Friday, August 30, 2013

THE BEST OF AUGUST

DOSTOEVSKY - CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

"I really don't care about a bunch of Russians view on politics and right and wrong because I see all of their views as incorrect to the foundations of our society."


GREENE - THE QUIET AMERICAN

"I understand that criticism of America's mistakes during the Vietnam war is deserved. We made many sad mistakes. But I don't like Americans being criticized for their idealism, their innocence, virtue, or dedication to the spread of democracy ... I believe that though Americans have made many mistakes, America is still the best neighbor of any country on the planet. America's strength keeps many tyrants at bay."


DESCARTES - MEDITATIONS

"I've been rereading this while rereading LOTR, and I cannot help hearing Descartes as Morgoth, Sauron, Saruman, or any number of other characters who look at reality as something to be conquered and bent to one's will."


SHAKESPEARE - MACBETH

"One of the most horrible books I have had the pleasure to read.

I mean, this is the crap that makes people my age despise reading. People need to learn yesterday's classics can't even match the crappy teen books of today.

Get me some work from Shakespeare that is at least Dean Koontz level, then get back to me when he gets a character at least even with Koontz's Vess."


"it's just not portayed well at all. Im pretty sure it took Macbeth two pages to stab Duncan. I'm an ameteur writer myself and when someone in my book gets stabbed, it takes about this much space:'I Stabbed him.' It's not that hard!"


HELLER - CATCH-22

"Heck, I even contemplated putting up a sign where the book is displayed in the bookstore, saying 'DON'T BUY THIS BOOK' were it not for my law-abiding morally-right sensitivities."


MORRISON - SULA

"Primarily, I think it is a ronchy story which I don't care for - even if it does portray a certain culture and way of life. It (the ronchy way of living) shouldn't exist any more and the characters habits and ways of living should be tamed ... the way these African-Americans people live is atrocious and appalling. I can't believe that people live like this. If this is close to realistic then we've got a problem with society. We should all be worried with people living like animals."


ACHEBE - THINGS FALL APART

"The climax seemed to be the author taking out his personal dislike of white people and Christians, which, as a white Christian, I didn't appreciate. I'm tired of hearing about how horrible white people are all the time. If we were a society that was truly about promoting equality, we would stop constantly slamming the whites."


FITZGERALD - THE GREAT GATSBY

"It's a shame this book is 'required reading' for all freshmen at the high school where I teach. No wonder the vast majority of my students believe they 'hate to read.' Though thoughtfully written, I could not connect with the author, relate to the characters, or appreciate the content as a 35 year old, and compared to a 14 year old American teenager, I have many more life experiences, much more background knowledge, and college level history classes under my belt to help me connect or even enjoy this novel.

So many of my students are not reading on grade level, and this text is what we are assigning them to read? What a horrible advertisement for reading and English classes in general. I had to force myself through the last 10 pages and I don't feel better educated or smarter for having done so. My poor students!"


NORTHROP FRYE - ANATOMY OF CRITICISM

"Frye was a man second rate at best who bluffed the gullible with obscure complexities. For a man who never wrote a memorable poem, or a novel, or a play, it is a wonder he could ever in a logical world be seen as an expert in literature. QED."


THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH

"all of the things that happen are impossible. there is no way that they actually saw gods. personally, i didnt like this book"

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Epic of Gilgamesh III

"If it were my type of book then I may have liked it."


"This epic poem is certainly exaggerated"


"all of the things that happen are impossible. there is no way that they actually saw gods. personally, i didnt like this book"


"LOVE GREEK MYTHOLOGY"


"written in very old style English."


"It felt like I was reading the world's first soap opera script ... Warning: the behavior of most characters is pretty skanky."


"I wish I could give this book 0 stars. I don't really know what the point of printing this book was; half of it was unfinished anyway. Extremely pointless and incomprehensible. Also the most repetitive book ever. You could skip half the chapter and still only be at the beginning of the book. Didn't really understand any of it and I'm glad to be done with it"


"teacher claimed it was 'shit literature'."


"There just didn't seem to be anything going on here: man is born, slays enemy, searches for meaning, dies."


"As with most things (comedy,drama, movies, plays, music, etc.) my/our tastes change over time and it takes more, or better, than the last to stimulate us. I keep telling myself that anyway. For example, thousands of years from now someone may feel the exact same way about (insert favorite book here) as I do about Gilgamesh. Hard to believe, but I'm sure mental and creative stimulation will be on a whole new level."

