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NoLongerHuman

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  1. Turns out RBA is the publisher that prints the Spanish translation of National Geographic's magazine, or at least some surrogate publication birthed from National Geographic. Go figure. If one day you learn Spanish, even if it's just to read a single book, then I'd personally recommend Luces de Bohemia by Ramón María del Valle-Inclán (it's actually meant to be a stageplay but works perfectly as a book). I haven't read much literature steming from my own country but we were the original rappers that came up with beefing. Just look up stuff about Francisco de Quevedo and Luís de Góngora. Two published authors living in the same age (16th century) and hated eachothers guts, writing poems to taint the other's reputation. All because at the time the kingdom of Spain had a trend of fascination towards classical culture, Greek myth and fantastic, whimsical tales of fairies and monsters. While Góngora rode that wave pretty hard and became it's poster boy, Quevedo saw that trend as a bunch of posh pansies that tried to deny the harsh reality of the world, so as a response he led a contrarian movement of writers that wanted to depict the grim reality of life with down to earth stories about thieves, scoundrels and people who weren't very nice, something that grew to be known as it's own genre as "picaresca" since pícaro in Spanish means rogue. Góngora wrote about pretty princesses, idealistic heroes and carried the sensibilities of a less tragical Shakespeare, while Quevedo painted grim, dire worlds with painful accuracy that felt oddly dirty and unsafe. Quevedo wrote about Góngora like this in a very well known poem: "Érase un hombre a una nariz pegado..." it begins, roughly meaning "Once upon a time, a man was stuck to a nose..." in which he createvily berates Góngora for having a massive fudgeing snoot it's hilarious as he pretty much uses every word imaginable to describe the nose he claims to be a fleshy pyramid. Quevedo was also one of the few people back then with glasses, so I believe Góngora dissed him for how dumb his tiny little glasses looked like. All in all, pretty fun stuff, almost as much as that Spanish author that loved gross humor and would claim he could drink from his asshole. We are built different here.
  2. Mitología: todos los mitos y leyendas del mundo. So you might need to brush up on Spanish, since I don't know if there's even an English version. It roughly translates to "Mythology: every myth and legend from around the world". Published by RBA, a Spanish publishing group mostly known for their magazines about history.
  3. No Longer Human All of us, regardless of our condition or background have that one piece of media that changes us, that stupid thing, fusion of words, pictures and sounds that can re-contextualize the entirety of our existence in this world. No Longer Human is one of the closest life-changers for me. Osamu Dazai (born Shuji Tsushima) narrates the life and exploits of Yozo Oba, lovely referred to as Yo-chan. This tale is a thinly-veiled reflection of Dazai's own life, as many of the events that haunt Yo-chan mirror his own life, like the failed suicide attempt he took part in with his partner at the time where only the woman died, leaving him a survivor, only for him to attempt the same years later with another woman and this time succeeding as they both drowned in a river. The book is framed in three chapters, the third one divided in two parts as well as featuring a prologue and an epilogue. The whole story is about this guy that tries to piece Yo-chan's story together and begins looking at photos of the man. He first sees him as a child and feels disgust at his strange, unusual smile that lacks any sort of tru childish joy, as if it was of an alien trying to be human. He then sees a picture of the adult man and finds him oddly handsome, only for him to look at a picture of the man at his old age and sees him totally devoid of emotion, as if that being was less of a man and more of an empty shell pretending to be man. Then we delve into Yo-chan's diaries where he confesses that, early on, he viewed people as strange, unable to connect with them. He percieves men as flawed and women as cruel but something he can use since he seems to be liked by the women around him, oddly enough, making them both his enemy, and his largest resource. He makes a would-be-bully into something akin to a friend and paints these pictures that are super ghastly and harrowing of distorted faces and he sadly fails at being an artist, relegated to making funny sketches for newspapers. Over