A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man – James Joyce

There is a father. The son becomes the father. There is a game. The boys compete.

This book asks the reader, « Who are you watching? » While the son competes in his studies, others challenge, and God watches reassuringly, (p.6), « The little silk badge with the red rose on it looked very rich because he had a blue sailor top on. » This book is written as omnipresent. He is the boy, he is the artist, then he is the student, the writer, a poet… he is the omnipresent ‘one boy’. It is written as the boy speaks, as the boy thinks, as the One God watches, as the One God sees, « I don’t believe a son should be afraid of his father, » (p. 86).

He is deft.

God believes… beauty is beautiful as beauty is seen. The eye of the beholder beholds God’s warmth. It is that we perceive beauty at all that God discerns. He writes, and we are closer for his efforts.

The author writes regarding separation of church and state, (p. 26), in a dialog at the the boy’s dinner table. This is Ireland – the discussion is on God, not politics, on rights of the people, versus the people having rights, and doing right. I am reading as an American would read, I realize now that we are sometimes jaded in our conceptualization.

Chapter 1 is about order. The order of authority. It is also about emblems, signification, the idea of marks and attribution instead of symbols. You are part of a dedicated idea signified by a sign or emblem (a rose on a badge for instance), the idea is not, however, a symbol of yourself.

In Chapter 2, he sees the beauty the artist feels, (p. 61), « He did not want to play. He wanted to meet in the real world the unsubstantial image which his soul so constantly beheld. » The boy’s father is the monologue, still (p. 61). He then writes, as father, understanding the son through the father’s cynical account of the boy’s life circumstances.

The author/narrator writes, (p. 66), « The verses told only of the night… Some undefined sorrow was hidden in the hearts of the protagonists as they stood in silence beneath the leafless trees… » If I am to understand the writing of Irish writers from this one author, the Irish are not disposed to the use of metaphors as « crutches, » (p. 70), « His unrest issued from him like a wave of sound… » The message is fact-based; it’s not a metaphor if it is as it was written. The description is exactly as it is seen. Do we see ‘eye-to-eye’? The Irish believe in reciting from memory, they use repetition… ‘twice should do it’. The men don’t cook, they taste every detail of their wholesome spread, (p. 95), « He hoped there would be stew for dinner, turnips and carrots and braised potatoes and fat mutton pieces to be ladled out in thick peppered, flour-fattened sauce. »

He breaks every rule of writing, perfectly. His verse, his converse (the dialogue of one, then the other), is less a devotion to laws of grammar, less a definitive string of descriptive overly meaningful sentences, subject to verb to predicate. His writing is without end, it is understood in his art; with this writer, there isn’t need of punctuation.

On Christianity, (p. 137), after confession of his doubts and scruples, « he was bidden by his confessor to name some sin of his past life before absolution was given…  » The ‘awful’ power of priesthood, of this church, he gives earthly attention to the question of religious commitment. That to invest a life into a priesthood has commitment to a specific guidance; and where to merely give your attention to this religion is rather a socially-connected observance. Here, the writer’s flourish, he articulates the son’s flair and poetic capacity for his faith, (p. 145), « The snares of the world were its ways of sin. He would fall. He had not yet fallen but he would fall silently, in an instant. Not to fall was too hard, too hard; and he felt the silent lapse of his soul, as it would be at some instant to come, falling, falling, but not yet fallen, still unfallen, but about to fall. »

He speaks of the web of deceit, (p. 118) here, « a spiritual pain is the pain of extension… Man, in this earthly life, though he be capable of many evils, is not capable of them all at once, inasmuch as one evil corrects and counteracts another just as one person frequently corrects another. »

Father, son, then minister of devotion, he is the author of lives and lives lived-well toward God. He speaks of devoted guilt, (p. 133), « at times (the) sense of such immediate repercussion was so lively that he seemed to feel his soul in devotion pressing like fingers the keyboard of a cash register and to see the amount of his purchase start forth immediately in heaven, not as a number but as a frail column of incense or as a slender flower. »