Monday, August 26, 2013

Murasaki Shikibu - The Tale of Genji III

"I absolutely detested every moment of reading this book. I only read it because it's on the '1001 Books you Need to Read Before you Die'. Whilst this list of books has helped me to discover books I love and may never have otherwise read ... there are pitfalls such as this dull book. I think, perhaps, that it was added to prove that the East also has a long history of the novel form, but I don't think I really needed to know that before I shuffle off this mortal coil."


"I suppose when you're an aristocratic lady in ancient Japan, there wasn't much else to do but write! ... You can tell as she starts out that she hasn't quite realized how to write for the first couple chapters ... I guess this was written for a bunch of bored, rich ladies to read together and coo and fawn over."


"given that it's 'the first novel' I'll not award only one star, but... lordy this book is repetitive and dreary. I occasionally pick it up and read a wee bit at random and for a little while can enjoy, but that seems to be the only way to appreciate. I recall having an argument about whether the first piece of computer music which I think was by ben johnston was any kind of music at all, in fact, and have to shake my head at peoples' self delusional capacities to hold this novel as being 'still one of the greatest' as it's value seems mainly in the accident of its initiation of an inevitable long form of prose literature"


"i found it to be intensely...boring. the book is extremely long, even by my standards, and the stroryline is repeitive and essentially is a chrnicle of the affairs of the prince and his son. we learn of nothing else"


"I can well appreciate the lords and ladies fascination with the Tale of Genji. Back in the early 60′s, I think, the first night time soap opera, Peyton Place, came to Boston. There was premarital sex going on, not show on the screen of course."


"hahaaha

It seems like Genji Monogatari is the greatest book Japanese have written. To me it is like those pornographic tales, just that the characters in Genji Monogatari are all royal."


"I have to admit that I really don't like The Tale of Genji all that much. It is, essentially, a big soap-opera written for Heian court women. I find claims that it is insightful into human nature or an examination of the human condition somewhat dubious ... Some people consider The Tale of Genji to be the Japanese national epic, but I have a serious bone to pick with that.

I do not believe Genji can be compared to the national epics of other cultures, such as The Iliad, Le Chanson de Roland, or The Niebelungenlied, because it doesn't possess the same sort of character as those epics. Indeed, Genji isn't even a poem, while the others are.

My knowledge of Japanese literature, however, is quite limited. I'd like to believe that the Japanese would have a national epic, but what it would be, I don't know.

All-in-all, The Tale of Genji may be a fascinating look into Heian court-life, but I cannot help but question it's validity as an epic and seminal work in Japanese literature. It is simply the earliest surviving work that we know of, so far as I can tell."


"The _Tale of Genji_ is indisputably the most boring novel I've ever read. This is no exaggeration: it was only because of its towering stature in Japanese literature and an inertia fueled by disbelief -- this is a classic? -- that I finished it; anything else this unpleasant to read I would have put down long before the ending."

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Northrop Frye - Anatomy of Criticism

"outright drivel"


"Frye was a man second rate at best who bluffed the gullible with obscure complexities. For a man who never wrote a memorable poem, or a novel, or a play, it is a wonder he could ever in a logical world be seen as an expert in literature. QED."


"Fuck you Northrop Frye! You and your fucked up ways of thinking."


"Mr. Frye's book is a glorified 'Anatomy' of literary cliches. People seem still to build academic careers on this [stuff], and college teachers continue to regurgitate these 'illuminations' to their students. It boggles your mind."

Thursday, August 22, 2013

F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby VII

"This is most likely the worst book I've ever read. Fitzgerald spends most of his pages describing the characters and their actions."


"I don't even see how its considered a Classic Masterpiece of Literature. Daisy was just dumb. Tom was even more of an idiot. Gatsby.....How the hell would he even be great? So he had a few parties. Whoopitee do."


"Read this because I had to. Taught it because they made me."


"Yuck, yuck yuck. One of my ELA30 students chose to write a report on this, and so I had to read it. I hate it"


"It's a shame this book is 'required reading' for all freshmen at the high school where I teach. No wonder the vast majority of my students believe they 'hate to read.' Though thoughtfully written, I could not connect with the author, relate to the characters, or appreciate the content as a 35 year old, and compared to a 14 year old American teenager, I have many more life experiences, much more background knowledge, and college level history classes under my belt to help me connect or even enjoy this novel.

