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What book are you reading right now? - Page 199

post #2971 of 4501

With all the information that is at our disposal, one often has to pause, take stock and try and separate fact from fiction and recognise that what was once fiction is now fact.


I had a girlfriend whom one could call a conspiracy theorist. With hindsight I would now clinically classify as having paranoid delusions.  I never called her 'crazy' or mocked her beliefs. One persons religion is another's delusion. The one thing I did ask of her was to question the motivations of those providing the information.


I asked her "Does what you believe leave you in fear? Are you now frightened to go outside?" "If so, you should question the motivations of those you would believe. If the end goal is you living in fear, maybe 'they' don't have your best interests at heart.".


I also remember saying "While you worry about the royal family being part lizard and the airplanes vapour trails in the sky being chemical experiments dropped from above, there are so many things happening that one can prove you would really be frightened.

post #2972 of 4501

Oh, I'm personally not fearful, as such, simply rationally aware and at the same time annoyed at our loss ; Understanding has this effect on ones peace of mind though it is a PITA to live amongst the willfully ignorant .

post #2973 of 4501

My favorite Orwell novel.  Reread for the third time.  "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."  


 A satire of the Russian revolution.  Power corrupts the animals who rise to the top of the animal farm. 

post #2974 of 4501

"The law is meant to be my servant and not my master,

still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.


“In spite of all that has been done to us,

we who have been described so often, are now describing.” – James Baldwin1




Baldwin's Harlem: A Biography of James Baldwin

portrait of the life and genius of one
of our most brilliant literary minds: 
James Baldwin.Perhaps no other writer is as synonymous with Harlem as James Baldwin (1924-1987). The events there that shaped his youth greatly influenced Baldwin's work, much of which focused on his experiences as a black man in white America. "Go Tell It on the Mountain," "The Fire Next Time," "Notes of a Native Son," and "Giovanni's Room" are just a few of his classic fiction and nonfiction books that remain an essential part of the American canon.

In Baldwin's Harlem, award-winning journalist Herb Boyd combines impeccable biographical research with astute literary criticism, and reveals to readers Baldwin's association with Harlem on both metaphorical and realistic levels. For example, Boyd describes Baldwin's relationship with Harlem Renaissance poet laureate Countee Cullen, who taught Baldwin French in the ninth grade. Packed with telling anecdotes, "Baldwin's Harlem" illuminates the writer's diverse views and impressions of the community that would remain a consistent presence in virtually all of his writing.
post #2975 of 4501
Originally Posted by RUMAY408 View Post

We have a theme:  

Read it twice in the past but it is so now.


The last great Lewis novel resonates as much now as then.

June 16 2013


From Ike to “The Matrix”: Welcome to the American dystopia

Part Orwellian security state, part Huxley wonderland and part "Matrix," America is three dystopias in one!

post #2976 of 4501



Aldous Huxley

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Aldous Huxley
Blurry monochrome head-and-shoulders portrait of Aldous Huxley, facing viewer's right, chin a couple of inches above hand
Born Aldous Leonard Huxley
26 July 1894
Godalming, Surrey,
Died 22 November 1963 (aged 69)
Los Angeles, California,
United States
Resting place Compton, Surrey,
Occupation Writer (fiction & non-fiction)
Notable work(s) Brave New World,
IslandPoint Counter Point,
The Doors of Perception,
The Perennial Philosophy


Aldous Leonard Huxley (26 July 1894 – 22 November 1963) was an English writer and one of the most prominent members of the famousHuxley family. Best known for his novels including Brave New World and a wide-ranging output of essays, Huxley also edited the magazineOxford Poetry, and published short stories, poetry, travel writing, film stories and scripts. He spent the later part of his life in the United States, living in Los Angeles from 1937 until his death.

Huxley was ahumanistpacifist, and satirist. He later became interested in spiritual subjects such asparapsychology and philosophicalmysticism,[1][2] in particularVivekanda's Neo-Vedanta and Universalism.

I've put off reviewing Brave New World, as I thought I wouldn't be able to give an unbiased review. But, after re-reading the book for the tenth time (or so), I decided to give it a shot. Brave New World is the most important science fiction novel ever written. Not necessarily the best, not necessarily the best-written, but the most important. It is very good and very well written, but those are subjective points open to debate.