He provides every heartstring from faith to be plucked; first God, he then provides the heart of a writer who writes, and one who speaks, thinks, adheres to God’s words, artfully. He gives a composition of phrasing, words as harmony, a wide and vast adoration for his language eloquently impressing his land’s variety of vivid sensations and this faith’s ‘monstrous’ appeal to the wicked and the weak, (p. 149), « Words. Was it their colours? He allowed them to glow and fade, hue after hue; sunrise gold, the russet and green of apple orchards, azure of waves, the grey-fringed fleece of clouds. No, it was not their colours: it was the poise and balance of the period itself. Did he then love the rhythmic rise and fall of words better than their associations of legend and colour? Or was it that, being as weak of sight as he was shy of mind, he drew less pleasure from the reflection of the glowing sensible world through the prism of language many-coloured and richly storied than from the contemplation of an inner world of individual emotions mirrored perfectly in a lucid supple periodic prose? » He claims his devotion, « The object of the artist is the creation of the beautiful, » (p. 165).

In the son’s vision of human compassion, he resonates with inspiration at his own awareness, (p. 148), he reveals his epiphany that « the commandment of love (bids) us not to love our neighbor as ourselves with the same amount and intensity of love but to love him as ourselves with the same kind of love. » He promotes the ability and the desire to distinguish our needs from the next of needs, and in observance of learning from this ministry, I hope and desire to distinguish various descriptions, Love being a ‘thing’ and something which endures with respect.

He distinguishes beauty according to the apprehension of beauty. There are three forms is his educated distinction, (p. 195), « the lyrical form, the form wherein the artist presents his image in immediate relation to himself; the epical form, the form wherein he presents his image in mediate relation to himself and others; the dramatic form, the form wherein he presents his image in immediate relation to others. » He suggests that beauty (by definition I understand this to mean all language, all words within the language), beauty has a wider sense form or sense of understanding in the literary tradition. These three forms, then, he suggests are the space which understanding or judgment of beauty is influenced by a marketplace for the art.

My question: Is God’s perception of warmth immediate within a marketplace?

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The Mysterious Affair at Styles – Agatha Christie

The first of her books to include the character of Hercule Poirot, this one is written according to a point of view removed from the investigator, and is reminiscent of ‘Dr. Watson’ from the beginning of the work. Poirot’s introduction is delayed slightly, and the first chapter is eerily constructed. She writes detached from this subject, (p. 43), with « … an emotional lack in the atmosphere. » This character, Hastings, is timid in his portrayal of the story. Hercule is no writer, apparently, ‘mon ami’ – his friend, the story’s author, writes an account of this tale at the request of all involved. Mrs. Christie invests these, her primary subjects, with everything they need to know.

Riddles, proverbial twists, macabre wordplay, this book invokes suspicious execution of words. I thus discovered my supposition: The game is a-foot; or, is the dis-membered in contest? Her will is the matter…

Mrs. Christie is the Queen of mental-lists. As such, I offer my kind acknowledgment to ‘bullets’ of insight. All of this mystery’s symbolic participants are present:

  • the embodiment of science (Dr. Bauerstein)
  • the reporter/journalist, keeping the paparazzi at bay (Hastings)
  • the appearance of mortal doom (Nibs), and the weapon of destruction (Cynthia, as dispensary steward)
  • due process, and affability in the face of crises (Poirot)
  • guilt in absentia (the absent widower)
  • accusation/accusal (Dr. Wilkins)
  • all of the herrings in various hues (Chapter 1, the laying out of involvement)
  • the kindred for want of livelihood (Dorcas, and to a lesser degree, Annie)
  • the prospect (Mrs. Cavendish)
  • the absence of family, the heirs apparent (John, and to a lesser extent, Lawrence)
  • the proceeding (Mr. Wells)
  • the love/friendship which has gone unnoticed, in short, the bereavement borne of neglect (Evie Howard)

Mrs. Christie is abundantly equipped to style her writing with grisly detail. In fact, at times she can be morbidly perverse, as on (p.35), in her depiction of the ‘body’s’ tumultuous ending, which leaves me too cold to re-visit this passage.

She teaches with each work. Each book containing elements of concern for life and lives lived. Always she provides a life lesson, she gives an offering of observance to time, she invests a point of view for dealing with some unfortunate incident, and always she gives answers which create the soul’s composure. Fear is not recognized, deference to the departed is an essential quality in her works.

