Showing posts from March, 2017

The Metamorphosis

Surreal Point of View

By Franz Kafka
Translated by Stanley Corngold
Austria-Hungary, 1915
Short Story, Absurdist, Slipstream, Philosophical

Main Attractions

1. 1st person narrator is a creepy bug.
2. He is very confused to be a bug.
3. Well crafted descriptions and inner dialogue.
4. Cool and unfortunate plot line.
5. Terrible family members.
6. Mistaken priorities among everyone.
7. Vivid descriptions throughout.
8. Creative thinking!
9. Very simple setting.
10. A metaphor for real life situations.

Cuisine & Delicacies

Ranked as: Dessert Bar
On the surface, our narrator wakes up to discover he isn’t himself.  That’s it.  The conflict is he struggles in his new ‘skin’ and his family wants nothing to do with.  Simple, right?

Nope.  The descriptions and 1st person point of view make this story so deep!  It’s a rabbit hole that only leads to more dens and burrows.  The relative simplify of this book, compared to Kafka’s other books, makes it a great introduction to his writing style.

Destination Summary

Book's Currency

Ink and Paper have a Presence
A bookshelf filled with books, one can see them without any power outages.  They are always there, even in the dark, with your senses, you know where they are.  If you’ve read them or want to, they are a constant, always engaged reminder of your TBR or TBR-ed.  You can never turn off your bookshelf or blindly walk past it.

Beautiful: Books & Knowledge
They are a culmination of art and knowledge.  Non-poetry & non-drama: non-fiction can be included as an intellectual art.   
Knowledge that’s purified and created into an art form is something to celebrate.  Just ask any bibliophile!  They can chatter for days about the art of loving books and not being afraid to resort to wormory.  

There's another type of book collector.  One that celebrates only the aesthetic nature of books.  What a book symbolizes, even having certain titles on their contracted shelf.  Could they be celebrating the art of bookery like us worms?  An architect is hosting a fundrais…

Lord of the Flies

The Darkest Fairy Tale

By William Golding
UK, 1954
Allegory, Speculative, YA

Main Attractions

1. So dark, it’s unnerving
2. Heavily cliched and parodied
3. About the decent of humankind
4. Includes the rarest taboos
5. Simplest storytelling
6. Rich in symbols
7. Boys started out so innocent!
8. Set on a tropical island
9. Unforgettable tale
10. Widely adapted variations of it.

Cuisine & Delicacies

Ranked as: Ghost Pepper BBQ Ribs
This book starts out like a simple fairy tale.  It’s short and simple like Animal Farm and can be read in a few hours.  But the events spiral down so far and so fast that you’ll be left in a heap on the floor.  I think it’s so unnerving because it’s about the descent of boys.  

This brings up such rich questions, are children less civilized than adults?  Is human nature inherently dark?  Is that our natural state, and civilization guards us from it?

Destination Summary

Spoilers Abound!! A very detailed summary of the book and it’s analysis by Thug Notes.

Travel Advisory:

The b…


The Most Cliche Ending

By William Shakespeare
British, c. 1599
Tragedy, Drama

Main Attractions

1. Coolest Skull Scene Ever!
2. Epically Quotable Lines
3. Internal Debate of Life or Death
4. Father’s Ghost Haunts Son
5. Son Judges Mother’s Actions
6. Raises Ethics of Life and Love
7. Seriously, Everybody Dies
8. The Love Interest is Driven Insane
9. Disney’s The Lion King and…
10. Sons of Anarchy are both Retellings!

Travel Advisory:

There is a lot of philosophy about life or death.  And then, there’s a lot of death.  It’s all about dramatic actions and their consequences.  

The story is so rich and inspiring, there have been numerous adaptations, it’s easy to get lost in choosing only one to watch or read. 

