Bargain Book Finds

Imagine a small but decent selection of new books, mostly hardbacks, for a dollar.

That is what you have in the picture above.

This is a capture I took earlier today of available books at the local dollar store. There were actually more books than I could fit into the picture. Surprisingly, there are some good titles among this selection too. Any book lover would be sure to find something to read among this pile. Here we have at least four shelves filled with brand new hardcover books that include fiction as well as non-fiction. There is a title by Jonathan Franzen. There is a political book by Mitch McConnel in there. There are a couple of cookbooks. You have a fitness book in there. You have a fashion book which is a compilation of volumes from the magazine Marie Claire. There are children’s books in there too. Truly, something for everybody in this small but amazing bargain collection.

For a dollar you have entertainment, knowledge, and education at your disposal.

Do you realize how many of us in this country are taking something like this for granted? Any one of those books would pay for itself in terms of the the information or story you extract from it. The book binding and paper alone had to cost a dollar, not to mention the value of the story or information contained within.

Well, I didn’t pass up this bargain. I’ll leave you with what I found. It’s called

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

 

Until next time, good reading.

 

 

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Inspired by One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

I am a big fan of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey. I have read the book twice and seen the movie a few times. It has great characters and there is plenty to pick up on between the lines. The narrative is an amazing study on institutionalism and human behavior. My mind races with varying interpretations and thoughts each and every time I get through it. I was inspired to write this piece on lobotomy and medication from it. I hope you enjoy.

 

Chemical Lobotomy

the mind is out of rhyme

the eyes crazy from time

the whole body in the fog machine

fixed in a state of apathy

a void like anomie

enter widespread chemical lobotomy

submission in the form of a pill

dissent is one thing it helps to kill

repressing a curious personality

the chemical lobotomy

forever damaging autonomy

Hands around Innocence

I was thinking of scams and deceit. I was thinking of charlatans, hucksters, and swindlers. I was thinking of agendas and self-interest. I was thinking about novelty. I was thinking of all the examples I see of over-promising and under-delivering and I came up with this phatasmagorism. I hope you like it.

 

Hands around Innocence

you sell me on delicacy and beauty but all that is ever delivered is wrath / smothered in conflict and stabbed with drama / you tragically asphyxiate communication and entrap all innocence / happiness is broken into fragments and scattered into mystery by time

 

 

Summer Fantasy

Summer is a season of many things. Ever since I was a kid summer has always been a time for me to do more reading. It’s nice to escape the heat outside with a little quiet indoor reading. This summer should be no exception.

So far, my interest has been on the fantasy/science fiction genre. I think it appeals to me at the moment because it feels like a nice escape. The image above shows two books from my recent trek to the library.

  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

I am also thinking of reading

  • The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
  • The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami

I would love to hear any suggestions any of you might have, so feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Until next time, good reading.

 

 

Synthetic Love

 

Synthetic Love

photographs always fade as you pass by

your psychology is so hazardous,

but I am seduced by your synthetic love

I would have no color

if not for the bruises from your abuse

sweetheart, I need more of your plastic emotion.

 

TF

 

Looking at the Ugliness of Humanity

“The savior who wants to turn men into angels is as much a hater of human nature as the totalitarian despot who wants to turn them into puppets.” – Eric Hoffer

If you know me or follow my blog then it is no secret that I like to read serious subjects from time to time. My reading is not limited to national bestsellers. In fact, I like to go dark with my subject matter. As a cynic I am not afraid of heavy material. Every once and while I get asked how I can read such books. I would rather know and be aware than wander around in pitch black bliss, but that is just me.

Some people are happy not knowing. Some people prefer to remain unaware and pretend that everything is fine. I call these people the “comforting illusionists.” I have nothing against them and I am not trying to poke fun at them. Maybe at one time I might have been like that, it is hard to pinpoint, but once you know the dark, ugly side of society and nature it is hard to go back. That might be what keeps some people from wanting to know. Either way it exists. It reminds me of sayings like “out of sight, out of mind,” and “turn a blind eye,” as well as “NIMBY” (not in my backyard). Some people are only comfortable with hearing the good. Not me, I want balance. If I come across information and subject matter that hasn’t presented the good and the bad on a topic then I question the integrity and validity of said information.

