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52 Book Challenge

2011.01.01 18:54 52 Book Challenge

A subreddit for the participants of the 52 Book Challenge (one book per week for a year) to discuss their progress and discoveries.
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2010.09.01 15:51 snowyday Goodreads - For readers

Subreddit for information regarding the goodreads website and how it is used. We also promote goodreads friends and other activities on the goodreads website.
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2008.07.29 23:31 Reddit Fantasy

/Fantasy is the internet's largest discussion forum for the greater Speculative Fiction genre. We welcome respectful dialogue related to speculative fiction in literature, games, film, and the wider world.
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2020.10.26 17:02 thinkcubed The Informal Sublime: on the importance of informal processes in architecture and beyond.

The Informal Sublime: on the importance of informal processes in architecture and beyond.
I have a special relationship with informality. My childhood home surreptitiously grew along with me. My family's living space doubled in a matter of months when I was 12. After the fall of the communist regime, the partizani neighborhood as it was colloquially known, was transformed from a meticulously planned high-modernist block, to a novel form of urban bricolage.
Apartment and neighborhood morphing in Tirana
Similar changes happened all over Tirana’s districts. Ground-floor windows became doors; apartments morphed into family-owned coffeeshops. Moreover, rising quality of life brought individual retrofits to the existing apartments: satellite dishes, AC units and water deposits became novel symbols of capitalism. Architects tried to camouflage this “breakdown of order” while the streets gradually digested change with expensive shopping avenues growing out of communist ground-floor apartments.
satellite dishes, ac units & water deposits in post-1990s Eastern Europe
From this perspective, informality is constant, encroaching entropy to formal design. It wages a constant war of attrition towards abstraction. Akin to Chinese water torture, Euclidian formality can disappear within a generation as a consequence of slow but repetitive degradation. Whether its a shrub peeking through a concrete crack, a pothole, or the first broken window in a dilapidating building, there can be no rational design without persistent maintenance.
In The World Without Us, Alan Weisman describes a possible future in which humans have disappeared. Slowly, but steadily, wilderness reclaims our infrastructure, erodes our buildings and erases our presence. Weisman illustrates how our sense of timelessness can be demolished by cutting an eighteen inch-square hole into a roof and simply standing back; waiting for nature to take its course. In a matter of years, the building will have transformed into a shell, a vehicle for Gaia.
Chernobyl
Institutional order and rigidity have their informal enemies in corruption and inefficiency. To keep this in check we have invented bureaucracies and procedure; but even after tens of thousands of years of trying, we have not been able to iron out informal challenges to formal order. Professor James Scott explains how all systems have inherent informal processes. Whenever authority attempts to render complex society more legible through formalization, informality goes underground but it certainly does not disappear. On the contrary - it’s the institutions that run the risk of breakdown if they do not recognize the power of informality. CIA’s forerunner, instructs in its 1944 Simple Sabotage Field Manual how agents can interfere in organizations to undermine production. The first and most important rule from the manual in essence states that overt bureaucracy can easily muddle the waters:
Insist on doing everything through "channels." Never permit shortcuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.

Fragment from Strategic Services Sabotage Field Manual
This artificial form of entropy is similar to work-to-rule strikes - being thoroughly procedural can make every system fail: it's a strategy sometimes used by unions in order to gridlock systems through absolute compliance. Informality is the lubricant to a well designed engine - regardless of manufacturing precision, pistons will grind to a halt when not properly oiled.
Ultimately, informality is intrinsic redundancy - the more redundant a system is, the less it is prone to fail completely. Cities can engage in low-risk high-reward behavior through informality. They can explore potentially successful niches at low cost, while exploiting what is already abundant. Fashion brand executives look at the informal market for validation: if a product is not being plagiarized it’s not working well enough. This is akin to scout bees that switch out of group behavior in order to research new sources of food. Failing to recognize the importance of informal processes only renders formalizing attempts more futile than they already are; it speeds up eventual entropy.
Originally posted on thinkthinkthink a newsletter on cities, science and complexity.
submitted by thinkcubed to architecture [link] [comments]


2020.10.26 16:46 PACREG86 💖I Need a Hero...Alpha, Beta...Gamma? 👤

💖🎵🎵
I need a hero
I'm holdin' out for a hero 'til the morning light
He's gotta be sure
And it's gotta be soon
And he's gotta be larger than life
Larger than life…
Bonnie Tyler’s Holding out For a Hero…(so much OTT 1980’s camp, I just had to link it!!)
Songwriters: Dean Pitchford/Jim Steinman
We just had the awesome bracket tournament where we voted for our favorite heroes and heroines...thanks again to u/canquilt and u/failedsoapopera for all the work on that!! And, no surprise, as a sub, our favorite hero is Fitzwilliam Darcy from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
And one of my favorite posts since I have been here at dear ole RomanceBooks is u/Hrylla ‘s fabulous Himbo, Jock, Cinnamon Roll exposition. Brilliant...and useful for us to have communal definitions of archetypes as we share and rec books.
However, I realized as I tend to read predominately HR, that the Himbo, Jock and Cinnamon Roll definitions really relate best to modern Contemporary heroes and it is harder to squeeze historical heroes into those parameters...not to say that you can’t find a true Himbo or Cinnamon Roll in HR and there is definitely some overlap/similarities between Jocks and Alphas as well as Betas and Cinnamon Rolls…
But they don’t always line up and more often than not it seems we tend to use just Alpha or Beta to describe these historical heroes...which just wasn’t working for me because honestly Darcy is aloof and in-charge like an Alpha, but sensitive like a Beta...so I went hunting, did some research...and sure enough I had been missing something…
The Gamma hero...gah...how have I missed this until now??!! I have been reading romance as a genre exclusively for almost a year...and it took me this long to find the Gamma. So here I offer the fruits of my labour...to add to u/Hrylla ’s archetypes.
First, to recap Hyrlla’s definitions:
Jocks:
Himbos:
Cinnamon Rolls:
Alphas1:
According to author Suzanne Brockman, “alpha males: strong, tough, stubborn and complicated in ways that mystify the more logical female brain.”2
So let’s start there:
When Alphas fall in love...they fall so hard!
Now I don’t feel the need to discuss the Alpha-holes...those characters that take these characteristics over the top into asshole territory. They are there, and for many readers they are very appealing...and that’s cool...maybe not your cup of tea...but something here for everyone!!
Examples of HR Alpha heroes include:
basically all of Garwood’s medieval heroes are Alphas...and for that matter if you are in Scotland with the Chief or Laird as the hero, odds are he is an Alpha.
Likewise for Dukes...if your hero is a Duke, he might well be an Alpha.
Also lots of Alpha characters in Fantasy and Paranormal romance...and of course in CR as well...there are entire sub-genres of Billionaire and Bil/Doms that have this archetype.
Betas3:
An important Beta characteristic, according to Sarah Wendell of SBTB, is that Betas are, “...emotionally fluent and able to handle what happens when they meet someone that they're really interested in."4 These are the guys that hetero-women want to be with in real life.
And according to author Talia Hibbert: “Reading a beta hero is like finding a unicorn: a man who wants to give you many orgasms, but doesn’t want to conquer you.5 Well, no wonder a good Beta book boyfriend is so popular these days!!
examples of HR Beta heroes include:
Gammas:
Ok, so doesn’t that cover everything, between the Alphas and the Betas?? Well, I kept feeling like I was reading these strong, uber-masculine warrior characters that seemed like Alphas, but had more depth...more sensitivity...they were doing things that wouldn’t have surprised me from a Beta, like adopting half-starved orphans...and not immediately de-flowering virgins just because they wanted them...they showed restraint...they were thinking about how their actions could affect their love interest. hmm...so I went looking and I found the Gamma...a hybrid hero with characteristics of both Alphas and Betas...hello!!
So how can you tell if your hero is an Alpha or a more progressive Gamma?:
I don't think just one of these a Gamma makes, but if you answered yes to several of these, but not necessarily all, you might have a Gamma.
I couldn’t find any lists of Gamma heroes...so I would like to nominate some I think might be Gammas:
What do you think?
Do you have any favorite heroes you think might actually be Gammas?
Do you want to share a few of your favorite Alpha or Beta heroes? go ahead!
***************************************************************************************Sources:
1 Alpha Sources: https://frolic.media/alpha-versus-beta-who-runs-mf-romance/
2 : https://allaboutromance.com/author-suzanne-brockmann-on-alpha-heroes/
3 Beta Sources: https://bookriot.com/romance-101-beta-heroes/
4 https://www.npr.org/2015/06/27/417775406/alpha-beta-heathcliff-an-alphabet-of-romance-heroes
5 https://frolic.media/alpha-versus-beta-who-runs-mf-romance/
6 Gamma Sources: https://allaboutromance.com/at-the-back-fence-issue-168/
submitted by PACREG86 to RomanceBooks [link] [comments]


2020.10.26 16:30 gh-ul Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes [217] ya fiction

From the goodreads page:
Sometimes life can change in an instant. Martha Doyle and olive Barstow could have been friends, but they weren’t. Weeks after a tragic accident, all that is left are eerie connections between the two girls, former classmates who kept the same secret without knowing it. Now, even while on vacation at the ocean, Martha can’t stop thinking about olive.things only get more complicated when Martha begins to like jimmy Manning, the neighbor boy she used to despise...
submitted by gh-ul to BookInASitting [link] [comments]


2020.10.26 15:43 wthman214 The book dark Eden by chris Beckett has managed to pique my interest and I'm looking to read and discuss it with someone

I'm looking to start a new book and would love to find someone with whom I can read and discuss it.
The book is called the dark Eden by Chris Beckett. I'll post the Goodreads link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18166988-dark-eden
If you find yourself interested in doing this with me please leave me a message
Thank you and have a great day
submitted by wthman214 to Book_Buddies [link] [comments]