Brave New World, published some ten years before Orwell's more popular, anti-Communist 1984, imagines a world where people are conditioned from the moment of their birth to be part of an economic and intelligence-based caste, where the media exists for the sole purpose of distracting people from the humdrum of their lives and news is created as sensationalist entertainment, where different thinking is treated with social ostracization or drugs or both, and where the rule of the entire society is maximizing consumption of material goods. In short, not unlike the world today, and America in particular.

BNW (the society outlined in the book) is a Capitalist and Freudian Hell, where people are manipulated to buy things they don't need and conditioned to be perfect molds for that manipulation. The book follows three main characters: Helmholtz, a reporter who realizes the truth about BNW, Bernard Marx, a man who ultimately succumbs to the ostracizing criticism of his so-called "friends," and John Savage, an outsider who grew up with books and without the benefit of BNW's conditioning. All three eventually come to the same conclusions about BNW: that it is a society based on dictatorship-like control for the sole purpose of increasing consumer-base for a large, unnamed corporation-government.

As politicians are increasingly bought off with "campaign contributions" from corporations and special interests, news media is funneled into networks owned by five white men; physical and mental health is disregarded as the Randian, Capitalist mantra of "maximize profits no matter what" destroys basic human dignity; and everything from wars to game shows are turned into video-games for our amusement, it becomes very difficult not to make the prophetic connections between Huxley's vision and today's society. In BNW, there are no protests because people don't care....

"Brave New World" is important because it, not 1984, is the vision of the future. In a world turning into a Capitalist "Utopia," where maximization of profits is the norm and consumption of material goods supercedes all else, one cannot help but shudder at Huxley's words. The point is made even more evident when one realizes there is no Iceland or Falkland Islands to which we can escape: when Buddhists temples in Tibet have Coca-Cola machines, it's not difficult to see the tendrils of capitalism-gone-wrong everywhere, dark and inescapable. Good luck trying to figure out how to deal with it, besides "if you can't beat it, join it," the biggest cop-out answer someone can offer - along with the Savage's solution at the end. It can be done, however, even though the answer might not be immediately obvious.

This is a science-fiction classic and a book that everyone should read. Forget 1984: the Communists lost. Unfortunately, the Capitalists aren't doing much better - in BNW, most people are just blissfully ignorant of the Truth, rather than oppressed and numbed by it on a daily basis.

post #2977 of 4501
Just finished Inferno... Damn you Dan Brown, an excellent ride it was, I need your next book now! Just can't get enough of Robert Langdon. smily_headphones1.gif

A new Stephen King book would fit right in too...

Sent from my HTC Desire HD A9191 using Tapatalk 2
Edited by TrollDragon - 6/18/13 at 6:29pm
post #2978 of 4501

Sad news today - Vince Flynn, a prolific author of I think 15 novels about CIA assassin Mitch Rapp, died today at age 47 of prostate cancer. 


Man that blows.  Way too young...............

post #2979 of 4501
Originally Posted by Oregonian View Post

Sad news today - Vince Flynn, a prolific author of I think 15 novels about CIA assassin Mitch Rapp, died today at age 47 of prostate cancer. 


Man that blows.  Way too young...............


RIP Vince.....your books were excellent reads! 

post #2980 of 4501

The Unwinding:

An Inner History of the New America 

(May 21, 2013)


George Packer




Praise for The Unwinding:

[The Unwinding] hums—with sorrow, with outrage and with compassion . . . Packer’s gifts are Steinbeckian in the best sense of that term . . . [Packer has] written something close to a nonfiction masterpiece.”
Dwight Garner, The New York Times

“Gripping . . . deeply affecting . . . beautifully reported.”
David Brooks, The New York Times Book Review

—Joe Klein, Time

“Packer’s dark rendering of the state of the nation feels pained but true. He offers no false hopes, no Hollywood endings, but he finds power in . . . the dignity and heart of a people.” 
The Washington Post

“[The Unwinding] has many of the qualities of an epic novel . . . [a] professional work of journalism that also happens to be more intimate and textured—and certainly more ambitious—than most contemporary works of U.S. fiction dare to be . . . What distinguishes The Unwinding is the fullness of Packer’s portraits, his willingness to show his subjects’ human desires and foibles, and to give each of his subjects a fully throated voice.”
Héctor Tobar, The Los Angeles Times