So many of my students are not reading on grade level, and this text is what we are assigning them to read? What a horrible advertisement for reading and English classes in general. I had to force myself through the last 10 pages and I don't feel better educated or smarter for having done so. My poor students!"


"It is implied that New Yorkers were corrupt and wealthy"


"Perhaps because the novel was so strangely written, and I, creative when needing to be pragmatic and suddenly very literal when needing to understand things for more than their surface traits, still am unable to comprehend the title of the book: The Great Gatsby. In my opinion, the man wasn't really great at all."


"I don't see what's so great about Gatsby anyway ... The text itself was dry and hard to swallow, like stale bread. Perhaps I am an illiterate for not liking great American literature. Perhaps people are sheep to say that they actually enjoy reading this."


"I got the book online and read around 42 pages, which is one third of the book. It was as if some drunk is telling story of some events. I could not grasp anything out of it. It seem to me as if I am finding some path in darkness despite reading third of the book. No doubt I ditched it there. Must avoid."


"I am astonished that this is considered one of the greatest English-language novels of all time. The nearly universal assessment of 'The Great Gatsby' as a 'masterpiece' is, to my mind, a clear condemnation of our culture as superficial, hollow, and founded upon the most dubious of values. What does it matter that the author's style and technique are impeccable? What does it matter that language, setting, pace, plot, and symbolism are expertly and intricately woven together? What does it matter that the characterizations are finely honed and expertly wrought if, in the final analysis, they and their actions are, without exception, despicable? ... To those who insist that Fitzgerald was trying to write a cautionary tale, I would counter that he might have succeeded, had he included any identifiable, emphatic caution whatsoever."


"Wow. This book was just plain bad. Entire story could have been told in three paragraphs. The rest is just fluff. Really boring fluff."


"If you like sops you would like this book. I do not like sops."


"I baffles me that people consider 'The Great Gatsby' to be one of the best books ever written. To me the plot is clich├ęd and boring, the characters, with the exception of Tom, are bland and uninteresting and the social commentary falls flat on its pretensions arse. I only have to assume F. Scott Fitzgerald had his head so far up his own rectum, he didn't realize what he was writing was utter horse shit. Or then again Fitzgerald could be the Ed Wood of the literary industry. This is by far and away one of the worst books I have ever read, stay as far away from this as possible and instead read a book with one of the most, if not the most, interesting plots in a book ever, the best character in literary history and very direct social commentary, Fight Club."

Monday, August 19, 2013

Egil's Saga

"the writing style is a little dated."


"Mindless Violence as Virtuous Heroics
This book is the perfect example of how each culture justifies their social norm no matter how ridiculous it seems to others. According to this saga: the greatest asset a man can have is brute strength, the best approach in life is anger, and the most adored virtue is killing without blinking an eye and with no justification required. Oh yeah, just stealing the loot is not good enough because it's considered cowardly. It's much better and more manly to rob people face to face then kill them in cold blood ... I used to think they only loot and kill people who were foreigners and strangers. But this saga says, no, they loot and kill anyone anywhere anytime whenever the urge strikes them. Umm... all the violent criminals of today are born in the wrong time and wrong place and missed their great chance to shine as great leaders.
It's considered literature and hugely popular among its own people for many hundreds of years and now considered a classic even by others. It was enjoyed as entertainment by its own people for hundreds of years but it takes an iron stomach and heart of steel to read it now."


"if you like descriptive words set in artful prose, don't go near this book, it's gory but overall bland in speach. You might not completly understand everything even after the second reading of it but thst might be because you're falling asleep(I did several times)"


"reads like a dry history book"

AS AN AID TO GRASPING THE INJUSTICE OF THIS COMPLAINT, I OFFER A REPRESENTATIVE EXCERPT FROM EGIL'S SAGA (TRANSLATION YOUR HUMBLE BLOGGER'S):

"Egil stood up and went across the floor to where Armodh was sitting. He grabbed him by the shoulders and knocked him up against the wall. Then Egil forced up out of himself a great deal of vomit, and it gushed into Armodh's face, into his eyes and nose and into his mouth. It streamed down onto his chest, and Armodh was nearly choking, and when he got his breath back, his own vomit spewed up."

