Thursday, June 26, 2014
by Graham Greene
Wormold is a vacuum cleaner salesman in a city of power cuts. His adolescent daughter spends his money with a skill that amazes him, so when a mysterious Englishman offers him an extra income he's tempted. In return all he has to do is carry out a little espionage and file a few reports. But when his fake reports start coming true, things suddenly get more complicated and Havana becomes a threatening place.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
by Kurt Vonnegut
Slaughter House Five deserves its reputation of being a piece of great American literature. The book follows a young man, Billy Pilgrim through his life. Billy believes aliens, tralfamadorians to be exact, have abducted him. We assume that it's through these aliens that he learns to time travel, a skill he frequently uses. In the book Pilgrim bounces around time to all the various portions of his life, many times returning to World War II where he was captured, taken prisoner, and held in slaughterhouse five in Dresden, Germany. He seems to be defined by this moment in his life as he frequently returns there. If you know anything about Vonnegut, you know that he too was held in Dresden, Germany when the city was firebombed. This is the major setup for this antiwar novel as Dresden was home to over 100,000 persons while at the same time Dresden didn't have any industry lending itself to the war effort. Obviously you wander, "Then why was this city bombed? What advantage came from killing well over 100,000 thousand civilians?" One of the major themes of the book is fate. The prayer of serenity appears twice in the book stating that we need to change the things we can and be wise enough to know which things we cannot change. Also the Tralfamadorians speak of fate. They say they know how the universe is going to end, but they do nothing to stop it. Vonnegut seems to say that yes, war is one of those things we cannot avoid, but we need to change the things we can about it, like the atrocious bombing of Dresden. Overall, the book's message is clear, and Vonnegut delivers his message in a very accessible way. The story of Billy Pilgrim is enjoyable to read, and contains more than dry philosophy that some antiwar novels are filled with.
by Jeremy Wade
Called “the greatest angling explorer of his generation” (Independent on Sunday), Jeremy Wade, host of Animal Planet’s wildly popular TV series River Monsters, takes viewers where no wildlife program has gone before, revealing the creatures that lurk in the murky depths of our planet’s inland waterways. Now, Wade goes truly beneath the surface, disclosing full details of how he tracks down and catches each species while also recounting the off-camera highlights of his extraordinary life. From his arrest as a suspected spy in Southeast Asia to a plane crash in the Amazon, every page of River Monsters is packed with adventure. Each chapter unfolds an enthralling detective story, where fishermen’s tales of underwater man-eaters and aquatic killers are subjected to scientific scrutiny. Follow Wade step-by-step as, armed with just a fishing line, he closes in on his prey and separates fact from fiction. From the heart of the Congo, where he wrestles with supernatural goliath tigerfish, to the depths of the Amazon, where the most feared creature is one that could fit in your palm, the results are fish of staggering proportions and terrifying demeanor. Wade also reveals monsters from upcoming episodes, including deadly electric eels, a giant described as a cross between a shark and a chainsaw, and a snake-like beast that truly is the stuff of legend.
In the tradition of the most gripping adventure writing, River Monsters shows that there’s more to this world than what’s visible on the surface. As Wade says, with a fishing line anything is possible—sometimes it can even reveal the future, or at least one possible version of it. In similar fashion, Wade’s writings are much more than exhilarating stories: they reveal a vision of the world more awe-inspiring than any individual myth made flesh. Ultimately, River Monsters explores the real mysteries that still exist, capturing the story of one man’s obsession—and his relentless pursuit of the truth.