The Sunday Post 15: Work, Illuminae and Nonfiction

Hey folks, how are you? I haven’t been blogging in a while again because well my computer broke ☹️ and writing on phone is odd.

This week I discovered a beautiful new book shop called Chapters. So big that I really need to go there again:

I bought six books: 21 Lessons for the 21 Century by Yuval Noah Harari, Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks, Do No Harm by Henry Marsh, Collected Poems by W.B Yeats and The Sailor Who From Grace with the Sea by Yukio Mishima.

I haven’t finished any books this week though I’m nearly done to listening to Illuminae on Audible.

Other than that, we have been trained to do new stuff at work and been watching Money Heist on Netflix. Finally. And Korean drama called Witch’s Love 😊 Also updated how my blog looks…let me know if it looks bad on your computers.

What have you done? Read? Bought? Watched?

//Anastasia

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Sunday Post

Books I’d Mash Together

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. This week’s topic is ‘ Books You’d Mash Together (pick two books you think would make an epic story if combined) (Submitted by Rissi @ Finding Wonderland)’

1. Watership Down + The Song of Ice and Fire
Because why not? Hazel, Fiver, BigWig could be Stark family… And both are quite bloody. Umm did I ruin someone’s childhood now?
2. I, Robot + Harry Potter
Basically like Harry Potter. Except that they are all robots. Because god I love steampunk. And spells will be replaced by electricity.
3. The Martian + Robinson Crusoe + I Am Legend
Basically what I want is more Mark Watney. So this should be easy. Except it’s not. Because he’s not alone on that island?? Please send help.
4. Peter Pan + Invisible Man
Peter Pan is not quite visible. Har har harr. Oh poor Wendy and the children. This might pass for a horror story.
5. The Song of Ice and Fire + The Inheritance Cycle + Temeraire + The Hobbit & How To Train Your Dragon
Okay. Abort? Abort the mission? I’ve got no clue what I’m doing here but guys imagine all those pretty dragons together.
6. Mortal Engines Quartet + The Lunar Chronicles
The Lunar Chronicles, except that Luna and Earth are very very hungry umm planets + we could have other planets.
7. Hunger Games + Les Miserables So Les Mis cast in Hunger Games? From what district would Jean Valjean be?

8. Throne of Glass + A Court of Thorns and Roses

9. Septimus Heap + Tiffany Aching books

10.Shannara + His Dark Materials

Rissi…what have you done. What have you unleashed :o
What books are you cooking? Happy TTT!

Kim Kardashian

She continues to lark about as cameraman starts to walk away. “Excuse me, are you leaving?” I’m Kim Kardashian. I’m the dopest of the ropest person in this class. I’m dope on a rope. When someone off camera interrupts, define “dope”, Kim, she answers “Dope is Kim”. / Kim Kardashian, 5th grade

Sean Smith’s biography Kim portrays the life of world’s top reality tv star. It’s no other than Kim Kardashian. The book was first published in 2015 and it describes Kim’s childhood in Beverly Hills, her Armenian roots, her turbulent relationships and of course her rise to become what she is today.

I’ve long been fascinated by reality tv. I don’t like watching it but I like how genius the concept of it is. Basically making fun of people, of usually very rich or very pretty people when in reality they’re far from that.

This book is a light read and it reveals a very different kind of Kim. Kim who as a girl dreamed of being not Madonna, but a wife and a mother.

The book covers Kim’s life pretty well. Describing the parents and siblings of Kim and then explaining her childhood growing up in Beverly Hills. Then, we move on to her dramatic relationships. She married for the first time in 2000 with Damon Thomas, later filing for a divorce, then she had a short marriage with Kris Humphries before meeting her current husband Kanye West. As for career, she appeared first on few episodes of Simple Life, then leaked a sex tape (coincidence, I don’t think so?) and then launching ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ in 2007.

I liked how book offered some insight to the reality tv (which we all know is scripted). For example, the book tells about that one time when Kardashians hired a porn star to be a babysitter. Funnily enough, they filmed Bree Olson for like 15 hours and in the end, her footage amounted to just barely over 5 minutes in the show.

And yes. It’s not that easy to be a reality tv star. As the book states, if you’re an actress, you can win an Oscar or an Emmy. A musician like Kanye will win applause for taking home a Grammy or a BRIT Award. Problem Kim has as a brand is: how can she be judged to be successful?

“People who think Kim can’t be taken seriously because she posts are confusing because she posts naked pictures of her famous rear online are confusing the brand with the person.”

I liked reading this and I like Kim more now because of this book… I think biographies like this give you a basic idea of who the people are as well as some basic facts about them. However, I do enjoy more reading autobiographies or biographies that have been written together with the person of interest (as that of Elon Musk) so that is why I call this light. Also, what the hell with the star sign and star chart chapter that went on for about 9 pages? I don’t know why the author decided to include it?
3/5 stars

How-To Read Kim & Fun facts
1. It’s very light read. Smith has written a ton of biographies, so far I’ve only read two but he’s pretty good. Not an expose but still entertaining. Like did you know, Kim is very religious?
2. Bunim/Murray … Google that. Are they genius or are they just taking over the tv? …And the world?
3. A brand or a person? And what to keep in mind when we watch reality tv.

