Monday, April 30, 2018

Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories: A Book Review

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Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories stands out as a calm and complacent piece of literature among the author’s normal social controversies. Written more for children, but enjoyable by adults, the piece centers on a young man named Haroun. Haroun’s father Rashid stands as a storyteller in a sad city (unnamed) located in an unknown country that most likely stands as India. Yet when Haroun’s mother walks out on the family, life is thrown into turmoil and his farther loses the gift of story. It is here, when Iff, a water genie, appears to disconnect Rashid’s story stream, that the pair encounter a whimsical journey to what amounts to imagination land. Here, stories flow, processes too complicated to explain control all, and the populace is under attack by shadows attempting to reverse the stories and render everything, well normal. 

Within these constraints, Haroun experiences a classic hero’s journey. Full of joy, full of classical archetypes, Rushdie’s 1991 novel flows rapidly and is worth the time for any fan of the talented author.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Rabindranath Tagore’s Broken Ties: A Book Review

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Rabindranath Tagore’s Broken Ties, posits a spiritual journey through a life that enlightens one to many of the nuances of Indian culture from the early twentieth century. Fashioned around the life of Satish, a man torn between his atheist uncle, his Hindu father, a Swami he will follow in his later years, and the love of the unrequited love of the widowed Damini, we see rise and fall of both confidence and spiritualism within a man. While meandering, the novel classically tracks the growth of Satish, his life, and more importantly, those around him. For Satish is a focus in a text he does not narrate and rarely directly acts upon. Instead we see his actions, his youth as a beloved (and begrieved) atheist, his wayward years with the Swami, and his final surrender to the world as Damini calls for his love. A quick read and didactic in nature, Tagore splashes the page with cultural splendor that reaches far beyond the man’s plight.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Katy Bowman’s Movement Matters: A Book Review

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Katy Bowman’s Movement Matters explores human life from a unique, functional perspective. Maybe that sentence does not do the collection of essays full justice, but the text is hard to fully quantify while a pleasure to read. Bowman invokes thought, promotes stacking, and encourages personal exploration. She wants you to simplify life, to break down barriers, and to confront the neat little boxes we have created in a new way. Should life be a rolling collection of allocated time or can fitness and food and family overlap? Can one meditate while walking with their family? How can we simplify our lives while moving or move to simplify our lives? Can cooking be fun? Yes, she doesn’t really explore the last topic, but when she dissects food, specifically the human/energy cost of food, you want to know and understand.

At times Bowman discusses the need for humans to move and to move functionally, at others she applies the same principles to food, but at almost all times, she works to examine common issues from a unique perspective. Broken into main topics and each thought provoking, anyone into fitness and anyone into the human will enjoy the read.