Posted in Reading Materials

On the Bookshelf: 1984

1001 Books to Read Before You Die

read about this challenge and see the full list here

Title: 1984
Author: George Orwell
Publication Date: 1949
Country: USA
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 328

Synopsis: Winston Smith toes the Party line, rewriting history to satisfy the demands of the Ministry of Truth. With each lie he writes, Winston grows to hate the Party that seeks power for its own sake and persecutes those who dare to commit thought crimes. But as he starts to think for himself, Winston can’t escape the fact that Big Brother is always watching…

A startling and haunting vision of the world, 1984 is so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the influence of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of multiple generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions—a legacy that seems only to grow with the passage of time.

My Book Report: I am not sure if I want to do a book report/review for each one. I will definitely let you know on ones I absolutely hated.

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Posted in Reading Materials

On the Bookshelf: Foundation

1001 Books to Read Before You Die

read about this challenge and see the full list here

Title: Foundation
Author: Isaac Asimov
Publication Date: 1951
Country: USA
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 255

Synopsis: For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Sheldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future–to a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last thirty thousand years. To preserve knowledge and save mankind, Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire–both scientists and scholars–and brings them to a bleak planet at the edge of the Galaxy to serve as a beacon of hope for a future generations. He calls his sanctuary the Foundation.

But soon the fledgling Foundation finds itself at the mercy of corrupt warlords rising in the wake of the receding Empire. Mankind’s last best hope is faced with an agonizing choice: submit to the barbarians and be overrun–or fight them and be destroyed.

My Book Report: I am not sure if I want to do a book report/review for each one. I will definitely let you know on ones I absolutely hated. This one was a pretty easy read, short chapters of different situations through the years. If I think of more to add I will.

Posted in Reading Materials

Read Kerouac, Ginsberg, Corso, and Burroughs (part 1 of 4)

I’ve been wondering why all these authors were grouped together. According to Wikipedia’s entry; “The Beat Generation was a group of American post-World War II writers who came to prominence in the 1950’s, as well as the cultural phenomena that they both documented and inspired. Central elements of “Beat” culture included rejection of received standards, innovations in style, experimentation with drugs, alternative sexualities, an interest in Eastern religion, a rejection of materialism, and explicit portrayals of the human condition”

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

I am so happy I can finally say I finished reading “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac! I don’t why, but it’s taken me over a year to get through this book. I can cross off 1 out of the 4 authors. Although, these other authors are featured a bit in the book so I almost can stop here. But I won’t, I’ll try to get through one book by each person.

I started reading this book and immediately noticed that there were no paragraphs or chapters. Guess that’s what they mean by Kerouac’s spontaneous prose style of writing. He rambled on and on about people and his adventures between the years 1947 to 1950. I think that is what made it hard for me to get into the story. The rambling, odd descriptions of what was happening, how he viewed other people, side thoughts or insights, and tangent stories. I told my mom that it felt like I sat down with Kerouac to hear about his adventure over a drink. We all get that way (mostly) with telling someone about a trip right? Start a story, remember other stories, go off on tangents, and then go back to the main story. And there’s no breaks, unless you would count another person interrupting the storyteller.

I had to ask for clarification on a few slang terms and expressions. And after a few pages of reading, I forgot what I had read before. Got the gist of everything, but if I had to go back to write a better review, or a paper on this, I would basically have to reread it all over.

After finishing the book, I am now curious on reading some papers delving into what people think he was writing about and see what they interpret as the meaning behind or into the story. I didn’t understand the difference in this edition as opposed to the original edition published in 1957. It is pretty cool that he first typed this story up on one long piece of paper (120-foot roll of teletype paper), hence why the “scroll”. Later on, he had to break it up and write on normal sheets of paper. He also changed the names of the characters in the story so there would be no libel suits. I read names like Jack Kerouac, is also known as Salvatore “Sal” Paradise. And his other main character, Neal Cassady, is also Dean Moriarty.

It was hilarious, and I don’t think a spoiler, to get toward the end of the story and have it stop abruptly. I was about to get mad, but on the next page there was a note from the editor that it stopped there because the last bit of the scroll had been chewed off by a dog. The editor also noted that based on notes and Kerouc’s published story, he added the last bit.

I thought it interesting on Wikipedia’s page that they had a section of public reception for the book. Both for when it first was published and the current reactions to it, 50 years later. I would say the perception of the story and characters probably have changed drastically over the years.

Posted in Reading Materials

1,001 (+) Books to Read Before You Die

I say 1,001 (plus) because there have been at least 4 revisions (2006, 2008, 2010, 2012) of this book and some books have been taken off the list and others added. The 2010 revision had added a whole lot of international books and taken off quite a number that should have stayed because they are timeless classics and most English courses have had them at some time or another. If one was to have the whole list it would be more like 1305 books.

I posted about listing here those books I have read. I am editing that and added a tab up on top of the blog. I will be listing the full list and then break it up by author, year, genre, and country as I read and finish them. Just like I am doing for the movie list. Not sure if that will help keep track better or not.