Day: June 11, 2017

Review: The Grapes of Wrath

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The Grapes of WrathBook Review
3 out of 5 stars to The Grapes of Wrath, written in 1939 by John Steinbeck. I might have an unpopular opinion when it comes to this book, as it was fine but nothing fantastic for me. I admit, I read this in middle school, nearly 25 years ago, and never went back to read it again. I tend not to like books about awful things as the main plot. I don’t mind when bad things happen, or circumstances change, but when the entire book is about the pain and suffering of a family, it doesn’t usually rise to the top of my TBR. I might consider giving this one another chance, but you have some major convincing to do. I like Steinbeck, too, so it’s not so much an issue with the author as it is with the topic. The writing is strong. The imagery is good. The characters are well drawn. The setting is very detailed. But when it comes to the plight of a family against the hardships all around them, it’s a difficult read. Part of my issue may have been a connection with the story. While I certainly don’t have a real-life connection with my favorite books (mysteries, thrillers…), you need to have an understanding and recognition between what’s happening and how you live. Coming from the northeast, in a major metropolitan city, 50+ years after these times, it doesn’t start off as something I’m familiar with. I usually don’t read things about this time period or space for those reasons. If the characters called to me, I might have liked it more. Don’t get me wrong… it’s a good book. And it’s got a place in the world of classics. And it helped highlight a lot of wrongs that people weren’t aware of. And maybe because I learned those lessons from other books and other places, this one just didn’t seem all that top notch to me. That said, it’s Steinbeck, so there is something of value here. No one can tell reality like he can.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

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Review: Lord of the Flies

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Lord of the FliesBook Review
3 out of 5 stars to Lord of the Flies, a coming-of-age novel written in 1954 by William Golding, who was a Nobel Prize winner. Most people have either read this book during middle/high school (in America or Great Britain), or have heard of it because of its cannibalism story line. But wait… it wasn’t really cannibalism — huge exaggeration to set straight, right from the beginning. But let’s back up… At a time of war, a group of teenage boys are in a plane that crashed onto an isolated and jungle-like island. They are forced to grow up quickly when they have no food, water or shelter at their disposal. It’s a story about how to take care of yourself in the jungle when you have nothing but raw supplies. The novel is full of themes from loss of innocence to the differences between savagery and civilization. It asks the question what type of a person are you — a leader or a follower? The story charts the actions of the teens as they grow up, hunt for food, build shelter and learn how to work together. They divide into opposing teams, trying to see how is the best leader. They learn to help each other and watch others dies. They run out of supplies and food, questioning whether to eat meat, hence where cannibalism comes from. But it’s not a major story where they choose to do it and eat an entire body to survive, that’s a different book! I read the book once and tried a second time, but what I realized is that the world today is a very different place. While I appreciate the themes and characters being brought to life in this novel, it didn’t have as strong an impact on me as it has for others. I think it may be the kind of novel that is best read when you are a teenager, as it helps with understanding things are the same today as they were 75 years ago, in terms of growing up and learning how to work together. When you’ve got a classic like this one paired up against something like The Hunger Games, it’s a tough choice. They deal with the same sort of context in terms of “survival of the fittest,” but one is a dangerous game and another is an accident. I like them both, but I’d choose The Hunger Games, even tho it’s probably less well-written. Teen angst, lessons to be learned, education versus playtime, all great concepts both books addressed, but the difference is when a book almost goes out of the way to try to teach me something versus it naturally happening. I still believe it’s a good book, and it should be read, but if it were written today, I don’t think it would be as popular.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

Review: The Diary of a Young Girl

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The Diary of a Young GirlBook Review
4 out of 5 stars to The Diary of a Young Girl, written during the 1940s by Anne Frank. Many are first exposed to this modern-day classic during their middle or high school years, as a way to read a different type of literature from that of an ordinary novel. In this diary, young Anne express her thoughts (both positive and negative) over a two-year period during which her family and friends are in hiding during World War II and the Holocaust. For most of us, this is one of the few ways we can actually read or hear the words from someone who was actually there and went through this, especially if you don’t know anyone who was alive during this time period in the 1930s and 1940s in Germany and the surrounding areas. I read this in my 9th grade English course, and I remember disliking it a lot. Not because of the way it was written or published, but due to the topic. I dislike anything about that time in history. But I later re-read it and had a different level of appreciation for the value a book of this type can bring. Unlike The Book Thief, it’s raw and natural in its words. But where I love The Book Thief because of its story, I found this one a bit harder to digest. It’s not this extraordinary novel by any means, at least to me, but given how it came about, what happened to her and the way she expresses everything, it is definitely a great book. Everyone should read some passages from it at some point in their life.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

