Book Reviews:

I just finished up the Sword and the Flute and Poison Eaters and Other Stories.

If you’re looking for an overview of Krisna and Kali from the Hindu myth/religion set, The Sword and the Flute is a solid start. It tends to be a little less in-depth than otherwise might be desired if you were looking for a long list of examples and discussions of belief and historical religion. However, I don’t think that was the aim. Rather the aim of the book seemed to be an introduction of two sides of belief for Hindu people: Krisna the sublime and Kali the destructive. It’s obviously more in-depth than what I just gave, but he gives plenty of examples from the myths and various tellings to make his case. He also includes information from the historical context as well, though not as detailed as I would have liked. Good book, I’d recommend it.

For the second, Poison Eaters and Other Stories, it is very focused on its teenaged audience, perhaps as well-done a focus as any book I’ve read recently. That’s not to say the stories aren’t good, they are, but the themes strike for a younger audience than myself. I got it as part of the humble bundle, otherwise I would have never heard of it. That being said, though, it was a good quick read, light stories about supernatural beings (werewolves, vampires, etc.) and folklore motifs. It was enjoyable, and if you can pick it up, you probably should.

I’ve noticed ever since I’ve gotten through that Unbecoming Americans book, that my reading is going well. I’m about a fifth of the way through Spin now, and it’s keeping my attention. I think the next book will be On Behalf of the Mystical Fool.

Gout

Is horrible. And it is painful. REALLY painful. I highly recommend you all watch your diet. I’m going on day 9 of this flare up, and even though it’s better than last week, it’s still really painful.

And yes, I’ve been chugging tart cherry juice, lemon water, and ibuprofen. Still painful. And yes, I should go see a doctor, but I can’t afford it. I’ve got a $1000 deductible, and so all tests and such up to that are unaffordable for me at this juncture. That’s right, I pay $300 a month for health insurance that I can’t afford to use unless it’s a dire emergency.

And newsflash folks: the healthcare exchange isn’t going to make that any different, especially with coinsurance and deductibles there too.

Great times, great times.

Go America.

Oh, also…

One other change that I’ve been involved in that has taken up a lof of my time has been pursuing my MS in Instructional Design. They have us do a lot of reading in those books. I’ve listed the books, but I won’t list the articles. I go through about 15-20 articles each course (three so far, another 7 to go) and a book or three each course. I’m just listing the books. It’s more sane that way.

Been a while…

So it’s been about 2 months…actually, two months to the day. Almost two months to the time too! Big things happened around Froydlandia. I got me one of them girlfriends and she’s been sharing a lot of my time recently. Too bad for the blog, good for the Froyd.

Anyway, I dropped in to update the ol’ books to read and books having been read list. And to share my opinions on the three I’ve got read.

First up, Unbecoming Americans…this is literally one of the worst books I’ve read. It is so buzz-word heavy that it’s completely incomprehensible in some spots and a hassle to get through in all other parts. It is not written for a general audience, and I’ve got the sneaking suspicion that it was published to uphold the “publish or perish” ideals of college profs. It is pretty horrible. I do not recommend it.

Second up, The Handmaid’s Tale. I just got around to reading this, and it is a horrifying novel. The dystopia it describes is horrifying in large part because it is possible, realistically so. Luckily it isn’t real, but still. It revolves around a fertile handmaid (think back to Old Testament and Sarah and Hagar). Since fertility rates had gone down so much, the society relegated women to property for propagation of the race and to focus on “important” things. The ending, however, was worth reading it. I won’t spoil it.

Third up, which wasn’t listed, was Myth and Meaning by Claude Levi-Strauss. It was a nice intro to what he believed, and would be of benefit to get into his longer and more specific works. To assume it is anything but a short (and it is short) overview of his beliefs is to assume it to be more important and significant than it is. Still, a good read, and one I wish I would have read in my introductory myth courses in grad school.

Also, I picked up quite a few more myth books (some I’ve read before) in August, so I’ve added those to ye olde sidebar. My goal is to get 30 books read by the end of the year. I figure I can do it.

Oh, also, by year’s end, I’ll have a retrospective of all the video games I’ve played/beat too. Then you’ll all see how lucky it is I’ve got these hobbies…otherwise I’d OVERTHROW THE GOVERNMENT!!!! That’s not a threat, NSA. You can stand down.