lexlingua: (Divinity)
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

(A riddle from the Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien)
lexlingua: (poetry)
When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don't quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out,
Don't give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.

Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

For all the sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: "It might have been!
lexlingua: (Contemplation)
Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
lexlingua: (Macabre)
Season 5 of Game of Thrones is coming up on April 12, 2015.

In celebration, here's my favourite scene from Season 4:

lexlingua: (WHAT!?)

This show. THIS SHOW. I can't even *gasp*.

I am not a fan girl given to squeeing, but the television drama, Liar Game, has reduced me to squeeing. A masterpiece of brilliant puzzle-solving, an insightful foray into human psychology, superb acting, and feet-on-toes edge-of-chair mystery -- I am simply amazed by this show.

Read more... )

lexlingua: (Reading)

The Pursuit of the Ideal


"What is clear is that values can clash that is why civilizations are incompatible. They can be incompatible between cultures, or groups in the same culture, or between you and me.  You believe in always telling the truth, no matter what; I do not because I believe that it can sometimes be too painful and too destructive.  We can discuss each other’s point of view, we can try to reach common ground, but in the end what you pursue may not be reconcilable with the ends to which I find that I have dedicated my life. Values may easily clash within the breast of a single individual; and it does not follow that, if they do, some must be true and others false.  Justice, rigorous justice, is for some people an absolute value, but it is not compatible with what may be no less ultimate values for them mercy, compassion as arises in concrete cases.

Both liberty and equality are among the primary goals pursued by human beings through many centuries; but total liberty for wolves is death to the lambs, total liberty of the powerful, the gifted, is not compatible with the rights to a decent existence of the weak and the less gifted.  Equality may demand the restraint of the liberty of those who wish to dominate; liberty without some modicum of which there is no choice and therefore no possibility of remaining human as we understand the word may have to be curtailed in order to make room for social welfare, to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to shelter the homeless, to leave room for the liberty of others, to allow justice or fairness to be exercised.

The notion of the perfect whole, the ultimate solution, in which all good things coexist, seems to me to be not merely unattainable that is a truism but conceptually incoherent; I do not know what is meant by a harmony of this kind.  Some among the Great Goods cannot live together.  That is a conceptual truth. We are doomed to choose, and every choice may entail an irreparable loss. These collisions of values are of the essence of what they are and what we are."


~ Isaiah Berlin, British philosopher (1909-1997) in The Crooked Timber of Humanity 1988
lexlingua: (Brightness)
It doesn't interest me if there is one God
or many gods.
I want to know if you belong or feel
abandoned.
If you know despair or can see it in others.
I want to know
if you are prepared to live in the world
with its harsh need
to change you. If you can look back
with firm eyes
saying this is where I stand. I want to know
if you know
how to melt into that fierce heat of living
falling toward
the center of your longing. I want to know
if you are willing
to live, day by day, with the consequence of love
and the bitter
unwanted passion of your sure defeat.
I have heard, in that fierce embrace, even
the gods speak of God.
lexlingua: (Beauty)
And here's another year come to a swift end. How did I spend thee, 2014? Let me count the ways.

1. The Ipad
How is it that the thing you grew up without suddenly becomes so important to your existence that you can no longer live without it? I started the year with an Ipad Air purchase, and now I am completely addicted to its apps. Whether I am taking notes on Evernote, or reading books on iBooks, whether I am reading news/ articles on Flipboard, or using Google Maps -- user interface on iPad is simply mindblowing. You will start loving its touchscreen, its easy typing keypad, its portability, and its visuals. The pitfalls? The truly great apps are always expensive, especially Microsoft for iPad; tech issues can be a major pain; and the iPad has still not reached the stage where it can function independently without the laptop. But on the whole, a worthy investment.

2. Keep the streets empty for me
What is it about this song? The Lady Business pointed it out, and when the music video begins, it doesn't make any sense, just gothic looking people walking down the streets. And then, the lyrics catch on, and that haunting rhythm begins. I am a manic 'repeat song' player on itunes, and this song must have played at least a hundred times on my ipod. Best discovery ever.




Here's more... )
lexlingua: (Books)
Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier is a strong starting book for her series, Blackthorn and Grim. It hooks you immediately, with the pages opening in a murky prison where our leading lady Blackthorn, a healer with a dark past, has been locked-up wrongfully. Blackthorn thinks she’s up for a death sentence, but a mysterious fae appears and offers her a reprieve –he will help her escape if she agrees to help anyone who asks her for help for the next 7 years. And when I say anyone, I mean anyone.Blackthorn accepts, and finds her way to a province ruled by Prince Oran, which is not as cozy as it seems. Oran, helpless in the face of his troubles, asks Blackthorn for help.