“A monumental work that is both intimate and sweeping . . . Packer’s writing dazzles . . . [his] reporting excels . . . The cumulative effect is extraordinary.”
Ken Armstrong, The Seattle Times

“Brilliant. Harrowing. Gorgeously written . . . The Unwinding is a lyrical requiem for a lost time, for downsized dreams and surrendered hopes. It’s beautiful . . .  but also . . . heartbreaking, a lush work of art that hurts all the more for being about the loss of hope and promise in America.”
The Daily Kos

“This is a work not just of fact, but of wit, irony, and astounding imagination.” 
—Lorin Stein, The Paris Review

“A work of prodigious, highly original reporting . . . [Packer] demonstrates that the future of reporting out in world isn’t in eclipse. Packer’s arduous venture commands attention.”
—Joseph Lelyveld, The New York Review of Books

“Wide ranging, deeply reported, historically grounded and ideologically restrained . . . Instead of compelling us to engage with his theory of the past 35 years of the American experience, Packer invites us to explore the experience itself, as lived by our fellow citizens. They’re human beings, not evidence for an agenda or fodder for talking points. Understanding that is the first step toward reclaiming the nation we share with them.”
—Laura Miller, Salon

“[Packer is] among the best non-fiction writers in America . . . [he] weaves an unforgettable tapestry . . . In its sensibility, The Unwinding is closer to a novel than a work of non-fiction. It is all the more powerful for it.”
Edward Luce, The Financial Times

“Fascinating . . . elegant . . . A richly complex narrative brew.”
The Chicago Tribune

“[An] awe-inspiring X-Ray of the modern American soul.”
The Millions

“A brilliant and innovative book that transcends journalism to become literature.”

“[S]uperbly written and consistently thought-provoking . . . The Unwinding is long-form journalism at its best.”
Dallas News

“Masterful . . . thoughtful, thorough, and persuasive . . . the payoff comes when Packer’s various elements combine in powerful and startling ways . . . What will stay with you . . . are the book’s people, people Packer never turns into ideological mascots, people who struggle to survive, to create, to improve, even as the systems of support erode around them.”
The Christian Science Monitor

“Packer writes . . . beautifully and precisely; respectfully and, when warranted, critically. There is a straightforward and generous humanity in his prose.”
Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast

“Packer’s strength as a storyteller lies in his ability to marshal a diverse range of voices from across the class divide, in a nation deeply divided by social status.” 
—NPR Books.org


Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
First off, this is not a polemical book with Packer trying to thrust his viewpoint down your throat. Packer's own voice is largely absent from this book. Instead, he lets his characters speak for themselves. Regardless of your politics, you have to agree with Packer that since the 1960's, Americans have "watched structures that had been in place before your birth collapse like pillars of salt across the vast visible landscape." Government no longer consists of genuine politicians seeking to help the people, banks are no longer the staid institutions we once knew, and American manufacturing and the stable union jobs that accompanied it are mostly gone. As Packer notes, the loss of these institutions has obviously hurt some and helped others to prosper.

Packer tells this story by presenting a series of compelling profiles of several individuals: among them a union worker in Youngstown, Ohio, a entrepreneur/bio-fuels evangelist in North Carolina, a D.C. insider, and a Silicon Valley innovator. These profiles follow the progression of their protagonist from the late 70's to the present day. Each story is independent, but all share a common thread: as the institutions that provided security to Americans following the New Deal and into the 70's started to fall apart, each person is forced to deal with their new found freedom. Some thrive, while others struggle to survive.

Interspersed in these longer narratives are shorter profiles of key players in the unwinding, from Newt Gingrich and Andrew Breitbart to Oprah Winfrey and Jay-Z. As he skips ahead in years, each new section is foreshadowed by a collage of words - snippets of movie and music quotes and headlines from newspapers - that Packer uses to expertly capture the mood of each year.
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75 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Split Personality May 25, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
George Packer, we learn from the book's jacket blurb, is a staff writer at The New Yorker magazine which means he has access to that publication's marvelous fact checking apparatus that is so good, many fact checkers at The New Yorker have gone on to write their own non fiction books. Packer has borrowed liberally from the John Dos Pasos U.S.A. Trilogy, especially its "Camera Eye" sequences to produce a book with an artistic sense of the possible, and the creative interpretations that go along with them.

