O, wonder!— William Shakespeare, The Tempest
How many goodly creatures are there here
How beauteous mankind is!
O brave new world, that has such people in't!
In a perfect future everyone is genetically engineered to know their place in a caste system, every want or need is catered for, and if a citizen is ever feeling down, soma is there to take them on a holiday. Though in this bright imagining of the world where even death is no big deal, fractures form in the perfect facade with the elimination of free will, love, and family in the name of the betterment of society. In Brave New World Aldous Huxley goes in a different direction from the normally grim, brutal, dystopian future towards something that is still in our eyes fundamentally wrong.read more...
He died in the best outlaw tradition; homeless, stone broke, and owning nothing but his clothes and his Harley— Hunter S. Thompson
Brutes. Huns. Thugs. Murderers. Rapists. Lowlifes. Outlaws. The Hell’s Angels, a motorcycle club out of Oakland, California, was a force to be reckoned with in the mid-sixties, with a terrifying mystique surrounding them akin to the one that surrounds the wendigo and the sasquatch. Hunter S. Thompson, intrigued by the horror stories circulating around the state and the media about this band of criminals, threw himself into their midst.read more...
Death is a mystery, and burial is secret— Stephen King
King utilises all of the instruments in his depraved toolshed in this horrific novel about the secret practice of burial, and the great taboo of death. Like so many King novels, it begins with a regular, All-American family who move to a small town, in this case Ludlow, Maine, to begin life anew. Dr. Louis Creed takes a job with the local university, while his wife Rachel and his young children Ellie and Gage, along with their pet cat Winston Churchill, settle into their new life far from the hustle and bustle of Chicago.read more...
This is the Wolverine movie everyone’s been waiting for the past seventeen years. Loosely based on the Old Man Logan comic books, it is a no-holds-barred, no quarter given exhibition of brutality, packed with violent hand-to-hand combat that has more impaled heads than Vlad’s castle moat. The setting is 2029, and life goes on as it always has for most Americans. Though not for mutants, who have been brought to the brink of extinction by a virus designed to suppress the X gene that is distributed through food and drink. Logan, the most hard-wearing and stubborn of them all, cares for an aging Charles Xavier, whose fraying senility is the cause of violent psionic seizures, along with Caliban, an albino mutant who can detect and track other mutants. They huddle together in secrecy in a foundry in Mexico, hiding from the corporations that would seek to end them and use their genes for a new generation of super soldiers.read more...
It tolls for thee— John Donne
No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
Every so often you watch a film that really sticks with you, and blows you away on all fronts. Seeing La La Land today with my partner I was struck with how…beautiful this film was. Damien Chazelle has once again hit it out of the park with a story of love and jazz set in L.A., starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, and featuring John Legend and J.K. Simmons. Following on from Whiplash (2014), an intense and exhilarating exploration of a conservatorium drummer and his abusive jazz teacher, La La Land treads a more positive path, following a jazz pianist and actress, both struggling to make it in their respective fields and still remain authentic and passionate, who fall in love with each other.read more...
Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice— Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude
I picked this novel up at the same time as I picked up Breakfast of Champions, on a whim because it was sitting on the same library cart. The story follows six generations of the Buendía family in Columbia, whose patriarch, José Arcadio Buendía, founds the town of Macondo with his wife Úrsula on the banks of a river. The book is written in a style of magical realism, and is considered an exemplary novel of the genre.read more...
I love to read, and I try to get through five to ten books a year. I thought this year I’d try something different and outlay all of the books I want to read on the year, and then write a summary or essay on each one after I’ve finished reading it. I’ll also go over the books I’ve read for the past two years (2015 and 2016) in this post, and what I recommend.read more...
It’s that time of year again. For the past two years, I’ve written up a list of goals and sub-goals that I want to achieve for the year. The first thing I usually do is recap what goals I made in the previous year, and go over what I achieved, before outlining the next year’s goals! So without further ado, here is the review.read more...
You’ll be a Man, my son!— Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
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