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FABRICIO M. R. Silva "fabricio" (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
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Pet Sematary
Pet Sematary
by Stephen King
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
46 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Unfulfilled expectations, Nov. 6 2000
A couple of friends had told me this was King's scariest book ever, so I decided to give it a try, right after "Bag of Bones". Well, Bag is better. "Pet Sematary" has two very touching passages, but neither is scary: the final pages of Part 1, and the final pages of Part 2. Both of them, not coincidentally, on fatherhood, life and the inevitability of death ("Oz the Gweat and Teweeble"). Particularly the dream at the end of Part 2 seems to me the epicenter of the book, it is very good. But unfortunately a potentially strong metaphor (the Micmac burying ground) for the human inability to deal with loss in general and death in particular was missed. Instead we have Chucky slashing family and friends. And the Wendigo cameo appearance as Big Foot - frankly. The refrigerator ghost in "Bag of Bones" gives the reader more chill for the buck. As a side note, observe that there is at some point in the story a child with premonitory dreams and perhaps psychic abilities, and an adult man possessed by evil forces, as in "Bag of Bones" and "The Shining" also. Recurrent King themes?

Nietzsche: Life as Literature
Nietzsche: Life as Literature
by Alexander Nehamas
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 28.47
20 used & new from CDN$ 27.79

4.0 out of 5 stars Deep, and reads like a mistery novel, Sept. 5 2000
I am not a philosopher by training, but have read some of the classics in the field by sheer enjoyment, some Plato, some Aristotle, others also. But none impressed me more than Nietzsche, from whose opera I have savored many books: Genealogy of Morals (fantastic), Zarathustra (enigmatic), Antichrist (outraging), Twilight of the Idols, Ecce Homo, Birth of Tragedy, Beyond Good and Evil (don't die without reading this; if you don't read German, try Walter Kaufman's translations), and some parts of Dawn, Gay Science and Human-all-too-Human. I also read a couple of biographies. FN was a profound thinker, one of the most brilliant of all time, IMHO. And he was also a sad, lonely and pathetic man, a kind of Van Gogh in Philosophy. And this turns him also into an exceedingly interesting character. The central thesis of Nehamas book is that FN tried to build a character out of himself through his multi-style books. This character, a "free spirit", a "philosopher" in a very particular sense, or the übermensch if you will, is the common voice behind the many different literary styles he used, from the academic to the poetic to the prophetic. Nehamas wrote a very interesting book. I enjoyed it a lot and I thank him for giving me a new and surprising perspective on one of my preferred authors. And his prose does not lack a touch of drama, which is adequate to his subject, but is also unexpected in a technical book about modern philosophy. I recommend Nehamas strongly to anyone interested in Nietzsche.

Bag of Bones: A Novel
Bag of Bones: A Novel
by Stephen King
Edition: Hardcover
114 used & new from CDN$ 1.31

3.0 out of 5 stars Ghosts are scary as long as they're invisible, Aug. 28 2000
This review is from: Bag of Bones: A Novel (Hardcover)
There is a passage in "Bag of Bones" where the protagonist is reading a fairy tale to a three year old girl and she asks him to hurry up. He replies that stories "with magic in them" can't be hastened. It is hard not to hear Stephen King himself speaking to his readers through his alter ego Mike Noonan. Because at this point of the book, that's what we, like the child sitting on the story teller's lap, would like to say: "Cut to the chase!" In a way, King/Noonan is right: suspense demands patience, and isn't built in a couple of pages. However, it is hard to finish "Bag of Bones" without the impression that the book could be trimmed into a better one. This was my first King novel (no, I haven't been living the last 20 years in a little hut by Lake Baikal). I am not sorry for trying it, on the contrary: I love ghost stories and I couldn't put this one down until the last page. There are memorable moments (the arrival at Sara Laughs; Noonan's time-travel dreams) and real pathos (his portrayal of a widower's long bereavement; Kyra's innocent helplessness). As for the ghosts, they are scary as long as they are invisible, and I think that King was excessively parsimonious in his invisible manifestations. At the end, I must confess that some apparitions were almost ludicrous (specially the possessed tree), and much of the fright was lost. My general impression about the climax was that King wrote it with a movie adaptation in mind. Anyway the ending was satisfactorily tied up, which some say is not a SK trademark. Overall I recommend it, in particular if you like ghost stories. But I expected to get more scared from a SK novel. Friends have suggested "Pet Sematary" and I'll give it a try.

Univariate Discrete Distributions, 2nd Edition
Univariate Discrete Distributions, 2nd Edition
by Norman L. Johnson
Edition: Hardcover
3 used & new from CDN$ 296.06

5.0 out of 5 stars A must in any Statistician's personal library, April 3 2000
This book was providencial during my Master in Statistics research. It is THE reference when it comes to discrete distributions, a topic in Stats which has bloomed in the last two decades. This new edition covers some state-of-the-art topics in the field, such as mixture distributions and new families of discrete random variables. It is well written, but never verbose: it cuts to the chase and will be of great help to a practitioner in dire need of an arcane test. And finally, believe it or not, discrete random variables are FUN. The more you know about them, the more you perceive they can be applied in almost any practical situation. And you don't need much more than the contents of this book to be an expert.

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