2020.10.26 15:43 spillman777 November Book Club Nominations

Hello fellow sci-fi lovers!
It is that time of the month where we take nominations for the next month's book club selection. Here is a quick refresher on the guidelines:
November's Theme: Utopian Sci-Fi - So we can feel hopeful about the world we currently live in.
Not sure what utopian sci-fi is? Think the opposite of dystopian sci-fi, ala 1984. A setting in which, aside from whatever the drama the plot is dealing with, would be a nice place to live. Like Peter F. Hamilton's Commonwealth Universe, or the Federation of Star Trek.
The winner is whoever has the most votes as of whenever I get around to looking on November 1.
Good luck, maybe your nomination will be chosen!
submitted by spillman777 to printSF [link] [comments]


2020.10.26 15:36 Late-Replacement3192 Recomendaciones de libros para comprender el gobierno de Evo

En Bolivia es difícil comprar libros. No hay muchas editoras y casi no se encuentra libros en cualquier lugar. Hay libros de literatura y historia muy buenos, pero casi imposible de pillar. Pero aquí les quiero recomendar algunos para que puedan comprender las razones y motivaciones del gobierno de Evo.
Las venas abiertas de América Latina - Eduardo Galeano
Las venas abiertas de América Latina es un libro publicado en 1971 por el escritor uruguayo Eduardo Galeano. En la obra, el autor opina sobre la historia de América Latina y su victimismo, de modo global desde la colonización hasta la América Latina contemporánea, argumentando con crónicas y narraciones el constante saqueo de los recursos naturales de la región por parte de los imperios coloniales, entre los siglos XVI y XIX, y los Estados imperialistas, como el Reino Unido y los Estados Unidos principalmente, desde el siglo XIX en adelante. La obra recibió mención honorífica del Premio Casa de las Américas.
https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Las_venas_abiertas_de_Am%C3%A9rica_Latina
Mi Vida. De Orinoca al Palacio Quemado - Evo Morales Ayma
La lectura de "Mi vida. De Orinaca al Palacio", es obligatoria si se quiere comprender la vida de miles de niños y adolescentes del altiplano que día a día luchan por mejores dias y de campesinos que asumieron como una forma de vida pelear por el respeto a nuestros recursos naturales, a nuestras costumbres, cultura, dignidad y soberanía. Y, por supuesto, si se quiere comprender la Bolivia de hoy.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23121504-mi-vida-de-orinoca-al-palacio-quemado
Volveremos y seremos millones: El golpe de Estado, el exilio y la lucha para que Bolivia vuelva a gobernarse - Evo Morales Ayma
A mediados de noviembre de 2019, un golpe de Estado conmovió a América Latina y al mundo. Evo Morales había renunciado por el acuartelamiento de la Policía y la presión de las Fuerzas Armadas. Caía el Presidente democrático que gobernó Bolivia por más tiempo y con él concluía el ciclo de mayor prosperidad económica y social que conoció el país en doscientos años de historia. Este libro es un extraordinario testimonio histórico. Evo Morales narra y deja al descubierto la anatomía de un golpe de Estado: el ajedrez político interno y la insurrección de fuerzas y grupos que veían su poder menoscabado por los éxitos del socialismo en el gobierno, la injerencia de los Estados Unidos, los detalles desconocidos sobre cómo salió de su país primero hacia México y después a la Argentina ante el riesgo cierto e inminente de un magnicidio y la solidaridad de líderes continentales como los presidentes Andrés Manuel López Obrador y Alberto Fernández. Según la tradición de la mejor historia oral andina, Morales encuentra en su estricta y prolongada cuarentena bonaerense el tiempo para pensar sus casi catorce años como presidente del Estado Plurinacional sin desligarlos ni de sus recuerdos de infancia, que van y vuelven en su narrativa, ni de los tiempos pioneros de dirigente sindical. Lejos de la nostalgia por un tiempo que ya no se repetirá, Volveremos y seremos millones tiene la potencia de quien vive a diario la lucha política de Bolivia y dedica sus mayores esfuerzos para terminar con el gobierno de facto y hacer suyas, y las de millones de bolivianos y bolivianas, las palabras del líder aymará Tupac Katari descuartizado por los terratenientes blancos: “Volveré y seré millones”.
https://www.casadellibro.com/ebook-volveremos-y-seremos-millones-ebook/9789878318196/11756858
BOLIVIA 1982-2006 DEMOCRACIA - Carlos D. Mesa Gisbert
Un libro que describe los acontecimientos mas importantes en la vida democratica a partir de 1982
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36609869-bolivia-1982-2006-democracia?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=u1xrI1Nx9n&rank=4
Diario del Che en Bolivia - Ernesto Che Guevara
El Diario del Che en Bolivia es un documento excepcional en la historia de nuestro país y del mundo, no solo por quién fue su autor, ni porque en él se relatan los últimos meses de vida de esa figura legendaria para la izquierda internacional, sino sobre todo porque en este libro el Che nos narra los avatares cotidianos de la guerrilla. Gracias al Diario se consigue penetrar en el mundo del jefe guerrillero, el hombre que renunció a todo, incluida su propia vida, en aras de un continente liberado y con justicia social. Es, de igual manera, un diario de campaña, militar, operativo, logístico, que se emparenta con otros diarios célebres de tantos guerreros, exploradores y viajeros solitarios de la aventura humana.
https://www.bbb.gob.bo/publicaciones/diario-del-che-bolivia/
Raza de bronce - Alcides Arguedas
Con Raza de bronce (1919), Alcides Arguedas inició la corriente literaria denominada «neoindigenismo», que retrata la realidad social, política, económica y cultural de los pueblos originarios de América Latina. La intención del autor es plasmar el dilema y enfrentamiento de las identidades y sociedades caracterizadas por la heterogeneidad cultural. Con un trasfondo de evidente denuncia social, Raza de bronce es una de las primeras novelas latinoamericanas que narra la vida de los indígenas del altiplano de Bolivia. El destacado hispanista Ernest Martinenche, profesor de la Sorbona, nos comenta de Raza de bronce: «Los tipos que viven o vegetan sobre esta tierra, ya fecunda, ya ingrata, parecen pintados con no menor justeza: poco a poco entramos en sus miserables moradas, en sus supersticiones. Los hechos solos hablan en su impasible lenguaje, más exasperante que las protestas más violentas
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1073128.Raza_de_bronce
Whispering in the Giant's Ear: A Frontline Chronicle from Bolivia's War on Globalization - William Powers
Long the obscure "Tibet of South America", Bolivia emerged as a world flashpoint during the four years William Powers lived there as an aid worker. CNN and the New York Times have shown images of Aymara women in bowler hats standing down tanks; citizen protests have ousted multinationals and two pro-globalization presidents. In Whispering in the Giant's Ear, Powers brings alive the recent struggles of the Bolivian people. When he arrives in the rainforest, he meets an extraordinary Chiquitano Indian named Salvador who is fighting the extinction of his people. At the same time, the clock ticks for three multinational energy companies forced to curb the global warming. Both goals depend upon the survival of a stretch of pristine jungle. But as Indians and oil giants join to launch the world's largest Kyoto project - using forests to absorb dangerous planetary greenhouse gasses - Salvador's life is threatened by loggers collaborating with a racist Bolivian oligarchy. The quest for a single rainforest is subsumed in a movement of national liberation. Whispering in the Giant's Ear goes beneath the headlines, gracefully weaving memoir, travel, history, and reportage into an unforgettable chronicle of a "poor little rich country" attempting to engage the world without losing its soul.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/920850.Whispering_in_the_Giant_s_Ear
Seguramente hay muchos otros. Pueden sugerir más. Claramente los libros que sugerí aquí tienen tendencia socialista. Pero no hay problema algún en sugerir otros. Hasta mejor para entender las visiones de los dos lados.
submitted by Late-Replacement3192 to BOLIVIA [link] [comments]


2020.10.26 15:22 Olramllits Vocabulary and rhetorical questions

I just want to say I’m impressed with the author’s use of vocabulary in the series. I’ve learned a lot of new words 😂 I wonder how she writes these books so fast; not only the Harley series, but all the others, as well. Seems like A LOT of books for one person to be able to finish with any substance to them. —just looked it up out of curiosity and Goodreads says she has written 173 books 😳 And I also read she has ghostwriters, although that was in just 1 review.
submitted by Olramllits to HarleyMerlin [link] [comments]


2020.10.26 15:00 RobJHayes Self Published Fantasy Releases – November 2020

Self Published Fantasy Releases – November 2020
You can find the original post, complete with all the shiny covers, here.
https://preview.redd.it/fk6b09pe3gv51.jpg?width=3048&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=87bd001e7f52203ec6d6b5c656a01e33b4f7d2c7
If you would like to be kept up to date with the upcoming lists, please subscribe to my newsletter by clicking this link. I don’t send out letters too often, pretty much once a month when this list goes out… and occasionally if I release a book or something.
As always, this is not a comprehensive list, but only includes all the books I have heard about so far.
If you have a fantasy novel you are self publishing in November or beyond, let me know either in the comments, or by emailing me, and I shall add it to the page. There are but 3 requirements:
  1. It must be a self published fantasy novel.
  2. It must have a Goodreads page.
  3. It must have a cover.
--

27th October – Flesh Eater (Houndstooth #1) by Travis M. Riddle

Branded as a Flesh Eater, Coal is on the run from Palace Stingers: soldiers tasked with tracking down those who have consumed flesh and locking them away in specialized prisons.
After a year of avoiding capture and struggling to scrape by working odd jobs for a local crime lord, Coal is growing desperate. He learns of someone in the city’s underbelly who can erase his record, but her services don’t come cheap.
Seeing no other option, he enters a spiderback race with a grand prize valuable enough to pay for his fresh start. But he’s not the only one after the prize, and Coal is about to find out exactly how far he’s willing to go to win.
Check it out on Goodreads.
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29th October – A World Broken (Chronicles of the Lady Sar #1) by Carol A. Park