I am curious and compelled to know about things that the majority do not want to know. I do not shy away from hard, heavy, dark subjects. Take the book pictured above. It is The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang. This is the tale of a less often talked of holocaust during World War II. It tells the horrific episode of rape, torture, and murder of over 300,000 Chinese women, children, and soldiers carried out by the Japanese army. It is a hideous chapter of history and a stain of humanity. How did it happen? A solid point of this book by Chang is that she tells the story from three different perspectives. You get the side of the Japanese soldiers, the perspective from the Chinese, and also the viewpoint from a group of Westerners who were in the city when it happened. Brutal massacres like this are not easy to learn about, but they are important to know about because of how easy it is to develop a disregard for human life. Human life is cheap. That is a fact many of us don’t like to face because of our self-interest in living and surviving, but history is littered with too many examples of the devaluing of human life. People in power would like nothing more than to keep you ignorant of such atrocities as to keep you from believing that they are capable of carrying out such dark deeds. Open discussion and awareness of dark, terrible subjects may be one of the only real checks on power that we have. Don’t ignore the ugliness of our nature as it may ending up costing you more than you can imagine.

Until next time, good reading.

 

Two-Liners (New Prose)

I really enjoy writing six word stories when I can but sometimes six words is not enough yet I still want to be creative without writing too much. So, to remedy this conundrum, if you will, I write what I call “two-liners.” Here are a few that I would like to share.

 

public relation man

his guiding principle is deceit

 

 

damn be to the family

i am a bastard son

 

 

the good book

fables for the feeble

 

 

hand stamps and velvet ropes

evidence of a fulfilled week

 

 

Winds of Sorrow

A poem by me for when the world feels cold and grey.

 

Winds of Sorrow

drops of blood fall from the sky

gifts from the bleeding angels

they feel my misery

and taste my pain

they share my passion

and acknowledge my desperation

my hope left me years ago

if I were a flame –

I would pray for a lack of oxygen

my visions are grey

and the flowers do not blossom

the stench of the underworld

takes form and grabs hold of me

it takes, it takes…but it does not give

until I am nothing left…but…

a vapor that gets lost in the wind.

TF

 

Risk and Consequence

I had never read a Michael Lewis book. I was familiar with the titles of some of his past work, but when I was browsing the “New Books” section in the library The Fifth Risk stuck out to me.

He tells stories, real life stories. Stories that probably need to be heard.

His book The Fifth Risk is an easy read. This is a narrative about the transition of the Trump administration and just exactly what the different departments of government do. Unless you work in one of these departments or are extremely knowledgeable, and I mean extremely knowledgeable, about the inner workings of government then you are bound to be surprised at what some of these departments actually do. Michael Lewis goes into the heart of the system and finds the people keeping the machine running and he asks them what risks and consequences are at stake for the country. What is revealed is astonishing!

This is not a Trump bashing book. This is a book that challenges ignorance. In fact there is a line in the book that captures the sentiment very well.

“There is an upside to ignorance, and a downside to knowledge. Knowledge makes life messier. It makes it a bit more difficult for a person who wishes to shrink the world to a worldview.”

Speaking of knowledge, there is an entire section of the book on data. It is called “All the President’s Data” and has a major focus on the National Weather Service which is a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration inside the Department of Commerce. The National Weather Service collects tons of data which is beneficial and useful to every citizen of the country as well as industry. That data which can help you is not valued by this administration. Neither is science. After the transition the country’s leading data scientist is gone, his memo’s ignored, not even read.

Data allows you to do things. Without data we are screwed. The Trump administration doesn’t seem to value data. They are either ignoring data, eliminating it, or giving it over to private industry for profit, all while promoting the slogan “Make America Great Again.” It seems a little ironic since you can only be so good with no data.

I leave you with a couple lines from the last pages of the book on tornadoes to think about.

“All kinds of things might happen to you in life. By sheer accident only a few of them do. That tiny subset shapes your view of the world, to an alarming degree.”

“And so you might have a good reason to pray for a tornado, whether it comes in the shape of swirling winds, or a politician. You imagine the thing doing the damage that you would like to see done, and no more. It’s what you fail to imagine that kills you.”

Until next time, good reading. 

 

 

 

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