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william woolum

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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values
von Robert M. Pirsig
  Taschenbuch

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5.0 von 5 Sternen A Narrative and Philosophical Masterpiece, 12. Juli 2000
I first read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance as a college senior twenty-five years ago. I remember then being frightened by how this man's determination to pursue a philosophical idea to its conclusion, even if it were against the grain of established conventions of thinking, drove him insane. I was afraid deeper study and questioning might do the same to me. I know now, however, that I'm not insane. I also know that twenty-five years ago this story of a man and his son travelling by motorcycle from Minnesota to the Pacific Ocean took deep residence in my soul.
I've been a teacher now for twenty-three years, long enough to forget some of my initial influences. But, as I read this book all these years later, I realized that my philosophical view points, examples I use to illustrate ideas with my students, what I believe the purpose of an education is, and several other bits of pedagogy and ideology originated in Pirig's story.
I highly recommend this book, maybe especially if you are unread in philosophy and would like a readable, enjoyable, and provocative entree into the history and vocabulary of philosophy.
It's a deeply moving, intellectually stiumlating story. Its devotion to story-telling and philosophical inpuiry is indeed most rare.


My Dark Places
My Dark Places
von James Ellroy
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 15,27

5.0 von 5 Sternen Portrait of an Artist Becoming a Man, 28. Juni 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: My Dark Places (Taschenbuch)
James Ellroy's intense memoir explores the development of his imagination and psyche in relation to the most intense experience of his childhood: learning, at 10 years old, that his mother has been murdered. With searing honesty, Ellroy portrays his obsessions, the breakdown of his mental health, and his life as a petty criminal. Simultaneously, he probes the history of Los Angeles (city and county) and the fight against crime there. I found the Ellroy's layers of exploration fascinating. The book's turning point comes when, in 1994, Ellroy hires a detective to join him in reopening the unsolved case of his mother's murder. At this juncture, as he explores the history of detective Stoner, as he explores L. A. more deeply, and as he continues to come to terms with his own life, all of the many dimensions of this memoir begin to cohere and an extraordinary portrait of an artist, James Ellroy, and his milieu, Los Angeles, results.


The Black Dahlia
The Black Dahlia
von James Ellroy
  Taschenbuch

3.0 von 5 Sternen a serpent feeding on its tail, 10. Juni 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Black Dahlia (Taschenbuch)
Ellroy masterfully creates an ammoral, cruel, predatory, self-consuming late-forties Los Angeles in *The Black Dahlia*. If you read the book, you'll see that the murder of the Black Dahlia and the nature of the corpse, once discovered, is the novel's central metaphor. The novel explores the human bowels of darkness and just as the people in this story consume and devour one another, the novel's plot becomes more and more focused as the story begins to devour itself. If you lean toward movies like *Seven* or *The Cook, the Thief, etc* or any other stories of disembowelment and dismemberment, this book is for you.


The Last Place on Earth (Modern Library Exploration)
The Last Place on Earth (Modern Library Exploration)
von Roland Huntford
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 15,59

5.0 von 5 Sternen When does an expedition begin?, 17. Mai 2000
It's well known by readers of books on exploration that Huntford draws a vivid contrast in this book between the successful Amundsen and the unsuccessful Scott in their race to be the first to set foot on the South Pole and return home to tell about it. In drawing this contrast, Huntford demonstrates that success on a mission of this kind of scope, going into an environment this hostile, starts well before the expedition itself. The habits of thinking, the sense of self, the way of making one's way in the world manifested by both Scott and Amundsen from early on in their lives is most skillfully portrayed by Huntford. A sense of fate drives this story. It's not a sense of forces working upon these two men from the outside that creates their fate. No, it's who they are from the inside: their fate is determined by their minds, their hearts, their souls. Scott's failure smacks of tragic inevitability. Amundsens' success seems a natural outgrowth of his curiosity, flexibility, and foresight. It's a sort of non-fiction allegory that implicitly argues that an expedition begins long before money is raised, ships secured, or a crew is assembled: it begins with the formation of one's character.


Taking Care: Thoughts on Storytelling and Belief (Credo)
Taking Care: Thoughts on Storytelling and Belief (Credo)
von William Kittredge
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 11,87

3.0 von 5 Sternen More Kitteredge, please, 16. Mai 2000
I love Bill Kitteredge as a storyteller, thinker, and even as a prophet. His vision of how story informs ethics is among the most sane approaches I've read, both to the art and role of storytelling and to ethics itself. His applicaton of his ethos to life in the West is sage. I've read Kitteredge's previous books and this book, *Taking Care* is a well-wrought distillation of Kittredge's former books with some fine tuning.
I rate this book as I do because just over half the book is Kittredge's writing. The rest is an essay by Scott Slovic which reviews Kittredge and covers too much of the same ground I just read in Kittredge's own writing, followed by a helpful and comprehensive bibliography. Slovic does good work. But, I wanted more Kittredge.
I have one last complaint: the book is published as a *Credo* book, apparently part of a series. But, I'm not sure. Nowhere does this book say anything about other writers contributing to the series, whether in the past or the future. I would be excited to read other writers' credos, especially if they were writers I was unfamiliar with. But, if I were familiar with the writer and if the Credo book were like this one, a revisit to previously published stories and ideas, then I wouldn't buy it.