In every end, there is a beginning…
The five races of Erets have lived in one accord since the inception of the world. But now, the seeds of hostility are growing due to a dispute over an innocuous plant, and three people find themselves entangled in affairs they would have once found unbelievable.
An advocate—trained to promote mutual understanding between the races—must confront the unimaginable prospect that peace is out of reach.
A priest—one who refuses to bend the knee to the gods he serves—finds that the only vow to those gods he has made might be harder to keep than he expects.
And a seeker—a gentle warrior sent to uncover the truth behind an unthinkable murder—stumbles into a labyrinth of lies that could shatter the world.
These three must save the world that they know.
But are they already too late?
Check it out on Goodreads.
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30th October – A Vow that Clashes (Voice that Thunders #4) by Cully Mack

When a vow demands sacrifice, who will pay the price?
Far behind Gabe is his innocence, destroyed when a Watcher slaughtered his clan. Now considered a chosen one, Gabe strives to understand his magic and his calling. He desires nothing more than to find his sister but is besieged by hybrid abominations intent on extinguishing mortal life, his most of all.
His allies: a cunning thief, an Immortal, and a Fire Wielder stand fast with those seeking sanctuary underground. It’s a trap. The god of deep mines and solver of secrets is coming… A perilous maze of tunnels, their sole hope of escape.
As vows and destiny collide, Gabe faces a devastating choice: abandon the people and his allies or forsake his beloved sister.The fate of the world rests on his decision, for the Watchers know a greater adversary approaches, a possessor of flesh. The clash between darkness and light has never been more dreadful.
Check it out on Goodreads.
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30th October – Sins of the Angels (Armageddon’s Offspring #2) by Philip Dickens

PUBERTY IS ENOUGH OF A PAIN WHEN YOU DON’T GROW WINGS.
The feathered wings on Piralel’s back mark her out as a nephilim. Her father is human, albeit one who has lived an unusually long life, but her mother is an archangel.
She has grown used to the stares that her unusual appearance brings, but not everyone paying her attention is content just to stare.
When Piralael is kidnapped, her family and friends face a race against time to find out who is behind it, and to get her back.
But there are others also racing to free the nephilim, for very different reasons. And all of them must contend with the murderous fanatics in red cloaks.
Check it out on Goodreads.
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31st October – The Devil’s Day (Lucky Devil #3) by Megan Mackie

You can always find help at the Lucky Devil.
Rune Leveau—emerging Talent and one-time corporate prisoner—knew that better than anyone. She’d rebuilt her life at the Lucky Devil bar, with her Aunt Maddie’s help. Now, in her aunt’s memory, Rune continues that legacy.
But when it is time for the Devil to collect his due, Rune could lose it all…
With the days counting down until she must defend her claim to the House of Magdalene—including the bar—Rune and her partner, the cyber-spy St. Benedict, hunt for a way to defeat her challenger, the fire Talent, Abraxas. Instead, they uncover long-kept secrets. But do they hold the key?
No matter what, the Devil will have its Day…
Check it out on Goodreads.
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1st November – A Ballad of Faith and Blood: Part One by Andrew William Tinney

Kith Thorn is the greatest bard who ever lived. From the northern mountains of High Haven to the sweeping plains of the Southland, Kith captivates audiences large and small.He is also cursed with ill luck. Misfortune, poverty, and disaster plague him wherever he goes.Bound to the dreadful Sir Drasten Vo Karroc and the pious Sister Ayda, Kith finds himself swept off to the crusades, a player in an altogether different ballad; one of faith and of blood
Check it out on Goodreads.
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2nd November – A Hero’s Welcome (Heroes of Troy #2) by Daniel Kelly

TROY HAS FALLEN
The greatest city on earth has been reduced to a pile of smoldering ash, but the cost has been high. The fabled king Priam with the last remnant of the city, knowing all hope of survival is gone, sacrifice themselves in a last act of defiance to destroy the greek army.His once mighty army destroyed, his alliances in ruins.Agamemnon crawls for the safety of his fortress walls of Mycaenea well aware that enemies will smell blood in the water.But after ten years at war, who could you trust to keep your throne safe?
Running for their very lives, the refugees of Troy search the sea’s of the Mediterranean for refugee led by Aeneas. Somewhere they can survive, in the hope of one day bringing vengence to their home.
Check it out on Goodreads.
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2nd November – Fading Lights by Ryan D Gebhart

As the Lucillian Alliance crumbles and Ramiel’s prison weakens, the Erynien Empire’s supporters’ true loyalties are revealed. Yet even with the scales of power shifting, all is not lost, Myrium still stands, legends awake, and a Phaedryn soars through the skies for the first time in fifteen hundred years. Devlyn must reconcile his identity and his place in the world to fulfill the prophecy spoken by Lucillia.
Check it out on Goodreads.
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7th November – Ire of the Outsider: Dream One Book 2 by Alno Highking

‘To think that a savior cannot be evil is a lie. Our Zaeva sleeps at the peak of both mountains. The Void of Faegor and The Life it was born from.’
The deal between kings has been made, despite clashing ideals. Allowing Alqon to enter Asidra, the mortal realm of Sela with nothing but a empty stomach, a grasp of life and a chance…
Sela’s realms are not identical to the golden limbs of Faegor he is used to. Asidra burns black with human ambition. From the endless clash of power in the world of magics to the years of devastation war has brought to Nyrem, in one way or another Asidra has known only ambition and death. Today is no different.
In Qethran, the mightiest of lands in magic, the Seven Foundations rumble with a inevitable clash of magic’s elite before the new generation’s time comes. In the Blood Continent, all revolve around the coming steps the Lion will make to avoid becoming the next to fall and be devoured as his new border. And In the Isles, an outsider’s steps appear and is noticed as he reclaims his footing in a new world overflowing with life before his hunt begins.
Check it out on Goodreads.
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8th October – Star Eater by Alno Highking

Five thousand years prior, Lalu The Cursed terrorized the universe with power stars had never seen before and still to this day, he was unstoppable. Every planet he stepped foot on was reduced to nothing, and its people by eras.
It was not until The First Alliance was born that his wrath could be challenged. That was not until the first half of the twelve stars was devoured, and the second to come. At the center is where the final battle was held. And in part to all that remained, the stars were allowed to continue to shine.
That was the story of Lalu The Cursed. A story among many we have truly forgotten.
Now, we are more alien to one another than ever before. Throughout the wars and greed and secrets, the official star powers and those who stand unnamed as their equals, the politicians, the syndicates fueled by blood, the syndicates fueled by peace, the average man’s regrets, and woman’s flaws, throughout it all… we are lost. So terribly lost.
And out there, somewhere out there the forgotten also remain. Far greater than the mighty of today, different than how we will remember. And they will return.
Check it out on Goodreads.
--

12th November – The Weeping Sigil (Dreadbound Ode #2) by Jordan Loyal Short

Adrift in the void, Henrik’s rescue is only a prelude to slavery.
But his new life on Tyria is not at all what he expected. When the illustrious House of Quoll purchases him, Henrik finds himself living in the home of his old enemy, Prefect Brasca Quoll. Desperate to hide the truth of his last days on Heimir, Henrik dives into the murderous game of Tyrianite politics. Devastated by the catastrophe on the Norn homeworld, the Federation teeters on the brink of civil war.
While the Shining Ones maneuver their champions for the final confrontation, Henrik’s fevered visions unveil the scope of Moriigo’s nightmarish rebellion.
Aboard a stolen voidcraft, Brohr and Lyssa hurtle into the depths of the starry abyss, on a desperate exodus in search of safe haven. But the outer reaches of the system are full of strange worlds, haunted ruins, and bizarre cults.
As anarchy grips the streets of Tyria, Henrik vows to reveal the true peril facing the Federation: Moriigo’s return! While rival electors, assassins, and federal inquisitors plot the downfall of House Quoll, Henrik must bind himself to the future of his onetime enemies, lest the horrors of his prophetic visions come to pass!
Check it out on Goodreads.
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13th November – Oh Wretched Moon by Kate Ramsey

They were never supposed to meet.
Stolen at birth and brought up underground, Luna knows nothing but darkness and isolation. When disaster drives her out of the only home she knows, she stumbles into a world of wonders. But monstrous creatures lurk in corridors—and then there’s the mysterious stranger who disappears when danger strikes.
Raised by a witch, Aethon has been taught to worship strength and fear nothing. When a hunting expedition keeps him out past curfew, he finally encounters a threat his courage cannot face. With the help of a strange girl he survives the harrowing night, but his life has already begun to crumble.
As opposite worlds collide, they will need to rely upon each other to find freedom. But which is more dangerous: captivity or escape?
Check it out on Goodreads.
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14th November – Finding Your Harpy Place (Tales of Arvia #2) by D.H. Willison

Life is a journey. On Arvia, it’s a perilous one.
Darin, a human of extraordinary unimpressiveness, astounded observers by surviving his first year on the mythical world of Arvia. His training and equipment may be questionable, but at least his best friend, Rinloh, an accident-prone harpy the size of a three-story building, is willing to lend a hand. Or a wing. Yet when an ancient magic artifact leaves a trail of chaos in its wake, it’s no longer just the giant mythical monsters he has to worry about.
Rinloh, a harpy whose unbridled enthusiasm leads to the occasional sundry destruction, charges into things talons first. Her curiosity is as insatiable as her flockmate’s appetite for human flesh, yet she can’t protect Darin from them until she becomes full-fledged. Regrettably, the test is a human hunt.
A distant forest may hold answers to both quests, yet who dares venture where even harpies fear tread?
Life is a journey. Sometimes the most important journeys are within.
Check it out on Goodreads.
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18th November – To Dream and Die as a Taniwha Girl (Yarnsworld #5) by Benedict Patrick

There is a price to pay for becoming a story.
Kaimana has defied the gods and won the freedom to spend the rest of her days travelling the collection of tropical islands she calls home.
But the people of the islands have taken notice of her.
They have started to tell her story; for many children, one of their favourite fireside tales is now that of the Taniwha Girl, the brave woman who befriends monsters.
Some islanders even pray to her.
The gods are displeased, but they are not the only ones paying attention to Kaimana’s rise to fame. On the borders of the island ring, an ancient demon – an old enemy of the Crescent Atoll – spreads its influence, and a spider-faced figure shadows Kaimana’s movements.
To secure her own safety, and that of her island home, Kaimana has to make a choice: turn her back on the people of the Crescent Atoll and continue enjoying the life she has won for herself, or give up all she holds dear to live up to the legend of the Taniwha Girl.
Check it out on Goodreads.
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21st November – A Season of Ravens by J.R. Snyder

