Book Review: Classics (Pre-20th Century)

365 Challenge: Day 177 – Automaton

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Automaton: a machine that performs a function according to a predetermined set of coded instructions, especially one capable of a range of programmed responses to different circumstances

automaton

Today’s 365 Daily Challenge post needs to credit Yesha @ Books Teacup & Reviews for providing me with a beautiful word to incorporate into my blog. Yesha has been a great online friend I’ve known for months, enjoying all her book content and kind words. Please take a look at her site if you haven’t before. I believe you will find some treasures. So, the word automaton comes from when she made a comment on a previous post about how much I had been accomplishing lately, especially as when telling everyone around that time that I was heading out of town for four days to visit family. I spent very little time reading anyone else’s blog or posts, and I hardly replied to any comments on my own posts, which made me feel bad!

As I thought about what she noted, I realized that several other of my online friends have made a few remarks about me having clones to get all this work done, that I seem to be online 24/7 answering messages and I am always posting about something new and different (how does he do it!?). It made me feel kinda special, realizing how many people have a similar positive response to my writing, my style and to me.

I definitely admit, I tend to be very robotic and machine-like when it comes to getting tasks done. I have a very strong work ethic, an intense commitment to accomplishing goals and a plentiful list of things I want to do. And so, it pains me to say this, but I learned a little bit of a lesson these last few days on how much I am capable of taking on all at once. I’m not sure I’ll be able to catch up on social media and blogging from the last few days, but also, with a 2-week vacation coming up in mid-September, there is no chance of me staying on top of it all, pre-writing fifteen 365 Daily Challenge posts. I suspect I will end up taking a photo of wherever I am in North Carolina and Orlando, posting about the word I see when I look at the picture. Over the course of the 2 weeks, I have a wedding, Disney World, Biltmore, tons of hotels, lakes, towns, activities and plans, so there will so much to blog about!

Each one will be brief and just enough to let everyone know where I am, what I am doing and that I miss chatting with everyone. But I won’t have time to read all of your posts and comment, so I apologize greatly in advance for my low quality and quantity in September, but I promise to rectify it in October when I have tons of news about the launch of Watching Glass Shatter, Father Figure and the 2nd half of the 365 Daily Challenge. I also promise to spend some time in October catching up on missed posts after I return. Last week, I mentioned choosing a day each month where it’s all about other people’s posts and content. I think I’ve settled on either this Friday or next Monday, which is in between my two trips. Gives me enough time to plan and take a breather. I’m excited about it, as I’ll get two posts done the day before, so I am free to focus on everything else. An entire day devoted to everyone I chat with on WP and social media!

 

As for the word automaton, my only secret of getting a lot accomplished is in how I focus my mind. I’m a realistic planner. I break down my days into reasonable three-hour chunks of time where I have specific goals. I force myself to stay uninterrupted during each session, but I also allow for a few minutes in between to address those things that just sneak into your schedule. The unavoidable time-eaters which you often can’t say ‘no’ to, unless you risk having a bigger problem afterwards. It’s mostly a mind-game you have to play with yourself to keep a focus on priorities. Knowing what needs to happen in what order is important. Confirming to yourself the things which could throw you off helps ensure you push them out of the way when they arrive.

There’s also a good part of success that is due to sheer energy and will power. If you want to get something done, you have to just do it. There are moments in life where you can choose to waste an hour being frustrated about what it is you have to get done, or you can just do that task so it’s one more off the list. That’s my biggest secret. I don’t allow myself to get caught up in worrying too much about everything I have to do. If I find myself with the “woe is me” feeling, I snap out of it immediately. I get up, shake it off and re-focus. Like today, for instance… We left Louisiana on a 6am flight this morning, which meant not enough sleep, an all too quick goodbye to family, and then tons of wasted time in several airports. I couldn’t read. I had no WiFi connection. I was lazy and didn’t pre-think of a word for today. Finally, we arrived back in the apartment around 4pm. We unpacked, decided on a dinner plan for later and then said, “ok, let’s get to it.” W had to check on some work things. I knew my priority was this post.

I wanted to read comments from a friend on Father Figure. I wanted to read another friend’s chapters. I wanted to play longer with Ryder. We did for a few minutes. He’ll get my attention later tonight. I desperately wanted to go to the gym. But I said no to all if it. Sat my ass on the couch. I am typing up this blog. And then we are going to an early dinner since W made me get up at the ass-crack of dawn (that’s the only way to refer to it) for the first flight home. Every other time, we take the afternoon flight, but it always gets delayed, meaning we don’t get back to our apartment until midnight. So he thought ahead and very considerately painfully scheduled a 6am flight home. After dinner, I will make my list for tomorrow and immediately focus on all my priorities so that I can be a good little automaton and meet all my goals before the 9/17 vacation to North Carolina begins.

How do you keep yourselves in line? When do you say ‘enough is enough’ and let yourself just go with it? Do you really think I’m an automaton or is this just a funny joke? ‘Cause everyone has said this to me my whole life. I know I get a lot done, but seriously, this particular guy knows how to sit on a couch and do nothing sometimes. That is not a machine but in reality, emptying my mind of everything for a few hours at a time, every once in a while, is what helps make it capable of doing so much in so little time during the rest of my days. Maybe the clones are doing the work then… maybe I just solved my own puzzle. I like answering my own questions. I am doing that right now, aren’t I? OK, post is over. Thanks for everyone’s patience this month! I’ll be back on track soon enough. 🙂

 

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.

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Review: Jane Eyre

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Jane EyreBook Review
3+ out of 5 stars to Jane Eyre, a wonderful novel written in 1847 by Charlotte Brontë. I read this book on Spring break just prior to my 21st birthday, perhaps not the best time to take this beauty on. At 21, being a guy, and English major and forced to read a few books I didn’t think I’d like, this came at a time where although I liked it, I wasn’t as in love with as most others are… hence the 3+ rating. I believe if I read it today, it’d be a 4+. But I have 1200 books on my TBR and simply can’t afford to take on any re-reads without losing my mind. Perhaps I should watch a TV or Film version to renew my interest? It has all the right parts… young woman suffering at the hands of the conventions of time and family (two things I enjoy in books)… the love of a ‘good’ man (meaning you see a relationship grow high and low)… and drama (will she escape it all?). Society was harsh nearly 200 years ago. I would not have survived. I am not vocal about my opinions of people’s behavior or societal limitations, but I believe anyone should be able to do anything they want without hurting someone else or the world we live in. If you want to marry your cousin, go ahead… not my business. If you want to sleep with a new man or woman every night, more power to you. Doesn’t affect me. If you want to wear revealing clothing… go look your best — just don’t do it where someone may cause an accident as a result! 🙂 Point being…. I struggle sometimes with books that cover these conventions because I want everything to be free and open. And when it isn’t, I can enjoy the battle to get there, but it’s a bit difficult when I combine it with 200 year old setting and guides. That said… I adore Jane. I empathize with her. I could be her on some levels. The words and language are great. It should be read. But know what you’re getting into!



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: Pride and Prejudice

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Pride and PrejudiceBook Review
So it starts off with this zombie who is thirsty for… oh wait, wrong book. I thought this had zombies in the title. I must be confused. Oh, there are 2 of them. Why would someone do that? What do zombies have to do with marriage and love and the idea of ideas? Is this the book where the women in a lion’s den dislike the men? Oh, I’m so lost today with these older reviews. JUST KIDDING!

3 out of 5 stars to Pride and Prejudice, a remarkable novel written in the early 19th century by the wonderful Jane Austen. I read this when I was around 20 years old, as part of one of my English courses. I like the book. I enjoy the characters. But I’m not as big of a fan as most people who say they like this book. I’ve also never seen any movie, film or tv series versions of it, nor would I dare pick up the one that includes the zombies. There are 2 things preventing me: (1) I wasn’t enamored with this one enough to want to re-read something very different and (2) I’ve never been a fan of zombies. Vampires, yes. Werewolves, yes. Witches, totally. But for some reasons, zombies don’t do it for me. I did like the first two movies in the Resident Evil series, but that’s just because she’s a badass! Why am I still talking about zombies. Let’s move to marriage, a more appropriate topic, given it’s a central theme in the book.

I am not married. For a while, it wasn’t legal for me to marry the person I’d want to marry. It is now. But I’m still not married. And I have been in a relationship for nearly six years. My point… so off topic in this one… is that marriage has never been important to me. And so this book had some interesting parts to it that I both agreed with and had some conflicts with. I believe in doing what’s best for the two people involved in the relationship, not what society says is the acceptable thing to do. I also find marriage to be something more private between the married couple, and it would be weird to stand up in front of a whole room of people and say some words, have some sort of institutional approach and then continue on with our lives.

