Thursday, December 29, 2011

Some Subtle Advice

The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials, #2)
Read Goodreads page here.
Read Shelfari page here.
I had read Phillip Pullman's The Golden Compass (or Northern Lights, for you Brits out there) when I was in sixth grade. Even at this time, I aware that many Christian groups slayed the book because of its antagonist, the Magisterium, supposedly having great similarities to Christian churches. Pullman describes the Magisterium   as capable of using both murder and spiritual murder to achieve what it desires-its main activist, Mrs. Coulter, has a certain affinity for killing others, and the organization establishes a camp of sorts where children are mechanically separated from their souls. Being a child with copious respect for authority, I decided not to continue with Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy after Golden Compass. Time has given me a more rebellious streak, however.
      And because of that rebellious streak, I have been able to come  a conclusion: As far as the second book of his trilogy, The Subtle Knife, is concerned, His Dark Materials does not concern modern Christianity in any manner whatsoever. It deals with something else entirely
     But first, the plot: Lyra Belacqua has done a hell of a lot in her twelve years on Earth. She's helped armored bear Iorek Byrnison attain his rightful place on the throne of Svalbard Island, flown over the frozen North with aeronaut Lee Scoresby, escaped near capture by the Magisterium, and walked into another world by means of a window her Uncle Asriel forged. Said window has transported her to the world of Cittágaze, where amorphous beings called Specters haunt the streets, stealing the souls of humans below (they almost resemble dementors from Potter). Here is also where she meets Will Parry, who happens upon Cittágaze by chance after fleeing from our own world. Together, they find themselves in the middle of the greatest war ever fought, a war described by explorer Stanislaus Grumman as such:
"There are two great powers, and they've been fighting since time began. Every advance in human life, every scrap of knowledge and wisdom and decency we have has been torn by one side from the teeth of the other. Every little increase in human freedom has been fought over ferociously between those who want us to know more and be wiser and stronger, and those who want us to obey and be humble and submit."
       Many claim that "those who  want us to obey and be humble and submit" are the Christian churches. As you may imagine, there are multiple problems with this proposition, the first being that if a Church simply wants its followers to "obey and be humble and submit", why in God's name would one defend it so? Keep in mind that if this was all humanity ever did, I'd probably be learning how to hunt rather than use logarithms (I honestly can't decide which is more fun...). Yes, I'll agree that churches did make their followers obey and be humble and submit  for an epoch in history, but that was when Charlemagne, Galileo, Newton, and Copernicus lived, not Pullman and Einstein. That was more than a century ago. Additionally, the Protestant denominations openly supported science and other "heretical" phenomena during the Scientific Revolution, when the aforementioned oppression was most apparent.
      No...a force that wants its people to obey and be humble and submit would look more like this.

       Yes, Totalitarian  Rule.
       Rule where information (as in this case, the concentration camps where thousands of Jewish, Catholic, and disabled individuals perish each day) is held from the people at all costs. Such is a society where insubordination to the ruling power means death or an experience just as pleasurable as death. Such is a society where opinions contrary to the reigning are silenced in the most barbaric way possible-burning the papers that carry them. In modern times, quite a few countries in the Middle East still hold to this form of government or a variation of it. China and other Communist states also by some measure participate in such oppression.
     Additionally, a war between these forces does not just occur in the political world. Many people hold the belief that if certain knowledge does not exist, the problems that said knowledge concerns do not exist as well. Some do not read the newspaper each day to attain an ignorant mirth. "No news is good news." Well, that is not the point of life. The point is to acknowledge that there are problems in the world, whether they concern you or not, and try to live as happily as possible within their limitations. Pigheaded it is to block the true problems of the world from one's mind, because even in your little microcosm of earth, problems will still exist....smaller problems on top of the haunting knowledge that the larger problems indeed exist
     Problems will exist in the world of obeying and humbling and submitting, so it is better to know more and be wiser and stronger.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Top Ten of 2011...Totally!

2011 has been a large year indeed. When this year began, I was still but a burgeoning blogger with only three followers. At its culmination, however, I have ascended in the blogosphere and now own a moderately popular weblog with 89 wonderful, beautiful followers, a Twitter page, a Goodreads page, a Stumbleupon page, a Digg page, and more posts than ever before. How excellent, indeed! In order to celebrate what a wondrous year it has been, I have decided to partake in The Broke and the Bookish's Top Ten Tuesday this week, the subject of which is quite celebratory in nature. Therefore...

Top Ten (But I'll Just Do Five, Thanks) Favorite Books of 2011

1. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

A modern classic in every meaning of the phrase, Mockingjay renewed my faith in YA literature. Before I devoured this book, I was thoroughly convinced that all YA lit concerned were vampires and lost love and suicide and bullying and being yourself, all in a most bland manner. But Mockingjay has an innovative theme presented in an even more innovative manner. Kudos to Ms. Collins!

Read my post about this book, "To Kill a Mockingjay"

2. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Seldom do I read stories that have anything to do with the athletic world, but this was a worthy exception. Unbroken truly provides a groundbreaking insight into the essence of resilience, and the sometimes cruel effects it inflicts on its bearers.

Read my posts about this book, "How to Succeed (Period)" and  "Zamperini on 'The Edge of Glory'"

3. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Yes, everyone on Earth has read this one, but that doesn't make the fact that it's an excellent novel any less true. Stieg Larsson has a strict doctrine of giving us a startling gale of true reality when other sources of entertainment (namely, television programs) do anything but. Said piece also helped me survive every one of my finals, which is a gargantuan accomplishment in itself.

Read my post about this book, "The Post of Not-So-Sweet Revenge"

4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Another book that taught me something new about the literary world. This time, it was that prose and poetry can, in some cases, be the same thing entirely. The meter of Zusak's words and the poignancy of his narrative still haunt me to this day, not to mention grant me the ever-useful ability to say "Asshole" in German

Read my post about this book, "On a Day of Death-9/11/01"

5. The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck

Everyone who knows me also knows how much of a sucker I am for Mr. Steinbeck; he never fails to impress, and this supreme piece of literature is no exception. Here is an author who deserves your time, no matter how many minutes you may spend pondering the true meaning of his words. A Paradise Lost of modern America.

Read my post about this book, "Obama, Be a Ghostbuster!"

