Tag Archives: Sky

Hot make angry

Nothing would please me more right now than to craft a wonderful and insightful blog post for you to read and enjoy. Something that might edify as it entertains, inspiring you, dear reader, to explore a book or perhaps a whole genre of fiction or non-fiction, possibly providing you with new knowledge or a fresh outlook, or maybe rekindle a faded interest in something you may have once enjoyed.

I would like to do that but it’s too hot. It’s just too hot. The AC is going full blast and it’s barely making a dent. When this posts on Monday there may be a slight lessening in the hot front straight from the yawning, fiery chasms of perdition, but as of right now, it’s too hot.

When I get hot, when I suffer under the blazing sun and swim though stagnant, humid air, I get angry. It is a primal sort of rage, an anger directed at the universe in general, so it’s no wonder that recently I have been reading reams of comic pages dedicated to one of my favorite superheroes, the Hulk. Not surprisingly, CLP Main is well stocked with  graphic novels starring the green goliath.

For some retro fun you have to check out this reprint of the first ever Hulk stories. In his very first incarnation the Hulk was gray. I had no idea. Even if you are not a diehard comics fan these old school collections are tremendous fun.  For a new look at Hulk’s origin, Hulk: Gray  is a great book for any reader, especially people who may like to pick up a graphic novel now and again but are put off by decades of torturous comic book continuity.

More recent Hulk books are well represented. I picked up Hulk: Abominable last week and was treated to an incredible slug fest between Hulk and the Abomination, one of his oldest foes.

Tim Roth turned in a yeoman performance as the Abomination in the 2008 Hulk starring Ed Norton and Liv Tyler. It’s a solid movie, punching above its weight as yet another big studio superhero flick. I don’t know if Ed Norton needed the money or he had signed some pact with the devil in order to fund more serious work, but he was great as Bruce Banner regardless.

Who can forget the old Hulk TV show?  Joe Harnell’s piano piece, Lonely Man, has to be the saddest TV theme ever. Unfortunately much of the pathos of fugitive Bruce Banner’s life was lost on me and my brother as we waited impatiently, counting the minutes until Lou Ferrigno finally showed up, ruined a set of clothes, and started wrecking the place.

—Sky

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Browse versus Recommendation, the Showdown

I have long been a vocal advocate for the browse. I like to get up there in the stacks and look around and just see what I find. I always find something good. I never went up to the stacks and came back empty handed. I may have returned with a book on the social life of crows when I went up there to find something on film, but that’s the beauty of it.

Recently though, I got a great example of how a good recommendation can be equally satisfying. It started with 188th Crybaby Brigade: A Skinny Jewish Kid from Chicago Fights Hezbollah.

It’s a title that is hard to resist. I came across it in the stacks and raced through it in a few days. Joel Chasnoff’s story chronicles the ups and downs during his search for martial glory and meaning during his enlistment in the Israeli Defense Forces. What is it like serving in a foreign military and living as a new immigrant? With all the potential themes to address, nationalism and patriotism, identity and Judaism, it seems like the book is a can’t miss, especially when some of it takes place along a tense border with Lebanon.  After reading the book I felt I knew Israeli society a smidge better than when I started. And I enjoyed the ride, following Chasnoff along the ups and downs, and more downs, and down again, of his story. As a former soldier myself, some of his story really resonated, while other parts were somewhat wince inducing. But above all, Chasnoff’s honesty will earn a reader’s respect.

I was talking the book over with a librarian and he hit me with this recommendation, Company C: An American’s Life as a Citizen Soldier in Israel, by Haim Watzman. The book is a tour de force. I have never used the phrase tour de force, and I don’t plan on making it a habit, but there are few ways to succinctly describe this book’s intense ability to draw the reader into Haim Watzman’s world.  The narrative switches seamlessly through the engrossing details of the daily routine of reservist soldiers on deployments through Watzman’s own complex reflections on the policies and politics behind his adopted country’s actions in the occupied territories.  Watzman doesn’t agree with everything he has to see or do, but neither does he completely agree with his country’s critics. Wherever you stand on these complex issues, you will respect Watzman’s honesty and his poignant thoughtfulness. Personally, it brought home to me how thoroughly human these problems are. Whatever governments and groups may do or say, on the ground real people are dealing with it, on both sides. After reading Watzman’s book I feel much better introduced to the complexities of life in Israel. The book is a must read.

A book found on a browsing expedition leads to a conversation which leads to an incredible recommendation.  What’s going to be next? Will browsing get completely upstaged? I hope not. But I certainly do have a healthy appreciation for the recommendation.

 

—Sky

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Can I buy a vowel, habibi?

Can you read the following sentence?

Ds ths mk sns?

Hint: Add some vowels

Does this make sense?