I liked the pairing of Elizabeth and Darcy, but it wasn’t a romantic and wonderful turn of events for me. It felt more like a societal commentary of relationships, expectations and courtship. As a result, I focused less on “should they be together” and more on “what’s the meaning under all these words.” I liked the book, probably give it a 3.4999999, which unfortunately rounds down to a 3.

Of all the classics, it’s not one of my favorites, but I’d give it another chance under the right circumstances. Just would want to maybe see a visual interpretation first, perhaps to drive my imagination and provoke some different thoughts for the next read.



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 Iliad

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The IliadBook Review
3+ out of 5 stars to The Iliad, a Greek lyrical work written around 800 BC by Homer. Ah The Trojan War. We all know of the horse, but how did it come together? Who was at war? And why? You’ll need to read The Iliad & The Odyssey to figure all that out… of the two, I preferred the Odyssey. I still found the story fascinating and enjoyed the read. But it’s a lot to digest. It’s amazing when you realize these works are almost 3000 years old. Such beauty in his words. And to think about everything we’ve learned over the years… about war… and the Trojan horse… both the virus and the trickery. There are some valuable lessons in this work. If only more would 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: Paradise Lost

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Paradise LostBook Review
3.5 out of 5 stars for Paradise Lost, the first of a two-book series, written in 1667 by John Milton. I’ve only read the first book in this series, but would like to read the second piece at some point. These are epic poems telling of the battle between Satan and God for control over the human soul. It’s truly an introspective piece, as I believe Milton threw so much of himself, as well as people in general, into this work. It’s captured the attention of so many people, and not just readers. It’s the foundation of several films and television adaptions. Some argue it loses focus on the religious aspects; others praise it for being very open to different experiences. It’s the kind of literature that pushes you to think about voice and characters. About different sides to a story and alternative opinions. How does it feel to agree with Satan? Do you accept being disappointed in something God says because it’s something you thought was OK to do? So much in the words, but also the message is even more powerful. It’s a lot to digest, but if you haven’t read it, look up a few passages to see if the lyrical tone is something you can absorb while reading the words. It may help give you some perspective on different aspects of life and death.



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: Treasure Island

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Treasure IslandBook Review
4 out of 5 stars to Treasure Island, a coming-of-age-of-sort novel, written in 1882 by Robert Louis Stevenson. I read this book as a young adult when I received it as a Christmas present from an aunt and uncle. At first, although I knew it was a classic, I wasn’t too anxious to jump into it. I wasn’t a big fan of pirates and boats. I wasn’t a normal kid, what can I tell you. But… it was a gift and I thought I should give it a chance. And once I did, I loved it. I had read Peter Pan recently and felt a kismet connection of sorts between them. From the adventures to the bonds, to the test of good versus evil, the book had so many wonderful moments. And since then, I’ve sampled many different iterations, from movies to other books with pirate stories, all the way to Once Upon a Times interpretation. It’s truly a remarkable story that helps young adults figure out how to approach a world full of fears, hopes and questions. And to think it’s a pirate and a cook who help you to figure some of it out. But it’s more. There’s bonding. And team work. And treasure hunting. And challenges. And mystery. All culminating in reaching one’s goals in ways you didn’t necessarily expect.



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 Return of the Native

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The Return of the NativeBook Review
5 out of 5 stars to The Return of the Native, a novel written by Thomas Hardy, first published in 1878 and subsequently re-issued a few times with additional revisions. It’s rare for me to give out a full 5 stars, but this book will always hold an extreme and special place in my heart. It was the start of my adoration of the English countryside. It was a true story of love, life and reality. Watching the drama unfold over the years, chapter by chapter, was phenomenal. I was there while it happened, at least it felt so to me. Hardy had a unique ability to transport me to his vision. I felt connected to him as a writer and a storyteller. I loved every character. I couldn’t decide who should end up with whom. It’s that good… you see all sides. You want everything. But sadly, you cannot have it. The fighting felt true to form. The depression made me melancholic. I fell in love with the main characters and would have done anything to see them happy when I first read it. I’ve read it three times, roughly every ten years. I’m due again in the very near future. Perhaps we should buddy read it!



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