And now, a bit of philosophy to wash this celebration down: life is a journey. We've all been told this, yes? All discovered this by some means? Well, a journey always has landmarks, these landmarks usually being the the most memorable parts of one section of this journey, or maybe the entire journey itself. Whether memorable in positive manner (like the books mentioned in this post), or a negative one, memories of these past landmarks can aid in making landmarks found in the future much more familiar to oneself, and therefore much easier to work with as your life's journey continues.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Circle of Life

Today was a horror.
     Apart from the fact that I was forced to begin the school day only moments after observing the scene of an immensely traumatic car accident, something else occurred which really put a perspective on life and its notorious span.
     As some of you may know already, I am an avid oboe-player. The holidays during these times are always a time when musicians of all ages are called upon to use their abilities in the name of those less fortunate. My friend felt such a duty knighted upon herself, and I, attempting to perform at least one nice action during this frantic season, agreed to aid her. Playing oboe at a nursing home with two other musicians alongside. Sounds wonderful, yes?
     Well, not exactly.
Photo from
      I happened to play holiday tunes for the psych ward at a hospital last year, and after that (when the patients insisted on shaking my hand and demonstrated very diverse reactions to my music), it was to my assumption that I could find any setting could be found comfortable if effort is inserted. How wrong.
     Nothing prepared me for what met my eyes-a plethora of sickly individuals whose only lifelines were the nurses talking to them in sweet, Child-like voices. With each step there was more sheltering exposed, more evidence that said place was simply, and painfully, a waiting room. The moans here and there, the IV fluid abundant as grass, the lolling heads hardly mobile in their came to this? You live, you influence, and this is what you become? A child again?
    Last year, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald (yes, ladies and gents, the story whose movie adaptation included our oh-so-hunky friend, Brad Pitt) descended upon me in English class. How fascinating it was to read about the young taken care of by the old, and the older being taken by the younger. The circle is an essential aspect of the human experience, what with it being the most logical shape since it is truly an eternal cycle. We are born, we are petty in the eyes of those who run the world, we run the world, and we are petty once more-how many times have you dismissed the opinions of the elderly just because it came from an aged mind, a mind that couldn't possibly understand the conflicts of this twenty-first century?
    The people at this nursing home, it was more than a case of being considered petty. They were actually children, and they weren't even given a chance to make opinions because it seemed like all problems of the outside world were taboo. Now, am I saying that this is a horrible phenomenon for some immensely unstable individuals? No. But am I saying there may be a better way to do this than the aforementioned system? Yes. And for once, I'm not going to try and devise one. When it was my turn to play, I found myself unable, screwing up note after note and throbbing uncontrollably with discomfort; by the end, I had to sing each tune because of my fingers' failure. The oppression was insurmountable.
     This is not a call for protest
     This is a call for action.
    Would someone please take some?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

In My Neglected Mailbox (Numero Tres)

Don't you just love inadequate room lighting?

**Goodreads Summary:

"Shocked by the teenage violence she witnessed during the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, Erin Gruwell became a teacher at a high school rampant with hostility and racial intolerance. For many of these students–whose ranks included substance abusers, gang members, the homeless, and victims of abuse–Gruwell was the first person to treat them with dignity, to believe in their potential and help them see it themselves. Soon, their loyalty towards their teacher and burning enthusiasm to help end violence and intolerance became a force of its own. Inspired by reading The Diary of Anne Frank and meeting Zlata Filipovic (the eleven-year old girl who wrote of her life in Sarajevo during the civil war), the students began a joint diary of their inner-city upbringings. Told through anonymous entries to protect their identities and allow for complete candor, The Freedom Writers Diary is filled with astounding vignettes from 150 students who, like civil rights activist Rosa Parks and the Freedom Riders, heard society tell them where to go–and refused to listen."

Dear Viewer Who Has Oh-So-Wonderfully Watched this Cry for Help,

Just as a prologue to this post...if you don't know what "In My Neglected Mailbox" is, feel free to watch the video posted to the right titled "They Want to Be Heard".

First, of all, "In My Mailbox" is a blog meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren ( and Alea at Pop Culture Junkie ( to let all of us book bloggers party on the web.

Second of all, the desperate book here is The Freedom Writers Diary by The Freedom Writers with Erin Gruwell (sorry about the mix-up in my video...)

Fourth of all, thank you for giving my boisterous books your precious time. Trust that there will be another one hating on me on yet another post in the coming weeks.

Best wishes,

Uomo di Speranza

PS: Should parents censor what their children read? Be sure to join my debate on this topic here. Thank you!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Frivolously Follow Me this Friday! (Numero Cuatro)

"Follow Me Friday" is hosted by Parajunkie's View and Alison Can Read. This week's featured blogs and therefore supreme administers of question are The Book Addict and Books and Beyond, both of which are also composed by immensely interesting people indeed. So what question have they inquired of us today?

It’s Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. so we want to know what you are thankful for – blogging related of course! Who has helped you out along the way? What books are you thankful for reading?

How excellent, considering today is my blogoversary! Anyway, I would say that, above all, Kerrin at My Kugelhopf helped me establish this blog in the first place. Her blog was the first I ever read, and after enough minutes drooling at the beautiful pictures of pies and pastries and cakes and knishes she has taken (please do yourslef a favor and scurry over to see them!), I started paying attention to the concept of what I was reading....your life, on the internet....a main editorial board to get through. Hey, this thing called a blog was pretty sweet.

Now....books I am thankful for reading? My top two must be:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling
This book is why I write. As an eight-year-old, I saw the fantastic world Rowling created and immediately wanted to have that, to have a place where every detail flowed from my pen, where my mind was supreme (I wasn't the most usual eight-year-old...)  My first story was about two abandoned Arctic foxes, quickly followed by an attempt at the Great American Novel. I have been attempting ever since.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
To sum up this book in a few words, "The Catcher in the Rye with a better theme." I was astounded with how well Chbosky recreated the situation of an unconfident teenager in an arrogant world. The medium used-letters to an unnamed "friend"-proved to be absolutely genius. So much did I adore this novel that when I discovered how so many parents discourage their youths from reading it becuase of "offensive content", there was nothing to do but formulate an argument against such censorship-you can see the products of this effort (and comment about what you think!) here.

So why do people have need to give thanks in general, one may inquire? It truly is related to fear. The Pilgrims feared their future, so they decided to dwell on what they possessed at the present moment. My schedule might resort to overload this year, causing me to not read a single world until Finals week. Entire families gather round tables and stuff themselves with American staple-foods because, well, who knows if someone will die or become broke or commit suicide in the coming year? Humans are used to controlling everything. They cannot control the future, but they can  dwell on their present so much so that the future is nonexistent.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Should Parents Censor What Their Kids Read?

Meditations of a Teenage Philosopher has always been a place where I can, frankly, do whatever the hell I want and see what people think of it. This is an experiment whose outcome I hope will be satisfactory. The following is an argument about censorship; if parents should censor what their children read, to be specific. After reading any (or all) of this argument, tell me...what do you think?