Cuisine & Delicacies

Ranked as: Lasagna or Hearty Casserole
It has the psychological depth of Crime & Punishment.  Hamlet begins with so many moral dilemmas and the plot twists almost beyond comprehension!  There are layers of things to interpret and unravel.  Each character has their own moti…

The Monk

A Tale of Descent 

By Matthew Gregory Lewis
British, 1796 

Main Attractions

1. Love Story, very Gothic 
2. Black Magic, Devilish Beings 
3. Creepy settings
4. Descent of Glorious Holy Man
5. Scandalous in 1796s & Today
6. Poetic Details
7. Layers of Decadence
8. Angelic Lady
9. Cauldron Thickening Plot
10. Ambrosia means food of the gods.

Travel Advisory:
It’s written by Lewis when he was a teenager.  A bit of the writing reflects this.  The majority of the writing is rich in details.  Alas! The described events are not pretty!  They are downright despicable.  It’s often called a “Romance,” I think it’s infatuation with all things sinful.  Relishing in all the acts that humans can do which are banned to us. 


Cuisine & Delicacies

Ranked as: Ghost Pepper BBQ Ribs
The lengths the characters go to obtain their desires are extreme!  It’s written so beautifully, that it seeps into you.  By the time the book is finished, you’ll be running into the forest to build a secluded cabin.


The Ramayana

India's Epic Love Story

By Valmiki 
Indian (and many other versions), 11th Century  
Epic Poetry, Foundational Myth

Main Attractions

1. Epic love story, with Hanuman! 
2. Mythical Ethics
3. Perpetuates culture
4. 1000s of years of adaptations
5. Oldest surviving epic
6. 2nd Longest epic in the world
7.  Every human emotion expressed
8. Battles and adventures
9. Numerous versions of  the ending
10. Has a National Holiday: Diwali 

Cuisine & Delicacies

Ranked as: Han Jeong Shik
The sheer diversity of everything that be included in a book is sure to exist in this one. It reveals culture, characters, events, and magic that only Gods can provide.

The cultural offshoots from this book are also vast.  It resulted in many different schools of thought.  The more I learned about it from secondary sources, the more I grew to understand it’s diverse impact.  It’s one of the rare books that’s lived more than it’s read.

It’s a book that’s lived, breathed and re-told everyday, all over the world.

Destination Sum…

Indian Philosophy

A Sourcebook

By Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan & Charles A. Moore
Published by Princeton University Press

Main Attractions

1. History of Indian Thought
2. Ancient Times
3. Epic Works
4. Primary Codified Laws & Politics
5. Core Religious Beliefs
6. Secondary Religious Beliefs
7. Roots of Some Modern Ideas
8. Condensed 1000s of years
9. Accessible & Readable
10. Comprehensive Serious Introduction

Cuisine & Delicacies:
Ranked as: Hearty Veggie Burger
I just can’t rank this according to meat.  So many of the philosophies explain vegetarianism/veganism so well, it would be a crime.  This book is extremely informative and very comprehensive.  The Indian Philosophy cannon is open and has been for 1000s of years.  It’s a country of extreme diversity and cultures.  The length of their epics and number of sutras could silence Thomas Aquinas or other copious writers.  Somehow, editors of this book were able to keep the heart of these copious, profound texts and make them highly readable and …

Why I Write

It’s Craft, Motivations and Agenda

By George Orwell
English, 1946
Essay, Non-Fiction

Main Attractions

1. It’s George Orwell!
2. No nonsense logic
3. 1st person biography 
4. Clever observations about English!
5. Good writing advice
6. Very short 
7. Packed with good quotes
8. Good political insight
9. More insight into 1984
10. Bare bones, honest writing style

Cuisine & Delicacies
Ranked as: Hearty Veggie Burger
It’s a non-fiction book that’s light and compact.  It should be readable in one afternoon.  Like a veggie burger, it has all the goodness of a good non-fiction but without the extra weight of a dense, chunker.

Off the Beaten Path

Here’s a great Tedx Talk about words being more important than ideas in a book even though readers are looking for ideas, not words.
It’s a bit longer then usual at 12 minutes.

Travel Advisory:

There are some dry bits.  He does prattle on a bit about specific politics of his day.  I think that’s a very offensive statement.  Orwell does merge politics and writing craft.…