his life, he abuses alcohol and takes advantage of women, not sexually but financially, making use of the fact that women feel pity for him he lives off of some women he meets and three of them become the largest pillars in his life, with one having been a mother and thus making him an awful second-hand dad. There is a point where Yo-chan is married but he sees his country-side wife being raped by another man and he stands there, doing nothing. Not because of any sort of hatred for his wife or cuckoldry, but because he truly feels no real connection or moral reason to defend her honor. He knows the vile act he commits by sheer inaction, yet he can't help but to feel that it was more of him deserving to see that awful thing than his wife needing him to protect her. It all ends in a sour note, as he's tricked into entering an institution where Yo-chan is gonna take his life but at the end of the second part in he third chapter, Yo-chan gives us the most powerful yet depressing part of his narration. He describes himself as an old man now: missing teeth, weak and with gray hairs all over his head. But then he tells us his age at that time. Twenty seven years all. His hole body wrecked into looking like an old man despite barely being thrity years old. That's when the novel punched me in the gut, as a few weeks earlier, I myself had become 27. Pair that with the fact that I share most of Dazai's feeling of human dettachment and it feels as if this book was written for me, or at least, for lost men like me. While I can't claim to share all of his woes our viewpoints, the hollowness in the soul is mirrored in both author and reader, and it has been both revealing and fearsome. Yo-chan is never written as a victim, as someone to feel pity for, there's certainly moments where he is the victim, but he's as much of an aggresor as he's the target. And this denial of pure pity is the pit of loss that many of us face, where no defense stands up for the sinner. When push comes to shove, nobody has any sympathy for the devil. I vainly wish I could speak with someone about how I feel, about this emptiness within and this pathetic existence that is questionable at best, but I know that very few can look at No Longer Human and truly, honestly say: "relatable". I'm one of the few, so because of that, I can't say the overly used trope of "this book is not for everyone" that most book critics on it have spewed, but I can confidently say that this book is for me, and for me, it is a perfection coveyed in words, a revelation made paper and ink and one of the few reasons why I don't feel utterly alone in this world. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas A swift read with a tone completely different from the movie. The movie it inspired gave me an ending with a hopeful feeling, where Raoul Duke delves back into a life of drugs and excesses because he wants to and he's fudgeing nuts, while the book has this dark grim tome of an ending where it feels as if he keeps his lifestyle because there is no hope, no escape from the hell he's built for himself. The movie is a tad more well paced but the book manages to let the moments truly sink in as the narration makes the entire story unlike the movie where the narration is severly limited. Overall, still one of my favorites.
  4. Call of Cthulhu + Nyarlathotep I think I'll have to read this combo book again because it feels like a fever dream, I finished both stories in a single day and all I can remember is liking Nyarlathotep better despite being shorter. Your usual Lovecraft stuff, prettu sure Call of Cthulhu felt like 1/4 of Dracula with sick people in one country while they muse about stuff in another country. Recommend, but don't drink heavily before you do so, story gets super blurry. Dune True masterpiece. From politics to religion and even environmentalism, Dune tackles some serious topics with grace and some thick sci-fi with some unusual trappings in the genre. A lack of guns traded for swords and no machines with anything ressembling AI is quite interesting for sci-fi even if it means a sad lack of robots, androids, cyborgs and anything in between. I do love the idea of mentats and the Bene Gesserit, even if the Voice is kinda whack Lucas-esque Force equivalent. Some of the best characters ever are found in it's pages, from the evil and cunning Vladimir Harkonnen to the briefly seen yet pàssionate changer of history Yueh, you're bound to find a favorite here and if the political schemes between the big houses and the religious organizations aren't your jam, then the detailed inner working of the tech and the relations between characters will be sure to grab your