Sunday, August 13, 2017

Review: On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Normally I don't re-read books, not because I don't want to, or for any other pretentious reason, but because there are just too many books to read. But occasionally I do and this book happens to be one of them. 
 Throughout this book, and elsewhere, King consistently advocates that the best training and education program for becoming a writer is just reading a lot. I agree, but most people tend to think that reading is just a pastime, something you do when the real work is finished. But reading is about so much more, it's about investing in yourself and it's by far one of the most valuable skills you will ever learn as it sets you up to learn everything else. I also think Kings advice about having the determination to "shut the door" in order to write applies equally as well to reading. In order to read well you have to be willing to shut the door on the world and immerse yourself in another one.
 Fans and non-fans alike will find a lot here to relish and anyone working in the creative arts will find a lot of encouragement, not necessarily advice, which the book is kind of short on but it is however long on inspiration and thats exactly the reason I came back to it after finding it again on a dusty shelf in the used book section of our local Salvation Army.

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Review: When You Are Engulfed in Flames

When You Are Engulfed in Flames When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There's a pleasantly pretentious mediocrity permeating every essay in this book. Ordinarily such a description would be a problem, but the book is just so goddamn entertaining.

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Review: The Redneck Manifesto: How Hillbillies, Hicks, and White Trash Became America's Scapegoats

The Redneck Manifesto: How Hillbillies, Hicks, and White Trash Became America's Scapegoats The Redneck Manifesto: How Hillbillies, Hicks, and White Trash Became America's Scapegoats by Jim Goad
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nothing like working a minimum wage job to really stoke your class hatred.
The term "hillbilly" allows middle class urban people to feel better about the system of money and power that has them in its grasp, "someone is always beneath us lending proof that the twig on which we stand is really the rung of a ladder leading upward to something we must defend with our lives."
The middle class is educated enough to be able to think for themselves but comfortable enough to be highly susceptible to propaganda. The middle class is the most important but also the most dangerous section of society. The middle class is indoctrinated into a system that will exploit them to become the oppressors of the lower classes, an invisible violence and Americans are to myopic to realize how much class really matters. No matter how much anyone protests to the contrary.
"It's been said that racism is Americas dirty little secret, if so America has done a terrible job at keeping that secret. Classism however, remains a largely unscratched pimple on our nations swinish ass."
Being white trash isn't something to be ashamed of, it's something to be mad about.

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Monday, August 7, 2017

Review: My Dinner With André

My Dinner With André My Dinner With André by Wallace Shawn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Andre is a caricature of the bourgeois liberal who glorifies a return to nature as a salve for his alienation and existential angst. But does he really think that the answer to all of our western problems lie in dancing with the druids in some forest?

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Review: The Philosopher at the End of the Universe: Philosophy Explained Through Science Fiction Films

The Philosopher at the End of the Universe: Philosophy Explained Through Science Fiction Films The Philosopher at the End of the Universe: Philosophy Explained Through Science Fiction Films by Mark Rowlands
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Absurdity is the defining feature of human existence.
The idea of absurdity revolves around the clash of two perspectives we have on ourselves, a view from the inside and a view from the outside. From the inside you are somebody, from the outside you are a joke.
Life is ultimately meaningless, but then so is the statement that says it is, but it still remains as the most meaningful thing that will ever happen to us, a paradox.
Our lives are meaningless but in order for it to be absurd requires comprehension of its meaninglessness. Which brings us to the central thesis, the main problem of Philosophy alluded to earlier; from the inside we find meaning and knowledge, but from the outside, we find the possibility of neither.

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