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Jonathan Franzen’s ‘Purity’

12 Feb

 

I googled today some reviews of this book.
The links to the two reviews at the top I publish to show how much two reviews about the same book can actually differ.

My thoughts on reading this book:

I am now more than halfway through Jonathan Franzen’s “Purity”.
I would agree that for me this book is not all that easy one to read. There are pages with a lot of information which at times I find rather difficult to digest and remember. However I can sense that all the information provided shows a lot about our modern world and how people in it are affected. Other sections in the book are very easy to read and show, how complicated ordinary lives can become in our modern world. I like being able to read parts of the book for a few hours in one go. Making it possible to read for an extended time, the book seems to be getting more and more interesting. I can’t wait to find out more about its characters!

An Amazon Book: Ritual and its Consequences

21 May

http://www.amazon.com/Ritual-Its-Consequences-Limits-Sincerity/dp/0195336011/ref=la_B001KHQ65U_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1463773318&sr=1-2

Ritual and Its Consequences: An Essay on the Limits of Sincerity 1st Edition
by Adam B. Seligman (Author), Robert P. Weller (Author), Michael J. Puett (Author), Simon (Author)

Going to the above link I found this interesting write-up:

“This pioneering, interdisciplinary work shows how rituals allow us to live in a perennially imperfect world. Drawing on a variety of cultural settings, the authors utilize psychoanalytic and anthropological perspectives to describe how ritual–like play–creates “as if” worlds, rooted in the imaginative capacity of the human mind to create a subjunctive universe. The ability to cross between imagined worlds is central to the human capacity for empathy. Ritual, they claim, defines the boundaries of these imagined worlds, including those of empathy and other realms of human creativity, such as music, architecture and literature.

The authors juxtapose this ritual orientation to a “sincere” search for unity and wholeness. The sincere world sees fragmentation and incoherence as signs of inauthenticity that must be overcome. Our modern world has accepted the sincere viewpoint at the expense of ritual, dismissing ritual as mere convention. In response, the authors show how the conventions of ritual allow us to live together in a broken world. Ritual is work, endless work. But it is among the most important things that we humans do.”

Here are some more editorial Reviews:

“In this whirligig world we do not know what to do apart from the done thing. Ritual and courtesy are, in contemporary parlance, suspect activities surplus to requirements. Like conformity, ritual attracts the adjectives ‘mere,’ ‘meaningless,’ ‘external,’ ’empty’ and ‘inauthentic.’ This book brilliantly expounds the creative potential and the necessity of ritual, and exposes the destructive possibilities of sincerity. It could be seen as part of a Jewish riposte to Christianity or a Confucian one to the Enlightenment, but Catholics and members of enclosed orders will like it too. Everybody should read it, especially American Protestants and post-Protestant secularists who suffer more than most from the ills of sincerity.” –David Martin, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, London School of Economics

“In this whirligig world we do not know what to do apart from the done thing. Ritual and courtesy are, in contemporary parlance, suspect activities surplus to requirements. Like conformity, ritual attracts the adjectives ‘mere,’ ‘meaningless,’ ‘external,’ ’empty’ and ‘inauthentic.’ This book brilliantly expounds the creative potential and the necessity of ritual, and exposes the destructive possibilities of sincerity. It could be seen as part of a Jewish riposte to Christianity or a Confucian one to the Enlightenment, but Catholics and members of enclosed orders will like it too. Everybody should read it, especially American Protestants and post-Protestant secularists who suffer more than most from the ills of sincerity.” –David Martin, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, London School of Economics

“An enormously important and paradigm-changing book. The audacity of its scope is refreshing–a turn to grand theory in an academic culture whose trend is to say more and more and less and less.”Common Knowledge

“…A new, interesting, and very fruitful approach towards understanding and using the concept of ‘ritual.'”–Religion

About the Authors
Adam B. Seligman is Professor of Religion and Research Associate at the Institute for Culture, Religion, and World Affairs at Boston University. Robert P. Weller is Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology and Research Associate at the Institute for Culture, Religion, and World Affairs at Boston University. Michael J. Puett is Professor of Chinese History at Harvard University. Bennett Simon is Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Training and Supervising Analyst at Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute

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The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life
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History and Presence
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Uta’s Diary, Tuesday, 12th April 2016

12 Apr

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/abc-qa-germaine-greer-slams-claim-extreme-jealousy-causes-domestic-violence-20160412-go3xri.html

This link is about last night’s Q&A program. This program is on late at night, a bit too late for Peter and myself.  We decided we’re going to watch it  today. Luckily Peter could record this program.

I am very much looking forward to watch it, especially with Germaine Greer in the panel. Apparently there is some talk about domestic violence. For sure, there would have to be said a lot about this subject!

