“Where does it all lead? What will become of us? These were our young questions, and young answers were revealed. It leads to each other. We become ourselves.”
― Patti Smith,
“Where does it all lead? What will become of us? These were our young questions, and young answers were revealed. It leads to each other. We become ourselves.”
― Patti Smith,
In 1980’s Boston there lives a man, David Sibelius and his 12 year old daughter Ada Sibelius. THE UNSEEN WORLD opens with a typical scene with this family; David is hosting a dinner for the students who work at his computer lab. Ada is preparing the drinks – she’s done this plenty of times before.
At this dinner we are introduced to the characters that make up this brilliant story and we are also provided with the first glimpse into the ailment that sets the entire story into motion.
It begins with the telling of a riddle.
David’s declining health brings his entire past into question. Ada must learn who her father really is, and perhaps along the way find out who she is. Davids illness begins with slight slip ups with his memory which causes his past to uncoil in phenomenal ways within the pages of Moore’s novel.
I heard about this book almost a year ago shortly after it was released. I was both intimidated and intrigued by it. People raved about this book but refused to say anything about it outside of providing general summaries of the plot. (I should say *most* people were considerate like this). When I first picked this book up a week ago, I wasn’t entirely engaged – the writing felt slightly distant. Every section of this book however pulls you in with a mystery or revelation that makes you want to continue reading.
Ada’s life, David’s life and the lives of those around them soon become quite familiar. These people, you feel, at some level you know. THE UNSEEN WORLD tackles some of the fundamental questions of existence – what does it mean to be human? Are we nothing more than a series of electrical impulses (which, in David’s case begin to fail). Is there more to this world that remains unseen due to the limits of our senses?
What constitutes being alive?
It is difficult being intentionally vague in regards to this novel, however I do not feel like being held responsible for ruining anyone else’s experience with this brilliant book. Please take this book into consideration when picking out your next read.
★★★★★ THE UNSEEN WORLD by Liz Moore
* If this review seems choppy, it is because I had to edit large chunks out. This book is best read when little about the plot is known. I was mildly spoiled for this book before I began reading it and that is what I’m trying to refrain from doing here. THE UNSEEN WORLD is set up like a thriller/mystery where you piece things together along with the characters – so be careful when looking at reviews of the book – many people are having no problem gushing about where this books goes without consideration of warning about spoilers.
Mitch Albom is not an author whose books I would generally buy, let alone read, but after hearing an intriguing interview with him about his latest work; The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto on NPR, my curiosity was piqued. It was recalling this interview that, upon seeing copies of the hardcover of Frankie Presto on sale at a book store, that I bought a copy for myself and for my dad for Father’s Day.
Yes, I bought a copy of a book I haven’t read, based solely on an interview NPR had with the author as a gift for my dad for Fathers Day. This is something I never do, but I had the feeling it was right.
This past weekend I was able to finally read this book and I was happy that I did. I do believe that when my dad is finally able to finish it, he’ll enjoy this magical story as much as I did.
The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto is the story of a talented musician narrated from the perspective of Presto’s talent itself; Music at Presto’s funeral. Music, being with Frankie Presto from birth is able to recount all the twists and turns that Presto’s life takes, and ultimately how Presto dies. The story is quite captivating and interspersed through out the book are interviews from musicians who recount the influence that Frankie Presto has had on them.
On the surface this book is about music, but it encompasses so much more, from fate, family, love and legacy – I couldn’t put it down. The narrator, Music brings up a point numerous times throughout the novel – that as we move through life, we join various different ‘bands’ which is to say that we develop these different relationships with people that create for us families that are not tied together by blood, but by something deeper -perhaps love, talent or a mutual interest. The novel also spoke about how our actions, whether good or bad, have an affect on other people and we do not necessarily know what that affect is so it is best to be good to others.
The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto is easily one of the best books that I’ve read this year, and I am so happy that I’ll be able to share this story with my dad. I am unwilling to provide a deeper analysis of this book because I do recommend checking it out and enjoying the beauty of this novel on your own.