* * *  

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Read Goodreads page here.
Read Shelfari page here.
Parents can try to protect their children in numerous ways. Some will insure that their child wears enough clothing to fight the cold, others will cut their child’s meat to fight the possibility of choking, others will leash their child to fight kidnappers, and others will control what their child reads to fight…what? What are they fighting? Bad stuff? Reality?  I would love to ask those parents if they realize that their children are in fact part of reality; that they, all too soon, will play its harsh game. And in order to play a game, to win a game, it helps to know the playing board as early as possible. Therefore, parents should not censor what their children read based on content they find offensive both because that offensive content is often times commonplace in the world and because said content can be thoroughly explained in literature, a convenient phenomenon considering that most parents feel uncomfortable talking about it. Furthermore, children who have been given the thorough explanation by literature will prove much more able to attain success in an utterly uncensored world compared to those who have not. 
To explore this national dilemma, let us focus on a piece of literature that is frequently on the “front lines”, so to speak-The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. According to the American Library Association, it is the third most banned book in the country.  This piece contains a freshman named Charlie struggling with the dilemma of passivity vs. passion –should he remain a wallflower and simply examine peoples’ lives from a distance, or actually live himself?  It also contains teenage pregnancy, profanity, heterosexual intercourse, homosexual intercourse, rape, drug abuse, domestic violence, suicide, and child molestation.  Cue the complaints board. 
In October 2009 at Roanoke, Virginia’s William Boyd High School, Perks passed from the hands of an English teacher to the son of John Davis. Davis saw his son reading the book voraciously and immediately examined it, only to find what he called quote-on-quote “offensive content.” He remarked how teens reading about those “offensive” activities portrayed in the book would, by nature, perform the “offensive” activities themselves.  Mr. Davis therefore took issue with the principal, who had the school board place it under review. Just last February, a similar situation happened in Clarkstown, New York when a group of parents petitioned the district to ban Chbosky’s book. Parents Aldo and Patti Devivo compiled a list of phrases they found offensive, including “One day CB got so drunk he tried to f- the host’s dog” and “what the f- Jesus.” Upon the latter, Aldo stated, “As a Christian, do we really need to take the Lord’s name in vain like that?” Well, yes, we do, Aldo, because most people (including some adolescents) are not as “Christian” as you are. They will use the Lord’s name in vain quite frequently. In fact, about half the people I am in daily contact with do so. Another parent stated how “The words in there are so disgusting. The ‘f’ word. Private organ parts. Sounds pornographic-not for English class.” Well, guess what? Not everyone has the clean mouth you do. Plus, you have a penis and your wife has a vagina; neither of those facts change while your child is in school.
Then there is Patti, who cried, “Why does the classroom really have to put a book with this kind of material in their hands?”
Well, I have an answer for you, Patti -because that “material” is reality. As previously stated, profanity is rampant in modern society. However, that is just the mildest. By their nineteenth birthday, 70% of American males and females have had sexual intercourse. There are 4 million homosexual people and 3 million child molestation victims in America. Each year, 750,000 American girls aged 15-19 get pregnant and 30,000 people commit suicide. The same can be said for other issues many parents find offensive, such as binge drinking or sexism-they are highly usual in this world.  Mr. Davis, it brings me great melancholy to tell you that most minors, including your daughter, discover these issues by observation or word of mouth, not books-how could they not with the issues’ prevalence? Many discoveries even take place at the elementary school level. I know that I, for example, first heard about “s-e-x” in the fourth grade. Thus, you can’t blame a novel if your daughter decides to get laid at a local motel.   

But the problem is that when minors discover these issues, at no matter what age, they do not receive sound understandings of them. Witnessing someone at their high school giving a mommy-rub or hearing about “s-e-x” at the fourth-grade lunch table doesn’t let them see the ridicule she faces while pregnant, or the carnal experience “s-e-x” entails. In most minor’s lives, parents are the only people we can trust to accurately describe these issues; yet, can many parents accurately describe the feelings associated with teenage pregnancy, or would they ever describe a sexual experience to their child? I do not think so. This is a need that reading can fill superbly. A minor reading about the pregnancy of Charlie’s teenage sister, how she wept uncontrollably, made Charlie drive her to the abortion clinic in secret, and lived every second under the fear of her parent’s discovery, will give them a much deeper understanding of the teenage pregnancy issue. A narrative of how Charlie lost his virginity would give them a deeper understanding of “s-e-x” as well.

Fast forward to the real, adult world-those minors, as adults, will both be in contact with people from all walks of life and endure many experiences. Whether a lover, business partner, or sibling, those people may be dealing with or have dealt with such offensive issues, such offensive content. The adults may have to deal with the content themselves. Now, adults who never understood more than a stolen whisper about it, whose parents insisted the content’s nonexistence, would not know how to properly deal with neither the people or that direct, offensive situation in their own life. Meanwhile, adults whose parents at least acknowledged the content by letting them read related literature would have a better idea of what those people are enduring, or what the adults must endure themselves. This will allow them to have more pleasant bonds with those people. This will allow them to have more pleasant, personal experiences when facing these situations. And from the aforementioned strong basis, those adults can build a life where success in any goal they desire is attained.

What can you do about this conflict? How about going to the library to read The Perks of Being a Wallflower. To read literature that will give you an inside look unto the offensive content of humanity. If your parents have an issue, feel free to tell them that reality, a reality you will soon inherit, exists no matter what.

So really....what's going on in that noggin of yours?
* * *
*The bibliography for this post is accessible here.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Help Occupy Wall Street