Thoughts? Reality TV… yay or nay?

Picture credits: cover of the book, Kim Kardashian featured image: Kim Kardashian profile shot by Shelby Skrhak, Weekend Update Kim Kardashian Saturday Night Live Nicki Minaj by Zennie Abraham

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum

Better never means better for everyone… It always means worse, for some. / Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood. It was first published in 1985. It’s a terrifying, truly dystopian book. The United States of America no longer exists. It has been replaced by the Republic of Gilead. This has been achieved through a nuclear destruction. And in Gilead, they follow the bible… or their own version of it.

The narrator of the book is Offred. She’s a Handmaid and her only function is to breed. This is achieved by something called ‘The Ceremony’ … Welcome to the patriarchal society of Gilead. Women are no longer free. They have no jobs, they cannot leave their houses, they cannot choose what to wear and they cannot read or write. among many other forbidden things. To put it simply, they have no rights. And if they rebel, they will either be hanged at the wall as an example for others or sent to deal with the aftermath of nuclear destruction.

“There is more than one kind of freedom,” said Aunt Lydia. “Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from. Don’t underrate it.” / Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

I first read Handmaid’s Tale over 10 years ago out of a recommendation from my teacher. I’m ashamed to say I did not like it or understand it very well back then. I think it was largely due to the translation (In Finland, the title translates as ‘Your Slavestress).  Well, blessed be  Hulu’s tv adaptation and the end of 2nd season that finally inspired me to dive back into this book.

Arwood’s novel is horrifyingly amazing.  It toys with many interesting ideas. Nuclear accident or weaponized nuclear power will always be a threat and then combining that with a religion gone wrong. You have some excellent ingredients for a dystopian there. Creepiness was on its own level. It was a matter of small things that could very well happen tomorrow. Freezing all the bank accounts with letter F on them. Saying women can’t go to work or own property. Moreover, it’s also spooky how Offred describes these things as something weird and absurd. She jokes about doing a jobbie and can’t imagine things like paper money anymore.  I think Handmaid’s Tale acts as a warning, of how easily things could go wrong especially if you don’t pick a side and let things slide. Personally, I did not enjoy the vagueness and the open ending so that cuts one star out of my rating.
4/5 stars

“Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.” 
/Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

How-To Read Handmaid’s Tale

1. If you’ve watched it then you really ought to have read it by now. If not, go read it now.
2.  It’s kind of vague and I know it will bother some readers because it bothers me. We don’t learn how Gilead was created, we don’t know who our main character is, we only get the smallest glimpse of Offred’s life.
3. Not a lot of suspense, mainly just observations. Think of it as a biography that was only partly uncovered.
4. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

Have you read this? Thoughts? Do you watch the show?

 

A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness

“Was Hitler mad?”
“Corollary questions are: Were Nazi leaders mentally ill? Was the German nation, as a whole, deranged?” ― S. Nassir Ghaemi, A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness

At  First- Rate Madness is a book by  Dr. Nassir Ghaemi. It was first published in 2011 and as the title suggests, the book deals with mental illness and its connection to the leadership. It might not be the first thing you think of, but notable leaders such as Lincoln, Churchill, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., JFK, Hitler all suffered from some sort of a mental illness. Or if not of mental illness then they were the ones to face big difficulties in their lives as was the case with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s who spent last years of his life in a wheelchair.

The author doesn’t want to point out any upsides of mental illnesses, however, the book seems to do just that, when it argues how some mental illnesses such as mania and depression appear to promote a kind of crisis leadership. And characteristics that are associated with leadership: realism, resilience, empathy, and creativity.

“The depressed person is mired in the past; the manic person is obsessed with the future. Both destroy the present in the process.”  ― S. Nassir Ghaemi, A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness


For me, this was a very fascinating and refreshing read. And no German nation is not deranged as a whole. Regarding madness or mental illnesses…I don’t think it’s the first thing we think about the leaders that they are half mad or burdened by a mental illness. Often, instead, we see them as icons and worship them. Ghaemi has some interesting facts in his book, however, I would have enjoyed it much more if it would have been longer. I think that would have enabled the author to cover more theory and present more facts as to why he chose those particular leaders. Moreover, the book lacked the presence of the female leaders and current day leaders. I think that would have made this a much better read. All in all, I learned many new things so 3/5

How-To Read A First-Rate Madness
1. Very refreshing read especially if you have read a lot of political biographies and need a break from them. However,  I wouldn’t take it too seriously or after reading this. You shouldn’t automatically assume that all leaders must have some kind of a mental illness.
2. I warmly recommend this book if you like historical or psychological nonfiction or biographies.
3. Just 340 pages make it quite a light book when you consider how heavy the topic is.
4. There is some lack of neutrality in describing some leaders like George W. Bush and then because it’s a man’s world, there are no female leaders mentioned.

Thoughts? Are they all mad?

Picture of the book &cover image: Suspicion, rage, remorse Rare Books Keywords: Physiognomy; Bell, Charles