★★★★★ The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto
I’ve been listening to NPR and The Diane Rehm Show for many years now. Many of the books I’ve read are books I learned about on Rehm’s show when she’d interview authors about their latest publications. I’ve also enjoyed the insights into various topics on her show as well. Despite being an avid listener of her show, I somehow was unaware that she had a few books of her own published. To my delight, I came across her most recent memoir in my local library, On My Own.
Due to the book’s short length, I was initially going to include it in my “holiday week reading wrap up” but when I began reading it, I realized that this book deserved a post to itself. The subject matter is too important to be thrown in with the other three books I read over the course of the week.
On My Own is Diane Rehm’s reflections on her life immediately following the death of her husband of 54 years, John Rehm. John had Parkinson’s disease and as the disease took over his body, he began to lose his ability to function. In early June of 2014, John made the decision that he’d refuse food, water and medication which ultimately lead to his death on June 24, 2014.
John’s death immediately changed Diane’s life. She had never lived on her own before and as she approached the age of 80, she was faced with living a life without the person who had been next to her for over half a century. Rehm discusses how loneliness, grief and sadness affected her personal and professional life. The circumstances of John’s death turned Diane into an advocate for the right to die movement. Her advocacy for this caused a stir in the NPR headquarters as she began speaking, and ultimately representing this controversial stance.
The book is set up in a series of what appears to be both journal entries and essays. The journal entries are far more personal as Rehm reflects on the life she once had with John, including traditions the two of them had around the holidays and different memories the two made with each other. The essays are generally more topical and talk about grief, death and the politics that relate to them. Both of these formats work well together in this book offering a comprehensive look into the mind of someone who is trying to maneuver through life in the wake of all of these traumatic changes that have taken place.
Some of the more difficult parts of this short memoir are when Diane takes into consideration her own death – you can see she has a trepidation as she considers the last days of her life. She is adamant that she is given her own right to die as she refuses to die without any dignity. Diane mentions the death of her parents in here quite often – insisting that her dad died 11 months after her mother of a ‘broken heart’ – and as I read through her memoir, I could only think that Diane believed she’d have the same fate – a death due caused by a broken heart at the loss of her beloved, John.
On My Own is only 162 pages, and can easily be read in one sitting – I do recommend this book. I believe that I will be buying a copy for myself
Through the forest in the moonlight,
Late I saw the elves a-passing.
Heard their hunting horns resounding
Heard their bells a-kling, a-ringing.
Ponies white and wearing golden
Branching antlers, fleet as wind.
Like wild swans through the glades a-gliding
Came the band upon the wing.
Smiled the Fairy queen upon me,
Smiled and nodded, passed on by.
Does it mean a new love coming?
Does it mean that I must die?
— Heinrich Heine, 1797 – 1856
(*Translated from the original German by Edwin Miles in the forward of Bernhard Hennens The Elven, of which he also translated.)
“Maybe it is a myth,
our mind overshadowing,
the truth hiding,
leads us in circles?
– Эпидемия – “Где Рождаются Рассветы”
Top 5 Wednesday is a Goodreads group that began in 2013 that provides book related topics for readers so that they can produce content for their videos or blogs. Spending anytime on the Booktube wing of YouTube will show that T5W is quite popular, so I figured I would incorporate this into my blog as well.
The irony is that, for my introductory topic for Top 5 Wednesday; Fandoms You Are No Longer In, I will have to refer to television show that I watched when I was younger that I got heavily invested in. The reason is that I can’t recall ANY book related fandoms that I’d say I felt part of. I’m not sure why I haven’t been able to get heavily invested in books like I once did with TV shows.
So I’ll begin…
5. Six Feet Under
In short – I was obsessed with this show. I loved every aspect of this series and a remember staying up late just to watch the new episodes as they came out. Interestingly, I really didn’t know anyone else who liked the show – or watched it for that matter, so I would seek out internet chat rooms that talked about the show.
I moved on from Six Feet Under when I graduated high school and moved off to college. Although I was obsessed at the time for this show – I can’t really recall much of it now.
My entire family watched this together – along with it’s spin off’s. I just really enjoyed the science in it, along with the story lines. CSI for awhile was the thing that I would look forward to going home and watching.
Once again, in retrospect I don’t recall much from the series.
