Wednesday, July 7, 2010

This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

An excellent show of what life was like back in the early 19 hundreds. Focuses mainly on Amory Blaine's education, his friends, escapades and affairs. The best part of it were conversations he had with his mentor, Monsignor Darcy, a priest. 
I haven't been impressed much by F. Scott Fitzgerald (not even by The Great Gatsby), so I don't feel I can give him a very good rating. However he does catch very well on paper the deviances and different characteristics of  human nature.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Scream At The Sky

A friend and I were talking about the various books we read or like to read and both of us agreed that we enjoyed true crime stories. Granted I haven't read many but I do find them interesting. She suggested this one to me and kindly let me borrow it. It is the story of five girls who are brutally murdered in Texas. All separate cases, all unconnected......or so it seems. At first I was a tad grossed out but I kept reading and found it fascinating as well as heartbreaking at what people are capable of. Do not read this if you don't like descriptiveness or unpleasantness. 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Golf Omnibus

I count P.G. Wodehouse as one of my choicest reads. However I only made it through 16 of the 31 short stories in this book. For this one you not only have to enjoy and appreciate the style of writing, but you must also be consumed with the sport of golf or at least appreciate the game. I have no interest in the sport (hears virtual gasps of shock) and so could not keep my interest going. If you are a fanatic of this supposedly most esteemed sport and like satire, try this book out. If you don't, you can risk it but be forewarned - It's all about love and golf in this one.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Les Miserables

I bought this book the second time I went to England. I had gone without a book and was desirous of something fat, classic and a must read. And it is a must. I count this book as one of my favorites. I read it in three or four days (and it wasn't abridged). Just to let you know how hooked I was on it. I don't know how to expound enough as to the details about it . I will just keep singing it's praise. If you enjoyed the movie, I insist you read it as it is a million times superior to that of any film can convey it. There are one or two chapters that seem irrelevant to the story as the one is about the Battle of Waterloo and one on the Paris sewer system. However they are interesting historical anecdotes and do tie into the background and actions of some of the characters.

How to Eat Like a Hot Chick

I can't quite remember how I came across this book. I think I might have heard about it when the authors were guests on a radio station. It actually had me revitted and I couldn't put it down. It got me wanting to try eating healthier and being more aware of my diet and exercise habits. Also it was good at not encouraging the stereotype of the malnourished girl that so many young ladies feel they need to imitate. A downside to it is that they enjoyed using some vocabulary that isn't favorable to me.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Lord of The Flies

This wasn't required reading, however my criminology class had to watch the movie and then write a five page paper on how the "Lord of The Flies" shows symbolism of criminology based theories. As nearly everyone had already read the book at some point, and as books are usually better than their movie adaptations, I decided to rent it from my local library. At first I was wary of it as I had already watched the movie before I was able to complete the book. But I enjoyed it in the end. It is so sad how the human nature can change so drastically when there is no self-control or any regulations of behavior or discerning of morals. 

I am attaching my paper in the event that it would interest anyone. 