Review: The Maltese Falcon

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The Malteses FalconBook Review
4 out of 5 stars to The Maltese Falcon, a classic mystery novel written in 1930 by Dashiell Hammett. If you ask a mystery fan when the genre started, a good chunk of them will say during the Golden Age (1920s & 30s) with authors like Dashiell Hammett, specifically with the creation of the Sam Spade character. Immediately what comes to mind is the old-fashioned black-and-white movies with the coat and hat on the detective, the accents and the chase scenes. While these are all true, few have actually read these novels. I’ve been a fan of mystery since I was a young kid, reading a bunch in my teenage years. I re-read a lot during an independent study course I design while getting my English degree while in college. This book was one of the first the Dean and my professor recommended to me. I had read parts of it and seen the movies made from it, but I wasn’t as familiar with the whole Golden Age. But once you read this book, you thirst for more. It’s so well-written (apart from some of the ideas that have positively changed since then, e.g. racial or gender bias) from a mystery perspective, you are immediately engaged. And one of the sub-plots in these types of books are often “will he get the girl” or “is the girl on his side of the bad guy’s side?” In The Maltese Falcon, you get it all. It’s international. It’s romantic. It’s dangerous. It’s scary. It’s complex. And it ends in a very unexpected kinda way. It’s a game-changer for the genre and that’s why it’s called the Golden Age. For mystery fans, you better have read this one. For non-mystery fans, it’s a good story, and if you like older books, them you should give it a chance.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

Review: Inferno

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InfernoBook Review
4 out of 5 stars to Inferno, the first of three books in the “Divine Comedy” series, written around 1320 by Dante Alighieri. A few pieces of background information for those who many not know, before I get into a mini-review. Inferno, which means “Hell” was one of three books Dante wrote in the 14th century, essentially about the three spaces people occupy after death: Hell (Inferno), Purgatory and Heaven (Paradiso). I’ve only read Inferno, so I’m not able to discuss much on the other two, but I’d like to some day. They were not written in English, so I have read a translated version. These works are considered comparable in fame and beauty as those of William Shakespeare. OK… that said, my thoughts:

For as long as people have been alive, Christians, that is, they have worried about what happens after death, turning to God and the Bible. In the 14th century, religion was one of the only things people did with their lives besides work and raise a family. They had a lot of time to spend on it, wondering what might happen. Dante captures the exact sentiments we’ve all felt throughout our lives, and he displays it through the nine circles or gates of hell. He presents it as a torture for all those who did bad things while they were alive. The story, in its basic form, is Dante himself traveling in a boat through the river that runs through Hell, stopping to see each realm. He’s led by the famous poet Virgil. He encounters people or archetypes of people he knew and those he’s heard of. Essentially, it’s a story of justice and the contradictions in religious beliefs for all of God’s followers. Dante pushed people to think about their actions and beliefs. And he created a story based on his own journey to say everything he felt about what he’s experienced in life.

It’s full of questions. It’s been the basis for so many movies, books and plays in the future. It’s so often quoted or referenced, it’s literally one of the most famous works around… and to think it was written nearly 700 years ago is amazing. Though it’s no where near a comparison, it reminds me a little bit of The Ninth Gate, a movie with Johnny Depp, that I love, about people trying to reach the Devil. And it’s a translation of a new Spanish author I’m very fond of: Arturo Perez-Reverte. I’ve read one of his books and plan to read The Club Dumas soon.