 

http://www.amazon.com/Heads-Tails-Winner-Blended-Australian-ebook/dp/B00O7UJ2PI/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1460411770&sr=1-2&refinements=p_27%3ABronwyn+Vanzino

Heads or Tails: Being a Winner in the Blended Australian FamilyKindle Edition

Kindle Edition

Here follows what Kindle says about this novel:

“Novel about a young koori man finding his identity in the emerging multiculturalism of Australia in the 1980s. The storyline focuses on a fictitious young koori policeman, James Finley (Fin). A born leader, Fin tries to help a man wrongly imprisoned. Anger at injustice threatens to devour him in the case and in his unusual personal life. He battles with finding his place in the early multiculturalism of Australia during the 1980s, when many want to use him for their own purposes. Fin finds he has to personally change to succeed in relationships and learns that the road to reconciliation is not as straightforward as many tell him it is, but he believes he can discover success and happiness – on his own terms – and has to learn to play by the rules in the pursuit of justice.”

I have read this novel on KindleI would like to have the paperback. However it seems not to be available any more. This novel was dealing with very interesting subjects. What is said about Fin in the above write up says it very well: This young koori man “has to learn to play by the rules in the pursuit of justice.”  

This novel is of course fictional. But I would like very much that more people in our society were concerned about the pursuit of justice. This koori policeman is a good example how multiculturalism can work in our society. The book shows how it can be quite a struggle for some people to find out about themselves and where they fit in. This does not only apply to indigenous people but also to migrants from different cultures.

Last but not least, here is a link to a blog with some excellent photos about cooking:

https://42weimar42.wordpress.com/

 

 

The Wife Drought by Annabel Crabb

14 Nov

The Wife Drought
by Annabel Crabb1
Why women need wives, and men need livesSubject: Social & cultural . . .

The Wife Drought, Annabel Crabb
High Res Cover Image
‘I need a wife’

It’s a common joke among women juggling work and family. But it’s not actually a joke. Having a spouse who takes care of things at home is a Godsend on the domestic front. It’s a potent economic asset on the work front. And it’s an advantage enjoyed – even in our modern society – by vastly more men than women.

Working women are in an advanced, sustained, and chronically under-reported state of wife drought, and there is no sign of rain.

But why is the work-and-family debate always about women? Why don’t men get the same flexibility that women do? In our fixation on the barriers that face women on the way into the workplace, do we forget about the barriers that – for men – still block the exits?

The Wife Drought is about women, men, family and work. Written in Annabel Crabb’s inimitable style, it’s full of candid and funny stories from the author’s work in and around politics and the media, historical nuggets about the role of ‘The Wife’ in Australia, and intriguing research about the attitudes that pulse beneath the surface of egalitarian Australia.

Crabb’s call is for a ceasefire in the gender wars. Rather than a shout of rage, The Wife Drought is the thoughtful, engaging catalyst for a conversation that’s long overdue.

Awards
2015 Russell Prize for Humour Writing – (Shortlisted);
2015 General Non-fiction Book of the Year – (Shortlisted);
– See more at: http://www.randomhouse.com.au/books/annabel-crabb/the-wife-drought-9780857984289.aspx#sthash.lpn7MHpL.dpuf

About American Wars

13 Oct

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0932863566?adid=1MCNFWDB21VVWVVFPEW5&camp=0&creative=0&creativeASIN=0932863566&linkCode=as1&ref_=as_li_tf_til&tag=commondreams-20

American Wars: Illusions and Realities

Paperback

March 15, 2008

by Paul Buchheit (Editor)

When Americans hear that the US country may go to war against another nation, we generally believe there’s probably a good reason for it or that no viable alternatives exist–or we don’t think about it at all. We trust our leaders to represent us and defend our values. We accept their claims that war is to ensure our safety when others who wish to harm us. The mediareassures us that our reasons for war are altruistic — but is all this really true?, that we wish to spread democracy and allow others to adopt our way of life. But is this the case? This book examines the realities of American wars how American values are manipulated to gain support for initiatives contrary to our ideals and well-being of our country Are we fighting for the right reasons? Can we trust the government, military, and media to deal honestly with the American people? Do we know the full costs of war to ourselves and to others? Are there undue benefits or inequitable losses to anyone involved? What is the human face of the enemy? Is the world a better place because of our wars? can we as world citizens resolve our differences in a better way? This book seeks to provide insight into basic American misconceptions about war.

See also:

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/10/12/five-great-american-hypocrisies

Reading “Bittersweet”

7 Aug

The other day I payed the public library a visit and picked up “Bittersweet” by Colleen McCullough. In the meantime I have nearly finished reading this novel about Australian country life in the 1920s and beginning of the 1930s.  It was a hard time for Australian workers. This novel is mainly a family story. However, McCoullough describes with great insight the political situation during that time in Australia. A lot of it reminds me of present day politics. It is amazing how much present day politicians’ attitudes resemble what politicians were on about some eighty or ninety years ago!

  • THE COURIER-MAIL interviewed Colleen McCoullough at her house in  Norfolk Island in
  • OCTOBER 05, 2013 .

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/colleen-mccullough8217s-new-book-bittersweet-a-summary-of-outspoken-novelist8217s-eventful-76-years/story-fnihsrk2-1226732980972#social-comments

I copied some excerpts from that interview:

” .  .  .  .

