Passenger to Frankfurt

This book was a total disaster. Which is surprising, since this is an Agatha Christie. I guess it was one of the few that bombed but it was so far from what you would expect.

Obviously, she was out of her depth when she wrote this. It was meant to be a sattrical spy thriller. Unfortunately, it was just a bore. The cover may be beautiful, but the contents were far from it. So much so that as soon as I closed the book (and I remember I was on the verge of abandoning it), I promptly forgot everything about it. I don’t even remember the characters, the plot, or anything else about it.

I guess I am writing this review so that somewhere down the line, when I feel like re-reading some books or reading Agatha Christie and come upon this book, I remember I wrote this review and decide against re-reading it.

Maggot Moon

This book is for kids? I beg to differ. This book is for adults. Yes, kids may read it. Will kids “get” it? I am not so sure. Yes, the language is easy to read and easy to grasp. Yes, the font is so huge, you’d think a blind person would be able to read the book. But this book is not just for kids. It’s meant to be read by adults too.

An alternate-reality science-fiction, this book is set in the time of the space race and nations trying to get to the moon. The book was so eerie, I thought it was set on the moon {also thanks to the title that deceived me into thinking so}. It was firmly set on earth but oh, what a dystopian future! The book was writ from the point-of-view of a 15-year-old, who can’t read or write too well but who’s intelligence is to be rivalled. He shows us his world, where ethnic cleansing is the norm, specially with the killing of those “flawed” in some ways. He told us of how people “disappeared” in the middle of the night, including his parents; where food was sparce, television was a banned commodity, a luxury not allowed; and where spies ran underfoot telling on each other, having “detectives” show up and take people away to be “re-educated” or to just become “maggot-meat”. The country was ruled by the likes of a regime analogous to the Nazis (there was no mention of a name except that the country had a black and red flag – very telling of the ideology in power) and whose morality and values, rife with oppression and authorotarian policing.

The book, however, told the story of this kid, who was bullied at school because he had heterochromatia (one blue eye and one brown), who had trouble breathing and who wore short-pants instead of the long-pants, that were a sign of esteem in his school. It was a story of an underdog, who in his own way, stood up and single-handedly brought around a hopeful revolution, bringing down the entire regime. The hero, who was the only solution and the only hope to a desperate people. And he did it not for himself, but to save his friend or his love. It was a heart-wrenching story and the message is as clear as day. You have to be a special kind of stupid, to take this story just at face-value.

The Circle (Jerk)

This book. I don’t know how I feel about it yet. It read like a prequel to 1984 by George Orwell and a lot of it made sense. On the other hand, it assumed that nobody in this world would retaliate against gross invasion of privacy; which really is not the case (at least not in the world we live in). With hundreds of thousands of redditors willing to take matter into their own hands and with the existence of “Anonymous” hackers, it really isn’t possible for one company to truly “take over”, so to speak, at least not in a manner as “complete”. Even though the United States is over-run by this craze of technology, I don’t see this happening. Yet.

WHEN we end up in this dystopic future where everyone is watched and is under constant surveillance, it won’t be because one day “Big Brother” just decided to exist. No, it would be because we invited them in. Fact of the matter is, there is a majority of our world already, who would welcome this kind of invasion of privacy, masquerading as “the need for attention”. People sell all of their information on the internet for free. Their opinions (thinking people will respect them for whatever delusional righteous beliefs they have {which are shaken very easily unfortunately}), their choices, their thoughts, their values, their need for popularity. But are these really for sale if they’re given out for free? Samplers everyone is willing to give out, but no one truly wants? Who’s really gaining from all this? Is it for as innocuous reasons as targeted advertising or is there a more nefarious purpose to all this data collection? I think about the suggested ads I see everywhere I turn my head. Sometimes they show me ads for things I’ve never expressed an interest in but have bought on impulse at some point. How does anyone know to show me an ad for some uncommon toy I bought at Walmart? How do they even know what I am spending my money on? It’s scary.