attention. For such a thick book it feels extremly light to read. A gem you can't miss. Dune Messiah Less of a book and more like a needed stepping stone or bridge between the first Dune and Children of Dune, it still does some things pretty good but mostly feels like paperwork, as if Frank Herbert was simply laying the groundwork for Children of Dune. Paul's fate is sad and it goes back to redeeming him after he is transformed and corrupted by power. The Prince Machiavelli's wisdom and experience when it comes to how the world works is utterly baffling, for despite not being a ruler himself, he knows enough about rulers to make him seem like a second coming of Alexander the Great. With lessons that are still relevant today, he explores the concepts of the principality (any piece of land that is ruled by a ruler) and the prince (a metaphorical figure of a leader that's flawless, to Machiavelli's judgement) without a hint of regretabble innocence, and even claims that sometimes, cruelty might be the best policy. Far from denouncing him as a monstrous man for advocating in favor of despotic measures, Machiavelli merely accepts the unpleasant truth that power, if wished to be maintained, demands that the prince makes difficult choices, for the people are fickle, but a throne can last many men and flags. And only a true prince will keep the throne stable. Simply put, The Art of War, but for smarter people that have less time for philosophy than most. Children of Dune I love this book, I hate this book. An expected development from the first one, that doesn't prevent Children of Dune to come with some flaws. Without spoiling much, I'd say the high points in this novel are superior to the ones from the original Dune, but unlike that first Dune, here, the low points are way lower and far more significant. So it's less graceful and well paced as the original and again, a main character's role flips around completely, but this time there's no sense of hope for the growing tyrant. There's tension, another plot as you'd expect, but far less satisfying than before. I hope later books in the series can change my opinion, but so far, the most flawed Dune entry.
  5. El Vampiret Draculet To those not fluent in Catalan, thisis a children's book. Alright, hear me out, this was the first book I've ever read, but it was lost after some family drama, and just this year I managed to find a copy in perfect shape, so yeah, this one's more out of nostalgia than just trying to read something deep and meaningful. It's about this vampire kid that escapes his castle to live with regular kids, ignoring his parent's warning. In the end the monsters in the vampire castle end up slowly being accepted by society and Draculet falls in love with a human girl, so, Hotel Transylvannia copied this book from the 90s? I wouldn't put it past Hollywood. Also this book has a character that's an Indiana Jones rip-off, and to a child, referencial humor is the shhhhhhh. The Labors of Hercules Not Poirot's best bust twelve very fun stories specially when they involve recurring characters. Nothing special, but not bad, mostly fun because of the attempts of Christie to reflect Hercule's labors in Poirot's cases. Not a fan of the dissing of Greek hero Hercules though. El Rebaño Young Spanish guy rants about modern world and how stupid and sheepish we've become. Totally right up my alley, it's good to see someone not being a mindless mouthpiece for the political progressive class and the corpo elites. it might be too harsh for some people but as we say here in my own rough translation: "The word is learned by blood". Ideal for people that are dissilusioned with the empty promises our world leaders makes, though I doubt the book is translated so you might have to pick up Spanish if you fancy a read. Don't worry, I'm also learning Japanese just to read some untranslated works of fiction, so you'll be fine if you're less dense than I am.
  6. Treasure Island I'm starting to think that people before the modern era sucked balls at making action scenes. While not as action-packed as you'd expect the greatest pirate story in literature to be, Treasure Island excels at narrating the evolution of an average town boy into a hardened pirate all because of the promise of some gold and a vendetta against pirates. There's themes of male companionship in the dangerous seven seas, an air of mystery due to the unexplored island and some neat tactical warfare stuff with the cabin that gets bombed by the ship's cannons, plus some cool character development and just the right amount of romantizion for the life of a pirate... Yeah, I just want to read more books about daring and strong pirate men.