She enlightens readership with context. Pay attention, in this story, everything you need to know is right here in these two characters. Poirot’s method, recognize what’s important; nothing else exists. There is nothing trivial; everything matters, but not everything is important. He is Belgian, he is cordial, he embellishes. Poirot speaks in proverbs, (p. 89), « Imagination is a good servant, and a bad master. The simplest explanation is always the most likely. » While Hastings, the writer, deals with questions through deduction, (p. 37), « … a flock of wild surmises in my mind. »

Her books captivate playful pretense. She has elements within each she writes. In all there is a lesson; in each there is a day, just one day to divine. And, she is the fair and precious purveyor of loss, that we should accept misfortune is her careful assumption. Style is her gift, it is the reader’s ability.

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Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray

This is an undertaking. A book not for the weak-minded.

Vanity Fair touches on every virtue through the speculative eye of intention. Vanity being the question, and ‘proper’ being the answer, ‘wise’ is never suggested.

I picture the author a keen observer commentator writing feverishly, the words coming all too easily since reading what he’s written is like being pelted with accurately observed innuendo. To read his writing is like arguing your own position on cleverly dispensed vocabulary. He is utter sarcasm in absolute certainty, (p. 227), « upon my word, she’s playing her hand rather too openly, » [she] thought, but this observation is merely parenthetic, and was not heard through the crevice of the door at which the governess uttered it. » He hands out obvious answers, but questions the outcome, (p. 191) « Perhaps in Vanity Fair there are no better satires than letters, » making his case by involving legal expertise of words having been written in the hand of hypocrisy, « … vows, love, promises, confidences, gratitude, how queerly they read after a while. »

He doesn’t seem a writer, he delivers. His breadth overtakes the reader, imposing conflict. The reader is accountable, or the reader is lost. In this book, one is guided. This writer saves the intellectual disciple of his words with the benefit of recognition. He places literary tools, asking readers to choose a path – reading this book, as for myself, is simply comprehending more than you think yourself capable. Imposing is the word that best describes this book. Imposing and long.

One who writes is relieved of burden, a writer writes for relief. This novelist (as Thackeray is willing to admit throughout this work), may simply write because he can. Where a writer writes because he must, Thackeray writes because he should.

This work is a textbook of vagaries, accusing one to learn how to become a man, and convincing the impressionable female to take heed. It suggests that a man will rise to the occasion and aspire to prosper, and a lady shall become him. Thusly he teaches through interpersonal irony. You can be the hero/heroine, the absolved, if you notice the nuance and apply the inference. He infers genteel acquaintances would engender certain confidences which inspired social boundaries. Though we follow Miss Rebecca Sharp’s position with the family Crawley, Chapter XVII beseeches interested girl-hood to acknowledge the original Miss Amelia as interesting, or to ‘set aside’ this heroine. This chapter describes female condescension.

Themes which recur – gambling, war, aristocratic homage, money where money may or may not be (appearances being what they are). The satire is in tribute to aristocracy, or rather to those in compliance with it and those in position to displace it. The men gamble, the women position themselves freely, and sometimes poorly. Military regard is a theme, though war encompasses only three of the sixty-ish chapters in the book. Clearly, this is not a book about war, it’s a book including one. He writes that war is only another milestone, one that is concluded, then set aside and recounted, again and again.

The novelist doth project – he has more ‘serious’ episodes in which his writing is contemplative and a reader will worry as to why he is suddenly grave. Then, he has moments of absolute mirth, where the reader fears for his own sobriety. The writer is fairly giddy with indulgence and attitude.

The last chapters of the book include deadly sins – vanity being just one, surprisingly. Pride as opposed to privilege, indifference, these were noted. Family guidance, honor, disgrace, sanctity, gluttony, frailty (weaknesses of flesh and distress), are all left to question. This world never ventures to engender nobility or acts of profound Christian charity, if those acts are not warranted with expectation. This being the definition of vanity.

Vanity Fair is the stage which exists in guilt, « … where all the Vanity Fair booths were laid out with the most tempting liveliness and splendour… ».

