Category Archives: book review

The Mad, the Beautiful: ‘The Highly Sensitive’, by Judy Dyer – review

The Highly Sensitive: How to Stop Emotional Overload, Relieve Anxiety, and Eliminate Negative EnergyThe Highly Sensitive: How to Stop Emotional Overload, Relieve Anxiety, and Eliminate Negative Energy by Judy Dyer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Come and read this book if it’s about you. –

If you feel why life can’t be lived at the same pitch
Of your mind’s notes written in the heart’s chamber;
If you find the utter cry of your heart without a hitch
In a solitary sea of words rolling and heaving under
A rainbow of vivid imaginations and fleeting emotions;
And your spirit often rebels and refuges in the ether
From the detritus of broken promises and shattered dreams,

You were born of the mystic race of the Highly Sensitive
Of Fire, Spirit, and Dew in the wondrous alchemy of beauty,
So beautiful, so wonderful, so delightful that your eyes are lit
With twinkles of shiny waters, sparkles of diamonds
That which adonize you with the Supreme One of Mystery.

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Who were the First People? – ‘The Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon’, – review

The Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon: The History and Legacy of the First People to Migrate to EuropeThe Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon: The History and Legacy of the First People to Migrate to Europe by Charles River Editors

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You don’t have to feel obligated to believe that apes are your distant relatives lost somewhere in the missing link because it is one of many theories based on educated guesses anyway.  In fact, few species in the natural world are more indubitably wonderful and incredibly mysterious than mankind that Shakespeare swiveled his head in wonderment and uttered, “What a piece of work man is!”  Accordingly, the origin of races has always piqued the curious, fanning the fiery imaginations of the human race and the wherefores of modern humankind in the discovery of the two kinds of the First People from Africa around 1.5 million years ago. The Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon: The History and Legacy of the First People to Migrate to Europe by Charles River Editions will present you these two unlikely yet compatible hominids in the panorama of human evolution that is unrolled as it narrates the sequentially arranged series of scenes from Africa to Europe and Asia.

The book helps you to unwind your conditioned belief that the unkempt, clumsy Neanderthals were not the ancestors of strictly non-Europeans; In modern populations of Europe and certain regions of Asia, DNA derived from the Neanderthals makes up between 1% and 6% of human genomes. In fact, the Neanderthals, who evolved separately in Europe, are a member of the genus Homo like Homo sapiens and share approximately 99.7 of their DNA with modern humans. This also leads to a wonderous finding of the co-existence of the Neanderthals and Homo sapiens migrating from Africa roughly between 40,000 and 30,000 years ago, about the time when the former slowly began to extinct due to weak immune systems, incompatibility with the changing environments, and gradual domination of the latter who knew how to manipulate fire as an essential living tool. The interbreeding of these two different peoples was most successful if a Neanderthal man mated with a Homo sapiens woman because then the offspring became fertile, contrary to the sterile progeny of a Neanderthal woman and a Homo sapiens man.

In addition to the Neanderthals as an intermediate evolutionary phase between Homo erectus and sapiens, you will come to know that Homo sapiens developed in Africa left the continent in the second wave of migration around 150,000 years ago and settled in Europe and Asia, thereby continuously living and occasionally mating with the Neanderthals, who were eventually displaced by more hunting savvy and physically advantageous Homo sapiens with their domesticated canine companions appearing around 36,000 years ago. The movie ‘Alpha’ will supplement the pictorial vividness of the history of the first anatomically modern human race with their first domesticated beast whose symbiotic relationship continues to this date.

In all likeliness, this book is a comprehensive read on the pre-historic legacy of the first anatomically modern people and the other hominid whose genetic similarities still manifest their evolutionary linkage in parts of modern Euro-Asian populations. Written in plain language devoid of elaborately subjective interpretation of the theory of evolution, the book will entertain your spare time, and your mind will feed off the sensation of exotic kind of knowledge that will enhance the treasures in your cabinet of curiosities. On a note of persecuted minority creation science follower, this book will provide you with a much less outrageous theory of human evolution than the hardcore origin of the species that graphically strips off even a remotely anatomically human semblance of the supposedly very early human species in despair. That’s quite a catch, isn’t it?

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#ShakespeareSunday

dam_monet_claude-road_in_the_wheatfields_at_pourville_1

“My gracious silence, hail!… Ah, my dear, Such eyes the widows in Corioli wear, And mothers that lack sons.” (‘The Tragedy of Coriolanus’, A2 S1). “And all my mother came into my eyes, gave me up to tears.” (‘Henry V’, A4 S6). Thereafter, “my thoughts were like unbridled children, grown too headstrong for their mother.” (‘The History of Troilus and Cressida’, A3 S2)

 

P.S.: This week’s theme is “Mothers and Children”, and the above is what I have found to be fit for the subject. In order to incorporate the quotations into one coherent paragraph of a drama, I have also slightly adapted the original texts to create a smooth flow of the narrative. 

 

‘Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell’, by Susanna Clarke – review

Jonathan Strange & Mr NorrellJonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Magic and fairies are not the proprietary subjects of teenage novels or esoteric pagan reference books that are exclusive to a select few. They were part of a belief system kept by your distant and not-so-distant ancestors, learned or unlearned, which was a fountain of their norms and mores and acculturated even into a Christian organized religion. So much so that the world of supernatural was thus believed to be hidden in this world of terrestrial, enveloping the outer circle of the earth with a gossamer of ethereal air, thinning the boundary of corporeal and incorporeal. This system of belief has survived particularly in the British Isles, where Celtic mysticism has produced its fairy progenies and dispersed them beyond the watery boundaries of the Isles. Out of such British fairy progenies comes this wonderfully imaginative Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrel by Susanna Clarke whose mission is to prove the world that there are more things in earth and heaven than are dreamt of in your rational impulse.

The story is a fascinating hybrid of history, adventure, and fantasy all entertainingly interwoven in the magical tapestry of literature. It’s also a great house of imaginativeness built upon Clarke’s erudition of the subjects ranging from the rise and decline of English magicians to the changing social customs and values, all the marks upon her mastery of storytelling that will make you steeped in the pages after pages as if you were enchanted by her alchemy of words. Her characters are extraordinary, but their personalities are not far from the ordinary, which endows a sense of verisimilitude upon the story and leads you to a seemingly obvious path to the maze of her fascinating tale. It is Clarke’s own magic that creates this wondrous make-believe world of magicians and fairies who are indeed very much alive in her mind’s theater to which she invites you to join her in the bewitching festival via witchcraft of literature.

Her vivacious creativity doubled with her alchemy of words accounts for a thick volume of the handy little book, which is also extraordinary for a customary semblance of a paperback. This also shows Clarke’s ability to record supernatural events and things in the ordinary subjects with her dazzling narrative skills and ingenious composition of plots seamlessly connected to one another that would have been an infelicity of redundant multiplication of stories as a result of insufficient creative ammunition. Which is to say that this book will take you from the rut of your ordinary reality to the world beyond where you can summon a fairy to your service and make a wish, especially at this epochal moment of time when you need something delightful to read.

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‘Stupid Ancient History’, by Leland Gregory- review

Stupid Ancient HistoryStupid Ancient History by Leland Gregory

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The purpose of history is to transcend the subjectivity of times in the discovery of the truth about human nature with multidisciplinary approaches that aid in our understanding of the continuity of mankind. In this sense, history is an artifact of a collective human enterprise of culture and society, which mirrors how we humans have been, what we have done, and who we really are from the times immemorial to this date. If this sounds too stuffy and boring with the gravitas of an academic subject filled with dates and names and events to remember for exams, then you will love Stupid Ancient History by Leonard Gregory because it will make you both learned and amused with a course of delightful Amuse- Bouches throughout a solipsistic feast of reading to your heart’s content.

Filled with many unknown tidbits of ancient Greek and Roman history, this book is a pleasure to your brain overtly fed by fake-news, ego-inflated memoirs of successful people, revisionist histories in favor of political ideology, and vehemently subjective narratives of self-proclaimed outsiders away from the realities of daily lives. It’s also refreshingly accessible to all, average and academic, which shows the humble and benign character of the author who, despite his wealth of knowledge on the subject, translates the words of an academic into those of a student seemingly with a general reader in mind. The book reveals it all; it ranges from Cleopatra VII Thea Philopather, (aka Mark Anthony’s Egyptian Lover, who wasn’t really Egyptian) to Pliny the Elder, who believed that pouring vinegar over ships gave them some slight protection against storms, to Emperor Nero, who didn’t play the violin during the Great Fire of Rome but paid out of his pocket for the provisions and housing for the homeless due to the fire, to the great ancient thinker Plato, the name meaning “wide, broad, broad-shouldered” betrayed his real name Aristocres, and to many others that will wow your brain conditioned to believe what they weren’t really.

It’s a really a Eureka experience that you will get from reading this delightful book, and you will feel effortlessly erudite in the knowledge of history and positively enriched with the knowledge of humankind that has not changed a bit according to the racy but playfully innocent scribbles found in the ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii. What’s more, by adopting the in-vogue trend of using short episodic vignettes, the book doesn’t require your following the entire chapters to sequence the narrative and makes it a very pleasing and flexible read for the benefit of simple mental pleasure. So, if you want to be conversant with the history of ancient Greece and Rome without being overwhelmed by stuffy words and boring typography in one sitting, this book is the genie to your wish.

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