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Thomas Kyd - The Spanish Tragedy

"The problem with this play, is that it is a tragedy. I don't seem to like tragedies very much. They are rather predictable. It was a pretty cool idea though, it reminded me of A Chirstmas Carol"


"in interesting dialogue with Middleton's Revenger's Tragedy and Hamlet - although much more rhetorically rich than either"


"clearly primitive in its technique."

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Chinua Achebe - Things Fall Apart V

"To start off, the book was not relatable at all. As I started reading the book, I was forced to immediately try to understand their culture and beliefs ... The book gave me no motivation to continue reading it at all."


"History really bores me."


"I don't care about the stuff that happens in Africa!"


"Well, this started to look like a good promising book, but the names of the characters are African and it's very hard to keep track of who's who, you forget because the character's names are so hard to remember, they're African names"


"You know how when you're at a buffet, and you see a type of dish that you either can't eat or don't like, and you avoid it altogether? Yeah. That's how I felt."


"I'm sorry... I'm western, I sympathise with Africa's colonization. But this book is serving one purpose - to give Africans a voice."


"Just plain terrible. I did not understand the point of this story. Was there even a central idea? I don't know. The writting style did not captivate my and the use of african words made it difficult for me to read and follow."


"Nothing unique was brought to the table, and the book ends on a disappointing and unfullfilling note. The same story could have been applied to any other oppressed culture, such as Native Americans, and the results would be exactly the same."


"Pure anti-American and anti-Western propaganda!
Do you hate the West? Just fill your head with crap from this book and you will hate the West even more.

This is Poison. I was forced to read this in college by some dumb-ass liberal professor who had a grudge against the West."


"What really amazes me, looking back, is how the author accepted the 'great men' and their casual and consistent brutality for much of the book... and then, when more powerful (European) forces came in and made THEM knuckle under, well, THAT was tragic."


"This book made me disrespect a culture I knew little about before reading it."


"Though an easy read, Things Fall Apart is overly simplistic and irrelevant. Its only value to me is as a way to get to know African culture and the historical context of Colonial Africa. Besides that, it fails to address anything universal or significant."


"I did not like this book at all. Its brutality and weird culture definitely made me disgusted."


"I get it...it's an African culture that is different from my own. But that in itself doesn't make it a good book! I don't need multiple stories about beating women to see how misogynistic and violent that culture is. And the Christian missionaries came in and tried to convert them and change their culutre? Big freakin surprise...not. Zzz. Boring."


"This book did an amazing job of showing how the missionaries came to a place that wasn't progressing as fast as where they came form"


"The portrayal of African natives is not flattering enough to generate real sympathy for their culture. If Achebe thought that this would produce positive reactions to native culture, he went about it in a very strange way. Wife-beating, infanticide, and primitive superstitious beliefs are easy to throw away for the peace and harmony found in Christianity."


"The climax seemed to be the author taking out his personal dislike of white people and Christians, which, as a white Christian, I didn't appreciate. I'm tired of hearing about how horrible white people are all the time. If we were a society that was truly about promoting equality, we would stop constantly slamming the whites."


"If there was a point to this book, I missed it. I didn't find the style particularly outstanding; the character development was limited; the extensive use of non-English words was a distraction. I don't know what I was supposed to get out of it, but I didn't get it."

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Toni Morrison - Sula

"These women grew up during a time when African Americans were still being discriminated against"


"The fact that Morrison ONLY writes about blacks and oppression limits her writing even more. Do not mistake me in thinking Sula isn't also about women, motherhood, and families, but, then again, so are most of her novels ... Is the only way to write a story about black people to write about when they were oppressed, segregated and enslaved? I thought it was more complex than that."

YEAH, WHY DON'T PEOPLE EVER WRITE ABOUT THAT PERIOD OF HISTORY WHEN AFRICAN-AMERICANS WEREN'T OPPRESSED


"The literature was contradictory in that Ms. Morrison writes beautfully but at the same time includes language and depictions that are very unbecoming and unnecessary."


"The book contained mature content and was extremely difficult to follow ... It wouldn’t have hurt to leave out the inappropriate words, particularly in the beginning of the novel ... Also, the author could have excluded the scenes containing mature content without affecting the meaning of the novel. Toni Morrison wrote about Sula having an affair with a man she hardly knew. Several of the graphic details could have been omitted including, '... (she) let her breasts graze his chest,' (page 130) and, 'he swallowed her mouth just as her thighs...' (page 131) ... It was unnecessary for Toni Morrison to include several scenes containing slightly overrated content ... I certainly did not need to read about their explicit escapades and was shocked by the amount of detail the author included. This novel was bizarre and atypical"


"I think what really bothers me is that, mostly written as 3rd person, there are two small sections that occur well over 100 pages (more than halfway) through the novel that shift to 1st person. I feel like that kind of breaks a contract you have with your reader."


"the characters weren't very rootable"


"This author needs some serious therapy."


"Too pretentious a language to describe simple people. I can only wonder what about this is AP-Conference worthy..."


"Toni Morrison seems to me like a potential writer without a real story to tell ... It is probably blasphemy for a white man (such as myself) to criticize a renowned black female writer. But I'm going to. Because her writing, beautiful though it is, isn't literature."


"Literature?
I'd be insulted by the content if I were of that culture.... There was nothing redeeming about the characters or the plot ... I'd not consider it material for an American Lit course, maybe a course on women writers, but definately NOT literature!"


"Such prose is not southern gothic - it's simply nonsense. Do not mention Faulkner in relation to this author - that is insulting a literary treasure. In fact, novels of this mediocrity should never be discussed as literature at all."


"I have never read anything by Morrison before, but as an English major I was open to anything. This was a confusing, incoherent, and pointless work. What was I supposed to gain from this piece? Many students in my class were just as baffled (and frightened; we were being graded on this. . .) as I was. I would have preferred the classics like Wharton, Austen, and the Bronte sisters--I leave their works with complete satisfaction that I gained something from them. After all, isn't that what literature is all about?"


"Very stupid book
I think books with stories like this should not be celebrated. Sula as the main character lacks moral standards and principles. I just could not believe that it has won the Pulitzer Prize. Please please please do not read it!!!"


"Primarily, I think it is a ronchy story which I don't care for - even if it does portray a certain culture and way of life. It (the ronchy way of living) shouldn't exist any more and the characters habits and ways of living should be tamed ... the way these African-Americans people live is atrocious and appalling. I can't believe that people live like this. If this is close to realistic then we've got a problem with society. We should all be worried with people living like animals."

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Joseph Heller - Catch-22 II

"it's almost half dialogue apart from tons of unnecessary descriptions and a smattering of fistfights and actual combat."


"This book is CrAzY! From the get-go, you'll be confused. Not because you can't read but because the book isn't in chronological order, which gives the impression that Joseph Heller was having a seizure while writing this book and the editors didn't catch it."


"First off, the writing here is garbage. Actually, it's every bit as bad as Twilight. The worst crime with the writing is that, like the aforementioned Twilight saga, Heller does more telling than showing. Yeah, the gun is across the room. you don't need to tell us that. How about 'Clevinger was surprised to discover the inexorable hatred of the Action board, which was the strangest of many things happening'. That is way better than, paraphrasing here, 'There were many strange things happening. The strangest of all was the inexorable hatred of the Action Board. Clevinger was surprised to discover it.' There are more examples of that throughout the book, and they are WAY longer than the one I provided. There are several run-on sentences and examples of bad grammar, which are annoying. And the dialogue is just 'shoot me in the head' awful.
...
The plot? Was there even any plot? I could hardly distinguish one. Just random events happening. Also, the book tries to make itself like a movie by jumping around from character to character when it comes to certain things, something I hate. The names are stupid too- Major Major Major Major? Colonel Korn? ... I felt like someone had spiked my coffee with LSD by the time I got to the end."


"what it portrays is totally disrespectable to the majority of military people who work hard and follow the rules."


"Since I didn't like this book it is guaranteed that they would not put my comment on the web site ... Unfortunately this was twenty bucks I won't get back. I would like to beg anyone planning to actually read this book to not, one of the most absurd things was attempted in this novel and it failed miserably: to look at the lighter side of war."


"The kind of humor employed was strange and I have never seen it before"


"There are many myths that persist in modern life. One myth is that war is 'meaningless', 'useless' or 'insane.' Another myth is that Catch-22 is a good book ... Many American wars were fought because people believed passionately in a noble cause and were willing to fight to defend that cause against those who would vanquish it."


