#Thursday #Quotables

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You must try to forget all you have learned,’ said the old man. ‘You must begin to dream. From this time on you must shut your ears to the roaring of the voices.

— Sherwood Anderson (Winesburg, Ohio)

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#Thursday @Quotables

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“I am the sum total of everything that went before me, of all I have been seen done, of everything done-to-me. I am everyone everything whose being-in-the-world affected was affected by mine. I am anything that happens after I’m gone which would not have happened if I had not come.”

— Salman Rushdie (Midnight’s Children)

#Thursday #Quotables

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“I just can’t help thinking what a real shake up it would give people if, all of a sudden, there were no new books, new plays, new histories, new poems…”

And how proud would you be when people started dying like flies?” I demanded.

They’d die more like mad dogs, I think–snarling & snapping at each other & biting their own tails.”

I turned to Castle the elder. “Sir, how does a man die when he’s deprived of the consolation of literature?”

In one of two ways,” he said, “putrescence of the heart or atrophy of the nervous system.”

Neither one very pleasant, I expect,” I suggested.

No,” said Castle the elder. “For the love of God, both of you, please keep writing!”

― Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Cat’s Cradle

RAISING RUFUS by David Fulk discussion & review

Martin is on a mission to capture a bug for his extensive collection, which leads him to an open pit mine that, if he were paying attention, he’d know he wasn’t supposed to go in. The bug Martin is pursuing is not being cooperative and when it finally does land it’s not in a safe location. Quickly Martin finds himself in trouble when a rock slide occurs. The rock slide leads however to a discovery – Martin discovers a very unique and rare rock that he decides to take with him back home.

The rock that Martin has discovered isn’t quite a rock however. He learns the truth about his “rock” when it hatches and a lizard emerges. With his parents “No Pets” rule, Martin must keep his strange lizard a secret.

raising rufusRaising Rufus is a very enjoyable read – I picked it up after realizing what Rufus is and thought it would be a fun, light read. I absolutely loved this story, it brought back to me all the stories I used to read and love as a kid. Perhaps the best part is that the author, David Fulk, did not go the easy way with the ending, which is the route I thought he’d take.

This is one of those books that I think would be amazing if it were made into a made-for-TV movie for kids.

If you happen to come across Raising Rufus, I highly suggest picking it up, it’s superb.

★★★★★   RAISING RUFUS by David Fulk

#Thursday #Quotables

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“What use is a god with boundless mercy, sir? You mock me as a pagan, yet the gods of my ancestors pronounce clearly their ways and punish severely when we break their laws. Your Christian god of mercy gives men licence to pursue their greed, their lust for land and blood, knowing a few prayers and a little penance will bring forgiveness and blessing.”

― Kazuo Ishiguro, The Buried Giant

ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY by Charlie Jane Anders discussion & review

All The Birds In The Sky is a book that defy’s all possible genres and does so quite successfully. It’s the story of a witch and a tech mogul and the world between them.

The novel opens with a young Patricia in a Doctor Dolittle-esque that consists of a wounded bird, a mean older sister, a cat and a wise old tree. The scene serves as an introductory to Patricia and her abilities as she begins to discover her own uniqueness.

all the birdsFollowing this initial glimpse into Patricias life, we are soon introduced to a young tech nerd named Laurence who is quite the savant when it comes to technology. Laurence finds himself  being a social outcast at his school, he spends his free time building devices that he finds instructions for on the internet. One of his projects is an Artificial Intelligence program that dwells in a computer in his bedroom.

Inevitably Patricia and Laurence meet and become friends as they go to the same school together. They begin to mature into their respective abilities. This gets the attention of a certain member of a Nameless Order that attempts to interfere with the ultimate destiny of these two. As the children grow, Patricia starts exhibiting the powers she possesses as a young witch while Laurence hones his technological abilities. They help each other get out of trouble when necessary. Interestingly, Patricia and Laurence begin to grow together and apart almost simultaneously as they each have to come to terms with each other.

This attraction and polarization of Patricia and Laurence is done quite well by Anders – it showcased that despite these twos sharp differences, there is something that transcends these that’ll bring them together. Although the book does focus on the relationship between Patricia and Laurence, it does so in a world that is on the verge of complete collapse. Hurricanes are wiping out large portions of the United States while other disasters arise that must be confronted. Can magic and technology come together to help solve these crises instead of warring against one another?

This is perhaps the strength of All The Birds In The Sky as it serves as an allegory for the world that we live. Anders does not make an assertion that one field of thought is better than another, that true strength comes with solidarity rather than war.

★★★★★   ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY by Charlie Jane Anders

A LONG WAY GONE; MEMOIRS OF A BOY SOLDIER by Ishmael Beah discussion

When Ishmael was 12, he fled rebels who attacked his village and killed his parents during the civil war in Sierra Leone. When he was 13 Ishmael was conscripted into the governments army where for three years be fought against the rebels and committed some very horrific acts. By the age of 16 he was pulled out of the war by UNICEF where he was rehabilitated.

a long way gonThis is one of those memoirs that should be required reading – primarily as a lesson that war is not as glamorous as our society likes to make it out to be. Many of the things that Beah did while he was a soldier were terrible – and what even makes his actions even worse is that the murders he committed were done to people much like himself; kids caught up in a war they did not understand.

My primary issue with this book is that despite being rehabilitated, I did not get much of a sense that Beah felt much remorse for what he did. He talks about his time with UNICEF, his trip to the United Nations, his adopted family, and finally his escape from Sierra Leone as the war essentially follows him into the capital city. But through all of this, Beah doesn’t ever mention whether he felt any remorse for his killings. He buried people alive, participated in a contest to see who could kill a prisoner of war the quickest, and cut the throats of numerous other prisoners – not to mention the many other atrocities he participated in.

And somehow he just ‘moved on’ from all of this. This aspect is what I find the most difficult to comprehend and the primary issue I have with this book. The part that ‘stuck’ with me the most.

If you’ve read A Long Way Gone please leave a comment – did I gloss over Beah talking about his remorse towards the people he killed?