  7. The Gods Themselves It's gonna take a while to adjust yourself to the high concepts this novel talks about but once you do, you might just fall in love. Without spoiling much, it talks about strange beings that aren't fully human and that can vibrate in a way where they can go across solid objects (though it's deemed a crime), and they live in groups of three, each one representing a part of our being and they have this fusing event akin to more artistic sex but the protagonist, the female part of her triad no longer wants to takepart in the fusion for fear of having their children lose her as she did her most beloved "father" once he fused for the last time. There's themes of cultural shame, tradition, sexuality and transcending humanity to evolve into something else, and it's surprisingly subtle about most of them considering it talks about such topics through the lens of beings that are not human and don't attempt to be human in any way. If Asimov's novels are at all like this, I can't wait to read more Asimov i nthe future. Absolute masterpiece.
  8. The Odyssey As a chad-istic Greek mythology enjoyer, I was looking forward to this iconic adventure through the sea as Ulysses makes his way back to Ithaca. Woe is me when I ended up realizing that most of the story is Ulysses speaking and sharing meals with people. Severly lacking in actual adventure and as outrageous as it may sound, I don't deem this a classic at all. Sure, the ingredients are there since the main character has to travel to a ton of different places before going home but there's more rousing action in Alice in Wonderland. Severly disappointing, as if it were the Ocarina of Time of literature: a piece of fiction highly elevated by most critics that, probably because it's talked about so highly, only leaves room for disappointment once you find out that it's just a game/book, and a mostly tiring one at that.
  9. 1984 Harrowing, depressing and powerful, 1984 brings you to a world that is sadly far too similar to our own to simply dismiss it as mere fiction. A great showcase as to why dissenting opitions must be accepted, else we degrade ourselves to the level of mindless drones as if we were little worker bees with no concept of individual thought. The two minutes of hate ressemble modern vitriol spewed on social media, newspeak has, regretably, become a reality nowadays in how we neuter languange to not offend anyone as fat people become "athletically challenged", retards become "differently abled" (like no shhhhhhh, we all have different abilities, you morons) and I fear for the day were the word death leaves our lexicon in favor of something deeply retarded like "end/closure of the vital process". And unlike your shitty dystopian plots were some teenagers manage to destroy the system, the system in the world of 1984 is engineered to prevent revolutions, so the novel drowns you in despair as there's no escape from the shitty authoritarian reality we've created by giving away our rights and freedoms to an uncaring government that couldn't care less about the masses. Lovers snitching on eachother, children put at war against their parents... a hopeless world we might not be too far from with lab-made viruses meant for population control, liars getting elected and the media no longer informing about the truth but acting as a biased mouthpiece for the few in power as we angrily tweet about supposedly evil people in our country because of their opposed beliefs while we quietly shut the fudge up when it comes to our preferred candidates and people we deem virtuous begin to shake hands and work together with inhuman regimes and tyrannical criminals. Hate. Those claiming to hate hatred are perhaps carrying too much and thus are blind to the puppet play at work, failing to see that there's nothing like a virtuous leader, as leading the world takes sin and evil. Don't be happy being a cog in the machine, denounce mob mentality, for the one true good in this world is individuality, self-sufficiency and the endevaours our artistic side wants to embark on. All else is a product of jaded, tired bones lusting for power or belonging in the group. Needing the group is weakness, strive to be your our king and kingdom, and don't follow the mob blindly, else you seek to become one of Satan's fangs. Absolutely sublime, shame most people are too blind to see that this book was a warning.
  10. Why thanks, I'm just trying to make up for how terrible most people in my country are at English xD I'd say right now my favorites are No Longer Human, Rendezvous with Rama, 1984, Treasure Island and the first half of Faust I'd say they're the closest thing to a top five right now for me. I'm halfway done with the Dune saga and I'm also juggling Heike Monogatari, Paradise Lost and Gulliver's Travels, plus I also have The Three Musketeers, One Thousand and One Nights and 20.000 Leagues Under the Sea giving me the bed eyes. Plus this massive 5kg illustrated book talking about (almost) all mythologies in the world. I'm drowning in books but I keep fattening my backlog as if I'm trying to be the witch from Hansel and Gretel.
