The Autobiography of Malcolm X

3 X slideshowNo matter what your political leanings, it’s definitely worth taking a look at this novel. Many people discount Malcolm X’s autobiography, due to preconceived ideas about Malcolm X as a person and political figure, but it’s definitely worth reading it. There is a lot that Malcolm X said that has relevance and importance in today’s world, and there is plenty of interesting material to be found in this book’s pages.

Malcolm X created this book with assistance from Alex Haley, but it doesn’t read like a ghostwritten autobiography. It flows like a monologue from Malcolm X himself, and is very easy reading – we are taken right from his upbringing, to his prison stay, to his career as an advocate for the Nation of Islam and finally his untimely end. It’s vital to read the ending notes from Alex Haley, as they neatly encapsulate the process of writing the book with Malcolm X and describe his death in a way that fits with the narrative and provides closure that its exclusion would sadly lack.

Many have said that this book should be required reading for everybody, and I’m inclined to agree – not because of any personal opinion I have on Malcolm’s positions and writings, but because there is so much ‘common knowledge’ about Malcolm X that is untrue or inaccurate. There are a lot of opinions people have about him, the Nation of Islam, and general Afro-centric thought and opinion that has been formed by media representations, by people making jokes, simply by depictions in all forms of media. Even if someone is seeking to learn some things about Islam, then this book does an excellent job of teaching – it’s very interesting to see Malcolm X’s approach to Islam and his personal beliefs change throughout his life.

In this sense, there is plenty to be gleaned from this book that still has relevance today. It’s an invaluable piece of American history that still holds plenty of relevance today, and is definitely worth checking out. You’re sure to learn a lot, and it might give you some true insight into the history of the black struggle in America, which I think is still a tremendous issue that affects the entire world in many ways – even for those living outside of America, it’s worthwhile picking up this piece of history from a very influential country and man.

 

Spook Country by William Gibson

Spook_CountryThe work of William Gibson begun as what most readers would call pure science fiction: worlds far into the future that were worlds removed from what they were describing at the time. There were plenty of readers who thought what Gibson was describing could never happen, but look at the world we’re in now – effortless, instantaneous communication available almost anywhere at a very low price. Wireless transfer of what is essentially the sum of human knowledge to tiny devices that can be carried with you anywhere is something that most people take for granted – and, in fact, if people don’t have access to Wi-Fi wherever they’re going, they can get pretty tetchy. Even this is something William Gibson couldn’t predict.

In his latter works, Gibson began to describe the present day, as the world quickly caught up with those he was describing in almost every respect. Spook Country is a look at the present day with some very minor details changed, but nothing at all removed from the world that we live in – a world after the events of 9/11, a world where technology has reached a saturation point that we can’t imagine progressing any further but that continues unabated.

Spook Country concerns itself with Hollis Henry, who is investigating locative art in Los Angeles, Tito, a freelance thief and smuggler, and Milgrim, a translator. He manages to thread together all of these characters’ narratives easily throughout the book in a way that never becomes clumsy and that reveals the interactions between the characters and their worlds beautifully. Gibson reveals his knowledge of various aspects of our modern world quite adeptly – and shows that he really knows how to conduct research for a novel. It’s incredible how much of the world Gibson knows about, especially if you were originally in the mindset that a science fiction writer wouldn’t tend to have much general knowledge or write convincingly about the world that we live in.

The work is filled with detail that unveils the plotline beautifully, advances the story and gives a truly believable feel to how the novel plays out: it manages to touch upon some sci-fi plot points without feeling far removed from reality and the present, and truly creates a tense and thrilling atmosphere at points. As with many of Gibson’s pieces, the plot can be difficult to follow, but ends up giving some resolution.