IT IS GETTING DARK IN THE FERNERY AND there is a fierce gale raging. It sounds like a jet aircraft roaring through the trees. A confined McCullough is relishing the drama. “Oh, I love the wind,” she says, looking to the ceiling. “I love it.”

In between preparing for the publication of Bittersweet, her first historical Australian saga with strong female characters – in this case two sets of twins, the indomitable Latimer sisters

– since The Thorn Birds, she has been rereading Antony and Cleopatra, the final book in her monumental seven-volume Masters of Rome series of novels.

“I’m reading my own,” she says flatly. (Laughter.)

Why?

“Boredom,” she says. “And I wanted to read a good book.” (Loud laughter.)

The novels have been lauded around the world, hailed by Roman scholars for their accuracy and applauded by the powerful, including former foreign minister Bob Carr

and US politician, consultant and author Newt Gingrich. It is the work she is most proud of.

“Nobody had ever written a big book about Caesar, ever,” she says. “Nobody had ever really written a big book about the Romans … I soon found out why, because the research was so fearsome. I thought, oh, good.”
The Rome books also delivered her something new – male readers. By the millions. In 2000 she was awarded the prestigious Scanno Prize for literature in Italy, largely on the back of her

Rome epic. Previous recipients included Nobel laureates Mario Vargas Llosa and Saul Bellow.

Then, last year, the Latimer twins arrived in her head and wouldn’t go away. Bittersweet – written, she says, to stave off boredom and amuse herself – is vintage McCullough. The tale of Edda, Grace, Tufts and Kitty, a suite of sisters who are at once attractive, intriguing, headstrong, outspoken, clever in different ways and vulnerable in others, is set in the imagined Australian country town of Corunda during the 1920s. The saga tracks their often hilarious interactions with each other, their romances, work and dreams in a country on the brink of depression.

The novel underlines several of McCullough’s enormous strengths as a writer – superbly deft characterisation, multiple plots that move apace, a warmth and generosity in the telling, and dialogue sharp and, in moments, uproariously funny. The book is also a meditation on love, and the decisions we make in life that riffle into our future. As McCullough’s London agent Georgina Capel reflects: “The reason for Colleen’s continuing success is that she understands what it is to love – to have loved greatly and to have received great love. She can express that better than any writer I can think of, and of course she has soul, which all enduring writers have to have.”

HarperCollins’ Sydney-based publishing director Shona Martyn says she “nearly fell out of bed” when she learned McCullough had penned a big, rambunctious historical Australian saga featuring four women. “I couldn’t believe it; then I read it and really loved it,” Martyn says. “She was a beacon for what Australian writers could do on the world stage, and she continues to refine her work.”

There is a sense of comfort in Bittersweet, too, as if McCullough the writer has, in some way, come home. “This new novel came out of nowhere,” she says. “Maybe when you’re 76, that’s where life is. It’s nowhere-ville because you could be dead tomorrow.”

She wanted to write about a country hospital, and nurses, and sisterly friendship. And, of course, men – the lovers and husbands who enter the Latimer sisters’ orbit. There are few novelists better on the humour inherent in the vanities and egos of pompous men.

 

.  .  .  .  . “

Isn’t this an interesting Read?

29 May

M. Mason Gaffney


New in October 2013

Mason Gaffney Reader cover

Purchase for $12.95 at
The Mason Gaffney Reader

or from Amazon

Solving the “Unsolvable”

Such dismal dilemmas economists pose for us these days! We’re told that to attract business we must lower taxes, shut the libraries and starve the schools; to prevent inflation we must have millions of people unemployed; to make jobs we must chew up land and pollute the world; to motivate workers we must have unequal wealth; to raise productivity we must fire people. Mason Gaffney has devoted his career to demonstrating the viability of reconciliation and synthesis in economic policy. In these 21 wide-ranging essays, he shows how we can find “win-win-win” solutions to many of society’s seemingly “unsolvable” problems.

“One of the most important but underappreciated ideas in economics is the Henry George principle of taxing the economic rent of land, and more generally, natural resources. This wonderful set of essays, written over a long and productive scholarly career, should be compulsory reading. An inveterate optimist, Mason Gaffney makes an excellent case that, by applying the Henry George principle, we can reduce inequality, and raise ample public revenues to be directed at any one of a multitude of society’s ills. Gaffney also offers plausible solutions to problems of urban renewal and finance, environmental protection, the cycle of boom and bust, and conflict generated by rent-seeking multinational corporations.” — JOSEPH STIGLITZ

“A crisp cocktail of geography, history and economics, chilled by crackling-clear prose. In these sparkling essays on rent, land and taxes, Mason Gaffney gives us Henry George in his time and for our own.” — JAMES GALBRAITH

Mason Gaffney is a national treasure. He boldly treads where few other economists even dare to peek: at the extraction of rent from the many by the few. Such rent extraction is now massive and threatens to destroy our democracy. To those who wonder how to stop it, my advice is simple: read Gaffney.—PETER BARNES