The Help
Read Goodreads review here.
Read Shelfari review here.
I know someone who was a hippie. Make love, not war...all that jazz. And to tell you the indisputable truth, that front-page picture of such a massive group rallying together for reform (and a hell of a lot of partying, as it seems) instantaneously made me think of her. Her generation's protesting of the Vietnam War...that was similar to this, right? People harboring collective anger about a supposed conflict and expressing it. From the 1960s to the 2010s, a distinct and imperative parallel therefore exists.
     The 1960s are also the time in which The Help, Kathryn Stockett's wildly popular novel, is set. In a dramatically racist Jackson, Mississippi, Skeeter, an aspiring writer, conceives the idea of interviewing black maids to discover how they feel about serving white housewives. However, such maids are afraid to even be seen with Skeeter as they consider lynchings, beatings, and arrests that have befell other local coloreds who crossed "the line". Everyone knows deep within their soul that change is truly necessitated, but shouldn't one's life, and those of one's family, be considered first? Walk in Aibileen, a fearless maid who risks the nothing she has to lose. Aibilieen's writing professes the emotions elicited when a child you're paid to take care of calls you "Mama", when you must simply watch the neglect a parent can inflict on that child, their own child. Aibileen only begins to release her secrets because the benevolent grandson of a sweet, elderly friend of hers is beat to blindness by a few racists. At this time, the woman prioritized a change in the way Jacksonians lived over her personal well being. Soon, other maids hop on the bandwagon and begin releasing their stories to the world, but this only occurs after a profound realization in each of their lives as well. Said realization occurs when Yule May, a maid who is desperate to put her twin boys through college, must go off to jail because her employer, antagonist Ms. Hilly Holbrook, unjustly accuses the woman of stealing a ring. Hilly, however, doesn't care to reveal that the ring she stole, a dusty ring left under the sofa, is one that she doesn't care for at all. Racism is the sole fuel to her malignant action.  
Occupy Wall Street
Occupy Wall Street protesters singing.
     What I would like you to focus on here is the profound event that mobilizes actions towards change. No maid of Jackson Mississippi would have given a thought to talking with Miss Skeeter if they didn't experience their moment. The moment where a person states,  Something is wrong here. It really needs to be fixed, and because it really needs to, not trying to fix it would be just as wrong. The other maids see Yule May's situation and know that no matter how much pain it may cause in the future, not doing anything about the racism in Jackson, Mississippi is as malignant as racism itself.    
     Nowadays, a movement has been taking the nation by storm, a movement that threatens to never release this USA from its grasp. What am I talking about? Occupy Wall Street, of course. People around the country see a great wrong in Wall Street corruption, the massive job famine, and anything that causes "getting by" to be immensely difficult. And just like the aforementioned black maids, they each had a moment of revelation, a moment when they acknowledged such wrongs and stated that not fixing them was a wrong in itself. Without such a moment, these individuals would be equal parts silent and desperate in attempting to secure an occupation for themselves, making this wondrous influx of youth expressionism nonexistent.
Darryl Bush / AP
Occupy Wall Street protesters running from tear gas.
     And the ultimate effect a moment of revelation can have-the real change? For the maids of Jackson, Mississippi, it is a breakdown of segregation, especially on the domestic front. Hilly Holbrook is dethroned from public eminence and doesn't even think about persuading her fellow housewives to perform racist actions anymore. Her Home Health Sanitation Initiative, a bill that requires all white households to maintain a separate bathroom for colored help because of supposed, African American diseases, is accordingly repealed...but then there's the Occupy Wall Street protesters. Goals of the protests, the protesters' way of correcting such financial problems, are beginning to emerge, but until they are absolute, no one can validly predict the ultimate effect.
      One thing, though, is absolute-however long the conflicts exist, these enraged citizens will continue to act. For what are they but human?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

In My Neglected Mailbox Numero Dos

Dear Viewer Who Has Oh-So-Wonderfully Watched this Cry for Help,

Just as a prologue to this post...if you don't know what "In My Neglected Mailbox" is, feel free to watch the video posted to the right titled "They Want to Be Heard".

First, of all, "In My Mailbox" is a blog meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren ( and Alea at Pop Culture Junkie ( to let all of us book bloggers party on the web.

Second of all, the desperate book here is THE COLOR OF WATER: A BLACK MAN'S TRIBUTE TO HIS WHITE MOTHER by James McBride. If you do not want to experience it in book form, please feel highly encouraged to do so in musical form.

Fourth of all, thank you for giving my boisterous books your precious time. Trust that there will be another one hating on me on yet another post in the coming weeks.

Fifth of all, my response: This book definitely used different forms of the word "complete" in his video. And despite its obvious thoughtfulness, wouldn't Steve Jobs's life continue to "affect" as people use his ever-convenient devices? All of the effort he placed in his life is exemplified whenever I turn on my iPod for entertainment. But what do you think, viewer? I hope your opinion can help me decide whether delving into this piece is worth it.

Uomo di Speranza

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Thank You, Mickey Mouse!

The Imperfectionists
Read the Goodreads page here.
Read the Shelfari page here.
When I ventured to Disney World this year, what I came back with was something more than a hat clad with mouse-ears.  No, from residing in a place where the ambiguities of different cultures pleasantly lie, an entirely alternative phenomenon was secured by me (is it that noticeable that I'm practicing my PSAT words?). And it oh-so-impeccably reminded me of a recently-read book, The Imperfectionists.
     Tom Rachman's debut novel recounts the inclement lives of Roman journalists who work for an international newspaper of the English language. They cry, they laugh, they deal with spouses having affairs, they deal will almost having affairs themselves, and they produce a newspaper that sits next to morning coffees around the world. Amazing, isn't it? Equally as amazing is the fact that, despite such palpable differences as age, financial situation, and employment status, each of them experience the same foibles, follies, mirth. This is a novel composed of different anecdotes that follow different staff members, and each anecdote does indeed show mirth and melancholy, maybe not in the form of crying and laughing, but the same emotion nevertheless. The partial disappointment shown when a spouse has an affair? That is present in each as well. The self-indulgence and possible revenge present in having an affair oneself is there too. Altogether, the sole phenomenon that infringes upon uniformity is rudimentary the experiences where such emotions are incensed.     
     In Disney World, I witnessed so many different people congregating in one area for the sake of innocent entertainment. And whether their parents were soothing them in French or English or Spanish or Pig Latin, for all I know, babies did cry in distress at the ear-splitting sound of fireworks over Cinderella's Castle. Parents had mirth dance in their hearts while watching their kids experience such mirth fly from ice-cream into their mouths. The wealthy, suited CEO fresh out of a convention was just as overwhelmed on Tower of Terror as the farmer who saved change for three years to grant his family a day at the park.
     Human emotions are the same for all humanity; the only thing that changes is the human who experiences them, and in what life they are experienced. Something tells me that Mr. Disney knew that.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

In My Neglected Mailbox Numero Uno

Exactly one day ago, in a (VERY) dark room, far, far away.....

Dear Viewer Who Has Oh-So-Wonderfully Watched this Cry for Help,

Just as a prologue to this post...if you don't know what "In My Neglected Mailbox" is, feel free to watch the video posted to the right titled "They Want to Be Heard".

First, of all, "In My Mailbox" is a blog meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren ( and Alea at Pop Culture Junkie ( to let all of us book bloggers party on the web.

Second of all, the desperate book here is THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA by Gaston Leroux. If you do not want to experience it in book form, please feel highly encouraged to do so in musical form.  

Fourth of all, thank you for giving my boisterous books your precious time. Trust that there will be another one hating on me on yet another post in the coming weeks.