 

Remainder by Tom McCarthy

remainder-coverThe subject of memory is something that many books touch upon. None have examined them in the same way that Tom McCarthy has with Remainder, which is an excellent addition to anyone’s bookshelf. The book concerns itself with the quest for authenticity, both in memory and action – the main character has absolutely no memory, and doesn’t know whether the actions he is taking are authentic, real or genuine or not. This becomes all-consuming, and the vast majority of the book is spent trying to recreate the one genuine memory the main character thinks he has. It’s much more than an unreliable narrator – we’re examining someone’s whole life through their lens after an accident that they can’t even describe and that we assumed must have happened in order to put the narrator on the current course of action they’re on.

Describing this book makes it much more complicated than it actually is. With this kind of subject matter, it could be very difficult to read – but the writing style isn’t anywhere near as dry or analytical as one would expect. There are a few wry moments and there is a surprising amount of humour in the book, despite the overall tone and subject matter. As the book progresses, the general atmosphere becomes more violent and intense – but in an interesting way, that is both detached and involved. It never becomes an exercise in transgression or ‘testing’ the reader to see how much they can take, unlike many other writers – there is an element of intensity in the book but it remains a constant undercurrent, which is much more unsettling than outright shock-writing.

The slow burn of this book is something to behold. It’s truly interesting to see the narrative develop, and the main character’s voice is distant without being aseptic and difficult to read: there are plenty of writers who would take the route of making the main character’s voice nearly unbearably matter-of-fact, but McCarthy doesn’t do this here. This choice elevates this book far further than what it could have been, I believe.

If you have any interest in ideas about memory, storytelling, repetition or any similar subjects, I highly recommend Remainder. McCarthy has created a very intriguing and re-readable work here that really lends itself to analysis and interpretation, and is sure to be something you’re mulling over for plenty of time to come.

 

Neuromancer by William Gibson

neuromancermain-739470If you’re at all interested in cyberpunk, futurism or science fiction in general, you should really read this book. Neuromancer has influenced a huge number of films, books, video games and many other works – as you read this book, you’ll find a wide range of tropes and influences jumping out at you. It’s truly easy to read this book and be amazed at how influential and seminal it is, but nothing you’ll find here feels rehashed or overly familiar, which is a testament to how original and well-written it is. Despite being William Gibson’s first book, the level of urgency and proficiency at which he writes in this novel is something to behold.

There’s so much here you’re not told, so many dots to connect on your own – but nothing that feels overly obtuse or difficult to understand. It’s all very much beautifully written and gives you just enough information to feel compelled to keep going, and there’s plenty to get hooked into here – the narrative pushes you forward while providing you with enough compelling plot to keep going.

Essentially, this novel takes place in the world of Case – a hacker who lives a few years in the future, in a world that’s just barely fleshed out but provides so much feeling and depth that there is really no need to have a great deal of exposition. William Gibson is a true master of delivering backstory and plot development as a natural and coherent part of the narrative with barely any exposition – and when a character does explain part of the story, it always feels very natural and not like the writer is simply delivering important plot points directly to you.

As the characters move throughout the world Gibson creates, you get a truly different sense of what each location consists of. There are a wide cast of characters, and you’re sure to get attached to some of them – Molly and Case are the two protagonists, and they have a great deal of depth. Everyone supporting them is great too, and it’s really remarkable how similar to real-world locations Gibson has made his futuristic locales. The places that are based upon real locations (Istanbul, Orly etc.) really seem as though Gibson has visited these places and is willing to incorporate his knowledge into his descriptions.

Ivy Style

9780300170559Ivy Style is a work published by the Yale University Press describing a very particular style of clothes and dressing that was all the rage in the mid-20th century. Ivy style itself is something that most people would recognise on sight, but would be hard-pressed to describe beyond being ‘preppy’. It came out of American college campuses, generally in the Ivy League, and was extensively catalogued in the seminal Japanese work Take Ivy. Think lots of chinos, blazers, loafers, button-down collars and sweaters and you’re getting close. There have been many attempts to catalogue and extensively describe the Ivy look, and it’s hard to find a book that doesn’t at least do a halfway decent job, but Ivy Style has some of the best writing and photographic work that I’ve seen in a work on the subject.