  11. Chris Carter? As in, X-Files guionist Chris Carter? Man I love the X-Files.
  12. Prior to returning back to reading (AKA 2021 reads) A Study in Scarlet The Valley of Fear Hallow'een Party Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Rendezvous with Rama The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Starship Troopers Frankenstein or the Modern Prometehus Tirant lo Blanc Faust Dracula The Murder of Roger Ackroyd Murder on the Orient Express Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Death on the Nile Through the Looking-Glass 2022 Reads 1984 The Odyssey The Gods Themselves Treasure Island El Vampiret Draculet The Labours of Hercules El Rebaño Call of Cthulhu + Nyarlathotep Dune Dune Messiah The Prince Children of Dune No Longer Human Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream SHORT REVIEWS OF 2021 READS A Study in Scarlet Memorable. Not Doyle's best but certainly memorable as his first case and that ending was nicely tied with the criticism towards the police taking credit for Sherlock's deductions, it sets some chemistry that, as far as I know, won't pay off, as Sherlock's supporting characters will always be a few steps behind Poirot's in my humble opinion. The Valley of Fear A hefty improvement over A Study in Scarlet. The backstory of the crime was gripping even if a tad chatoic and messy. Again, Sherlock books seem to rely heavily on sudden revelations by the end of the case and lack the interesting social games present in Poirot's adventures. Is it obvious already that I think that Poirot outshines Sherlock in almost everything? Sorry Doyle, but Hercule is always more apetizing than Holmes. Still, the best Holmes story I've read so far. Hallowe'en Party Poirot investigating a murder on a child's Halloween Party? Why yes, it sounds like gold, and the truth is quite interesting but I think the best part of this story is how Agatha Christie describes the environments as it trasports you right to the action and for me it was easy since many of the places described are similar to places I've grown nostalgic to. An amusing read, just shy of being among Poirot's best. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Significantly better than the movie. While Blade Runner ends up with a focus on the conflict Rick-Roy, the book has Roy play a much smaller role and instead the topic of humanity is the core of the narrative. Being human, or at least behaving in a way that signals to other people "yes, I am a good human, not an android.", that existencialism that a Hollywood flick will never get across is the best thing in the book. The messiah angle and cult were pretty interesting too but I heavily disagree with the flawed notion that the books tries to teach: that the only criteria needed to see if someone is human is our reaction to animal torture. I argue one does not need to feel pity or sadness towards animals to be catogrized as human, otherwise I can't be considered human. shhhhhhh, I guess it's right. Maybe the message was that this criteria was flawed in itself, as if humanity had grown so corrupted and dettached to their own lives that we can only see humanity in caring for that which is not human. Again, this philosophical stuff is my jam and besides my disagreement with the animal stuff, I can say that this is one of the best sci-fi works ever written. Rendezvous with Rama So, what about Rama? What's the deal with Rama? Honestly, describing this book is harder for me the more I think of it. On one hand you have the theme of human insignificance as the cast tries to figure out the meaning of Rama appearing in orbit, but you also have one of the most compelling main characters in Bill Norton and his odd two-wives + one lover situation but you also have human ingenuity coming across with the crazy contraption plot, and Arthur C. Clarke is cleary a big science and math nerd since he explains the tech behind his ideas so thouroughly... it's mesmerizing, even for a mathematically challenged fool like myself. Another top 10 science-fiction story. The Lord of the Rings If you don't think this is good I will smack you on the head with a wrench. Shame the movies couldn't be even more faithful, the world deserved to see Tom Bombadil on the big screen. Ten out of ten just for kickstarting high fantasy as a whole. Starship Troopers My disappointment is immesurable and my day is ruined. It begins promisingly and has a nice sense of world building. But then near the halfway point you realize "oh, so it's not really about the alien invasion and it's just gonna lecture me endlessly about how the military work in this sci-fi world. Good..." and it was heartbreaking to find out how unenjoyable this one is. One of the few cases where the movie greatly outshines the