Uomo di Speranza

Sunday, September 11, 2011

On a Day of Death, 9/11/01

One can say each phenomenon that occurred on September 11, 2001 had something to do with pride. Pride in one's religion, pride in one's cause, pride in one's abilities, pride in one's country. But the aforementioned statement gives us a paradox, does it not? Pride in one's religion, cause, and abilities all contributed to al-Qaeda committing such malevolent actions, but these prides additionally helped Americans survive the aftermath. Whether one was an innocent, Islamic American suddenly the victim of hate crimes or an acquaintance of another soul who went down with the towers, pride was the antidote to America's poison.      So where does it belong in the spectrum of emotions? A blessing? A sin?
     Markus Zusak's The Book Thief is narrated by Death, a voice who during this Second World War has much to say about the different qualities of human pride. In telling how young Liesel Meminger's newfound ability to read helps a bomb-shelter full of Germans and a fist-fighting Jew among others, Death depicts many characters whose lives are forever altered by pride. Liesel's foster brother, Hans, goes to war because of his strong belief in Hitler's message. Rudy, Liesel's best friend and lover, is forced to wallow in dung because of his resistance against a Hitler Youth leader (so glad our dean doesn't threaten us with that one.)  When Jews are being marched through Liesel's town, Hans Hubermann, Liesel's foster father, has enough pride in himself to help another struggling individual survive another heartbreaking hour, which gives birth to gargantuan consequences, of course.
     Death at times states that in the grand scheme of things, pride is really futile. Humans should take it upon themselves to insure their longest possible life instead of risking everything for what they believe is right. Hans would be better off without the scars of war he will surely receive, Rudy without the odor of Staten Island, and Hans Hubermann without the eventual recruitment into the LSE (a military division that retrieves corpses from bombsites.) Yet Death also states his admiration for Liesel and her resilience; through bomb threats, drafts, numerous deaths, near poverty, and the witnessing of true horrors, she remains alive to perish many years after WWII after an indisputably lived life. And how does Liesel survive Nazi Germany?
     Whether in her family, her friends, her words, or most imperatively herself, she maintains pride throughout her span of being-she believes that life must course through her so that actions for a  phenomenon worthy to her, a phenomenon much larger than herself, can be performed. So Death indeed honors the proud...
     Just so long as their pride is used to escape him.
     And what better way to let pride cause human survival than use it in activities that will save lives? Take pride in a cause that terrorists fail to comprehend-promoting human survival.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Frivolously Follow Me on This Friday! (Numero Tres)

"Follow Me Friday" is hosted by Parajunkie's View and Alison Can Read. This week's featured blogs and therefore supreme administers of question are Lisa Loves Literature and Once Upon a Prologue, both of which are also composed by immensely interesting people indeed. So what question have they inquired of us today?

If you could change the ending of any book (or series),
which book would you choose, and why?

*Warning: Spoiler ahead for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.
If you have not read it, get the hell off this page and PICK UP THE BOOK!

Almost every book-lover I know has devoured this novel as if its very words are heroin. Currently, the ending includes our ever-fascinating Lisbeth Salander deciding to subtly display her affection for Michael Blomkvist, the person who she has worked and slept with during the Harriet Vanger case, by purchasing him an Elvis Presley sign from the 1950s. However, the journey she makes to give this present ultimately shows her a prophetic portrait of Blomkvist and his occasional lover, Erika Berger, holding each other lustfully while on their way to Mikael's apartment. Lisbeth then departs from the scene and throws her gift into a dumpster, furious
     Now, this is quite a wonderful culmination since it really depicts Lisbeth's struggles to cope with the average life. But tossing that gift in a dumpster because she saw her potential lover with another woman is an action Elle Woods would perform. I want to see Lisbeth completely overcome by emotion and scare herself because of how overwhelming emotion is. I want to see her reaction to a much more shocking portrait.
     I want to see Blomkvist lustfully holding businesswoman Harriet Vanger, the missing individual who he located in rural Australia, instead
     And I desire that Lisbeth look at the two for a second and initially feel the equivalent betrayal she feels when Blomkvist is with Berger. Being Lisbeth, the woman would then become spooked to the highest feasible extent because she permitted her emotional thoughts for Blomkvist to overshadow her logical thoughts about how utterly unrighteous the couple's existence is; this relationship may cause him to have a bias towards the Vanger Corporation in his financial journalism. But the real core of the aforementioned event is Lisbeth realizing just how dangerous emotion is to the logical world. I want her to think, Is it really worth the risk?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Totally Top Ten Tuesday! (Numero Tres)

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the wondrous individuals at The Broke and the Bookish and participated in by so many wondrous book bloggers. So with no further ado, I henceforth give you...

Top Ten Books That Are On The Top Of
My TBR List For Fall

1. Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez (Released on October 18, 2011)

Liz at Consumed by Books, a person who I once twitter-stalked because of her ever-frequent and interesting tweets, has uttered that this novel is beautifully rendered with excellent writing. But who could not love the story as well?

"Now is not the time for Carmen to fall in love. And Jeremy is hands-down the wrong guy for her to fall for. He is infuriating, arrogant, and the only person who can stand in the way of Carmen getting the one thing she wants most: to win the prestigious Guarneri competition. Carmen's whole life is violin, and until she met Jeremy, her whole focus was winning. But what if Jeremy isn't just hot...what if Jeremy is better ? Carmen knows that kissing Jeremy can't end well, but she just can't stay away. Nobody else understands her--and riles her up--like he does. Still, she can't trust him with her biggest secret: She is so desperate to win she takes anti-anxiety drugs to perform, and what started as an easy fix has become a hungry addiction. Carmen is sick of not feeling anything on stage and even more sick of always doing what she’s told, doing what's expected. Sometimes, being on top just means you have a long way to fall...." (from Shelfari)

I am a student musician, so the relatability factor seems awesome. Marvelous it is when you see a character as yourself, when you are reminded of why literature is so great.

2. Inheritance by Christopher Paolini (Released November 8, 2011)

Once upon a time, one little boy in the fifth grade dreamt about the thrill he received when devouring the Harry Potter books two years before. He loved realistic fiction, but a hunger for fantasy still ravaged him. That was when he picked up Eragon, then Eldest four books later. I now have both read Brisingr and fostered an annoyance for the average book about rebellions toppling oppressive governments. Unfortunately, that is what this novel's plot seems to be composed of-

"Not so very long ago, Eragon—Shadeslayer, Dragon Rider—was nothing more than a poor farm boy, and his dragon, Saphira, only a blue stone in the forest. Now the fate of an entire civilization rests on their shoulders.

Long months of training and battle have brought victories and hope, but they have also brought heartbreaking loss. And still, the real battle lies ahead: they must confront Galbatorix. When they do, they will have to be strong enough to defeat him. And if they cannot, no one can. There will be no second chances.