Through a series of glimmering short essays, Packer has put together a story of how wealth has concentrated itself in the United States in the second half of the twentieth century, and the first decade of the 21st. One lesson most of us learned about the Great Depression was that the wealthy, by themselves, could not sustain the U.S. economy in 1932. One commentator wrote that every person making over $100,000 would have had to buy 32 cars in order to stave off the economic consequences of the 1929 stock market crash. On the contrary, the lesson drawn by Packer about the 2008 Great Recession is that today, the wealthy are so wealthy they can indeed sustain the U.S. economy almost by themselves. This staggering conclusion is brought home to readers in Packer's brief but luminous essay on Sam Walton where he writes that six of Walton's descendants had as much money as 30% of the least well off Americans. The story of how America's other top income earners fared until the onset of The Great Recession is told in the essay on Robert Rubin: the top 1% of wage earners saw their incomes triple. People in the middle enjoyed a 20% income increase, people at the bottom had flat income which means on an inflation adjusted basis, they lost money.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Author Packer believes it's uncertain when the unwinding of traditional ethics and norms, institutions, and large-scale manufacturing began, but certain it was underway soon after 1960. Lacking the security provided by these formerly reliable sources of fairness and support, Americans have had to improvise and plot their own successes. Packer primarily tells this story through the lives of several Americans - Dean Price, son of tobacco farmers who became an evangelist for a green economy in the South; Tammy Thomas, Rust Belt factory worker in decaying Youngstown, Ohio; Jeff Connaughton, thoughtful longtime Joe Biden staffer who tries to pass meaningful legislation to regulate Wall Street; and Peter Thiel, Silicon Valley venture capitalist billionaire who questions the real value of the Internet economy (technology isn't creating enough jobs or moving the needle in areas like transportation, health, or energy). Readers are also provided the story of Tampa, Florida and its recent financial problems, as well as short biographies of leading public figures (Sam Walton, Newt Gingrich, Robert Rubin, Andrew Breitbart, Colin Powell, Jay-Z, Oprah Winfrey, Alice Waters, Raymond Carver, and Elizabeth Warren) during this time-period.

What has replaced them, per Packer, is financial engineering, an environment of organized money in which six of Sam Walton's heirs now have as much money as the bottom 30% (94.5 million) of Americans, and the hollowing out of the heartland because it was good for corporate bottom-lines. His principal villain is the banking industry, which he contends has preyed on Americans lacking financial astuteness and restraint. Our American ideals involving fairness and opportunity for all have become undermined by unregulated capitalism.

Edited by Hi-Finthen - 6/19/13 at 5:53pm
post #2981 of 4501
Originally Posted by Hi-Finthen View Post

The Unwinding:

An Inner History of the New America 

(May 21, 2013)


George Packer



Just bought this...it's next on my list...

post #2982 of 4501

Originally Posted by DLeeWebb View Post


The Unwinding:

An Inner History of the New America 

(May 21, 2013)


George Packer




Just bought this...it's next on my list...


Whatever happens in the US, you can be sure the UK isn't far behind.

Edited by MrQ - 6/22/13 at 12:08pm
post #2983 of 4501

Every book in the series has been a stone cold winner.




I want Armand Gamche for a father.

post #2984 of 4501
Originally Posted by Oregonian View Post

Sad news today - Vince Flynn, a prolific author of I think 15 novels about CIA assassin Mitch Rapp, died today at age 47 of prostate cancer. 


Man that blows.  Way too young...............

Oh man!  Just saw this post, i didn't know.....  I just read through his series in the last two years of so from first to last.  Then he was supposed to have something come out about a month ago that didn't and then in Fall for the next Mitch Rapp book.  I knew he was having health issues but died.frown.gif


RIP is right....

post #2985 of 4501

i just found this thread. i was gonna start one similar to this but then did the search an hey presto! I am a self confessed book worm! 


here is what i am reading at the moment and i have 20 pages left. It is amazing and every bit as good as "feast of the goat"! 


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