Confronting werewolves, exploring haunted forests, calming angry spirits, and befriending ancient vampires.
These are just a few of the tasks that Asher Norwood and his raven partner Aethon find themselves doing on any given day.
Asher is a sin eater, a guild of mages that exists to combat dark magic wherever it rears its ugly head. Invoking the forces of nature to protect a society that looks down on him, Asher will stop at nothing to defeat the monsters that plague his world.
Check it out on Goodreads.
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2020.10.26 14:44 Claytemple_Media [Review] The Beginning Place by Ursula K. Le Guin

(The following review is a transcription from audio)

Recap

The Beginning Place is a cross-over story. That is, the story begins in our world and our principal characters are from our world – they’re people like us, but they are going to cross over into another world.
Before we get to that world and the adventures to be had there, we need to meet our characters. And The Beginning Place is principally a character study – it’s richness and beauty lies in exploring these characters – these very mundane characters – more than in exploring the fantasy world.
In our first chapter we meet Hugh Rogers: twenty years old, lives with his mother on the outskirts of a small American city, and works as a cashier at a grocery store. But this is not the life that Hugh wants. He dreams of going to college and becoming a librarian, but that’s not possible because his mother is opposed to it. And we quickly learn that although at first glance Hugh seems like a case of failure to launch, the reality is that he is stuck in place because his mother won’t let go of him – she’s emotionally dependent on him. Hugh’s father left her when Hugh was a child, and she’s never recovered from that abandonment and she needs Hugh with her. And it’s a creepy and intense need – she demands that Hugh be home at night, which is why he can’t go to night school and become a librarian, and she criticizes any attempt he makes to be independent or even have an identity through a hobby or friends. Hugh’s mother is a heartbreaking character – she deserves our pity, and she needs … something in her life. She has moved her and Hugh around a lot, sometimes more than once a year, as she transfers jobs within the banking corporation she works for. And this constant displacement has clearly taken a toll on Hugh, who perhaps doesn’t even know how to make friends – it seems that his only friends are books, and that’s why he wants to be a librarian. But this is a clear indication that Hugh’s mother is afraid of stopping, of having to pause and confront herself. But as they’ve been in this community for a while, Hugh’s mother has actually begun to make friends herself and is spending more and more time getting into spiritualism with some co-workers – she’s going to seances and investigating her past life as an Egyptian priestess. In short, she’s found a new way to escape her reality, which is going to be the theme of this book.
Hugh, as well, is yearning for an escape. He daydreams a lot – about becoming a librarian, but also about buying a car. He doesn’t really need the money that he makes at the grocery store and while he doesn’t need a car, either, since he walks to work, he daydreams about the ability to drive around wherever he wants and even to live downtown and drive to work. These fantasies are non-specific – they aren’t about getting a car or getting a new job, they’re about freedom, they’re about escape.
One night Hugh’s mother goes out to one of her seances, leaving Hugh home alone to cook a frozen dinner and just sit without purpose. This is too much for Hugh. He has a panic attack and he runs out of the house. As with any Le Guin book, there is tremendous pleasure in the beauty of her prose, and so I just want to read this passage about Hugh’s panic attack, which is the inciting incident of the story.
“He got up again suddenly, dropping the bag of peanuts he had just opened. It was too much, the elephant feeding itself peanuts. He could feel his mouth hanging open, because he could not seem to get air into his lungs. His throat was closed off by something in it trying to get out. He stood there beside the armchair, his body trembling in a jerky way, and the thing in his throat came out in words. “I can’t, I can’t,” it said loudly.”
“Very frightened, in panic, he made for the front door, wrenched it open, got out of the house before the thing could go on talking. The hot, late sunlight glared on white rocks, carports, cars, walls, swings, television aerials. He stood there trembling, his jaw working: the thing was trying to force his jaw open and speak again. He broke and ran.”
“Right down Oak Valley Road, left onto Pine View Place, right again, he did not know, he could not read the signs. He did not run often or easily. His feet hit the ground hard, in heavy shocks. Cars, carports, houses blurred to a bright pounding blindness which, as he ran on, reddened and darkened. Words behind his eyes said “You are running out of daylight.” Air came acid into his throat and lungs, burning, his breath made the noise of tearing paper. The darkness thickened like blood. The jolt of his gait grew harder yet, he was running down, downhill. He tried to hold back, to slow down, feeling the world slide and crumble under his feet, a multiple lithe touch brush across his face. He saw or smelled leaves, dark leaves, branches, dirt, earth, leafmold, and through the hammer of his heart and breath heard a loud continual music. He took a few shaky, shuffling steps, went forward onto hands and knees, and then down, belly down full length on earth and rock at the edge of running water.”
I love this description of a panic attack, of the need to run away, the inability to read, the jumbling up of Hugh’s senses. When Hugh gets up from the edge of this stream it feels like waking up. He is in a beautiful place – a quiet place that feels good and free. He spends some time here before calming down and returning home. And he’s quite worried that his mother will have gotten home before him … but she hasn’t, and in fact no time at all passed while he was in this beautiful place. And of course we’re an audience who’s been here before, and so we know that Hugh has crossed over into another world, another realm where time behaves differently. Hugh eventually figures this out for himself, and he begins to go there every day, and eventually even takes to camping there, as he realizes that since time doesn’t seem to happen there he can live a double life: he can continue to meet his obligations to his mother and to his job and also have his escape, his freedom. But this chapter ends with Hugh returning to this place to find that something has changed. Someone has posted a sign that says “Keep Out.”
So, that’s Hugh Rogers, but he’s not our only principal character. Let’s meet Irene Pannis, now. Irene – or really, Irena, is what she goes by – is similarly disconnected from her world and yearns for someplace better. She is about the same age as Hugh, but she has a city job and a car and she doesn’t with her family, though she does live with roommates – a romantic couple who are in the process of breaking up. We’ve all been in a bad roommate situation, but this specific situation sounds terrible, and of course there is nothing Irena can do to stay out of the break-up, and the man even tries to play on her sympathies and get her to sleep with him, and even though she doesn’t fall for that, the woman accuses her of doing it anyway, and Irena just has to make a break. But this is really only the surface of her story.
Irena also feels stuck and trapped. Her father died when she was a young child and her other sibling, a brother, still an infant. There’s a parallel here with Hugh’s mother, of course, but Irena’s mother remarried and had a brood of children with her new husband. This guy is shiftless and does very little to provide for the family, but worse than that he’s physically abusive to Irena’s mother, and as Irena becomes an adult he even tries to have sex with her. Irena has moved out to escape this particular situation but at the same time she feels she has to stay close in order to protect her mother and her younger half-siblings.
Irena, too, is connected to the other world, and indeed she’s been visiting this place for several years and knows much more about it than Hugh does – or ever will. And it is through Irena’s story that we learn about this other world, so let’s turn our attention there now.
Time is different here, as we’ve already encountered, and indeed it is always twilight – though whether that is dawn or dusk is not clear. And while Hugh experiences this other world as a serene wilderness, there are people here and Irena knows them – has known them for years and even has an adoptive family here. There is a small town that she thinks of as Mountain Town where people are shepherds and they speak a strange but lyrical language that she has learned – though imperfectly. The town has two leaders. One of these Lord Horn, whom Irena thinks of as the aristocratic owner of this town – she envisions here a sort of high-medieval manorial system. And the other is Master Sark who is perhaps the mayor of the town but also seems to function as a kind of lore-master, and may have some religious function in the town.
Now, the relationship between Lord Horn and Master Sark isn’t explained or explored, and in some ways this is strange for Le Guin, who so often prioritizes social systems in her world-building, but this move works for me. For one, Irena isn’t equipped to understand this herself because of the language and other cultural barriers, and we never leave the head of Hugh and Irena in this book. But also this is something of a fairy story – and these people may even be fairies for all we know. This world needs to be mysterious and strange and even a little dangerous. And while this relationship – the political system – isn’t explored, we see these people at work and learn something of their lives, including how they deal with sleep and times of day in a world that is perpetually twilight, and this is all excellent.
This world is an escape for both Hugh and Irena, but while for Hugh it is an escape of seclusion – an escape from the clutches of his desperate mother; for Irena it is an escape from loneliness and the unwanted sexual advances of men. She has a family here – the couple who run the town’s inn. But she also has a relationship with Master Sark, with whom she is in love – though this love is not reciprocated. Indeed, this love, too, is something of a fantasy, a daydream, and it is going to be shattered shortly.
Of course Irena is protective of this world – it’s her world, she’s the only one with access to it. And so when she sees Hugh’s camping gear at the entrance – the beginning place – she posts that “Keep Out” sign. Their first encounter doesn’t go well, but Hugh is determined not to lose this place himself and they come to an arrangement. On top of this, the magical gate that leads here is behaving inconsistently. Hugh never has any trouble getting in, but he’s actually had some trouble getting out. The opposite is true for Irena – she can always leave, but getting back in has become increasingly difficult.
There are other changes as well. The people of Mountain Town are now trapped there and isolated. Although we never see other communities in this world, Irena knows that they exist and that Mountain Town depends on trade to survive – their a single-commodity agricultural community. But the road north that leads to those other communities is unpassable – not because of a rock slide or some other natural obstacle, but because of a mystical fear that causes any of the natives of this realm to collapse if they pass outside of the town limits. This is not the first time this has happened, either, and Master Sark seems to know what is going on but he won’t tell Irena what it is.
Hugh eventually makes his way to Mountain Town and Master Sark and Lord Horn believe that he is the solution to the problem. Irena is upset that her specialness here has been upstaged by the arrival of Hugh, but the people of Mountain Town need her to translate. And Hugh has fallen in love with the daughter of Lord Horn, and this is how Irena comes to realize that Master Sark has romantic designs on that same daughter – not for love, but because he wants to become Lord. And this smashes the magic for Irena. She had thought that she had found a place full of love and community, but it turns out that worldliness – greed and ambition and lust are present here, too, after all. And this gets worse when Hugh is sent off on a heroic adventure to solve the problem and Irena realizes that the people of Mountain Town new this problem would come and that they would need an outsider to solve it, and that they had been grooming her for this role.
But despite this feeling of betrayal, Irena decides to go with Hugh to help him – he doesn’t know how to get to the top of the mountain, where he has to do his heroism. And Hugh also doesn’t know what that heroism will be, but they’ve sent him off with a sword – and he’s a ridiculous figure with it. As they reach the top of the mountain they hear a horrible sound of some monster. Hugh discovers a giant rock with chains fixed to it, and he wonders what that is all about – and I’ll have more on that later. But the two of them soon see the monster, which Irena comes to think of as a dragon, and Le Guin deploys some awesome weird-fiction writing here when she describes this dragon, so I’m going to read a passage of it.
“The cold breath sighed out of the cave, and from the cold dark, wakened, came the huge voice, the gobbling howl. And the face that was no face, slit and eyeless, was lunging out, thrusting blind and white, groping down upon him.”
And they succeed. Hugh slays the dragon, but Irena is a help here, she is more than just a guide. For one, Hugh wanted to go into the dragon’s lair, but Irena was clever enough to draw the dragon out – this, I think, is wrapped up with the chains, so more on this later. More urgently, the dragon falls on Hugh and breaks his ribs, and Irena has to get him out from under it and then get them home.
And much of the book is devoted to their journey down the mountain. They don’t ever return to Mountain Town, so they don’t even really know if they’ve succeeded in helping the people there, but Hugh needs serious medical attention and so they have to get to the gate, and it is a difficult journey bushwhacking through the wilderness. And I have to say that this section reads a lot like Sam and Frodo walking through Mordor, and I really loved it. Along the way, Hugh and Irena fall in love.
When they escape and Hugh is taken to the hospital they make plans to live together and to be a romantic couple. And we are left with the understanding that although there was some magic at work in bringing them to Mountain Town to defeat this dragon, the real magic is that these two lonely and frightened people have found a way to live in this world, in our world – they’ve found something beautiful here among all of the petty and vile uglinesses of their lives.