There has been much written about the printing of this book – the typesetting, in particular. There are many complaints that the font is too small and printed in a light grey colour that makes it difficult to differentiate from the background, but I haven’t found this to be the case: you simply need to read it in the correct light. Even with this caveat, I’ve read this book by some pretty dim bedside lighting and not found myself straining my eyes. Of course, black type would be the ideal choice, but ultimately this is a pretty minor quibble.

When it comes to the quality of writing, there is some true insight to be gleaned from the various essays and pieces compiled in this book: a variety of writers have brought their ideas on Ivy fashion to the table, whether describing it in its native location on the 40s, 50s and 60s American college campus or detailing how this style of dressing has been disseminated throughout modern fashion trends and Western society as a whole.

It’s interesting to read some pieces in this book that revolve around non-American countries’ adopting of Ivy style and fashion, and consider how it could be seen as a reflection of the Westernisation of the rest of the world. Ivy Style truly makes one consider how such an Anglo-centric style that was particular to a fairly specific subset of American society became such an influence on other societies with very little in common with your average mid-20th century US fraternity member. Worth a read, definitely.

 

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop by Jeff Chang

bkcover-hpIf you are at all interested in hip hop or rap, then this book is an absolute must-read. Even if you have a fleeting interest in American culture in the last half of the twentieth century, then Can’t Stop Won’t Stop is a great way to examine it. It’s hard to discount how much of an impact rap music and culture has had on American modern culture – and that of the world, and this book works wonders to describe how it all started and how this form of music, art and expression has coloured a great deal of the world’s culture, industry and societal norms for years.

Jeff Chang melds the world of music journalism with general cultural criticism and historical discussion beautifully. Can’t Stop Won’t Stop describes the New York of the 70s and 80s in a way that gives an excellent and vivid backdrop to how rap music came about, and also gives readers who are not particularly well-versed in the intricacies of American politics and society a quick lesson in the societal factors that formed rap. As much as some would like to forget it, politics were vital in how a lot of rap music was created and how the form progressed, so the attention paid to political and societal factors in Can’t Stop Won’t Stop is justified, in my opinion.

As a narrative, the book works well – there is a little unevenness in how some periods and events are described, but if there was to be a truly exhaustive account of the creation of rap music, it would be essentially unreadable, particularly since rap as an art form became so widely disseminated and spread. Chang gives a generally impartial, but at times fiery and impassioned, look at America in general to push this work forward. There are plenty of interviews and quotes from primary sources that lend much flavour and anecdotal interest to how the book plays out, and it truly does feel part of a cohesive whole.

It’s clear from the work how much research Chang has put into the book: one needs simply to look at the list of sources and references. This is a vital and important book for anyone interested in modern music, generally – it’s impossible to deny how much music nowadays owes to rap music in all of its forms.

 

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin

AWizardOfEarthseaFantasy is one genre of fiction that many people shy away from, but almost every problem people have with fantasy is addressed in the Earthsea series. Ursula Le Guin provides a much-needed female perspective on traditional fantasy tropes and works against the generally male-oriented and male-constructed world of fantasy writing. There isn’t much sword-clanging and the like to be found here: simply the construction of a vivid, interesting world, filled with characters you care about and can actually tell apart.

A Wizard of Earthsea describes the early life of the main character, Ged, who becomes a talented wizard. There is much, much more to it than this, but this is really all you need to know: the simplicity and ease at which Le Guin eases into her narrative is something to behold. There is a really open feel to this entire work, which makes one feel as though they really are travelling with the characters throughout a world with plenty of open space – moreso than other works like The Lord of the Rings, which I found to be overly consumed with attention to detail and less concerned with telling a story.