The story is told in multiple and alternating POV which works well without the jarring or abrupt cliffhangers at the end of each chapter that so many fantasy writers like to use. But much of the middle of the book felt like a drag, because Oran’s narratives felt too YA-ish. No doubt that’s because he’s a young, lovesick, perplexed chap, but I just could not connect on an emotional plane with his bag of woes.

Dreamer’s Pool is essentially a folk tale-cum-fairy tale about a mysterious mirror-like lake (hence, the title of the book) in that province, and comes with the necessary insights into domesticity and country life. I was happy to see Marillier return with her fae plotlines as well, and if you like Patricia McKillip, you will like this book as well.

The final section of the book was where the story really caught on, and for that alone, you should read it. Something alien lives in that lake, something that affects everyone around— especially Prince Oran, and Marillier captures that feeling of suspense really well in the last half of the book.

But best of all, and my favourite part of the book, was Grim. Grim is an interesting character; his poor self-esteem (a result of his past incarceration) coupled with his innate kindness makes a beautiful foil to Blackthorn, whose past has made her bitter, hard and cynical. The two together made a great detective team, but Grim, aww Grim. Somebody should tell him not to worry, he’s a great person – maybe Blackthorn will, in the next book.

Rating: 8/ 10. Recommended.
lexlingua: (Divinity)
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
*
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
*
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
*
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
*
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
lexlingua: (poetry)
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
*
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
*
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
*
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.
lexlingua: (UserPic)
With shows like Desperate Romantics, Copper and Penny Dreadful on my watchlist, I knew the next step was to make a countdown of my 10 favourite television shows till date. Here they are in descending order:

10. Mildred Pierce
Kate Winslet does an outstanding job in this 2011 four-part HBO miniseries, based on the book by the same name. I was drawn to this show because I had seen the 1945 version with Joan Crawford on TCM. The show has been changed quite a bit, to adapt it more for modern audience, but the shockingly mean and vicious greed of Mildred’s daughter, Vida, still evokes the same repulsion as it did then.

9. North and South
Class struggles abound as the industrial revolution zooms through England, as do labourer strikes and lockouts. North and South is a truly exceptional adaption of a truly exceptional 1855 novel by Elizabeth Gaskell. But what is really unforgettable is Richard Armitrage, about whom the less said is more.

Also recommended on similar lines: South Riding, Anne of Green Gables series, Catherine Cookson shows, and Lark Rise to Candleford

8. The Buccaneers
This 1995 show is based on a book by Edith Wharton, which lays out the story of four American girls’ fortunes in England, particularly that of the tomboyish Nan’s unfortunate marriage to a duke. A well-made show, though the ending has been much criticized.

Also recommended on similar lines: Downton Abbey, The Paradise and The Forsyte Saga


Read more... )
lexlingua: (typing...)
Name: Ancillary Justice, Ancillary Sword
Author: Ann Leckie
Publisher: Orbit Books
Cover Art: John Harris
Awards: Hugo, Nebula, British Science Fiction Association, Arthur C. Clarke, Locus
Audio: Recorded Books (Book 1); Hachette Audio UK (Book 2)

Ancillary Justice exploded in the SFF sphere last year and won almost every award the genre has to offer, with good reason. It’s no easy feat, world-building on this level, with a character of this level of integrity and grit, and a thrilling, convoluted, galvanising plotline to boot. Think Star Wars, combine it with Inception and Artificial Intelligence, and you will still fall short of Ancillary Justice. I can give the book(s) no higher praise. After Cordelia's Honour by Lois McMaster Bujold, Ancillary Justice is definitely my favourite SciFi book.

Read more... )

From what I last heard, there are plans of turning these books into TV shows. Can’t wait.
lexlingua: (UserPic)

'Not one sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.'
(Matthew Ten, Verse Twenty-Nine)

I find this book extremely difficult to describe, more difficult than it was to read it. The Sparrow raises some uncomfortable questions about our perception of and our (according to the book, unfounded) expectations from God. Mary Russell does a spectacular job of blending science and religion in this book, and for both agnostics and believers alike, this is a story that will send you reeling.