As for this one, I encourage everyone to find a passage from The Divine Comedy, even if you prefer Paradise or Purgatory, something a tad more positive, just to see the language and the lyrics Dante shares. It’s beautiful. I could go on and on, but hopefully this is enough to wet your appetite.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

365 Challenge: Day 91 – Brown (Color)

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Brown: of a color produced by mixing red, yellow, and blue, as of dark wood or rich soil

nature.jpg

Sunday posts, the end of each week, have become a theme on This-Is-My-Truth-Now, organized by groups of five (5). In the first set of five, we explored my primary ethnicity groups and nationalities. In the second set of five, we had the AtoZ Challenges for various favorite things in our lives. And so… I’m continuing the trend of the seventh day, ending the week on Sunday, as a list (we know I love them) that provides more in depth knowledge about me. Only this time, I’m going with colors that are important to who we are. For these five Sundays, I will select a color that has some significance to my life and explore it in my post.

brown

Color: Brown. A very controversial color. Sometimes it’s used in a derogatory manner; and to those people, I say, “You’re awful.” Sometimes it’s meant as a very boring and blah color; and to those people, I say, “You’re awful — dull and useless, too. Ha!” Because to me… brown is one of the most beautiful colors in the entire spectrum. It is found in nature just like green and blue; therefore it’s a natural element. Brown can be paired with almost any other color and still look amazing. It has wonderful light shades we paint our walls with and it has intense dark hues we can stare at for hours, getting lost in its depth. My hair is brown. My eyes are hazel with a brown tone. I love all different kinds of wood, which tend to be brown. It’s just a wonderful color to use as a base in anything you build, buy or design. I am also jealous of brown tones. When I am in the sun, I go from being very pale to very red. There is never any in-between nicely tanned color from absorbing rays at the beach or the tanning salon. Ghost to Lobster. That’s Me!

Oh, and I forgot, I love my coffee, which comes in all different shades of brown.

Brown represents a starting place for me. When I don’t know what to do in a room, I think about what color will look best in it alongside brown, as everyone has brown in every room of the house. (Yes, I’m sure there are exceptions…) If you have wood tables or floors, there’s a strong chance you have the color brown. Beige falls under brown, and that’s a common color for walls (other than white), so there’s a high chance you have it there. I just did a quick sweep of the apartment, while pouring another cup of coffee (that doesn’t talk back to me) and I have brown everywhere: Both bathrooms have light brown tiles. The kitchen, although it has yellow walls and white cabinets, has brown paintings. The bedroom is brown and blue. The dining room table is brown. And my living room tables and bookcases are brown. Even the hallway floors are all brown wood.

Let’s chat about famous examples of the color brown… And yes, there are probably more, but these are the ones that come to mind or I have familiarity with:

bear.jpg

  • Brown Bear
  • Brown University
  • Brown Bag
  • Brown Out
  • Brownie
  • Brown Sugar
  • Brownstone
  • The Browns
  • Brown Nose
  • Brown Derby
  • Charlie Brown

From a quick InterWebs search, descriptions of the color brown, in regard to a person’s thoughts and feelings, confirm the following:

Brown is believed to help create a wholesome feeling, a connection with the earth, and a sense of orderliness and convention. Brown is a stable and grounded color that is believed to help you feel like you fit in and belong.”

I couldn’t agree more. Our planet is built on browns, blues and greens. Whenever I want to feel calm, I search for the dirt. To see flowers grow out of it. To find creatures who live within it. To touch something that enables life. Brown feels like the color of life to me. You can read more at: http://www.bourncreative.com/meaning-of-the-color-brown/

browngg.jpg

The other reason I love brown is that’s the color of my favorite drink — Jack Daniels and Ginger Ale. (Or even JD on its own!). The smell of that combination actually calms me down. It’s sweet yet dark. It’s light yet has depth. You can drink it with ice to feel like you’re having a cocktail or on its own, almost like a shot. It’s a perfect before dinner drink, goes well with so many meals and helps settle your stomach after dessert. Oh… how I love my whiskey and ginger ale. But too many can put a little too much extra weight around the waist if you’re not careful.

 

How do you feel about the color brown? Did I miss any famous “brown” things or phrases and names with the word “brown” in them. Perhaps I was thinking about that last one too much…

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.