Themes and Motifs

This is a rich book with several overlapping themes, and one that I emphasized in the recap is “escape and freedom” but in this section I want to focus on two different themes. The first is time, and in part I want to look at what Le Guin does here because I’ve just also done The Memory of Whiteness by Kim Stanley Robinson, in which time is a central theme of the story.
But in this book Le Guin is not interested in the philosophy and physics of time. Rather, she’s interested in how we interact with time, and she does this by contrasting our world with the twilight world. We see early on that time is something that oppresses Hugh – that he is trapped by the rhythm of his mother’s daily routine. She has precise daily habits and she has demands for what Hugh should be doing during those times, and of course he has his shifts at work, and so Hugh has no control over his own time. And, really, we might even say that the freedom Hugh finds in the other world is a freedom from time because the real world pauses for him while he’s there but also because there is no change in the other world. There’s a wonderful passage in which Hugh expresses this.
“When he came to a third big creek he stopped to have a swim, and after swimming decided to call it a day. He liked the phrase. It was perfectly accurate. He could take any piece of time he liked and call it a day; another span and call it a night, and sleep it through. He had never (he thought, sitting by the coals of his brushwood fire on the shore of the creek) experienced time before. He had let the clocks do it for him. Clocks were what kept thinks going, there on the other side; business hours, traffic lights, plane schedules, lovers’ meetings, summit meetings, world wars, there was no carrying on without clocks; all the same, clock time had about the same relation to unclock time as a two-by-four or a box of toothpicks has to a fir tree. Here there was no use asking, “What time is it?’ because there was nothing to answer for you, no sun saying “Noon” and no clock saying “Seven-thirty-eight and forty-two seconds.” You had to answer the question yourself and the answer was “Now.”
This is a gorgeous passage and it expresses the dream that we all have: to get rid of our stressors and external demands and just live in the now.
But there is a dark side to the physics – or maybe I should say metaphysics – of the other world. Time is how we mark change. Indeed, as we saw in the previous episode time is change – that’s how we know it’s happening. But the inhabitants of Mountain Town live in this perpetual twilight and there doesn’t seem to be weather and it’s not clear if there are seasons. We know that people are born and that they die and the Master seems to have access to historical records, but there is a sort of permanence to the structures and institutions of the community – and this is something of a trope in fantasy novels, of course. And while there’s a certain peace that can come from this, there is also a loss of now when all nows are essentially the same. Indeed, this works in Hugh’s favor because he experiences this as a change; but this world is bereft of the type of natural change that we experience. And it seems to me that the dragon itself seems like the price that people pay for this. We know that it – or something akin to it – appears sometimes, though not very often, and that it brings with it a crisis that has to be solved by outsiders. And I think we can see this as a metaphor for change imposing itself on this world that has otherwise escaped it.
Thinking about the dragon can lead us into the second theme I want to talk about which is genre expectations, and I think this is where the book really shines. The Beginning Place exists at the intersection of Fairy Tales and the Hero’s Journey – these are classic story genres that have existed for centuries and changed along with them, but they are also staples of the fantasy genre as a modern publishing category. The plot of the story really is a simplified – maybe a streamlined – hero’s journey, and we can break that down.
It begins with the our hero – in this case it’s Hugh – living his mundane life and then receiving a revelation. Early in the story Hugh acquires mystical wisdom, both in the form of learning about the other world through is own experiments and in learning about himself as he takes more and more decisive action. He gathers allies – in this case one ally in the form of Irena, who has special knowledge about this place and is instrumental in resolving the plot. And he receives the call to action from the townspeople, though he doesn’t understand what the object of that action is or how to resolve the conflict. Hugh even vacillates – though Irena does more so – and this is the classic resisting the call to action. In the end he accomplishes his task in large part because of his ally and his new wisdom about himself. And that’s a hero’s journey.
But Le Guin defies our expectations – the expectations that we have for how this will work in a modern fantasy story. The story has three acts, as they so often do, but Le Guin plays with the breaks between these acts. In most of our hero’s journeys the call to action comes early in the story, at the break between the first and second act. We can look at Luke Skywalker for here – there’s the call to action in Ben Kenobi’s hut, which he resists until he discovers that his family has been killed, and then he answers the call. And this is the break between the first and second acts. After this, the hero encounters setbacks and obstacles, and overcoming one of these will typically be the break between acts two and three.
But in The Beginning Place, the call to action only happens at the end of the book – it’s the break between the second and third acts. In fact, we could almost say that the hero’s journey takes place entirely in the third act – and this really defies our expectations and I think can make some readers uncomfortable – we’ll talk more about that in the next segment. On top of this, Hugh and Irena never complete the journey – at least in some sense. The hero’s journey requires a return, but they decide not to go back to Mountain Town and receive their hero’s welcome, and this also denies us the clear indication that they’ve actually accomplished the heroic task. We never see the result of slaying the dragon – and for all we know that wasn’t what the people wanted and they’ve all died because Hugh and Irena left (though I don’t actually think that’s the case).
Instead, the hero’s return in this story is really their return to the real world and their decision to live in it, to let go of their obligations to people who won’t even accept their help. And this happens because although we’ve gotten this hero’s journey at the end, Le Guin has actually been telling us a fairy story the entire time. The classic fairy story is about a person crossing over into this magical realm and being changed by experiences there and then returning to the real world to live out their days. That’s what we find in the earliest expressions of this form in the Middle Ages and it’s what Le Guin gives us here. The hero’s journey is only a story within the fairy story, it’s the catalyst for the last stage of Hugh’s and Irena’s change – it’s the catalyst for their love, and so what happens to Mountain Town doesn’t matter.
I don’t see this is a failure or a trick. I don’t think Le Guin is trying to hide this from us. I think she wants us to be thinking about stories and how they affect our lives. There’s a reason Hugh wants to be a librarian – it’s so we’ll be thinking about books. And what we learn here is that we don’t always need to overcome obstacles to find ourselves as much as we need to step outside of ourselves to do that. Ultimately, Le Guin playfully subverts the expectations of a fairy story by transforming the mystical experience of fairy into the perfectly mundane experience of meeting another person there – another person from our world, realizing that you aren’t alone, that there are others like you. And I think this is a beautiful story for these characters.