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Balzac’s Omelette, a delicious tour of French food and culture with Honore de Balzac by Anka Muhlstein

I started this book, excitedly, from the idea that it would offer insight into styles of cooking. And, since the subtitle enticed literary purpose, I assumed I would find what I was looking for – an introduction to a culture by way of its food according to its most notable literary artists (at least one of them). Surprisingly, it was less about what we ingest throughout the course of a day in a life, in favor of what one requires of what we ingest. This book speaks to food. It speaks to an economy of virtue, but also to economic strengths of class participation… we consume what we divulge.

Her writing is attractive. She writes, prettily, and seems as a palate cleanser within this work for the ambitious reader. Do you love Proust? She serves Balzac, instead, as the progressive in a world of expressive flamboyance. She stresses the importance of culinary imagery, (p. 3), « If you want to imagine savoring an oyster as it melts on your tongue, read Maupassant; if you dream of jugs filled with yellow cream, try Flaubert; and if the thought of beef in aspic tickles you, turn to Proust. » She then offers Balzac as the escapist, realist with a passion for practicality in a big way, « But, if you are interested not so much in the taste of the oyster as in the way a young man orders it, less the cool sweetness of the cream than how much it costs, and less the melting quality of the aspic than what it reveals about how the household is run, then read Balzac. » And, I am captivated.

A biography of writing, Ms. Muhlstein gives the reader a work which begs assimilation. What if all authors/writers made complete their work through characterizations of cultural familiarity by the humble acknowledgment of idiosyncracies of nutrition? Better yet, what does food offer the plot? What does intensity of one’s appetite or distaste for food offer to civilization? She writes in generalities, but her knowledge requests a feast for the famine of literary conformity.

Her chapters are the work. She writes her vast understanding on cultures of cuisine, Balzac’s Europe, history, from ideas of literary impact; one feels she could use these chapter definitions (titles) to clarify or expound on any topic with profound french consistency. Her style has manner. Her manner is properly and comprehensively compact, as all french should be… exhaustive. (This french word means complete, and nothing more. Whereas, the English, exhaustive, while not only being less interesting in pronunciation, will drown its subject with lavish definition « spent, over, done » and possibly even « thorough, » which hesitates to refine. The idea being, french gives all of something, there’s nothing more, but there may be something less.)

I wondered where the book’s title originated. There is a secret to the omelette, a perfect french method, perhaps, (p. 166), « … an omelette is more delicate when the whites and yolks of the eggs are not beaten together with the brutality that cooks usually put into that operation… the white should be beaten until it resembles foam and the yolk introduced a little at a time, … « . This is the only recipe found in Balzac’s repertoire, apparently. Her thought may be that Balzac’s Omelette inspires gentility. This is a writer’s influence on consumption.

And, it is a reader’s repast.

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« Rebecca » by Daphne du Maurier

This is not Rebecca. This book is Mrs. de Winter.

Written with dreary depressive disposition, Daphne du Maurier is the character’s spirit. She is non-existent in these pages, having no person. She is Mrs. de Winter by name. She is not herself, yet is contented in her role as matron of these grounds, (p. 7), « I am a mine of information on the English countryside. » She commits, « I breathe the air of England as I read, and can face this glittering sky with greater courage. » She writes with depth, density of words and rich, fertile qualities, as if the words are loam. The imagination chills…

She is strong in faith, she writes of Christian values being not of moral but familial. We commit, and as women we are there as family decides: marriage, faith, family, in that order. She is the strength of God’s commitment through bonds of sacrament, (p. 9), « I suppose it is his dependence upon me that has made me bold at last… « . She regards frailty of commitment with compassion, (p, 276), « I wondered how many people there were in the world who suffered, and continued to suffer, because they could not break out from their own web of shyness and reserve, and in their blindness and folly built up a great distorted wall in front of them that hid the truth. » Her writing is heartfelt, her attitudes refined.

With every reading of this novel, I feel that Mrs. du Maurier Browning would be one to sit with, she would be a friend. She has much to say, and elegance in her delivery. Not simply its ‘writer,’ she pours her life into her work. Her thoughts are written with philosophical sophistication, « Happiness is not a possession to be prized, it is a quality of thought, a state of mind… « , (p. 6). She then continues storyline, plot, and thesis in artful suspense, flawless and faultless in expression. She writes with ease, it reads with fluency. She guides the gentle reader.