3. The Whitest Kids U Know
MANY of the phrases and inside jokes that I use with my friends can be sourced directly to this show. Randomly screaming out “Nailgun” when things are beginning to go weird has it’s origins with this show.
In regards to WKUK, I was certainly in a ‘fandom’ with this show. When new episodes would air, I’d get online and open up my instant messengers (AIM and MSN!) and quote lines from the shows to friends who would respond with lines from the show to me. Sometimes I’ll go back and watch entire seasons of WKUK just for the memories.
2. Boy Meets World
I watched every single episode of every single season of Boy Meet’s World from the first day it aired.
I was always envious of the friendship that Cory and Shawn had and continue to this day to have something like that.
In early post’s on this blog, I may even reference this show in regards to my [former] best friend and I. This show helped me to formulate what an ideal friendship should look like.
And now that things have fallen apart in the friendship between myself and my [former] best friend, I sometimes look to a quote from Boy Meets World for, perhaps, a glimmer of hope.
“You do your thing and I do my thing. You are you and I am I. And, if, in the end, we end up together, it’s beautiful.”
In many ways this show continues to shape my life – even in retrospect. It was a show that I grew up with in my teenage years and watched religiously – just like it’s predecessor, The Wonder Years. Recollections of the show does bring back a lot of emotions. It’s difficult to believe how many memories I have attached to Boy Meets World, and how integral large portions of it are to my life.
1. The Tribe
The Tribe is my Harry Potter/Hunger Games/ Game of Thrones / Throne of Glass etc. This IS the ‘fandom’ of my childhood.
The Tribe was a New Zeeland(?) TV show that had a plot similar to many modern day dystopian Young Adult novels. In The Tribe, a virus had been created that killed off all the adults, leaving a world of children who were fighting to stay alive. The kids form small groups – or tribes as they struggle through this new world. The primary tribe the show follows are called the Mallrats who live in an abandoned mall. The Mall rats are comprised up of outcasts of various other tribes who sought refuge in this mall.
Each kid plays a different role in the Tribe, there is the scientist, the engineer, the spiritual one, the farmer, the warrior, the scavenger, the deal maker, the leader, etc. The show had numerous stories interwoven into it that made for a very compelling show. As one character was trying to develop an antidote for the virus, others were trying to fight off an attacking rival tribe.
Barter was the way of conducting business.
The Tribe took on a whole bunch of grown-up topics, like teenage pregnancy, religion, depression, suicide, rape, sex, death, slavery and numerous forms of violence that you generally would not see in an American children’s show.
If Boy Meet’s World helped to shape the way I viewed friendships and personal relationships, The Tribe was instrumental in helping me shape my views of the world. It is the precursor that most likely lead me to the anarchist views I hold to this day. A lesson that both Boy Meets World and The Tribe taught me is that people must be valued over money and possessions.
A Tribe fandom still exists to this day. I will watch old episodes on YouTube when I’m in the mood. It was a lovely show that, whenever I meet someone else who once watched it, I feel instantly connected with. Although I have one older brother and two younger sisters – they never really got into The Tribe, so I’d always be watching the newest episodes with my mom – a connection I have with her that I would never trade.
― Hermann Hesse,
The wind is extraordinary today. Every community around where I live is experiencing power outages as Michigan get’s hit with 50-60mph winds. I’m sitting at my desk in my second floor bedroom in my house watching whirlwinds of leaves fly by my window.
My best friend still has not come back yet. This little stunt of his is beyond frustrating.
I might have mentioned this in my previous post, yet I’m still excited about it: I was able to get myself a NEW electric typewriter (one in which you can still buy parts for at office supply stores) a week ago. The typewriter – a brother Correctronic GX-6750 – isn’t technically “brand new” as it was used briefly by the previous owner before she passed away. I was able to get it for an eighth of the price that retailers would sell if for.
I plan on doing a lot of writing on it. But for a little while longer, I want to focus on my “political notebook” that is half finished. Too many writing projects going on simultaneously can lead to the problem of nothing getting done.
Although I own three other typewriters – all of which work, the moment I run out of ink in their ribbons, finding more ribbon will be an expensive hunt that I’m not in the mood to go on. The electric typewriter that I got even comes with whiteout ribbon that allows you to correct mistakes.