Strengths and Weaknesses

I loved the way that Le Guin played with Genre Expectations and I think this is a great segue into our strengths and weaknesses segment. The characters – I mean here Irena and Hugh – are also a real strength, though I won’t say any more about them since I’ve done that in the recap segment. Perhaps the biggest strength of The Beginning Place, though, is Le Guin’s prose. I’ve offered some examples already but I want to read two descriptive passages to give a sample of what I love most about this book. The first is a wilderness description – and I’m a sucker for nature writing:
“The path turned, and climbed, and turned, under the dark firs, under the rock faces. They went round a corner that jutted out over immense, dim, dropping forests, and saw all the evening land beneath them darkening into the distant west. They did not pause but went on, entering under trees, into leaf and branch, into the mountain, under rock. To the right the walls of the summit buckled, overhanging. The trees among the scarred crags and boulders grew short and sere. There was rock underfoot now, and the path went level.”
Mountaineering is my primary hobby and I’ve spent a lot of days and nights out in the wilderness and this passage, this description, feels right to me, it feels true.
The second passage is a description of the Master’s Hall. I suppose I’m also a sucker for a good room description, too:
“This was the center of it all, this high room. Facing the long wall of paneled oak were twelve high, leaded windows looking out upon the terraced garden. The sparse furniture was carved oak, the carpets of local weave, crimson, orange, and brown, warming the room even when the candles were not lit and there was only the clear constant twilight from the windows. In each end wall was a huge stone chimney-piece, and on each of these, high over the wide hearth and the mantel, hung a portrait: a stiff, melancholy lady stared with round black eyes down the length of the room at her lord, who concealed the hand of a crippled right arm inside his coat and scowled blackly back at her.”
I don’t know about you, but I can feel myself in this room – when I read this, I feel like I am in this hall, like I’ve been there before – it just comes alive for me. And it’s this sort of feeling that I get in both these passages and throughout the book that is one of my primary values – it’s one of the primary things I go to speculative fiction for. And Le Guin is a master of it – it’s just a magically written book.
I love this book as it is – I wouldn’t want to change anything about it. But that feels a bit like a cop-out – especially since I said the same thing about The Memory of Whiteness, so I’ll address some weakness that others have pointed to.
I understand that many readers regard this as one of Le Guin’s worst books, perhaps her only “bad” book, and just glancing at reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, I saw two chief complaints. The first is that the writing is confusing. I disagree, though I understand where this claim comes from. The opening paragraph of the book is actually confusing – we jump right into the point-of-view of Hugh as he’s working his cash register and the machine he’s using and the nature of the commercial transactions are antiquated from the perspective of us now that we’re living in the digital age, and I’ll admit that it took me a second read of this paragraph to situate myself. But after this, the writing is all crystal clear. At the same time, it is rich and thick and therefore demanding. This isn’t a book you can skim – it’s not a beach read. Every sentence is important and there’s little dialogue – almost no moments of characters explaining the plot to each other which is so often a staple of fantasy literature.
The other criticism that I saw was that nothing much happens and the world isn’t fully developed. This is certainly true, though I think I’ve already addressed how Le Guin is rather brilliantly playing with our genre expectations. But I will agree that the world isn’t developed the way that Le Guin is famous for doing, and that can certainly be disappointing. I, too, would like to know more about this world, about the communities beyond Mountain Town. And I’d like to know about the relationship between this world and our own. In the end, I still think this is a masterpiece, even if it doesn’t deliver this. But I’d love to know what you think about these critiques – what’s your assessment of this book.

Unresolved Question

There’s an unresolved element in this novel – a real mystery – and I’d love to know what you think is going on. When Hugh and Irena reach the top of the mountain, Hugh wanders off by himself for a moment and he finds a pair of chains on a boulder. Hugh never tells Irena about this – indeed, he actively hides their existence from her. My understanding of this is that Hugh doesn’t necessarily have to slay the dragon – and it may not even be the case that he’s supposed to try. What he’s supposed to do is offer Irena as a sacrifice to the dragon who will then leave the townspeople alone for a generation. But I’d love to know what you think about this detail.
On top of that, there is the business with the cave. Irena stops Hugh from going into the cave, and the description of the cave from Hugh’s perspective suggests that it is having a sort of Nazgul fear effect on him. Instead, she calls the dragon out of its cave and Hugh slays it. But here I wonder what would have happened if Hugh had gone into the cave. Would he have died and would this have satiated the dragon? I guess what I’m interested in here is the metaphysics of the dragon and the fear that is choking Mountain Town – how does this other world work?
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Thanks for reading! And special thanks for talking with me about this book I love so much! This review was transcribed from an episode of Atoz: A Speculative Fiction Book Club Podcast. If you're interested, you can check it (and other episodes) out here: Apple Spotify Amazon Website
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2020.10.26 14:36 rawkstarr Goodreads Progress Bar Not Updating

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2020.10.26 10:31 crepuscopoli Best book tracker and reader app (AIO), for windows and iOS (or browser based), to keep track of reading time, how many words you've read, how many books you've been reading so far?

Hi there, I do have a windows laptop and an iPhone. I am searching for a book tracking app so I can track the time i spend on books, how many book i've read, how many words. Not that i need to start a stopwatch each time I read, but something that let me ad manually when i start and finish, thats it.
I know that goodreads has something called statistics, but I cannot read a book on goodreads. I need both a reader and statistics app, all in one.
Which should I use?
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2020.10.26 09:46 Flippingflipflip Newbie review of 'A Canticle for the Fallen'

I posted my review of the first book in the Aria of Steel last night, and here is my review of the sequel. As I said in my last post, I'm pretty new to fantasy and Goodreads, but I enjoyed these books and writing reviews for them.
An absolutely brilliant sequel to an amazing book. Raziel's journey through life continues, with more tragedy, but more friendship too.
Strengths:
The dialogue in this book is sharp and quick, with brilliant character development in each conversation. The characters' emotions are really well defined.
Combat is just so fun to read, just like in book 1. This author definitely knows how to get the adrenaline going without bogging the reader down in pointless detail. Absolute pleasure to read.
The magic system introduced in the first book is back, with even more unique methods used. It is seriously awesome and must be read to truly appreciate.
I really loved this book. The author tells a compelling tale. I believe this one is better than the first book, with a tighter story and better character arcs. Their prose and plotting has improved. Highly recommend.
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2020.10.26 08:16 lifeleafM Looking for book series similar as ACOTAR, Blood and Ash, Kingdom of Runes, Frigid

Hi to all!
Since it's SO hard to find the books that has what I'm looking for in them, I thought it would be smart to finally ask for recommendations. As seen in the title, I'm looking for mainly fantasy book series (but it definitely could be non-fantasy as well). What is important is that they have that epic love in them with sexual tension buildup (even though typically non-fantasy books don't have epic love, they still could have very good sexual tension buildup).
I especially love when the heroine falls in love with the forbidden villain and when it turns out the villain is actually a somewhat dark hero, an alfamale or a prince who could (and does) kill easily, has awe inspiring powers, but still protects the heroine with all his life (as in ACOTAR, A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire, but also The Dark Elements). If that villain is the second male in the book (as in The Dark Elements or in ACOTAR), it adds to the story (especially because usually there is some heartache by the second guy because the girl is forbidden or smth). Maybe somewhat random, but I also like the books where the second (and final) love interest is somewhat unexpected (for example it could be a friend/brother whose job is to protect the female but still something undeniable sparks between them). For example, I read a book series about werewolves once, where the first boyfriend died and the boyfriends' brother started to protect the girl, they fought all the time, but the tension build up and they fell in love, in the end it was discovered that they actually were soulmates.
I love stories (and they don't always have to be fantasy) where the male has to or tries to resist the female but still wants/loves her really badly, which builds up the sexual tension part (because in my opinion it's so much juicier if the male tries to hold back but doesn't always succeed and it's quite boring if the male tries to get the female in bed too soon because the buildup collapses). I definitely love explicit sex scenes because it helps to relate with the characters more (but still, as it turns out, some of my favorite books don't have them). I don't like when the couple ends up together already at the end of the first book because for me, then, the other books in the series won't have any sexual tension buildup left (this is true for fantasy books, but not so true for the non-fantasy books which are often standalones).
Talking about non-fantasy books, I love series where each standalone is about one friend of the group. And I like college(age) books.
I really, really hope that there are books that would entail what is mentioned above (or at least some of it). I would very (very very very!!) much appreciate if you could give me recommendations. It would be especially awesome, if they would come with Goodreads links. ;)
My favorite book series in addition to mentioned above (as you can see they're not always fantasy, but there is always sexual tension buildup and/or enemies to lovers trope):
Just so you know, previosly I posted this here: https://www.reddit.com/YAlit/comments/ioxyt6/looking_for_book_series_similar_as_acotar_blood/ and people were very helpful but I thought I would ask the same in this subreddit as well to hopefully get more recommendations.
submitted by lifeleafM to RomanceBooks [link] [comments]


2020.10.26 07:19 carrotxo I’m new to this series. List of all novels+companions.

0- new spring, 1-14, The Wheel of time companion.
Is there anything else I need to read?
The goodreads shows 0.1 - the strike at shayol ghul and 0.2 - earlier-ravens —- do I need to read these?
Did I miss anything? Are there any other stories in the series?
submitted by carrotxo to WoT [link] [comments]