Tao Te Ching Persona
Tao Te Ching Persona
von Stephen Mitchell
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 10,80

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5.0 von 5 Sternen An unsettling comfort, 11. Mai 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Tao Te Ching Persona (Taschenbuch)
In December of 1996 I drove over 500 miles to have Christmas with my recently widowed mother. The paradoxes of my father's death were shapeless in my mind. A friend gave me a cassette tape of Stephen Mitchell reading his translation of the Tao Te Ching and it helped me understand the light that comes from dark, the wisdom that comes from not knowing. I then bought the print version. When teaching a course in the literary genre of comedy, a literary genre focused upon wholeness and healing, I read from Mitchell's translation of the Tao each day to open class, until my students had heard the entire book by the end of the course. When dealing with contrariety in comedy, with paradox, with mirth and its healing, its unifying strength, I thing the Tao worked in a sublime way to help my students more deeply understand the comic dimensions of their lives and the world around them. I am deeply indebted to Mitchell's work.


Hungry for the World: A Memoir
Hungry for the World: A Memoir
von Kim Barnes
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 21,28

5.0 von 5 Sternen Harrowing, honest, hopeful sequel, 11. Mai 2000
Kim Barnes' *Hungry for the World* is a rivetingly bare and poetic examination of how Barnes translated the patriarchal, authoritative practice of her family's (especially her father's) Pentecostal faith into a hunger for worldly experience that resulted in a troubling, dark relationship with a disturbed, disturbing, and seductive boyfriend. Barnes carefully, vividly, and intelligently chronicles this relationship, exploring how she allowed herself to become entangled in this man's destructive world. As with her first book, this memoir explores family and faith and misguided love, but never does she lay blame, never does she attack. Kim Barnes works to figure out Kim Barnes.
I love to read first person accounts of high altitude mountain climbers and in the midst of a narrative I'll think, "My goodness! How will this climber ever survive this ordeal?" But I know the writer survives because s/he wrote the account I'm reading!
I felt the same way reading this memoir. I was so engrossed in the dangerous turn Kim Barnes' life took, that I couldn't believe she would survive it -- but, I said."She has to. She wrote this book!" The memoir is harrowing. It's hopeful, too. Kim Barnes left the dark side, even if the dark side never quite left her.


The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry
The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry
von Stephen Mitchell
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 13,80

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5.0 von 5 Sternen you can hold the whole world in your hands, 10. Mai 2000
Elegantly, Stephen Mitchell has compiled sublime poetry from the world's sacred traditions in this inspiring collection. In a single reading one can experience the lyrical wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita, paradoxical precision of Chuang-Tzu, enthusiasm of Gerard Manley Hopkins, and the sensuality of Rumi and the Song of Solomon. When poets of the sacred explore the divine, whether as a part of a religious tradition or apart from religious tradition, all rises and all converges. Beauty reigns. This collection invites one to hold the whole world of the sacred in one's hands and savor the mystical beauty of poetry and divinity.


Eiger Dreams: Ventures Among Men and Mountains (Roman)
Eiger Dreams: Ventures Among Men and Mountains (Roman)
von Jon Krakauer
  Taschenbuch

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5.0 von 5 Sternen He's like Shakespeare for me, 30. April 2000
Like Shakespeare, who portrays the historic, tragic, and comic in human life, Jon Krakauer has an expansive understanding of human nature which he unfolds in his essays reflecting upon mountaineering. The concrete and gripping details of his essays tell us more about the people who climb than about climbing, and yet, as various and comprehensive as these essays are, the core reason why a person would pursue such a passion remains a mystery. Detailed exploration, restless curiosity, scintillating use of language, deft sense of drama -- hmm -- an American bard has appeared in the world of non-fiction.


Beloved
Beloved
von Toni Morrison
  Taschenbuch

5.0 von 5 Sternen Deeply moving story of slavery's interior landscape, 29. April 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Beloved (Taschenbuch)
*Beloved* is an extended piece of jazz fiction. Each main character's consciousness is like a separate instrument in a jazz ensemble and Morrison improvises within each character's consciousness upon the melody of Sethe's story. Escaped from slavery, Sethe has buried the memory of her experience and in this tale the memories slowly, in fragments, without chronological order, begin to emerge, thanks largely to the appearance of Paul D, a man from her slave past. The story moves through Sethe's consciousness as well as Paul D's, Sethe's daughter Denver's, the ghost's, and the consciousness of other characters.
As readers, we learn about slavery from the inside out. Not only do we learn about being enslaved, but we learn about the experience of being free. This story is about codes of conduct and we witness Baby Suggs, and then Sethe, violate the former slaves' code and we see the community of former slaves betray Sethe and her family as a consequence.
Morrison's exploration of Sethe being betrayed and shunned by her own people is courageous and moves us into the complex history of African-American community relationships. Can this community welcome Sethe back into its fold? Can Sethe ever be ready to accept others into her intimacy again? Can Sethe heal from having been treated atrociously and from committing an atrocity herself? How is memory an agent of healing? And, finally, how does Toni Morrison explore all of these questions in the context of a ghost story?
This novel is deeply internal. It resides in the memories, dreams, thoughts, and stories of its characters. As the fragments begin to cohere, we see a profoundly moving and, I think, healing tale unfold.
In this novel, Toni Morrison has beautifully reconstructed history so that we imaginatively experience slavery from the inside of those who experienced it. The lyrical language of each character's soul vibrates with joy, suffering, longing, desire, and hope. I consider *Beloved* a divinely inspired novel. I can't imagine a history of slavery reaching as deeply and as profoundly into the truth of slavery as this fiction does.


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