them in this book “Germinal” trough the Étienne character.

It’s not a critique to the communism, it’s a critique to the people who uses the communist utopia to become popular and forget everything about this cause when they find another nice thing to waste their time.

I’m not a communist. I’m not a neo-liberal as well. And I don’t have anything against people who are communist or neo-liberal. I live in a democracy where everyone are (or at least were supposed to be) able to believe and to fight for anything they want. But this is not about political views. It’s about personalities. In this case, fake personalities: one thing I don’t like is hypocrisy and these “revolutionary” students I talked about above are the most hypocrite people I’ve ever seen. “Germinal” is a good reading for people who hate them as well as I do.


0 comments, Reply to this entry

The Alienist review

Posted : 9 years, 11 months ago on 26 December 2007 02:03 (A review of The Alienist)

Not the best from Machado, but it’s nice. It’s funny the way some characters act, their hypocrisy and their search for their own self-interests. Machado critiques the science in every single tale of him in which there is a medic or any other kind of scientist. Just like in “The secret cause (A causa secreta)”.


0 comments, Reply to this entry

Shalimar the Clown: A Novel review

Posted : 9 years, 11 months ago on 26 December 2007 02:02 (A review of Shalimar the Clown: A Novel)

I liked the story, the characters are very well built (it means Rushdie has described them in a so detailed way that the reader "forgets" they are fictitious and start to think of them as real people living and performing actions in the far places where the story takes place).

Rushdie critiques the Taliban again - and we can see that in many lines - but as far as I know this time he did not had to hide in many places among London. I did not read the "Satanic Verses" and I don't know if in this book from the 80's the critiques to the taliba are severer than in the Shalimar's one, but for some reason I don't think the Taliban is offering a reward for Rushdie's head this time. I don't know the answer for this difference btween the 80's situation and the nowadays'.

As I said, all the characters are very wekk created, their data is very detailed and this makes all of them interesting. But there is one of them that I became most interested, and this is not Shalimar. (Actually, Shalimar doesn't seem to be the central character of the tale. There are other characters that are more... how can I say... important. Yes.) But the one that I'm to wirte about is Boony, the Shalimar's ex-girlfriend. In the beginning of the she was a gorgeous girl and because of that she became to be estimated in her village. For me, every man wanted her, even tough she was 14, what is the first weird thing about her sotry. Anyway, Max wanted her too. She loved Shalimar, but he did not have money; and Max had a lot. So she chooses to spend the rest of her life whith the rich one. By this time of the reading, I started to think it would be another of those annoying love stories that the girl aways stays with the poor, good and young guy in the end. But It isn't. Shalimar never gets the girl back to him. And he did not even want to. The girl gets fat and unhappy. She gets so fat that they had to demolish the wall of Max's house to bring her out.

One bizarre thing is that before accepting to go live with Max, the girl tells him she would never fell pleasure with him. I can't understand how a man agrees to sleep with a woman that will not like the sex. Man usually hate when women fake. And Max knew she would be aways faking. That's a reason to be ashamed of to take a girl to bed and never be able to make she onjoy it. Poor Max, he loved (or not) the wrong girl for him.

The only thing Max had that she liked was the money - and the chocolates. She became to live in a apartment in Deli and, according to the deal she had agreed with Max, she could not go out. Never go out. She tough the money and the luxury would be enough to make her happy. But it wasn't. And all the pleasure she had in her miserable life after the deal was the chocolates. And she ordered a lot of it. So she got fat. And there was a time Max did not wanted her again.

She was an arrogant and annoying girl.

And she had to come back to Shalimar, her ex. So when this guy says he would never want her again I tough to myself: "oh, lol". And when he killed her I tough "that's a crazy man". If he wanted vengeance he would better let her live. But he didn't. He was a killed just before it, so... well, as I said he killed her.

I can understand why did this girl accept the deal: she wanted easy money. But what I can't understand is why did Max decide to sleep with her even tough she was an arrogant and bad-faking sex partner. That is an inexplicable thing. And I am not talking about love, but physical attraction. but love would feet this opinion too. She did not love or feel any attraction for Max.


0 comments, Reply to this entry



Insert image

drop image here
(or click)
or enter URL:
 link image?  square?

Insert video

Format block