"Yossarian is a bore. A hero in his own right for having flown so many dangerous missions, he runs away from heroism to become an epic-slacker and whiner."


"There is no central unifying theme"


"If a student wrote a paper/essay like this he/she would get batted across the head."


"I guess it IS number two because this novel (If you can even call it that) was S**T! I rename it, Catch Number 2"


"Catch-22 is rather about smoke and mirrors, a second-rate magician's parlor tricks. It is conceptually weakened by the over arcing, anti-finessed characters. Each goes about with a sledge hammer banging out Joesph Heller's ideology, an artificial artifice. It would never be published today by a known house and caught in his own 22, Heller would, need do and left to, the self-publishing ocean of unread authors."


"I personally feel if Joseph Heller wrote it later on in life he would have had more life experiences to draw upon and could have written a much better novel."


"Obviously, a lot people were smoking a lot of weed in the sixties to think this thing is worth reading."


"Anybody mind if I break up the love-fest for this piece of anti-establishment drivel? Get serious folks. The premise of this book is based on three assumptions, all incorrect, which are as follows: (1) the military is evil, (2) any person in the military is an idiot, and (3) any person who mocks the military is heroic.
Please. This type of thinking went out with flower power and tie-dyed t-shirts. Get with the times, people. Vietnam is over."

Friday, August 9, 2013

Joseph Heller - Catch-22

"My dad warned me that this book was lower on the evolution scale than a wet turd, but I thought I'd try it anyway. I hated this with every fibre in my body and with any luck the book will just crawl away and die."


"Characters come in and out. They all want to state there opinion. They are unlikable. They are stupid and you know what after 150 pages I can say WTF is the fuss all about? I am starting to think it's a pretentious thing. Advise; you want to be pretentious read Dostoevsky, it is difficult writing and long. It comes from history. But you know what the hell things are about, and you can follow where it is going. I could've not rated it. But I wanted to hurt him for buying the book and keeping it on the shelve for 6 years. I should have burned it for winter heat....only problem it rarely goes below 10 degrees centigrade around here in the middle of the harshest winter."


"If his title had been something slightly less appealing like 'Catch-33' or if the term 'Catch-22' was used but hidden in the text, rather than used as the title, no one would have ever heard of this book."


"The whole thrust of Heller's book seems to be that humans are totally horrible creatures and that one must do whatever is necessary to survive. Look out for number one. If he was alive today, even if in a wheelchair with an oxygen can, I'd go right up to him and beat the living snot out of him."


"to compare this book to the modern books of our time is like comparing black and white television to our high definition televisions lol.. thats what I think about this book! :D"


"The book was about a captain named Yossarian, who doesn't want to fly a plane. I kinda get why he wouldn't want to fly a plane"


"This is most probably the true origin of internet stupidity"


"unpatriotic"


"Read something else instead. And don't worry that you won't look cool to those intelligent, well-read friends of yours. They didn't like it either. They are just trying to look cool to everyone else."


"It seemed like one big exercise in sarcasm and opposite-ness. I had trouble following it. It also was lambasting the military/government."


"Heck, I even contemplated putting up a sign where the book is displayed in the bookstore, saying 'DON'T BUY THIS BOOK' were it not for my law-abiding morally-right sensitivities."


"Typical of modern 'literature' which tries to devalue life while promoting a 'nihilist' and 'left' slant ad nauseam."


"Joseph Heller tried way too hard to be clever, while at the same time being stridently anti-american and advocating the worst sort of selfish immorality."


"The whole Catch 22 thing in itself was very confusing."


"I had to stop reading this book because of the sex and nudity."

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Shakespeare - Macbeth III

"One of the most horrible books I have had the pleasure to read.

I mean, this is the crap that makes people my age despise reading. People need to learn yesterday's classics can't even match the crappy teen books of today.

Get me some work from Shakespeare that is at least Dean Koontz level, then get back to me when he gets a character at least even with Koontz's Vess."


"I'm not a fan of Shakespeare to begin with, but Macbeth was especially awful in my opinion. All that happened was people died! Macbeth killed person after person. WHERE'S THE PLOT??? WHERE'S THE LOVE STORY??? And Lady Macbeth.. Whew! What a freak! I mean, 'unsex me here'? Who even says that? Something happened to Shakespeare when he wrote this because boy, oh boy... Even Romeo and Juliet was better and it was about these middle-schoolers thinking they were in love! Not to mention the names... I mean, FLEANCE?! It sounds like Fleece! What happened to normal names like Bob or Fred or George?"