What I need to adjust to is no longer having the ability to rely on auto-correct for misspellings. At any rate, I always feel more “involved” with my writing when using a typewriter. There is this sense of accomplishment when you can watch your idea’s materialize into something tangent right before your eyes.
No wonder the Beats thought the Typewriter Is Holy….
It’s been just under two weeks since my best friend told me that he’d just be spending “the weekend” at his baby mama’s house. I haven’t heard from him since and have no way of getting a hold of him. It doesn’t help matters that I’m going to need his portion of the mortgage in a few days.
I have yet to remove him from my car insurance. I am going to establish March 1 as the official cut-off since I am completely unsure what is going on. When (or if) he stops around again, he’ll be in for some big surprises since I’m making so many changes to this house in his absence.
For starters, despite my hatred for dogs, this up coming weekend we’ll be getting the only dog in this world that I like – my sisters dog, Diamond. This weekend myself and my other roommate will be buying and assembling a table as well. Oh, and I should be receiving my BAD DINOSAUR banner and the last few essentials for the pod cast that I plan on starting.
So my best friend will essentially be walking into an entirely new place – whenever he chooses to come back.
I’ll be honest though – his absence is making me quite depressed and worried. It’s making wonder why I ever bothered to do any favors for him to begin with.
In other news, my plants are beginning to grow. I have a myriad of peppers finally coming up, numerous herbs and a huge container of potato’s. It probably helps tremendously that it’s been around 60 degree’s and quite sunny for the past several days.
Both of my cats are severely sick and I’m trying to treat that as much as I can. I don’t know if it is due to the weather, but that situation is getting me quite stressed.
For those who aren’t aware – I’ve always been into politics, especially geopolitics. I realize this blog – so far – has not really shown that. The reason for that is that when I began this blog – which was around this time last year – I was in a very transitional part of my life.
At the beginning of December 2015 I had collapsed at work and had to be taken to the ER. I spent four days in the hospital and had to have three blood transfusions. I quite honestly nearly died. My hemoglobin levels were at 4.8, the doctors were surprised to see that I was even conscious.
I have an internal bleeding problem, and at the end of 2015, it had caught up to me.
After I left the hospital, my life was in disarray. I began re-evaluating everything. Things I had once found interesting no longer were and my ability to focus on stuff had diminished to the point I didn’t even feel like myself any more. I didn’t feel like a “new” person but rather, I felt like my life had shattered and I was having difficulty recognizing the pieces.
Meanwhile my best friend lost his job and was putting himself through a whole bunch of needless drama which I inevitably got pulled into.
While I was going through all of this, I realized that I desperately needed a change in my life. The apartment that I lived in for nearly a decade no longer felt like home and the community I was living in continued to make me feel alienated. I came to the realization that the only way I’d be able to collect myself was if I completely uprooted my life and changed my entire environment.
And over the course of 2016, that is exactly what I did. During the summer months I went through the process of buying a house (which is loosely documented in this blog) and moving an hour away to an entirely new community. Instead of living alone like I had for eight and a half years, I was going to move into a house with two roommates.
I would have to share my living space with two other people. On top of that, I would take on new endeavors as well.
Basically 2016 – the year that I turned 32 – was the year that I decided to start over and begin to actually pursue my dreams in a much more aggressive way. The situation that I ran into however is that the people I live with don’t share this renewed desire I have to get stuff done. I feel like their laziness is becoming an impediment to the things that I want to do.
…and the things that I want to do include:
The booktube channel of course would focus on books, the weekly (or monthly) publication would focus on politics AND books which the podcast/radio show would include talks on books, politics and include short radio drama’s written by me.
(All that while maintaining this blog and working 40+ hours a week. Ugh!)
So, as I was stating at the beginning of this post, my interest in politics (or “anti-politics”) will begin to be more evident in my blog postings. Don’t be alarmed, “personal” type blog posts will dominate most of the entries, but there will be times where I’ll have to completely rant about something our Cheese-puff-in-Chief has done.
So, no – this blog isn’t “changing”, this blog simply documented a life change I was going through and now that my life has re-aligned itself to some version of normalcy of what my life used to be like before I started it – this blog will simply be reflecting that.
So, until next time….