The Sparrow is based in the future, and revolves around Emilio Sandoz, a devout Jesuit priest and a good man whose friends love him, and the strength of whose devotion to and belief in God inspires everyone around him equally. Sandoz’s biggest virtue is that he is not without flaw and that he recognizes this, but it is also true that he has the faith which can move mountains. And boy, is his faith tested.

Emilio and a few of his closest friends are sent to a planet four light years away from earth, a planet called Rakhat, as part of a top-secret space mission in the search for extraterrestrial life. The bond among these seven travelers is a beauty to behold: they are like a close-knitted family, and I especially loved the wit of Anne Edwards, the fellow medic among them. I did find it odd that this motley group went off without space protection suits, vaccinations, defence weapons, alternative fuel supply, etc. to Rakhavat; how did they become so optimistic about meeting aliens of whom they knew nothing? Ah, but maybe Emilio’s faith inspired them to take a giant leap of optimism – anyway, this is a minor point, and our group does reach Rakhat safely and succeeds in making “first contact” with the aliens there. Russell paints the alien life well: she makes it seem alien and eerily beautiful at the same time, and it’s our Earth group which is outlandish there.

In the seventeen earth years (please apply theory of relativity here) that follow, something goes horribly wrong with that space mission. Only Emilio survives from the original group, and when he finally returns to earth, he is a broken, bitter and sickened man facing accusations of prostitution and infanticide – grave crimes for a Jesuit. The media is out for his blood even as he convalesces in a Jesuit home, and the Jesuits themselves want him to “confess” and tell all. Emilio himself has lost the love for God that he was once characterized by. This is what Emilio says:
Read what happened... )
lexlingua: (Disney)
Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

~ Dylan Thomas
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
lexlingua: (WHAT!?)
Paprika
Howl's Moving Castle was my first anime, and I loved it to pieces. Since then I haven't seen many anime shows, but now, I have a new one to add to that list -- Paprika. Paprika is about a groundbreaking device that a scientist has invented to help psychiatrists enter the dreams of their patients, detect and understand their problems (as manifested in the dreams of the patients) and fix them. Lately, however, someone has stolen that device and is causing mayhem by entering the dreams of the psychiatrists themselves. Paprika is a strangely hypnotic, mystifying and very well directed (by Satoshi Kon) anime show. I went into it looking to be puzzled by a convoluted story, and I was. I was also charmed beyond my expectations. It needs a second watch, though, before you finally can make sense of the entire picture, but its worth the effort.

Other (Better) Reviews: Heidenkind
lexlingua: (Brightness)
NAJA
Magnetic Press
Diamond Book Distributors
Publication Date: June 3, 2014


NAJA is a graphic novel by J.D. Morvan, illustrated by Bengal. I received a copy of this based on a request at Net Galley, and I am glad I took a chance at this one. I have read very few graphic novels/ comics before -- limited to Persepolis and The Professor's Daughter, actually -- so this one was a lucky shot. NAJA is a female assassin who has the curse (or privilege?) of never being able to feel anything. You get the feeling from the start that she has some symptoms of a post-traumatic stress disorder. She works for Zero -- a person she has never seen -- and is in competition, so to speak, with two other assassins also working with Zero. Except, in the process, she uncovers some deadly, hair-raising secrets, which finally prove to be her undoing.
3

What makes Naja a pleasure to read are the strangely symmetrical, even geometrical, style of drawing, and a fascinating concoction of various shades of blues and purples and browns. It's all very pretty to look at, even though there's a lot of blood and gore spilled across the pages. the best parts are the scenes where the assassins travel to new places, and a brief travelogue is given of the same, for example:
Read more... )
lexlingua: (Divinity)
The Paradox

~ by John Donne
No lover saith, I love, nor any other
        Can judge a perfect lover ;
He thinks that else none can or will agree,
        That any loves but he ;
I cannot say I loved, for who can say
        He was kill’d yesterday.
Love with excess of heat, more young than old,
        Death kills with too much cold ;
We die but once, and who loved last did die,
        He that saith, twice, doth lie ;
For though he seem to move, and stir a while,
        It doth the sense beguile.
Such life is like the light which bideth yet
        When the life’s light is set,
Or like the heat which fire in solid matter
        Leaves behind, two hours after.
Once I loved and died ; and am now become
        Mine epitaph and tomb ;
Here dead men speak their last, and so do I ;
        Love-slain, lo ! here I die.
lexlingua: (poetry)
Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

~ Robert Frost
lexlingua: (Contemplation)

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
~ Wallace Stevens

Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.
I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.

The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.
A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.
I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.
Read more... )

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