The plot moves along at an excellent pace and never seems to flag or get caught up in its own details, and the focus on a single character is an excellent decision. The character of Ged is expressive and interesting enough to carry an entire book without needing the common fantasy device of a wisecracking band of travellers – not to say that the tone of the book is entirely serious and dour, which, again, is an all-too-common experience in fantasy literature. There are plenty of opportunities for the book to become mired down in drama, but this does not happen: there is simply apt and well-written description of events, relationships and happenings that entice the reader to read further.

There are plenty of plot devices in this book to be found in many other works: in fact, the idea of an academy for wizards and mages is something that Harry Potter owes a lot to. This work can be read by old and young alike, and has that magical quality of really transporting the reader to another world. It’s definitely a worthwhile read and should be sought out by everybody, even those without a real taste for fantasy.

 

Home Moving Services Made Re-Locating Hassle Free And Comfortable

m-6Living on the edge is common or has rather become a norm with the current generation.  Moving home is not an easy task and if one accomplishes this then it becomes a victory for them.  As once you have decided to move home you need to decide as to how to pack all the things that constitute a home because all of those stuff are important to us.  All of these thoughts bring in anxiety, tension and lot of worries.  This is where home moving services come into picture and because of such kind of services absolutely nobody thinks twice about house moving provided they are single or even to move from one city to the other, even a couple makes the decision to move homes if it is convenient for them to commute from office to home and other necessary facilities are available nearby which would make life livable in ease.

When you have decided to move home this is where professional Removals Company comes into picture and also play a vital role.  These kinds of companies have become so common and are prevalent in the market for few years now.  They take up all the responsibility from moving from the old home to settling down at the new place; some of these companies are so professional that they take up each and every responsibility and also take up the liability for things that might break, get stained or any other loss faced by the family or the individual due to their company workers while assisting with packing boxes, unpacking cartons etc.

After vacating the old home, the movers clean up the old house properly and check that there is nothing left behind.  So it is like a double check that they do while doing best vacate cleaning in Perth and make sure that nothing important is forgotten in the old house.  All the unrequired things are put into the removals list and are removed from the house promptly.

It’s always nice to contact a professional home mover service when the decision has been made for house moving.  A good mover would provide you reasonable and safe house moving services.  After reaching the new home; these movers assist with unpacking and keeping the things in the allotted place in the new house.  These services help with carpet cleaning if some stains have come during the shifting process, keep the things that need to be kept in the storage place and also pack anything extra that needs to be packed and kept in the removals and storage for future use. Read more about home cleaning services in Perth at http://www.roguewolf.com.au/house-carpet-cleaning/

Now-a-days house moving has become hassle free and can be done with ease due to the presence of house moving services in today’s market.  These home moving services formulate our life uncomplicated and convenient. With them we can appreciate our vision of living in the variety of home and locale we want to with the amenities that we have all the time dreamt off.  Each one of us thanks the home moving services for facilitating us in taking this most important conclusion in life.

Flowers And The Use Of Floral Decorations In Modern Society And Traditions

Any kind of celebration needs to be done perfectly, with the right kind of venue, decorations and people. However, sticking with only one aspect of the itinerary, flowers, it seems, can be used for something more than simple decorations. Flowers symbolize beauty and perfection and are one of the most wondrous aspects of nature’s creation. They can be used as gifts, offerings, symbolizing peace, recognizing achievements and greeting. There are several ways one can present this flowery honorarium and one of the most famous ways would be to follow in the footsteps of Lewis Carol and gift “an almighty bouquet of floral brilliance”. Flower bouquets are assortments of flowers bundled together in designs or even simply tied with a string. These can be obtained at any flower shop and even at roadsides.

Reminiscing George Bernard Shaw’s iconic play ‘Pygmalion’, where the leading lady happened to start off as a flower girl in Cheapside, London, it seems that flowers and artworks involving the use of flowers existed for a long time and was used to create impressions of a greeting. The more intricate floral artworks are done by the flower shops of a higher class. These flower shops, or florists as they are called, offer services like providing specifically designed and decorated bouquets for decoration or for gifting purposes. Floral decorations are most commonly used in wedding ceremonies and have been so since history can remember. They are a sign of happiness and peace and, if mythologies are to be believed, are sacred. We are here to provide amazing valentines day flowers in Australia.images (7)

Flowers and decorations go hand in hand as both are agents of brazen beauty and have the ability to turn even the dreariest and desolate places into lively halls. They can be bunched in small parcels that are termed bouquets and they are often gifted to dignitaries during an occasion as a symbol of trust, peace and goodwill. It is also recognition of achievements and is given away with awards at several ceremonies. In traditional festivities and carnivals, flowers play an important role in the rituals, especially in those countries that stick with pagan religions and non-Christian gods. Flowers are a prevalent symbol of omnipotence powers and are used in Christianity as well, although not as ritualistic as in case of the others. Several artworks also depict flowers as a symbol of nature’s glory. For other details about wedding flowers and decorations, come to our website,

The use of these flowers in modern society extends to simple decorative ends. A flower vase with freshly watered flowers in it standing on the mantelpiece makes the room look a little better as far as decorations go. Flowers arranged in a small bouquet can serve as a centerpiece in the living room as well. It is common knowledge of flowers smelling sweetly, and flowers in the house can give off the similar sweet smell all the time. Besides its use in decorations and in ceremonies, flowers look better if grown in the garden. Flower bushes are quite common among those who have the green thumb to maintain them as they are fragile and do not last long without maintenance.

Effective Storage of Items by Longspan Shelving

Shelves are considered as the most important spaces which are normally created for accommodating various useful materials in a systematic manner. These shelves are seen almost everywhere like houses, offices but especially in retail stores. A store is normally comprised of a lot of goods or products which need to be arranged or placed in an organized manner so that they can be displayed properly. These shelves provide enough spaces for keeping all the goods in such an attractive manner that it easily drags the attention of both the existing and the potential customers. This is because as per normal human psychology, the shop visitors are mostly attracted towards the patterns of placement of the items in the shelves rather than purchasing them.  There are some weight restrictions in case of Pallet racking as only light weighted articles can only be kept. images (1)In both commercial places  and residential houses solid iron or steel lockers are used for protecting valuable articles like jewelries, essential documents, policy papers, will and others. But in order to arrange or set the items in proper order on the shelves you need to follow some basic instructions or patterns. You can place the impulse products close to the cashier center that include toys, batteries, candy and other low cost products which will automatically drag the attention of the visitors. You can place the bargain and sale items at the aisle center which will definitely encourage the impulse purchases. Do not overflow the shelves in a hazardous manner and stick the item details below in a colorful manner. Steel shelving is the most durable ones which remain in stable condition for a longer period of time. You need to sort out the large items from the small ones and need to arrange them accordingly.  You will find excellent racking items in wine shops where separate racks are used for separate brands of wine or alcohol. The look and product arrangement of a wine shop is really quite attractive which automatically reflects on its increased sales volume. Cantilever racking is mainly used in case of warehouse storages. In book stores or gift shops also you will find the same thing. The amazing systematic management and positioning of different categories of books will really provide you a nice appeal. In many stationery shops both large and small, you will find the similar scenario in case of stationery shelving where all the different products are displayed in separate racks.  Sometimes, the shopkeeper maintains beautiful product glass cabinets for each item. For more details on steel shelving please visit here. Nowadays, most of the shopkeepers are using stylish and highly decorative stationery cabinets for their products. In cosmetic shops, the expensive perfumes and other popular cosmetics are categorically maintained in proper shelves. This makes the products more appealing and ultimately the sale of the concerns increases. In fact, if you visit different commercial places like lawyer’s building, doctor’s chamber, libraries and others, you will find that these shelves play a very important role in these places. If you want longspan shelving then you need to choose a very tough and durable shelving material which can even stand heavy items.