book. Would not recommend. Frankenstein or the Modern Prometehus Few characters hit as close as home as Adam for me. For those not in the know, Adam was supposed to be the name that Victor Frankenstein would give his creation, but sadly, seeing his deformity, he would simply refer to him as The Monster. So yeah, this book's great for lonely ugly freaks like me, or modern Frankenstein's monsters. Plus the version I've read had a ton of history on the novel that was almost as interesting, so kudos Mary Shelley, you didn't just write classic horror, you wrote a masterpiece on existencialism and sadness. Because this is more sad than scary, let me tell you. Tirant lo Blanc One of the classics of my local literature. Just a knight doing silly things for love, can't find much to say. Lesser Valencian copy of Arthurian legend? Meh, probably stick to Cantar del Mío Cid. Faust The first half is truly one of the best books I've read ever. It's full of that dry, hopeless German flavour and feels like a full story. It's a shame to have to suffer through the second part, where it feels as if an older Goethe (which is true, he left the book unfinished from his youth and then finished it in his old age) just wanted to create a new myth ignoring the stuff that had happened before. And thus, both halves seem at odds, with the first being about deviousness and outsmarting the devil only to see that he was right when he claimed that knowledge won't always bring hapiness while the second part can be childishly sumarized as "lol, we're gods now, deal with it." Still would recommend first part. Dracula Is it wierd to think that this is oddly beautiful? An ageless classic that while losing on some brain-teasing themes like Frankenstein, instead opts for a more simple good versus evil story. Which isn't bad, as everyone does a great job and tension is high even when they are just fudgeing around inside a house. And whoever says Mina Harker is not a strong female character for sitting the confrontaion out, boy do you need to re-read this book again. She's pretty much the main driving force, the heart of the operation, and without her pressence all would feel souless. In fact she's kind of a metaphor of how a single good woman is enough to make hesitant, passive and neutral men bring the best of them for the sake of humanity. So it's not just "silly Transylvanian vampire want blood"? You might be surprised. Highly recommended, if only so people get a damn clue about what Dracula is actually supposed to look like. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd The best Poirot case I've read so far. Highly recommended Murder on the Orient Express Call me a contrarian, but this one isn't very good. Too fudgeing cheesy. And I love cheese. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Trippy but packs a punch, and we all love the Cheshire Cat. I would say more but that'd spoil the party, just know it's good. Death on the Nile Better than Orient Express, but not as good as Roger Ackroyd. Through the Looking-Glass Oh boy. It certainly wanted to do stuff, that's for sure, and in some ways it surpasses the first book but it ends up feeling overly messy and less satisfying than the original. At least it makes for a fun read. [Further posts will be added to this thread if I find time to review the books, please refrain from posting here, thank you very much!]
  13. Hello everyone, I’m NoLongerHuman but you can call me Asterion, Minotaur or Jimmy. I used to be a massive reader in my youth but all of those pesky, annoying mandatory reads enforced by the education system drove me away from books as I couldn’t separate them from tedious study. Thankfully, a year ago, around this time, I decided to go back to my forgotten passion and well, it’s been a great time. I’m mostly going through the classics and I have five large clusters of books on my to-read list, but I’m open to suggestions for whenever I’m done with my current assingments. I’d say my favourite genres are sci-fi, mythology and whimsical adventures, anything that has a fair amount of existencialism or some sort of religious revelation or seeing a twist in reality… well that’s my jam. Tormented men as protagonists, morally grey choices and sour fates are also a plus, so hope that my help you if you want to recommend me something. No extra points for guessing what my favorite book is though. I’ll attempt to make use of the best English I can but sometimes there might be misunderstandings so I ask for your patience in that front, most of the English I know is self-taught. My hope is that this forum might be the place where I recover something long lost and well, maybe I get to talk about other people about books. That’d be cool.
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