2020.10.26 05:26 up_down_and_around How to "MKUltra" an Entire Society

DISCLAIMER: This is a repost and all credit goes to u/pinkpolkagirl , this post was too good to be drowned out in the feed.
Enjoy!
Introduction
MKUltra is not a" conspiracy theory" like many believe; it was (and likely still is) truly a mind control operation conducted by the CIA. The New York Times, for example, showcases some of the "chilling testimony of human experimentation" during the MKUltra experiments:
http://www.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/national/13inmate_ProjectMKULTRA.pdf
You can also download more extensive information about the CIA program here:
https://info.publicintelligence.net/SSCI-MKULTRA-1977.pdf
When I was first looking into conspiracy theories several years ago, I stumbled upon MKUltra, and something struck me. I had just exited a physically and emotionally abusive relationship, and I realized that my abuser had literally programmed me. I used to watch Lifetime movies and mock the women who stayed with their abusers; yet, I never realized how easy it is to truly break someone until I was broken myself. In fact, it does not take much, especially since my abuser was building upon the already low-self esteem I had, as well as extensive abuse from childhood.
At his worst, he drove me to the middle of nowhere, told me to get out of his truck, and beat me until I stopped screaming (and no one could hear my screams anyway). I remember I stopped feeling pain, and it was almost as if I "exited" my body. This happened on many occasions, but I will never forget that feeling of escaping my body.
But this post is not really about me. Rather, I started to realize that even if people have not been in abusive relationships with a specific individual, they are in an abusive relationship with society.
It is much easier to break an individual than one believes. If an individual is easily broken by certain means, then it is not that difficult to breakdown a society of individuals. This is how "they" “MKUltra” or fragment society.
Maslow's Hierarchy
“Can we get control of an individual to the point where he will do our bidding against his will and even against fundamental laws of nature such as self preservation? (CIA Document, Project ARTICHOKE, MORI ID 144686, 1952) As cited by Dr Ellen P. Lacter, p57” ― Orit Badouk Epstein, Ritual Abuse and Mind Control: The Manipulation of Attachment Needs
People are not "weak", but they need to be sustained by certain things. No matter who we are, and no matter what we believe, we all need certain things to be fulfilled. All of us have basic needs like shelter and security, but we also have more advanced needs like esteem and belongingness. You can learn more about Maslow's Hierarchy of needs here:
https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html
What happens, then, if those needs are not met, or if they are interfered with? It is important to remember this theory is not the "be all, end all" of human fulfillment, but our needs drive our behaviors and motivations. So, what happens if some of our needs are not met?
In MKUltra programming, what "they" truly did was take a person's basic physiological and psychological needs, and they interfered with them, sometimes in disgusting, traumatic ways. Still, sometimes, their means were subtle, too.
From Wikipedia,
"MKUltra used numerous methods to manipulate people's mental states and alter brain functions, including the surreptitious administration of drugs (especially LSD) and other chemicals, hypnosis,[10][11] sensory deprivation, isolation, verbal and sexual abuse (including the sexual abuse of children), and other forms of torture.[12][13] "
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_MKUltra
In order to "MKUltra" an entire society, you need to interfere with a person's basic state of being.
Hypnotize Society
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. ...We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. ...In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons...who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”Edward Bernays, Propaganda
There are two major misconceptions about hypnotism. The first is that one has to be asleep or unconscious for it to work, and the second is that it is totally bogus. Both are incorrect.
According to Penn State,
“In truth, hypnosis is something most of us have experienced in our everyday lives. If you've ever been totally engrossed in a book or movie and lost all track of time or didn't hear someone calling your name, you were experiencing a state similar to a hypnotic one.
The hypnotized person is not sleeping or unconscious—quite the contrary. Hypnosis (most often induced by a hypnotherapist's verbal guidance, not a swinging pocket watch) creates a hyper-attentive and hyper-responsive mental state, in which the subject's subconscious mind is highly open to suggestion.”
In MKUltra programming, according to history.com,
"MK-Ultra’s “mind control” experiments generally centered around behavior modification via electro-shock therapy, hypnosis, polygraphs, radiation, and a variety of drugs, toxins, and chemicals."
So, how do you hypnotize society at large?
Hypnosis works through suggestions, triggers, and distractions. The point is that if we are too busy, too tired, or too distracted, it is really easy to be hypnotized. Most of us are too tired to even think at the end of the hard work week, so we zone out on Reddit, video games, or something else. However, what messages are being sent to our minds in a hypnotic trance? For fun, check out subliminal messaging in the national anthem in the 1960s:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDsI-zk6gfE
Think about how easy it is to hypnotize society that has an exhaustion epidemic:
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2006/dec/03/healthandwellbeing.features
But that’s just the beginning.
Abuse Society
“Cluttered minds think alike.”Kevin Ansbro
Hypnosis is easier in a society where people are abused.
According to the link above, "The CIA considered prisoners especially good subjects, as they were willing to give consent in exchange for extra recreation time or commuted sentences."
Ultimately, hypnosis is a little easier if you break people down.
Let’s take a look at modern American society:
I can keep going. But wait a second…before the shills chime in that it "isn't so bad", let met talk about gaslighting.
Gaslight Society
“Gaslighting is mind control to make victims doubt their reality.”Tracy Malone
If you do not know what gaslighting is, according to Google, it is a way to manipulate someone by psychological means to make them question their own sanity.
You’re not overworked. You are not working hard enough. You are not tired. You just are not getting enough sleep. You’re not depressed. You just need to meditate more.
When people start to wake up and realize things are wrong, they are told by society everything is alright and great. I mean, just look at the celebrities! : )
According to Psychology Today, here are some signs of gaslighting:
  1. They tell blatant lies.
  2. They deny they ever said something, even though you have proof.
  3. They wear you down over time.
  4. They know confusion weakens people.
  5. They try to align people against you.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/here-there-and-everywhere/201701/11-warning-signs-gaslighting
If you are on Reddit and not a shill, you have probably been gaslighted.
Fragment Society
“We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others, that in the end, we become disguised to ourselves.”Francois De La Rochefoucault
To fragment society, you must first fragment the individual.
Now once you are questioning your sanity, you start to develop multiple personalities. You realize you have to act one way at work, and then you act one way at home.
In severe abuse, one’s mind often becomes fragmented, especially in children (which is why “they” target them):
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/talking-about-trauma/201406/fragmented-child-disorganized-attachment-and-dissociation
Cathy O’Brien may be a “conspiracy theorist”, but I feel she is still a good source on dissociation:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathy_O%27Brien_(conspiracy_theorist))
Now, after all the hypnotism and abuse, it is pretty simple to fragment most. As mentioned earlier, most portray themselves one way to the outside world and another way to those who truly know them. This is called duplicity (deceitfulness; double-dealing).
Let’s just start with social media. There is a rise of the “digital double life.”:
https://nypost.com/2017/04/19/the-rise-of-the-digital-double-life/
Teens, especially, are building double lives over social media pressure:
https://blogs.voanews.com/techtonics/2017/08/18/teens-build-double-lives-under-social-media-pressure/
The point is that most of us are living a double life. Now, we may think this has always been the case, but these multiple personalities have been reinforced by social media. Most of us are living two lives, and some are living many more.
Drug Society
“I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.”Edgar Allan Poe
Drugs were a large part of MkUltra experiments. For example, “Operation Midnight Climax was an MK-Ultra project in which government-employed prostitutes lured unsuspecting men to CIA “safe houses” where drug experiments took place.”
https://www.history.com/topics/us-government/history-of-mk-ultra
You can view an official CIA document about some of the experiments here:
https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP81-00142R000200100011-0.pdf
Noted in that document is social drinking, which is now a foundational part of our society, and according to Forbes, people are drinking more alcohol than ever before:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2017/08/12/people-in-the-u-s-are-drinking-more-alcohol-than-ever-study/#436911a63eb7
Even if you do not drink or do drugs, they are hard to escape since they are in our drinking water:
https://tonic.vice.com/en_us/article/d7bp8k/there-are-drugs-in-your-drinking-and-bottled-water
And more Americans are taking prescription pills than ever:
https://www.webmd.com/drug-medication/news/20170803/americans-taking-more-prescription-drugs-than-ever-survey
Drugs and alcohol are a coping mechanism for all of the abuse and gaslighting. There is no way I have time to note all the ways society is "drugged up." But even if you do not do drugs, you likely have an addiction that keeps you distracted.
Accepting Society
Most of us just get too tired at a certain point. For those who “woke up” it is all just too fake. For those who are still asleep, they are just trying to get through the day.
Most of us adopt coping mechanisms. Most of us find something that helps us ‘deal’ with reality, whether that be drugs, sex, food, or entertainment. Most of us find something to distract ourselves so that we can, again, become hypnotized.
Acceptance is the final stage of the MK Ultra programming.
“I’m going to work till I die” is the new reality of the old age in America, for example:
https://www.denverpost.com/2017/09/29/retirement-age-rising/
Most of us have come to accept the sad reality.
Hope?
Do not slit your wrists just yet. Despite the travesty or our world, we still have something that scares “them.”
They keep us locked up because we have power. Our words and actions have power. We can wake others up, too.
Sure, we may not save the entire world, but if we can just get one person to see this reality, then we are doing something right.
submitted by up_down_and_around to conspiracy [link] [comments]


2020.10.26 03:36 Obliterature Independence Day: Goodreader longs for the days when a novel held his hand and wiped the drool from his chin...

Independence Day: Goodreader longs for the days when a novel held his hand and wiped the drool from his chin... submitted by Obliterature to BadReads [link] [comments]


2020.10.26 02:38 jerryseinfeld-- Vladimir Nabokov

Hey guys!
Long time reader but I've never delved into the world of Vladimir Nabokov. I use GoodReads religiously and have noticed an acquaintance of mine constantly adding Nabokov to his "read" or "want to read" collections. I wish to read more of translated books and as such would be keen to hear your opinions on a good first Nabokov book to ease me into his writing??
submitted by jerryseinfeld-- to suggestmeabook [link] [comments]


2020.10.26 01:50 LawSchoolEscape Give me all the damaged/tortured heroes!

To give you an idea of the types of books I'm looking for, my favorite romance books of all time are Reaper by A. Zavarelli, Demon from the Dark by Kresley Cole, and Lover Awakened (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #3) by J.R. Ward. If you've read any of these books, you already know the heroes in these books are the definition of badass, tortured anti-heroes who are cinnamon rolls for their partners.
Thanks in advance for your recommendations!
submitted by LawSchoolEscape to RomanceBooks [link] [comments]


2020.10.26 00:08 badmalthus Two quotes from the late Zen Teacher, Maureen Stuart

"It is your life's work to wake up to the fact that you are enlightened from the beginning. So for me to do anything is redundant, superfluous, and down right intrusive."
“Become the person of no rank. Become the noble soul, and live in this awakened way, not imitating anyone. Whatever the circumstances your life asks of you, respond to them in your own individual Zen-spirited way. Don't waste any time trying to be someone else...We are not here to have someone else's experience. We are here to have our own vivid experience. So please don't cling to yesterday, to what happened, to what didn't happen. And do not judge today by yesterday. Let us just live today to the fullest! Moment after moment, each sitting is the only sitting.”
Maurine Stuart, Subtle Sound: The Zen Teachings of Maurine Stuart
submitted by badmalthus to Buddhism [link] [comments]


2020.10.25 23:36 dontbuyanylogos Sex and Culture by J D Unwin - Societies enter decline when they become sexually liberated

This book explains why society is disintegrating right now. For some reason, according to this book, societies enter a decline when they become sexually liberated. Unwin's contention is that:
"Any human society is free to choose either to display great energy or to enjoy sexual freedom; the evidence is that it cannot do both for more than one generation"
This is not a religious polemic. Unwin states that on the outset he just wanted to study human sexuality and was surprised to find, after his analysis of cultures all over the world. He studied many cultures in Africa, Polynesia, North America, South America and Roman, Anglo-Saxon and English culture and came to the following conclusions:
He goes into a lot more detail about the correlations of behaviour with the restriction of sex before marriage. In fact, he is so rigid and methodological with the data that the book is actually quite boring but the conclusions are massive and explain so much.
Most importantly, he understands that women, who have been historically restricted in patriarchal systems that are deistic, rightly desire to become sexually liberated as in many societies they have been literally property of their husbands or fathers.
The connection is between a limitation of sex before marriage on both men and woman and high culture and not between the oppression of women and a high culture. I would never get behind the oppression of women or gays even if it that was the connection that he discovered, which it isn't, the connection is with "pre-nuptial chastity", i.e. no sex before marriage.
I think, if the wildest conspiracy theories about aliens and dimensional forces controlling planet earth aren't true, then this is the best explanation for the nature of human civilisation and the turmoil we're undergoing at the moment in Western civilisation.
This is the book:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15707651-sex-and-culture
submitted by dontbuyanylogos to FringeTheory [link] [comments]