It’s no wonder Rebecca is highly acclaimed. This book is rich with earthy mystery, (p. 111), « … and a richer, older scent as well, the smell of deep moss and bitter earth, the stems of bracken, and the twisted roots of trees. » These words are a novel, a mystery, a story, a film, they are easily seen.

Symbolism, she writes in rooted assurance:

  • walls of red rhododendron proclaiming afterlife (they are larger than the lives around them, they die, they are renewed)
  • bowls of autumn roses seek wakeful cognizance (they are ‘as if’ this life was mine)

Her messages are spooky in their obvious conviction. Her writing is not a question of talent. She has that, and her writing is a fact of her life. What else can she do?

This one is not to be shelved. Read it again if it’s escaped you.

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The Map And The Territory

The writer within tells this tale as if, being stuck in a mechanism, his only escape is through creating some truth he seeks, then, pressuring his listener into a condition of being convinced. His writing seeks redemption.

The main character, Jed, is written in chaos. As if being held hostage by the author and forced into revelation regarding his life.

Par. 1, p. 27 – Jed prefers contemporary artists to the masters. His goal for his entire scope of work was to offer description of the world, his idea of the world though constantly changing. He is written from some point in time within his life, viewing the entire picture of his life, without the author’s declaration of sequence… (par. 3, p. 26), it becomes all about time.

The story is told as if the writer/painter is able to move through time – as if he is evading the reader – running evasive maneuvers within his story using time as his storyteller’s mechanism. He writes as if painting a depiction of a life ‘accompli’ with the point of origin beginning at the point the reader currently reads. Barring the occasional, if passing, acknowledgement of advances through technology, the story does not make obvious its era. The result portrays time as a confusion of corridors in the storyteller’s repertoire. The first 85 pages devoted to ‘flashback’ – Jed, as already a succesful painter, painting a commissioned work. Jed, as a time traveler, reminiscing the meaning in his life, which lead him to this day. Jed, then, as a depressed creative, finding successful markets for his work, despite himself – he accuses his performance into existence.

Words for review:

gallerist – a livelihood involving the artistic display

vernissage – a « soiree » (p. 125); the opening day for an art exhibit

a fortiori – to give (giving) more reason

(I learned something)

The epitome of arrogant narcissism, Jed is written as the lusty, pompous, agonized creative success, the author taunts his story. He writes through memories from a position of judgment and accusal.

Horrific, this book is a torture mechanism devised to prune the reader’s intellect.

A gruesome method, this tale leaves the victimized reader to escape the trap created by his mechanized writing, to dissociate from this ‘house of horrors’ invented inside the writer’s conscience.

I didn’t like the book.

P. 261 (prayer-fully, the end is nigh) … « artistic egocentrism »

He gives an uncharacteristically brief assessment of the ‘typical’ display of such an ego in Jed’s self-centered query, as he wonders aloud if his work has had impact.

The ending is anti-climactic, both wordy and modest in its abundance.

It’s a tribute to the depths of despair, where criminally inept meets socially indifferent in search of … art, and finding only classic literary irony as a cultural stereotype.

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« Virginia Woolf »

She does not have God. She does not know God.

I read the biographical novel, as told through the eyes of Alexandra Harris. My first biography.

God is the ever-present mortar creating sense through thought distortion. The necessary ingredient for an artist to make sense from delusion. (Feel free to quote me.)

Virginia Woolf was not grounded. She had no one to orient her life, never having recovered from her mother’s death, she was 13 year’s old.

P.16 – The young Virginia respected her father’s « free-thinking intellectual integrity that made him speak out as an atheist. »

I continue reading despite my horror at the waste of her talent. Her work parallels my own; meager formal education, she was an essayist, a reader who writes reviews. We separate ways where she becomes a feminist with a writer’s complex. She is exceptionally talented (for a woman in a man’s world). She is ahead of her time, yet unwilling to sacrifice any of her intellect for pursuit of a faith.

Still I’m reading. In some ways the comparison and the likenesses between our empassioned literary reasoning, (her’s with more of a voice, mine with more of an ear), makes her life difficult for me to ignore.