"Shakespeare is stupid. You can't even tell what the characters are saying! Plus, he didn't even write all of Macbeth, the lazy bum. He didn't write the part with Hecate. I don't understand why he couldn't talk like a normal person. I also don't get why everyone likes himk so much, he wasn't that great. His plays all have such predictable endings."


"I DON'T SPEAK SHAKESPEARE, ONLY ENGLISH!!!! To be honest it's got a good plot, it's just not portayed well at all. Im pretty sure it took Macbeth two pages to stab Duncan. I'm an ameteur writer myself and when someone in my book gets stabbed, it takes about this much space:'I Stabbed him.' It's not that hard! Francly I think my world would be a lot easier if I didn't have to put up with the crap Shakespeare wrote in schools"


"I'm not the biggest Shakespeare fan...as an English teacher, am I allowed to say that?"


"EGH THE BEGINNING OF THIS BOOK MADE ME WANT TO SNORE AT THE ONSLAUGHT OF WORDS THAT ARE PUT THERE JUST TO BE PUT THERE AND OCEANS OVER OCEANS OF APOSTROPHES SEEMINGLY ABBREVIATING THE WORD UNTIL IT MULTIPLIED INTO MORE WORDS AND WORDS WORDS WORDS EVERYWHERE."


"while not as painful to read as a midsummer whatever or as loathsome as romeo & juliet, there's just nothing here i really appreciate.

which is partly due to saturation. my introduction to literature, in childhood, was primarily characterized by douglas adams, arthur conan doyle & david sedaris, which is a wide variety of authors who employ plenty of the same narrative techniques in their storytelling that shakespeare pioneered. & i've never enjoyed plays much.

so here are some crazy out-of-context complaints i can think of as i write this at three in the morning: clever wordplay is not the same thing as comedy; clunky wordplay is less similar still. poetic language (which is a description i also take issue with, but that's too tied to the time period for even me to seriously complain about) doesn't supplement weak characterization. dramatic sense is a poor substitute for plot. by the same token, well timed contrast is not good structure."


"I just can't understand why Macbertha is so famous? Was the story revolutionary because it was the first of its kind? Okay then let’s say I went hiking (because I go hiking all the fucking time) and discovered a mysterious cave, and in the cave I found the first ever caveman drawings of a bunch of stick figures fucking, equivalent to the drawing ability of a four year old. Would this be considered as famous or revolutionary because it was the first ever drawing? Would it be the most single greatest form of art known to man?

No.

So why should I give a shit about Macbigbertha? Just because something is old doesn't make it good.

ALL the characters speak like they have… problems.
...
Seriously Macbertha, go check yourself into Arkham Asylum in Gotham City you psycho slut from hell."


"This book was so depressing, this book is not worth recommending to anyone. Just reading about murders sickens me to death. It makes me sick to my stomach. I cannot stand murders and hate books."

Monday, August 5, 2013

Descartes - The Meditations

"1) Descartes' best argument for the existence of God - bearing in mind this is supposedly one of the best philosophers in history - boils down to 'I can imagine him, therefore he exists.' I mean, honestly. A five-year-old could come up with better reasoning.
...
2) Many of the sentences take up half a page.

3) The style is so dense that sometimes you have to read something three times to make it make sense, and even that doesn't always work.
...
4) Woolly thinking. Need I say more?
...I don't think I shall read any more philosophy. Sorry."


"this epistemology is a piss of puss and puke!"


"What a weird guy."


"The relentless latinate style grew tiresome quickly ... On the plus side: in places he achieves a jagged informality that's very intimate (especially for 1637); and the architecture of his sentences is at times impressive. Sounded more like 18th century (English anyway) than early 17th."

THINGS GET PRETTY LATINATE WHEN YOU'RE WRITING IN LATIN


"Oh, Descartes. You are silly."


"Note that this is one of the texts modern Western philosophy built itself up upon. What does that say about the philosophical project?"


"cogito ergo sum of the square root of pi asshole. ugh, Descartes is so freaking pretentious and really it's not even that prolific people ... freaking simpletons, don't people tire of this shit."