The Rider and his dragon have come further than anyone dared to hope. But can they topple the evil king and restore justice to Alagaësia? And if so, at what cost?

This is the much-anticipated, astonishing conclusion to the worldwide bestselling Inheritance cycle that the world has waited for."(also from Shelfari)

-but Paolini may surprise me. After all, he did take an absurdly lengthy amount of time to compose this "astonishing conclusion." (Do I seem a bit snippy about this? If so, then good.)

3. Looking for Alaska by John Green

I have heard amazing things about this book and was immensely ecstatic when I added it to my overstuffed bookshelf. It seems like a meditation on the element of risk in an excellent life, a lesson that control-freaks desperately needs to grasp.

4. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

This bibliophile has obtained the notion that if he doesn't read Stockett's novel soon, he cannot called himself bibliophile anymore. Is there anything else I have to say?

5. The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman

A novel that describes the intriguing lives of reporters and editors who toil for a Roman, English-language newspaper. First of all, I have a gargantuan affinity for Rome-I dream that Augustus Caesar and Virgil were my ancestors. Second of all, my novel has a great deal to do with newspapers, so this can definitely be considered research. Chapters written like short stories can definitely aid the daily plagues of an AP student as well...

6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

If my current obsession with coming-of-age tales didn't do it, Emma Watson (Hermione Granger!) starring in this novel's movie adaptation cemented my desire to experience the work.

7. So Brave, Young, and Handsome by Leif Enger

As I have written before, Leif Enger's Peace Like a River was stunning, so I am very anticipative of completing this classic, felon-is-the-good-guy western. Yes, that's right, I had to put it down once. My brain deserves a heartfelt wave of apology.

8. The Color of Water by James McBride

Like a well-balanced meal, one's reading material should have differentiation. The nonfictional yarn of a Polish mother who raised twelve of her own, black children with incomparable gusto seemed too fascinating to resist.

9. City of Thieves by David Benoff

No joke, I am apprehending this sentence directly from the novel's back flap: "Instead of being executed, Lev and Kolya are given a shot at saving their own lives by complying with an outrageous directive: secure a dozen eggs for a powerful colonel to use in his daughter’s wedding cake." Another coming-of-age tale that can righteously be featured on the Food Network-lovely!

10. The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz

Providing a fresh insight into living within the City of Lights (yet another place I find myself heavily desiring to reside in), recipes additionally lie within this nonfictional book's contents. The myriad of holiday parties organized for school organizations around December will be much more delectable if Dulce-De-Lece Brownies were served, don't you think?

And now comes the philosophy part of it all: Looking at that overcrowded bookshelf of mine, I previously found myself bewildered at where to begin my reading experience for the coming months. There is no time for confusion over a scholastically unnecessary matter within a high schooler's schedule. Yet with the composition of this list, everything seems more possible. The human mind is overflowing with different strands of thought that, often times, mix with each other to forge a smoothie of inaction. Written words, utterly physical and apparent, are often the best way to separate and individualize those strands, forming a new self of progressive action. And as I have stated before, life is only given to those who live.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Frivolously Follow Me on this Friday! (Numero Dos)

"Follow Me Friday" is hosted by Parajunkie's View and Alison Can Read. This week's featured blogs and therefore supreme administers of question are Jenni Elyse and Caught in the Pages, both of which are also composed by immensely interesting people indeed. So what question have they inquired of us today?
In some books like the Sookie Stackhouse series, the paranormal creature in question "comes out of the closet" and makes itself known to the world. Which mythical creature do you wish this would happen with in real life?
This will probably not be the average answer, but I would definitely choose ghosts like that of Marley in Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. There are so many humans who share the condition that both Marley and Scrooge inflict on themselves: being completely oblivious to the greater world. We focus on our individual realm of work since, according to us, any other matter on Earth is really just some breed of distraction. A more common label for this condition is "being a workaholic."Although this doesn't necessarily mean that every workaholic is Ebeneezer Scrooge (I certainly like to think that I am not despite my friends saying differently during final's week), we all share a shrewdness and occasional disregard for the needs of others. Shrewdness can help us disregard the needs of ourselves as well-our need for that distraction. A balanced life in indispensable. The existence of ghosts like that of Marley can remind all workaholics that other phenomena than work are important in one's life. We will probably not be forced to roam the world in chains after death, but a harrowing and cautionary depiction of regret will be presented so that we do not ignore the world in chains during life.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Obama, Be A Ghostbuster!

*This post is part of the Steinbeck Classics Circuit Tour hosted by Rebecca Reid. This tour began on August 15th and will end on the 26th, celebrating all that is Steinbeckian throughout its duration!
John Steinbeck's last novel was The Winter of Our Discontent, a novel which begins with the following statement: "Readers seeking to identify the fictional people and places here described would do better to inspect their own communities and search for their own hearts, for this book is a large part of America today." Isn't it uncanny that he still is correct in this day and age?  
      But let us begin with the basics-Ethan Allen Hawley toils each day as a mere grocery store clerk in the very town where members of his family were once prominent aristocrats. Hawley has been robbed of the aristocratic lifestyle by both his father's ill-fated investments and his own fiscal follies. The slightly impoverished man now resides with his family of four in the old Hawley house that houses artifacts reflecting the family's previous grandeur. The great margin between failure and success causes there to be many comparisons between Hawley and his forefathers on the parts of both Hawley's mind and the individuals around him. Eventually, these comparisons and the great expectations forged by them pervade his sense of honesty and righteousness, causing the innocent and kind Ethan to become a ruthless, success-obsessed machine. When banker Mr. Baker (love the alliteration of his name and profession!) mentions that the only land usable for a lucrative airport in New Baytown is in the ownership of Danny Taylor, a drunk who was Hawley's best friend in childhood, our main character hatches up a scheme fatal for Danny and excellent for Hawley when it ultimately gives him the piece of profitable property. And this is only the surface-Ethan also reports the existence of his ever-benevolent boss, Marullo, as an illegal immigrant to the federal authorities. And all this occurs because of expectations sprouting from these constant comparisons between Hawley and his's almost like they are haunting him, yes?...they're influencing him even when dead just like-ghosts. Yep. Ethan is in fact being haunted by ghosts. Not the kind reminiscent of Marley in A Christmas Carol with a translucent body and terrifying voice, but a ghost that only exists through influence. The dead and successful ancestors of Ethan haunt our main character with an impeccable model of what, according to both him and his peers, he should be in life.
      However, the aforementioned haunting does not have to exist. You see, it all has to do with what occurs within Ethan's mind-even if others are consistently making the comparison and setting the expectation, Hawley cannot be haunted if he doesn't make the comparison and set the expectation in his own mind. What Hawley does wrong is both dwell on the comparison and feel that he is a complete disappointment for not achieving that expectation of success; this is what causes him to attempt to expel the disappointment with such atrocious actions. A way by which to stop making these comparisons is realizing that Ethan Allen Hawley both does not face the same circumstances and is not the same person as any of his ancestors; it is therefore purely illogical to compare Ethan and the previous Hawleys.
      So nowadays, the United States finds itself at a particularly challenging point. With unemployment at an uncomfortable rate, the national debt rising to excessive levels, and Congress having a hissy-fit over almost every piece of legislation that comes under its nose, the outlook is not so positive for America retaining world domination. But all in all, America's situation is not all that different from that of Hawley.  Current America is significantly less great than Past America, and it is this difference that causes both Past America's mind of those of its fellows to make comparisons between the two. The level of success Past America experienced is now expected of Current America, just like the level of success Ethan's ancestors experienced is now expected of Ethan. Therefore, we are letting Past America with all of its success be a ghost that haunt us.
        However, Ethan Allen Hauley is not the same person as any of his ancestors and now faces different circumstances than any of them once did. Present America and Past America are the same way: Was President Eisenhower on Facebook? I don't think so. Did Teddy Roosevelt have to deal with Muslim extremists? Not that I know of. We must respect our age and know that Present America calls for different government attitudes, different philosophies in policy, and different manners by which to get itself back on the track to glory. Just because FDR raised the debt level to fix a recession, for example, does not mean that we should do the same nowadays.
         America needs an entire government's worth of ghostbusters indeed.

