Quote

“Belief is both prize & battlefield, within the mind & in the mind’s mirror, the world […] If we believe that humanity may transcend tooth & claw, if we believe [diverse] races & creeds can share this world as peaceably as the orphans share their candlenut tree, if we believe leaders must be just, violence muzzled, power accountable & the riches of the Earth & its Oceans shared equitably, such a world will come to pass. I am not deceived. It is the hardest of worlds to make real. Torturous advances won over generations can be lost by a single stroke of myopic president’s pen or a vainglorious general’s sword.”

David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

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Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Read: April 2018

Rating: “An infinite matryoshka doll of painted moments, each “shell” (the present) encased inside a nest of “shells” (previous presents) I call the actual past but which we perceive as the virtual past.”

TL;DR Recommendation: “Character Development” by David Mitchell

“If you fell outward to the limit of the universe, would you find a board fence and signs reading DEAD END? No. You might find something hard and rounded, as the chick must see the egg from the inside. And if you should peck through that shell (or find a door), what great and torrential light might shine through and discover our entire universe is but part of one atom on a blade of grass? Might you be forced to think that by burning a twig you incinerate an eternity of eternities? That existence rises not to one infinite but to an infinity of them?”

-Stephen King, The Gunslinger

Quote

“In Paris, strolling arm in arm with a casual sweetheart through a late autumn, it seemed impossible to imagine a purer happiness than those golden afternoons, with the woody odor of chestnuts on the braziers, the languid accordions, the insatiable lovers kissing on the open terraces, and still he had told himself with his hand on his heart that he was not prepared to exchange all that for a single instant of his Caribbean in April. He was still too young to know that the heart’s memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good, and that thanks to this artifice we manage to endure the burden of the past. But when he stood at the railing of the ship and saw the white promontory of the colonial district again, the motionless buzzard on the roofs, the washing of the poor hung out to dry on the balconies, only then did he understand to what extent he had been an easy victim to the charitable deceptions of nostalgia.”

-Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

Aside

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Read: February 2018

Rating: Why posthumously publish an ideologically dated, clearly unfinished manuscript in need of another draft (or two)? Two words: cash grab.

Same-premise-better-book Recommendation: “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett