Writing Smarter

Writing better and having fun while ranting, raving and discussing ideas.

Category: Reviews

A little review?

After 3 days of absence, and I didn’t wish to leave you 3 days without my posts, I come to talk a bit about some political books.

No, I’m not a conspiracy nut.

The three books are: Watership Down, 1984 and Animal Farm.

What do they talk about: politics mostly, and brutality and the ever watching Big Brother. And one fact that remains true is this: all of it is still happening today. We all live in a world that watches our every move whether we like it or not.

It’s interesting to see the representations of these dystopias.

Out of all three I think that 1984 holds the biggest appeal and the most interesting plot. When we think about pigs, farm animals and rabbits it’s easy to forget about how these things happened all around the world, and still are to some degree. But 1984 tells it like it is. And not only that, it shows us how it is done. 1984 isn’t afraid to smack you around and make you think after a while. It raises valid questions:

What are the governments hiding from us?

Are we being sheep with our passive attitude?

Look at the case of China. A couple of years ago I saw a documentary concerning what happened 20 years after the massacre of Tiananmen Square. Nobody talks about it, most youngsters don’t even know what happened, police surveillance stops investigations. So this generation of chinese don’t have a clue about the repression that their government committed. They were brainwashed completely.

We tend to look only at the cases of the oppressive regimes, but I’m sure people are made to forget events and people and dates everywhere in the world. Give it time, give it some falsification, stick those lies in education and in a few years’ time everything is forgotten. History is written by the winners after all.

The passive and consumerist population will accept everything eventually.

Such thing was portrayed in 1984, some situations actually made me laugh. Big Brother might not exist in the way it was portrayed in the story, but I honestly think it exists, through certain actions, through certain policies… it is there my friends.

Now back to the books: they are all great and I highly recommend them. There’s really no way to describe them and to review them properly, nor do I feel like writing some long descriptions and reviews. I know, I know, I’m a lazy bastard.

Have a great day!

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Serial Experiments Lain – a small review

serial-experiments-lain_111789

For those of you who don’t know Serial Experiments Lain was an anime that ran in 1998. Now I’m sure many of you are wondering: what the hell is this guy talking about?

First of all let me tell you that when I first saw the opening I wasn’t very impressed and dismissed it as something childish and immature. Boy was I wrong. Serial Experiments Lain is serious and deals with very interesting themes. It’s like Ergo Proxy, another anime from 2006. What do both of these have in common? They deal with technology and its implications. Obviously it’s much more than that, but I want to focus on that aspect for this review.

ergo proxy(Ergo Proxy – Deals with a lot of Descartes)

We are dealing with massive development of technology these days, it seems as if every day there is something new and exciting coming up, something that can improve our previous computers, or replace our phones, all that stuff. And yet, in this massive world of communication we seem to withdraw more and more from the outside world. We are surrounded and alone at the same time. What long-term effects this can have on society and human beings is still somewhat of a question mark. Isolation is a serious problem, and sometimes I wonder just how much this huge amount of technology is actually helping mankind. People also show and develop other personalities in the process.

Cries for help over the internet are becoming more and more frequent and some even encourage suicide. Just how desensitized are people getting?

And now I seem to be forgetting the point of this review. Both Serial Experiments Lain and Ergo Proxy are very interesting anime if you are interested in philosophy, dark ambience and a good experience. They are just odd. Some might find it confusing, and I don’t blame them, but I don’t think that alone should prevent you from experiencing some of the most thinking-based animations I’ve seen in a long, long time.

Now another question that has been popping up in my mind is this: when will I give writing advice again? Probably as soon as tomorrow. Enjoy a Haiku in a few hours.

Have a nice day!

Hunger – The story that made me cry

I meant to write this yesterday, but a migraine prevented me from doing so.Hunger

Hunger is a story written by Knut Hamsun, published in 1890. It deals with a young man struggling to survive and with his decaying mind and problems. I will try to avoid spoilers and instead focus on why this story, the only one ever to do so, made me cry.

This story could very well be the tale of any aspiring writer, struggling with what to write and without any other source of income, refusing to accept that one cannot live on art alone. But that’s not what’s so harsh about it, it’s not only about his despairing thoughts, it’s not about his tentative pride or even about his problems connecting and dealing with others.

I have been hungry in the past, on several occasions I had nothing to eat for over 24 hours and I know it takes its toll on the mind and body. It’s a despair inducing situation. I was lucky enough to have a roof over my head, but I felt the agonizing pain of having nothing in my stomach. And when I ate something, I knew nothing at that time, I felt even worse. I can relate to this character on other levels, but the other main focus is pride. I’m, unfortunately, a very proud individual and tend to refuse help from others no matter how much that can improve my life. So I cried, I cried hard when (and here are some spoilers for you) the main character kept trying to eat despite vomiting everything afterwards. I felt his pain, his despair, everything. And although I never came close to those extreme situations, I was completely moved by the raw scenario.

Hunger is a raw book, it’s dark, it’s not for everyone, not only in terms of the seriousness of the situations but also in terms of feelings.

That being said Hunger is also a gem, a priceless story that is hard to replicate, unless you go through these types of scenarios. The author experienced it, and this story is almost a retelling of his experience when he went to America for a while.

I highly recommend that you give it a read, for you won’t find many with this quality.

Up next is a haiku or a quote, still giving it some thought.

Have a nice day!

The Prophet – a small review

the prophet

Just yesterday I got the chance to reread The Prophet, a work by Kahlil Gibran.

It tells the story of Almustafa, a prophet who is waiting to return to his birth place after twelve years in another city. On the very day of his departure, and as he begins to approach his ship, many villagers approach him and ask for his wisdom, so that they can use it and improve themselves. He talks about each topic as villagers ask about love, marriage, teaching, talking, time, and the list goes on.

It’s a very refreshing piece of work with some views that mirror mine. It condenses a lot of religion and yet is not about religion, it shows you how some things are not what they seem, and how certain things should be considered pointless because we attach the wrong meanings to them. There are some especially interesting passages that can teach us a lot, if we are willing to ponder and think about them. I’ll give you some that I considered interesting:

“Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you they do not belong to you. You may give them your love, but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.”

“And I say that life is indeed darkness save when there is urge, and all urge is blind save when there is knowledge. And all knowledge is vain save when there is work, and all work is empty save when there is love”

This is a good book to meditate, but I’m always cautious about these types of books. I’ve also read Paulo Coelho and found some good and some bad. When I mention bad, it’s not in the common sense, but in the way that the author sometimes loses himself and just tries too hard. I’ll always like The Prophet because it points to several aspects I’ve already incorporated in my life, and it shed light onto others, things I never really gave much thought.

It’s a rather short story and one that you can read from time to time, in fact I don’t recommend reading it in one go, rather enjoy some passages and take your time contemplating them. I can also say that it is inspiring and can lead a person to change his/her views on certain parts of life.

This review reminded me of the one book, one story, that made me cry. I’ll probably talk about it tomorrow. Expect a new haiku in a few minutes.

Have a nice day!