2020.10.25 22:56 mistAah_Jay- The Sun Hides Behind the Clouds

“When he died, all things soft and beautiful and bright would be buried with him.” ― Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
What is the point of living? Why have we been created, and in what purpose? Why are we on this earth, and what are we supposed to do here? Why should we continue our lives, while every beloved one is already gone? It is said that god gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers; however, how would you explain to a little kid lost and alone, that the one who created him also took everything from him. All these questions tormented me during all my childhood and continue to harass me from night to night. It all started when I was eleven years old, when I lost the dearest friend I’ve ever had. Unfortunately, what I did not know at the time, was that it was only the beginning. The battle in which I engaged is far to be over.
When I was a still at the age of the elementary school, I was very distant towards the other persons. This character of mine is still present today; however, for different reasons. The little me was very afraid of talking to the others, because he never knew what to tell them, or how to act in front of them. Indeed, even though I appreciated the others, my timidity led me to often be alone. I only had two friends who also were my neighbors. However, I had a third friend, with whom I used to spend most of my time. That was my grandfather. Even though he has lost his left leg because of cigarettes, he was very tall and muscular. The absence of hair on his head was caught up by a long black beard covering his long neck. He had unblinking black eyes, contrasted with a joyful white smile and his favorite way to dress, was generally a simple black pant accompanied with a sober black pair of shoes, and a white shirt. A very simple style, but that already says too much of him. This was probably due to his past at the army. He was doctor ranked as a colonel before he lost his leg, and mom once told me he was at the front lines during the Green March. He surely was not the kind of person who would had boasted of himself, so he never talked to me about this part of his life. My grandfather was very severe, and drastic; however, behind his permanent cold face was hiding one of the purest hearts that has ever lived on this earth. Always full of hope and the desire to help the others, his life motto was certainly to never give up, no matter how big the obstacle in front of him is. Despite his old age, I felt very connected to him. More than to anyone else. It was a very special relationship; in fact, he used to know me so well, that I did not need to explain to him what the problem was when I had one. Moreover, I shared every activity and hobby of mine with him for instance, he is the one who passed to me the passion of the of the PSG- the Paris football club, and the love of motorcycle mechanics. Before his failed operation which costed him one leg, he was a great rider. He had a triumph thunderbird, bought the year of my birth, in 1997. He kept it after the fatal surgery, and it is still today in our garage. At home we were always together, having fun. He used to act like a kid, but he was respected by everyone.
One day, the mood at home was unusual. I was playing with my grandfather in the garden, but this time he seemed very calm. Calmer than usual, but as happy and hopeful as he used to. We were watering the plants, while we were talking about life and having fun. Despite the age gap, we were just two friends completely disconnected from the others, enjoying life and spraying water on the beautiful flowers surrounding the entrance to the garage. I remember my grandfather, who was sitting on his wheelchair has started to throw water at me. I’ve just started to think about a way to counter his attack, when I saw the main door of the house open. My mom came out and started walking towards us. She has stood behind him, ready to push the wheelchair and with a stressed tone, she said:” We have to go dad.”. My grandfather, smiling, answered her:” Time has come to fight! I’d rather walk there.” He had an artificial leg that he wore all the time; however, it hurted his stump, so he used it very little. Mom, worried, wanted to make sure he didn’t want to use the wheelchair. Grandfather simply stood up, looked at us, and said confidently, by showing his feet with his hands: “Look at those feet! They are in perfect shape!” then he started laughing: “HAHAHA”. They both left the house, but he never came back. Later, I knew he had an operation at the hospital the next day because of his lungs and did not survive. Moreover, mom couldn’t stand this terrible loss. She got depressed, and then she got sick. The condition of her heart, and blood pressure did not help, her health worsened, and she died a few years later.
During a long time, I felt depressed, and I refused to move on. I lost my self in many bad habits. At a very young age, I started, smoking, drinking and consuming different types of drugs. I was deliberately influenced by unconscious minds, like I was trying to shorten my life, so we can be together again. Today I still have the desire to join them as soon as possible; however today, I also remember my grandfather’s philosophy: TO NEVER GIVE UP. I am sure that, as long as I keep fighting, he is still here, sharing every one of my battles, helping me to rebound after my defeats, and relishing my victories. I’ve learned to honor the deaths by living the life they hoped for us. I still take care of my grandfather’s motorcycle. I clean it and repair it, as an ultimate and desperate way to keep in touch with him. Unfortunately, I’ll never know if my grandfather had participated in the Green March. Mom and him, will never see their grandkids; however, they will share their legacy, their philosophy and their history. Sometimes we look at the sky and cannot see the sun. It is during those hard moments that you have to keep looking up, until you can finally see it hiding through the clouds.
“Those we love never truly leave us, Harry. There are things that death cannot touch.”― Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts One and Two
submitted by mistAah_Jay- to stories [link] [comments]


2020.10.25 22:49 mistAah_Jay- The Sun Hides Behind the Clouds

“When he died, all things soft and beautiful and bright would be buried with him.” ― Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
What is the point of living? Why have we been created, and in what purpose? Why are we on this earth, and what are we supposed to do here? Why should we continue our lives, while every beloved one is already gone? It is said that god gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers; however, how would you explain to a little kid lost and alone, that the one who created him also took everything from him. All these questions tormented me during all my childhood and continue to harass me from night to night. It all started when I was eleven years old, when I lost the dearest friend I’ve ever had. Unfortunately, what I did not know at the time, was that it was only the beginning. The battle in which I engaged is far to be over.
When I was a still at the age of the elementary school, I was very distant towards the other persons. This character of mine is still present today; however, for different reasons. The little me was very afraid of talking to the others, because he never knew what to tell them, or how to act in front of them. Indeed, even though I appreciated the others, my timidity led me to often be alone. I only had two friends who also were my neighbors. However, I had a third friend, with whom I used to spend most of my time. That was my grandfather. Even though he has lost his left leg because of cigarettes, he was very tall and muscular. The absence of hair on his head was caught up by a long black beard covering his long neck. He had unblinking black eyes, contrasted with a joyful white smile and his favorite way to dress, was generally a simple black pant accompanied with a sober black pair of shoes, and a white shirt. A very simple style, but that already says too much of him. This was probably due to his past at the army. He was doctor ranked as a colonel before he lost his leg, and mom once told me he was at the front lines during the Green March. He surely was not the kind of person who would had boasted of himself, so he never talked to me about this part of his life. My grandfather was very severe, and drastic; however, behind his permanent cold face was hiding one of the purest hearts that has ever lived on this earth. Always full of hope and the desire to help the others, his life motto was certainly to never give up, no matter how big the obstacle in front of him is. Despite his old age, I felt very connected to him. More than to anyone else. It was a very special relationship; in fact, he used to know me so well, that I did not need to explain to him what the problem was when I had one. Moreover, I shared every activity and hobby of mine with him for instance, he is the one who passed to me the passion of the of the PSG- the Paris football club, and the love of motorcycle mechanics. Before his failed operation which costed him one leg, he was a great rider. He had a triumph thunderbird, bought the year of my birth, in 1997. He kept it after the fatal surgery, and it is still today in our garage. At home we were always together, having fun. He used to act like a kid, but he was respected by everyone.
One day, the mood at home was unusual. I was playing with my grandfather in the garden, but this time he seemed very calm. Calmer than usual, but as happy and hopeful as he used to. We were watering the plants, while we were talking about life and having fun. Despite the age gap, we were just two friends completely disconnected from the others, enjoying life and spraying water on the beautiful flowers surrounding the entrance to the garage. I remember my grandfather, who was sitting on his wheelchair has started to throw water at me. I’ve just started to think about a way to counter his attack, when I saw the main door of the house open. My mom came out and started walking towards us. She has stood behind him, ready to push the wheelchair and with a stressed tone, she said:” We have to go dad.”. My grandfather, smiling, answered her:” Time has come to fight! I’d rather walk there.” He had an artificial leg that he wore all the time; however, it hurted his stump, so he used it very little. Mom, worried, wanted to make sure he didn’t want to use the wheelchair. Grandfather simply stood up, looked at us, and said confidently, by showing his feet with his hands: “Look at those feet! They are in perfect shape!” then he started laughing: “HAHAHA”. They both left the house, but he never came back. Later, I knew he had an operation at the hospital the next day because of his lungs and did not survive. Moreover, mom couldn’t stand this terrible loss. She got depressed, and then she got sick. The condition of her heart, and blood pressure did not help, her health worsened, and she died a few years later.
During a long time, I felt depressed, and I refused to move on. I lost my self in many bad habits. At a very young age, I started, smoking, drinking and consuming different types of drugs. I was deliberately influenced by unconscious minds, like I was trying to shorten my life, so we can be together again. Today I still have the desire to join them as soon as possible; however today, I also remember my grandfather’s philosophy: TO NEVER GIVE UP. I am sure that, as long as I keep fighting, he is still here, sharing every one of my battles, helping me to rebound after my defeats, and relishing my victories. I’ve learned to honor the deaths by living the life they hoped for us. I still take care of my grandfather’s motorcycle. I clean it and repair it, as an ultimate and desperate way to keep in touch with him. Unfortunately, I’ll never know if my grandfather had participated in the Green March. Mom and him, will never see their grandkids; however, they will share their legacy, their philosophy and their history. Sometimes we look at the sky and cannot see the sun. It is during those hard moments that you have to keep looking up, until you can finally see it hiding through the clouds.
“Those we love never truly leave us, Harry. There are things that death cannot touch.”― Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts One and Two
submitted by mistAah_Jay- to story [link] [comments]