"I've been rereading this while rereading LOTR, and I cannot help hearing Descartes as Morgoth, Sauron, Saruman, or any number of other characters who look at reality as something to be conquered and bent to one's will."

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Graham Greene - The Quiet American

"For a book that has an average rating of 4.06 stars, it sure was boring. Are people confused and rating this on a scale of 1 to 100? In which case, I think 4.06 is a very appropriate rating. I had heard about it on NPR and it sounded so intriguing. Even President Bush mentioned it in a press conference in December. So what happened? The only logical explanation is that I accidentally checked out the ‘Boring Edition’ from the library.

The Quiet American is supposed to be one of those thought provoking books that changed society. Well, it made me think a lot, things like: 'Hmm…I’d really rather be doing the dishes' and 'I bet there is some really interesting junk mail that I could be shredding' and 'Oh man, I really want to clean up that hairball on the living room floor!' So, in a way, it did change me: I really enjoyed housework because it was more fun than this book. I know I could have quit reading it at any time, but all the fantastic reviews lead me to believe that there would be some sort of redeeming factor and perhaps I had to wait until the end to see it. That page must have been missing from my copy."


"Stop. The emporer has no clothes. There is something of a story and plot here to keep you, but the dialogue is horrendous. There are kids in high school lit classes that can write better dialogue that this."


"Not much happened, so I can't imagine how they made it into a movie."


"I understand that criticism of America's mistakes during the Vietnam war is deserved. We made many sad mistakes. But I don't like Americans being criticized for their idealism, their innocence, virtue, or dedication to the spread of democracy ... Graham Greene was an angry, arrogant, well-educated British elite whose words are dripping with condescension toward Americans. I believe that though Americans have made many mistakes, America is still the best neighbor of any country on the planet. America's strength keeps many tyrants at bay."

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Fyodor Dostoevsky - Crime and Punishment IV

"If you want to read a MUCH better account of Russia during the revolution, Read 'Anthem' by Ayn Rand."


"Perhaps most interesting to me is the optic into Dostoyevsky's life, surviving in a repressive society, grappling with redefinition of guilt and crime...thought crime."

FYODOR DOSTOEVSKY: DIED 1881, BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION: OCCURRED 1917 JESUS FUCKING CHRIST I CAN'T BELIEVE MORE THAN ONE PERSON MANAGED TO MAKE THIS MISTAKE


"This was the most boring book I've ever read. I really don't care about a bunch of Russians view on politics and right and wrong because I see all of their views as incorrect to the foundations of our society."


"I could NOT BELIEVE that someone was allowed to WRITE about killing an old woman, and that the writer could imagine what was going on in the killer's mind."


"All the claims lobbed at Dostoyevsky over Tolstoy are mere facade -- they both had the same downfall -- a love of philosophy and a dearth of prose ability. Dostoyevsky the mystic lost his footing whenever he went over 160 pgs."


"I read the whole book (including all of the hard to pronounce names) waiting to see if he would get away with it only to find out he ends up in prison"


"I felt so sorry for the main character (Rolskanikov? sp), I understood what he was going through"


"I want to review this book but I'm too busy killing myself. If you value your free time in any way you will not read this. The main character is a crazy person who never feels remorse for his ridiculous crime of killing two women with an axe and continues to never be an actual person makes this book the worst thing I've ever spent time on."


"This is really not a very good book. It is tortuously slow, the psychology of many of the characters is not persuasive, and I was so glad to finally be finished with the thing. So, if Crime and Punishment was on your bucket list, I give you permission to strike it off without guilt."


"The crime is that it was written, the punishment is having to read it."


"'Crime and Punishment' is a meaningless, maddening maze with no point, no beginning and no end, no purpose, no plot and especially, no prose."


"I was a bit ambivalent about the congruity of the setting/time period ... what about the justice/legal system? Raskolnikov's punishment seemed way too unrealistic"


"I felt that the concept of man exploring his dark side and the effect it has on him is much better explored in today’s media. Today we are more comfortable with the anti-hero in our medium and this in turn allows us to explore it deeper. Take shows like 'Breaking Bad' or books like 'American Psycho' and hundreds of other such material.

This was probably a very daring book in Dostoyevsky’s time, but today, this is one subject, I think we can claim the present to be the golden age for."