Our fear of the unknown, of secrecy, of conspiracy, of anything and everything that potentially could harm us, of what scares us, will eventually be the basis of our downfall someday. We are already headed there. Our need for more and more convenience and imagining that data being the answer to all questions, is lulling us into this false sense of insecurity. Data will shine light no doubt, but the light is colored and controlled to show you what the powers-that-be want you to see. Much like the book hinted upon. I guess I did like the book.We human beings have lived in this world for thousands of years, and our biggest fear is: our own damned kind.

This book made me think. It made me think about how much, how often, and what I post on social media. What is the image people have of me? Over the past couple of years, I’ve stopped posting a lot of things that I deem personal. It’s just pictures of cats or books for me. My online presence and popularity may be waning, but the price is one I am content and willing to pay: peace of mind and a pleasure in actual relationships. It’s unfortunate.

Death of my Kindle & A Clockwork Orange.

What the F***!?

My poor kindle has gone to shit this past week. It’s funny how delicate my constitution is these days. The slightest disturbance and it blows up into a mini-crisis in my mind and I start to hyperventilate. I didn’t realize that one piece of my peace-of-mind relied on my kindle being always and forever present in case I ever wanted a quick exit from reality.

The minute the kindle screen froze on the screensaver with these funny lines appearing, all hope in my heart died and I went into a depressive phase that lasted about a couple of hours. Usually a very sunny optimistic, problem-solver sort of a person, I felt like my world was crashing around my ears and there was nothing I could do about it. How was I going to unplug and read the 700+ books I had the option of reading at any point in my life!? My best friend had a stroke. Now what was I supposed to do with my life!? No amount of TV could rehabilitate me. Movies weren’t going to pacify me. No other piece of technology could replace the solace that was my kindle.

For once in my life even Google deserted me. I couldn’t find any quick fixes for my situation. I was really in a fix. Apparently the only way to save it would be to either hard reset it or leave it until you drain all of its battery and then turn it on again or some kid on youtube opened up the back of the kindle and fiddled around with it. Well the first option didn’t work. I did open the back of the kindle and try to fiddle around with it (which I put back EXACTLY the way it was supposed to be). I’m banking on the second option. Unfortunately, I had just charged my kindle so it is going to take forever to die. Anyways, here’s hoping. I’m still moping but then I realized that I had an iPad, that I could transfer all my books into and read -_- of course it is going to kill my eyes but no one can stop me from reading!

Anyways, fingers crossed!

So I was reduced to reading books on my iPad. FIIIIIIINE. As long as I was reading SOMETHING SOMEWHERE I guess it didn’t matter. Amazon is surely going to get a hateful call from me soon though. SOooOOooo anyways. I opened up A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess and dived into it. Thankfully it was a short book and the pace wasn’t too slow. Of course the language “nadsat” that the main characters in his book tend to use went flying over my head and I had no idea what I was reading. It felt like the time I had decided to give Neal Stephenson’s Quicksilver a read. Impossible. I was so tempted to abandon it but like with most books that are difficult to digest, I convinced myself to give it one more page of a read. I didn’t regret it.

I can’t imagine what the book would have been like had it been written in regular language. I guess it wouldn’t have been half as much fun if I didn’t have to put in super amounts of effort into figuring out just what the guy was saying. Unfortunately, the glossary was at the end of the book and I had no idea it existed so it took me forever and a whole lot of assumptions on my part to understand the book. I guess the whole confusing lingo of the book was one of the main reasons why this book was so interesting. Told from the point of view from Little Alex, a reader won’t be able to grasp what exactly Alex was doing in some parts of the book but knew that they were missing something important and that lead to frustration of a very satisfying kind. I couldn’t penetrate the book at my whim and fancy. So I loved it.

True, it was truly disturbing and had indecipherably long and detailed descriptions of violent scenes. I know I should now probably go and watch the movie but I’m going to let the book sit in my head for a while before I go and destroy its memory by watching a cheap reproduction.

Honestly, what drew me in and kept me reading the book was the psychological bit of it. The conditioning tactics they use on Alex to “cure” him of violence is something I am very interested in. I think I should go look for some actual research someone must have done into this. It would make for a fascinating read. Can people be brainwashed and/or conditioned into having such a repulsive reaction towards a stimulus? Where even adverse thoughts could bring on a strong physical response? Hmm I wonder.

Anyways. Go read this mind-fuck of a book.