The year 1911, living as the only female occupant, the landlady, in a « respectable middle-class » time (p.47). She lived a questionably unconventional life, almost as if enticing others to wonder about her morals. This says to me that she was craving attention as removed and unconventional, rather than crazy or sick.

She suffers breakdowns in which she attempts death. She falls into despair and is hospitalized. She writes. The cycle of her life.

There are 46 illustrations accounted for in this account of a life’s history. Many are photos of Virginia. She looks mostly distracted, uninvolved, distant.

I’ve only read one book authored by Virginia Woolf (so far). In it, I get the feeling she’s written a statement, firm and direct, that her style, her talent as a writer, having been questioned one too many times, needs justification and proof. She provides it soundly.

A life inspired by Greek Tragedy.

P.57 – « It is the glimpse of clarity towards which all Woolf’s novels strive. »

Born into a home, a family, which respected art. A home-full of writers, artists, art and work. Though she has no trouble keeping her individual voice (her terrific confidence evident in her writing), she caved to illness by willful disinterest toward enforceable psycho-medical interference.

This biographer/author conceives that all of Mrs. Woolf’s novels are written towards seeking clarity… I read her work, instead, as a statement to sanity. She has lucid moments.

To be without God, is to be unreachable, and she denies God.

Her philosophy for her writing was abstract. Her words profound, and simultaneously debilitating, « …there is no Shakespeare, there is no Beethoven » … she denies there is God (p.98). She claims victorious over all art « we are the words, we are the music, » we are all that exists.

She was despondent.

Ch.7 – A Writer’s Holiday.

With the appearance of the book « Orlando, » this biographer reiterates Mrs. Woolf’s range of talent but only mentioning it as being a « departure » from her previous works. Again, her belief being that part of Mrs. Woolf’s « appeal is her tremendous variety » (p.99), yet this chapter being dedicated to a « holiday » from the writer’s intention. Specifically, she notes that, as with « Night and Day », the tone was different from all her previous works. This seems to me an indication of irrational whimsy. Flighty speculation, which caused some of those who followed her work to wonder if this book was a « prank ».

This biographer provides specifics, references to facts known. I’ve never read a factual account of a life, a biography. This is the first, as I said. They seem jaded. Interesting, but dry. This biographical work, though well-written, would have been better if it had a more focused path. It gave this reader the impression that opinion was the purpose for the endeavor. It makes me wonder what Virginia would have thought – having a well-educated, writer, historian, documenting her life with factual opinion.

This book leaves me questioning whether the biographer is a reader, or an educated professional seeking publicity. In my opinion, a true reader, reads as the writer in an attempt not only to understand, but to know the author through their work. Perhaps the difference between a reader, a writer, and a biographer… one who seeks, one who professes, and one who decides.

« Night and Day » from the description provided by this biographer was written while she was under observation, post-attempt at suicide. She being allowed only one hour per day to write. The biographer notes that this style, form and content is a departure for Mrs. Woolf, and that the belief is that the book deals with the question of « how to live » (p.57), then she goes on to describe attributes of the book.

I would believe, more to the point, that, if this book was so very « contained » and not like the rest (« not a tragedy, but a comedy » – p.56), it may have been designed as more of a statement. Perhaps pointing to resignation since she was being watched. Not « how to live » but « is this life. » I’ve never read the book. The next V. Woolf book I will seek out will be « The Waves. »

Where this book’s author feels that Virginia Woolf’s writing « was a counter to transcience » (p.16), creating permanence for her work (« if you wrote something down, you could make it stay put » – again, p.16), I am more inclined to think her work was written medication. She was a true authoress, a writer, not a scholar… and she was partially insane.

So begins my adventure into the writings of Virginia Woolf.

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The Help (a novel)

The premise of this book answers to the dilemma of civilization, which is one that is all too complicated to accomplish without some form of acceptance of all that is, along with a devout dedication to understanding, no matter what the barrier may be.

Characters aside (and there are many), the details come across as a series of very touchy subjects:

– civil rights in the deep south,

– children raised by caregivers, not parents,

– women in the workplace rather than volunteerism (or not);

– unhealthy white attitudes of distinction leading to degradation of family values,

– etc.

