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The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union
The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union
by Serhii Plokhy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 23.20
34 used & new from CDN$ 17.66

3.0 out of 5 stars It was truly a personal journey - similar to The Nixon Interviews., Jan. 25 2015
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The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union explains the process of elimination of how USSR became Russia. It starts from 1991 and moves forward from there. This book was an amazing ride - it shows the complexity of human-nature and how revenge seeps into even the most top government officials. Somehow the author, Serhii Plokhy seemed to have an all-seeing view of the characters - both internally and externally and he seemed to know all the most private details of the most powerful men on earth. It is these minute details which really make the book well worth while to read. It explained the characters of political leaders and it explained how the USSR broke down. It was truly a personal journey - similar to The Nixon Interviews.

They Shall Beat Their Swords into Plowshares: Military Strategy, Psychoanalysis and the Art of Living
They Shall Beat Their Swords into Plowshares: Military Strategy, Psychoanalysis and the Art of Living
by Paul Marcus
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 32.29
15 used & new from CDN$ 24.40

4.0 out of 5 stars There was truth to this book., Jan. 2 2015
This book is a great book. It combines military, psychoanalysis with living in a very simple way. The book is very free-flowing, as I could not put it down. I found this book to be very optimistic about humanity as well - the title, "They Shall Beat Their Swords into Plowshares" I believe does not do the nature of the content of the book justice, but on the other hand - the title makes sense. The interweaving of psychology with military strategy is a very hardcore concept to integrate into humanity, but if one works in business or in the military - one lives with these qualities every single day. It is good to read a book that boldly labels the situation / culture for what it actually is, versus using hidden tactics to describe what it is not. This book, was a very refreshing and truthful approach to Western American / European life. There was truth to this book. Perhaps it even uncovered a psychological depth which was hidden to the consciousness of most. Perhaps this book even revealed life and hence brought about a indirect conscious raising to 2014/2015. I would recommend this book to the internal self-determined discoverer.

How Could This Happen: Explaining the Holocaust
How Could This Happen: Explaining the Holocaust
by Dan McMillan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 19.44
34 used & new from CDN$ 14.93

4.0 out of 5 stars Warning of the Dark-side of Humanity, Jan. 2 2015
This book, How Could This Happen, is a good book. It does not go into the war details too much, but instead it glides above the peripheral surface of how the Holocaust could have happened in the first place. The contention is to bring this to the general population because it is important for the general population to know about this situation. In a sense this book has two sides. On the one hand is it an outrage to humanity [understanding] and on the other side it is a submission to the cruel side of humanity [forgiveness]. The themes of [1] understanding [2] forgiveness are perhaps what a human mind needs to psychological comprehend in order to move forward towards a new future. I believe the author wants to explain the past in order to create a better future, at the same time, I believe he warns the reading of the dark-side of humanity, and to be aware and cautious.

Franz Kafka: The Ghosts in the Machine
Franz Kafka: The Ghosts in the Machine
by Stanley Corngold
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 43.75
28 used & new from CDN$ 25.15

4.0 out of 5 stars This is a great book of crystal clear decision, Jan. 2 2015
I read Franz Kafka: The Ghosts in the Machine in 2014. It really helped me to understand the world through a multi-dimensional lens. The authors, Corngold and Wagner were really quite good at deciphering a complicated Kafka. I do not think that all things written about Kafka's works were true - as only the author would be able to explain the meaning of his own work to the audience, if the author so choose to do so. I did find some truths in the book Franz Kafka: The Ghost in the Machine though - like the historical context. The historic context of Kafka's works were explained in quite a lot of detail in this book. I believe that Kafka lived at the cusp of a New World Order and his perceptions through this unique vision - could not only note down the situation with great detail but somehow his works plus the capturing of the mood is still on par with life today in 2014/2015. This capturing of the mood, is not something scientific (but it could be noted as being scientific) instead it is a kind of an absolute. I believe that many authors probably wrote about the situation around 1900 to 1910 and I believe that thousands if not hundreds of thousands of books about this same subject got burnt at the kristallnacht, and Kafka's work did not, because he could get his works published (with the help of his friend Max Brod). Kafka's works are really the only works that really survived. And he wanted them burnt - and most books on this subject were burnt but not out of free-will but by coercion.

This is a great book of crystal clear decision.

Dreams, Life and Literature: Study of Franz Kafka
Dreams, Life and Literature: Study of Franz Kafka
by Calvin S. Hall
Edition: Hardcover
14 used & new from CDN$ 32.87

3.0 out of 5 stars This book is kind of like a visual biography of Franz Kafka, Oct. 26 2014
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Of course original works by Franz Kafka himself are better than books written about Franz Kakfa, but this book has some interesting depth to it. It is an analytical book going deep into the works of Franz Kafka and then documenting similarities and differences with dreams of other people, in a similiar mind-set to him (if that is even possible, as Franz Kafka really was unique). This book is enjoyable to read, because it is like the film camera making a visual biography about Franz Kafka, by using angles and turns that, in it's own right, are original. It is a pleasure to understand, or at least attempt to understand Franz Kafka by means of writing and reading points of view new to me. The cover of this book kind of fits the obsure image of Kafka. It is both scary and intriguing at the same time. The attempted objectivity combined with the subjective interpretations is balanced. Would Kafka himself have approved of such a book had he been alive to read it?