See what bloggers are participating the remainder
of the tour here

A Totally Top Ten Tuesday! (Numero Dos)

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the wondrous individuals at The Broke and the Bookish and participated in by so many wondrous book bloggers. So with no further ado, I henceforth give you...

*Top Ten Books I Loved But Never Wrote A Review For*
1. The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling
These books are both my childhood and the reason why the blog you are currently reading exists . As a rather cute third grader, if I do say so myself, I was taken by how J.K. Rowling created such an intricate world with mere words. Despite my slight lack of confidence (that continues to this day), I was willing to give the ambition one hell of a shot. Over the years, I have matured with Harry and used his daily battles as guidance for my own span of being, something this writer deeply thanks Ms. Rowling for.

2. Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
Reuben Land is an eleven-year-old with asthma who, with his family, goes on a search for his criminal brother. It is a remarkable portrait of childhood devotion and how what one thinks is true can be untouchable.

3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Must I say more? A shocking display of unknowing innocence in the blatant face of experience with a man who, to this day, remains one of my favorite characters in all of literature. Atticus, I beg you to go out to dinner with me. Please?

4. Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass
I have never seen anyone else reading this book, and that truly disturbs me. The true beauty of Mass's story is that one can comprehend its meaning from ages 10 to 110. Jeremy's father died, but the influence he had over his son did not perish in that car crash with him. And trust me, you will adore having his influence blessing the very essence of your own life as well.

5. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
By far one of the strangest and most enlightening novels ever composed. Pip is given the chance of a lifetime to become a member of the English aristocracy, and along the way meets an eternal Bridezilla plus the love of his life.

6. The Giver by Louis Lowry
A book that meditates on the existence of an nonconformist past on an utterly conformist now. Everyone on Earth should experience this tale of people who do not know what it is to live on their own accord and how they react to those who do.

7. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
What happens when unknowing ignorance has a streak of prolific wisdom? A young man named Holden Caulfied who is burned into millions of adolescent hearts each year that he is heard.

8. The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Although this is an allegory for the American condition in the late 1890s, any period of world history that has past us still possesses a great amount of similarity to now. It is inborn.

9. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
It is not a habit of mine to cry during books, but this novel had Niagara Falls practically racing down my cheek. Betty Smith gives us a semi-autobiographical novel that so painstakingly describes how children lose the belief that their parents are infallible forces of nature with morals strong and unmoving as iron.

10. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
A moving tale from the very voice of innocence. I loved this book particularly because Boyne forces the reader to supply 75% of his reading experience.

So what moral can we obtain from this listing adventure? Just like these these books not being featured on le blog because they weren't read at a certain period, humans can also miss opportunities with a lack of correct timing. However, timing is something we cannot study for, cannot foresee. We must therefore both accept that some phenomena are not within our control and selflessly appreciate those that are.  

Friday, August 19, 2011

Frivolously Follow Me on This Friday!

"Follow Me Friday" is hosted by Parajunkie's View and Alison Can Read (didn't I tell you how HARD we book bloggers party?). This week's featured bloggers and therefore supreme administers of questions are Stuck In Books and Belle Books, both of which are composed by immensely interesting people, I might add. So what question have they inquired of us today?

If you could write yourself a part in a book,
what book would it be and what role
would you play in that book?

     Indisputably, a younger brother of Melanie in Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. When Melanie is in Atlanta with Scarlett, I would just love to be an indispensable asset to the two of them as they endure those horrid days of Civil War. I would be a person of the utmost benevolence, and when the Yankees are about to put Atlanta under siege, I would stay with my sister, later aiding both her Scarlett once Rhett has left them in the wilderness outside of Georgia's capitol.
     I also imagine me acting as an older sibling to the child of Scarlett, who is without a dominant male figure, once Melanie, Scarlett, Beau (Melanie's son), and Wade Hamilton are taking refuge in Tara after their escape. This is especially imperative because a child must be surrounded by diversity from an immensely young age. How successful can a man be if he is not comfortable with other men? The same would occur if a child is never presented with the existence of racial minorities-How successful can any person be if they are unable to deal with people ethnically different from themselves? An African American who cannot deal with Asian Americans? A European American who cannot deal with Mexican Americans? Any people falling under the aforementioned conditions would be simply incapable of satisfying what life expects from them since life, in the end, knows no color, no gender, nothing but which humans are capable of living. And that is a great amount of us.    

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Totally Top Ten Tuesday!

So I have entered the world of memes, devices used by bloggers to party with each other on the internet (and we book bloggers know how to party HARD!) Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the wondrous individuals at The Broke and the Bookish and participated in by so many wondrous book bloggers. This week's theme is allowed to be anything the writing blogger would desire it be, so henceforth I give you....

Top Ten Books That Should NEVER
Be (Or Have Been) Turned Into Movies
Some pheneomena in this world are not made for transformation. Sometimes one must leave something the way it is. Let us utilize these books in discovering why...
1. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Marquez.
The magic of this author's realism is the immensely encompassing quality of his description. You feel as if Macondo, the book's primary setting, can be both the North Pole and your own backyard, and the Garcia family (main characters) simultaneously your amiable neighbors and that impovershed family who trudges down your boulevard in rags. Movies give you both a definite setting in which what you see is what you believe. Characters are presented with definite looks that will make people have predetermined beliefs about them before the characters begin to execute defining actions. Therefore, the setting wouldn't have that magic and the characters that duplicity in an ultimately terrible film.

2. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger.
3. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
The voices of those narrators these two books boast are so distinct that the cinema cannot replicate them, which then renders the cinema unable to portray the stories in all of their greatness Voiced narratives within the films would just be deserving objects of ridicule.

4. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Don't make a mean-spirited judgement of me because I am basing this novel's placement on a quality that occupies two pages: how Steinbeck describes the death of Lenny. He shows George being shaken by the murder and Slim referring to it as an action equivalent with washing one's face, but does not describe Lenny's body after George shoots that pistol. The movie audience would be unable to capture this wonderful specific on a count of their disturbance that stemms from a bloody dead man lying in the sand.

5. Travels With Charley in Search of America by John Steinbeck
6. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
7. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
A book that requires much thought to not seem like a hopelessly meandering travelogue. Another that requires much thought to not seem completely strange and pointless to anyone over the age of twelve. Another that requires much thought to not seem completely strange and pointless to anyone. The certain audience who can ponder only does so when their overall comprehension is instrumental to comprehending the film's action sequences (think of Inception.)

8. For One More Day by Mitch Albom
9. Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom
Part of Albom's charm is the fact that he so seamlessly crosses the past with the present. However, the books he composes are puny in length and inconsistent in the "major story line" department. This would probably cause Hollywood to add "enticing" scenes forged by themselves, which (think of Harry breaking the Elder Wand in Deathly Hallows, Part Two) produces a movie downgraded by a lack of faith to its literary predecessor.

10. My Antonia by Willa Cather
Think this as sort of a culmination to all my reasons against pasting these timeless books onto the silver screen. Willa Cather's masterpiece is written more like an incomplete biography than a novel. The biography only becomes a novel if one has the patience to insert a significant amount of thought and patience into his reading experience. These two factors would probably cause Hollywood (I portray it as such a horrid character, don't I?) to add their "enticing" scenes that include "action", and I would much rather be forced to read Les Miserables in a day than sit through the ugly phenomenon that would be.

So what have we learned? For that friend of yours who you've had a robust intention to snog recently, be sure that it's a companion who you want to snog, not a friend. Take inventory of your change.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Don't Be Ke$ha When You Are Aretha Franklin

When everyone was in about second grade, their teacher taught them about how each butterfly was once an entirely alternative being called a caterpillar. She also must have thrown in the term "cocoon" while you were thinking about how mean the cockney in front of you was for stealing your colorful eraser. Nevertheless, most everyone conceived the concept that there were two inseparable stages to a butterfly's life, two states completely indistinguishable from one another. Being the conceited little priss that I was, my brain never thought this knowledge would be applicable to life in the future. And I was only to be proved wrong years later by a book my very eyes devoured.
     State of Wonder by Anne Patchett describes the experiences of pharmacologist Marina Singh when getting to and living in the Amazon rain forest. After a colleague of Marina's named Anders Eckman dies there, Marina is sent by her boss and lover, Jim Fox, to both discover the exact cause of Eckman's death and oversee the progress of brilliant Dr. Annick Swenson, who is studying the indigenous Lakashi people so that a drug  permitting lifelong fertility in females can be forged. Singh's determination to discover how her colleague perished is intensified by a heart-wrenching plea from Karen Eckman, Anders' widow who is left with three mourning boys while she is still miserable herself, for information about the death. One found phenomenon unexpectedly turns out to be an alternative Dr. Marina Singh-the scant resources and dire situations that the Amazon present cause our main character to perform previously unthinkable actions. When an anaconda threatens to strangle her ever-lovable companion, a deaf boy named Easter, Marina suddenly finds enough courage to murder the great snake with a machete. Marina was once Dr. Swenson's gynecology student, but switched her major to pharmacology after performing a hasty cesarean (something I am so glad we didn't have to complete a lab about in biology) that blinded the baby she was delivering. When a Lakashi woman is in desperate need of a cesarean because her infant is (for lack of a better word) stuck, Marina finds herself forced by an incapable Dr. Swenson to actually conduct the necessitated procedure on a wooden floor with unsterilized equipment and shoehorns to hold open the uterus. When Dr. Fox actually comes into the Amazon to check on her, Marina doesn't tell him the imperative secret every doctor there is incubating: that Fox's investment is being used for, along with that fertility drug, the development of a malaria vaccine from which he will not fiscally benefit. Then it is discovered that Anders is really alive, which leads to Marina having sex with her former colleague on small cot.
     The Marina Singh who boarded that plane bound for the Amazon would never have executed any of the aforementioned actions. She loved Dr. Fox and therefore would never have desired to hurt his well-being. Karen Eckman was a morbid woman who reached out to Dr. Singh in a time of need, not a person whose spouse she would desire as a sexual partner. The bleak lab at Vogel Pharmaceutical company was her home, a place where discomforts meant tedious faculty meetings, not watching an anaconda strangle the life out of her friend. She had palpably turned into a butterfly somewhere along the way...
     All humans experience dramatic change-in-state's throughout their lives. It is imperative that after these changes transpire, we do not completely revert back to our previous state. What comes to the forefront of my mind when I think of this concept is the drastic change from childhood to adulthood-would I witness Barney singing on my television every twenty-four hours nowadays? Would I hold on to my parent's hand every time I cross the street now that I am a teenager? The reason behind this prohibition is that our previous states cannot support us as we attempt to fulfill our current potential for success. As arrogant a priss I was, there is no way I would be writing this post at the present time if I was yet to learn long division.
     Dr. Singh eventually returns to her Minnesota hometown with Anders and fondly watches her colleague's reunion with his family. It is then that Ms. Patchett composes an immensely vague sentence to culminate her narrative: "And Marina brought him back, and without a thought that anyone should see her, she told the driver to go on.(page 353)" I interpret this to mean that Marina brings the spirit of Anders and therefore the Amazon (the two are intertwined since she knows how that Amazonian endeavor started and ended because of him) back to her and uses them in forging her decision to once more be at the side of Dr. Swenson, who both predicted Marina's return and desired that Singh stay to work on the project with her. It is in the Amazon, not in Minnesota, that the new Marina can fulfill her potential to help develop the fertility drug and malaria vaccine. I cannot study records of a 1920s newspaper for my novel tomorrow if I spend all of the day at a day-care. Uomo di Speranza has switched from being raised by others to raising himself.
     So, my dear friends, insure that you do not crawl on the ground once you have turned from caterpillar to butterfly. You cannot be squashed by an unsuspecting foot if you are flying.