It’s a funny book, written in a light-hearted, flippant manner… which is good, except that I was then not prepared for the introduction of the classic and devastating blows delivered through hatred. I felt the author was writing from an ‘idea’ of health and healing, reaching toward a place for personal wellness. For me, though, I felt heartsick on occasion, and that the writing was sugar-coating the issues for dramatic-effect and Hollywood attraction.

Still, it was a worthy-read.

I found it interesting that the author provided levity in the character of Celia Foote. She being the sore thumb of the project, the town floozy in pink sequins. She gives the reader relief from the sympathetic guilt of involvement. Celia is the nod to the little white girl’s dream of the enchanted life. The Cinderella, relieved of burden by the much-sought prince. She delivers the message of moral, that this story is the same. Although the fairy tale may exist, the ugly step-sisters continue to ruin your day.

Skeeter (I woulda stuck with Eugenia, myself), is the other questionably moralistic primary character. She wrote the book on integration, and also on self-control. She seems the guilty conscience of this book’s theoretical viewpoint.

Page 325, « …a special round of applause for the help. » Words that resounded, « help » apparently meaning service, not assistance, at least in this instance.

Help, is the question, not a good answer. Help provides support to the needy, indifference to the wicked. (You should learn something from a book.)

Happy reading!

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Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits

Written as a legend, I read this story describing lives interwoven and driven to betterment in better conditions in a better place than this.

The author writes as if she is standing in the space between cultural and educational oppression, and the place from within a life that drives us to succeed or to find ambition. This was written from the point of view of the better life a life could seek, a literal point of view, as if she may be standing in the center watching lives as they might change should opportunity be made an option.

Not realizing the significance of difference within cultures, and more to the point, the culture which this book seems to seek to illuminate, I read this with difficulty. Not difficulty in finding the story, but difficulty in depicting relevant images in my head. One description in which, what I would describe as a main character, Aziz returning to his homeland, drove this concept home for me. He returns after five difficult years, and a treacherous journey, to his family, his wife and aging mother. This characterization for me, would involve overwhelming warmth and thankfulness, and this would be easily written and read if I had been able to picture the nuance of these interpersonal signals. The strangeness was obvious in this one scene, since I could feel the author’s suggestion, but could not grasp the visual sensation at all.

This lead me to an awakening of my own, though I have no ability to draw the emotion which springs from this culture’s adversity, we all suffer similar and basic conditions in this life, as lived on this Earth…

– money

– desire or restraint

– acceptance of a faith, guidance, or direction

– art (the creativity allowed by God)

It was a good book. A quick read. A delicate understanding.

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Inside Coca-Cola

I read this book thinking it would be a learning experience. Reading provides a way to know an author. This is a book written as a tribute to a life’s ambition, and also, it is a work providing world’s history through the eyes of an American icon, as led by one man.

CEO. It’s not a word, it’s a position within a company, and it can mean many things to many people. This culture in America tends to trivialize words, especially those which can be translated or understood in differing ways. CEO, surprisingly, is not one our culture allows to be ‘used,’ effectively creating a realm or figurehead for a company’s guidance. It is a company’s corporate seat of authority. This position is an establishment for a term and gives guidance according to the dictates and philosophies of the one individual at this one point in time.

Neville Isdell, the author, is the Irish-born Rugby enthusiast, and the professional realist. Though empathetic to the plight of the socially indifferent, he sees beyond local issues, creating worlds of hope and encouragement through peaceful work environments for those under his authority, and with a no-nonsense approach to consolidation of bottling services and corporate finance, he guides by example.

« When God created the world, he created Coke number one and Pepsi number two, » and God proclaims destiny.

The author’s stories are broad in scope. Taking lessons away from every encounter, he leaves his career and the details to destiny and divine inspiration. Throughout his career as told through these relationship encounters, he steps into every challenge he is asked to acknowledge. His philosophy seeming to be « who better to take this on » and knowing that others saw his potential, progress was instigated through request, « other people saw more in me than I saw in myself. » Every story, every encounter, becomes a life lesson, « never be frightened by conflict, » and in the hope that one should attempt peaceful reconciliation, « find a good, honest solution that is pragmatic, not bullheaded. » He tells his tales with conviction and inherent pride.

I read this book thinking it would be a learning experience. It was epic.

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