The new Germany and the old Nazis
The new Germany and the old Nazis
by Tete Harens Tetens
Edition: Hardcover
3 used & new from CDN$ 21.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Darkness to potential (and hopefully more societal progress), Oct. 11 2014
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This book is a very eye-opening book. The theme of the book came to light by two friends of mine. This book highlights those themes and it brought me to see history and our current present day society in a very new light. I first read this book in an Academic library and could experience the quality of the knowledge incorporated into it. T.H. Tetens is a very powerful writer and his insights are interesting. To me, it is a dark subject-matter and it is not for the faint-hearted. Instead I think it is a good book explaining humanity in a context of darkness. But from this darkness can come light. Reading this book made me realize that the world and Western societies still have a long way to come to reach their utopias. And I believe in the potential to overcome darkness, envision potential and with hopeful components of societal progress.

The Painted Girls
The Painted Girls
by Cathy Marie Buchanan
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.60
36 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars I, May 1 2014
This review is from: The Painted Girls (Paperback)
The book The Painted Girls is a good book. I would give it an 8/10. It is written in a very descriptive and matter of fact way. It seems to stay true to a historical context. I found Marie's character to have a profound depth to it. It was mentioned earlier on in the book of her intelligence and how her intelligence would get her no where seeing her social class. Marie at 14 yrs. old could read the Paris newspaper and not only understand what the articles were saying but also reflect and relate the information to her sister Antionette's boyfriend. Marie's emotional and intellectual sensitivity try to protect her sister, Antionette from the danger her boyfriend brings - but to no avail. Through a turn of events guilt is bestowed onto Marie and because of her intelligence and insight into her own feelings she just about completely loses her soul to despair and suffering. It is clear she loves her sisters Antionette and Charlotte. It is also clear how Degas exploited Marie through his artwork statue and instead of showing Marie's true virtuous nature of a serious dancer, Degas dissects her personality to be of the gutter. This symbolic gesture leads Marie closer to self-destruction, whereby Degas really is the artist whom lights the match to destroy Marie's true fragile and beautiful character.

Half-Blood Blues: A Novel
Half-Blood Blues: A Novel
by Esi Edugyan
Edition: Paperback
76 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A real Canadian novel - "Half-Blood Blues", Feb. 23 2012
"Half-Blood Blues" was a pretty good book. However, I found that the description on the inside sleeve did not really reflect the actual story. I thought this book was more about friendship, competition between rivals and confession. I also thought that this book was not really about 'blues,' nor 'jazz.' However I did like the books' cover and did find it appealing. I would have liked to have seen more factual information. For example, I would have preferred more German Street names, names of German musicians and perhaps more names of actual German cafes. I would also have liked to have read about more facts, more actual situations that took place in Germany when the book was set. I would have liked this book to have taught me something about the Black jazz movement in Germany in the times before World War II and perhaps after World War II. Instead, I found this story to be about people, with the backdrop Germany.The book was okay. I liked the fact that the author lives in the same city I do. Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia Canada. I also like the fact that she has parents from Ghana, is Black and considers herself to be a Canadian. While reading her novel, I can see that her education and university training are all Canadian. In a way she reflected Canada and Canadian writing in a very mainstream novel.

I found the feeling of the novel to be very sad. I thought the betrayals in the book to be very human - but very disheartening.

State Of Wonder
State Of Wonder
by Ann Patchett
Edition: Paperback
36 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This book makes reference to Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness", Jan. 25 2012
This review is from: State Of Wonder (Paperback)
This book makes reference to Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness." According to Joseph Conrad, there are three levels of darkness: [1] the darkness of Congo Wilderness [2] the darkness of the Belgiums' cruel treatment of the African natives [3] the unfathomable darkness within every human being for committing heinous acts of evil.

I would recommend that the reader think about how the above three points relate to the book "State of Wonder."

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State of Wonder by Ann Patchett was a good book. It was fun to read. The words, sentences and paragraphs were well-constructed. The whole book seemed to flow like an Amazon river that at times I would lose track of the plot. I enjoyed the sense of adventure in the story and I enjoyed Marina's character. I don't think she was overly ambitious, nor do I think she had a purpose in her life. Like the early years of Buster Keaton, I believe Marina's character embraced life rather then trying to control it. I believe the book to be mostly about Marina's character however there is no doubt that Ann Patchett did touch on some very modern 2011 issues.

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Elegance Of The Hedgehog
Elegance Of The Hedgehog
by Muriel Barbery
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.55
195 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elegance of the Hedgehog - 10 things I liked, Dec 23 2011
1. Easy book to read
2. I liked the different fonts
3. I liked how the title refers to the concierge
4. Liked the mention of Willem of Ockham - the Franciscan monk, philosopher and logician
5. Liked the universal themes of truth, beauty, absurdity, searching for meaning and the connection of love and friendship
6. Liked the haikus (three lines) and tankas (five lines)
7. Liked the table of contents
8. Liked the short sections and the space between entries
9. Liked the mention of "Le Corbusier" pg. 94
10. Liked the question: "If you were given the choice between Dutch painting and Italian painting, which would you rescue?" Pg. 225

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