An Island’s View on Four Boys and Their Names

            It had been a rather windy and stormy night, but the bright sun felt good on my sand as it dried up the raindrops on my trees, grass and the underbrush in general. As the animals began to stir to life, I felt a new presence; a strange presence. Soon there were voices calling to one another. Boys of all shapes, sizes and ages were gathering around. Presently, a boy who seemed to realize that someone needed to take control spoke up. Ralph they called him. I however had a different name for him. I called him Social Control. He had a sense of an organized breeding that looked with disdain on anything disorganized. In the disorganized, there was, in his mind, a breeding ground for crime. He had been brought up to do the proper thing and would not easily fall in the criminal ways of those brought up in less fortunate areas. Don’t think he was a snob, because he wasn’t. I liked him immediately. A young child, knowing what would be considered right from the society he came from and wanting to hold those standards. 
            Next to Social Control, sitting on the ground, was a boy of more substantial build. Substantial, meaning he was plump. He had spectacles and used big words. The children mockingly dubbed him “Piggy”, but again I chose to peg him differently. Rational Choice: He would weigh the pros and cons to any situation that presented itself. A thing as slight as lighting a fire would have him in shambles debating with himself and others as to the appropriate steps that should be taken. Granted, they were his specs that were put on the line to accomplish that feat.
            There was another child who seemed to be one to take charge. He however gave me an eerie feeling. I named him Life Course when the youths called him “Jack.” On first meeting (or rather “seeing”) I had the idea that he was a good boy. That he and Social Control would mesh well and be influential together in rallying the boys in their attempts for survival on my strange terrain. (It is sad that as an island I cannot converse with the humans. I would have enjoyed helping these school children.) However, my opinion of Life Course changed drastically on better observation. He wanted to do what was right, but the temptations of disregarding responsibility and doing whatever he wanted with the absence of any adults was stronger. He was free, in his opinion. My environment had a major affect on his psychological and physical state.
            The last child that I will take time to mention was a dear, sweetheart of a thing. Simon, the boys called him. I however saw him for who he really was: Peacemaking. Between Social Control and Life Course, he would try to work things out so that all could dwell in harmony. He wanted them not to have to be punished as they were if they did something bad but wanted what every child feels they deserve – conflict resolution. Where Social Control wanted to keep the consequences one should receive when disobeying an order, he wanted to let the offenders explain their reasoning and for Social Control to meet them half way. Where Life Course wanted to live completely disregarding any consequences, he wanted the consequences to stay, but with conscientiousness.  He and Rational Choice would spend hours together and ended up influencing each other. Peacemaking was killed in the end for his attempts, and so was Rational Choice when he tried to remind the others of Peacemaking and what his values were.
            With that bit of an introduction, I will now delve deeper into my meaning. At the advent of the boys, one could see that the influence of all working together was present. They gathered fruit, drink and built lodgings. They designated hunters and those in charge of keeping the fire going. Sadly a mutiny led by Life Course takes place. I saw three pathways in Life Course. One pathway I will call “authority conflict pathway.” As stated previously, he was thrilled to find himself free from adult supervision. He could go ahead with his stubborn will and headstrong ways, no concern for others in his path. If they followed him, he treated them like clean dirt. If they opposed him, he would go on the third pathway or what I called his “overt pathway,” becoming violent and aggressive. The second pathway sandwiched between these two, was his “covert pathway.” He promised that some of his boys would keep the fire going. When he viewed however the need that they go hunting greater than that of keeping the flame alive, he showed his deception by having those boys abandon the fire. At first he found this jolly, but when Social Control confronted him, sparks flew.
            Social Control was saddened as he saw what he was trying hard to keep together disintegrating before him. The society he came from dictated operations how he was doing it. In despair, he confided in Rational Choice, that he did everything the way the grownups would have. Rational Choice was fed up with having to think about everything. His upbringing was also being questioned. He had always thought that people choose their behavior. Including that behavior which seemed so revolting to him as he couldn’t imagine what pleasure one gained from doing something deviant when it brought pain to those committing the behavior. Thus he controlled any thought of crime. The fear of being punished was great and overcame any thoughts of wicked pleasure. So he was taught and so he believed. Now though I could tell he was struggling. The fear of what Life Course might do to them as they did what was right was in battle with his fear of what would happen if he joined Life Course in his downward spiral of divergences from what was “right.” He suggested to Social Control that they just give up.
            Social Control refused to give up. After all, weren’t the morals and the responsibilities that one felt one needed to do instigated by their society for a reason? Why, in this wilderness should they then apply a different set of social norms, when the old ones seemed to work so well for the grownups? Social Control admonished others that if they didn’t stand up to Life Course, then they would be just another one of his slaves. Social Control felt the urge within him to let loose and do as Life Course did. However, he would not let his potential to become a criminal overcome the knowledge of what he should do and what was best for everyone. He felt responsible for getting them off of my land and this would not be accomplished by letting ones depraved tenacities to become the leading force.
            These four boys and my pseudonyms for them, gave me cause for reflection as the days passed even after the rescue ship arrived and rescued those boys that were still alive. Social Control was near death and his psyche had changed. He had had a closer encounter with reality and the psychological workings of the human mind than any child his age should have. He would go back to the society whose rules he had tried to enforce, only to have them thrown in his face and cause the death of two of his friends. How would he view things now? He would start to see the many discrepancies that come with his idea of being able to control your criminal nature; and yet his bonds to society were still so strong that he would probably stay true to them despite his doubts.
            Rational Choice would not be missed, other than by Social Control and his relatives. He was just another one boy in a throng of people who weigh the outcomes of their actions and what is going to bring them either the most pleasure or inflict the least amount of pain.
            The death of Peacemaking will leave a hole in the hearts of many. He had hoped that they could accomplish what could not be accomplished in the society they came from. A peaceful, just society; a utopian society that people in the world strove for and one that these boys could now, on my uninhabited land, begin.
            Life Course will continue to progress badly, I fear. The actions he committed while on me were just a sample of the plethora of deviances and crimes he is capable of. His life was determined by his relationships and behaviors when yet a babe. The transitions that were to take place in his life and go smoothly one to the next, had been tampered with. He had been forced to act more adult like before he had fully achieved adolescence. The transition occurred too early and he was unprepared. He had now started on a downward slope and unless he could change his pathway soon, he will be unprepared and will most likely mishandle the next transitions as well.
            As the ship grew smaller in the distance and the wind buffeting through my trees, the birds whistling to one another and the pigs grunting were the only sounds I was left with, I debated with myself. If I were a human and not a lonely island in the ocean, what would I do? What would I think? I hope that I would follow Social Control and his chums. Although Peacemaking and Rational Choice were separate entities, I appreciated how they were willing to work together and I could easily pull pros from each of them.