Where did the vowels go? For speakers of other languages a lack of vowels may be normal. I am talking about you, Arabic and Hebrew. Neither of these distant Semitic cousins spell out their vowels in a way English speakers are used to. Diatrical marks are used in both Hebrew and Arabic to denote vowels, but those generally only appear in the Torah or Qur’an.   So without the requisite vocabulary those road signs you see might be leading you to Tal Avov, Israel or in another case perhaps into the country of Jirdon. It’s a bit of a bummer for the casual language student like me.  Thankfully CLP has tons of material to help me satisfy my curiosity about foreign languages or dive in for some serious self-instruction. Thnks  lbrry! By the way, I hear the beaches at Tal Avov are really nice.

I have always wanted to learn Arabic. For starters, the script is simply gorgeous, even when unadorned. The Islamic tendency to avoid pictorial representations created a drive to perform some incredible feats of design and artistry in calligraphy. Unfortunately Arabic is not the easiest language to learn. And by not the easiest language, I mean one of the hardest languages.  The rather intuitive root system lulls you into a false sense of confidence before the myriad cases and combinations knock the wind out of your sails. Anyway, it’s fun to study, once I abandon my fantasies of wowing the native speakers with my fluency.

The library has a great selection of titles on Arabic instruction, books to help you learn the script, the spoken languagegrammar (ugh), etc…

Written Hebrew always has that certain aura of the ancient even if you are just using it to print an ad for a used exercise bike. And Rashi script is quite easy on the eyes as well. The library has this amazing book from artist Adam Rhine, a selection of contemporary illuminations and a treat for anyone interested in design or calligrahpy.

The history of the Hebrew language itself makes for an interesting story, resurrected from the liturgy and turned into a living language. It uses the same sort of root system as Arabic but the grammar is much easier. I had a lot of fun looking through the Teach Yourself edition for Hebrew and this kid’s book helped me with the alphabet. As everybody knows, both Arabic and Hebrew use that CH sound, the “ch” from Bach, which is simply fun to make.  I don’t know why, but it is.

I still have a hard time with my ו and נ and I switch up my ب and ت a lot, but it’s all for fun anyway.  If you are not cramming for school or a business trip, then it is very enjoyable and rewarding to just learn an alphabet or pick up a word or two in whatever language strikes your fancy. Even a long way from fluency you can feel more connected to people.

-Sky

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Some Shortcuts

I try to keep up on things. I try to read and improve my understanding of the world around me, its history, and the events that have brought us here. 

It’s really tough.  Really, really tough. There are many more places and things happening in the world than there are hours in my day to investigate them.  So when I try to wrap my head around a region like the Middle East I am looking for a leg up.

Enter the documentary Blood and Oil: The Middle East in World War I. Released in 2006 and directed by veteran journalist and military historian Marty Callaghan, Blood and Oil is a dense and revealing documentary.  But why World War I? It may seem like ancient history to some, but the modern Middle East as we know it was born in the Great War’s wake.  The documentary takes us through the military campaigns of the British, Russian and Ottoman Empires and into the politics and maneuvering in the immediate post war period.  For fans of military history, this documentary lucidly outlines World War I’s campaigns within the region in dramatic detail.   Ataturk and Gallipoli and the pan-Turkish dreams of the ill-fated expedition of Enver Pasha are featured in this rich film as well as the Russian invasion of Anatolia and the tragedy of Smyrna.  The post war period covered by the documentary is the real pay-off to people on a mission to provide context to the Middle East.  The defeated Ottoman Empire was carved up like a Thanksgiving turkey by the victorious French and British, and the decisions they made nearly a century ago set the table for events today. This film explains the various agreements and secret treaties that gave birth to a group of nations almost overnight, a set of borders and new countries designed to preserve influence and maintain access to an increasingly vital resource, oil, which had only recently replaced coal in the new ships of the British navy. It isn’t hard to see how these new nations suffered the occasional post-colonial migraine as ethnic and national aspirations clashed with an artificial and seemingly arbitrary set of circumstances. Understanding the modern Middle East begins with understanding the post war period and this documentary is an incredible shortcut.  The human cost of imperial and national ambition is displayed with moving sympathy throughout the film.

 Africa: 56 countries sharing a population of over a billion people. Now there is a region I need to work on.  I needed help there, a good primer, and I found The Africa Book. This weighty tome contains a spread for each country featuring vital statistics, a brief history and cultural information, and a selection of beautiful photographs. The history sections are short but revealing, showcasing the continent’s richness and complexity, host to dozens of empires, foreign colonizers, and the sometimes difficult paths to nationhood in post-colonial times.  It’s a Lonely Planet book so the target market is young, wealthy, wearing a back pack, and looking to score at the ex-pat bar, but the book suits my purposes equally well.  Thanks to this book I could read the news on Africa without constantly referencing Wikipedia.  Soon I will be expanding my reading into some general histories and country specific works and then I will be really set.

And then onto South America….

Sky

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The Book

The first book for adults I ever read was the Holy Bible. I can remember its weight, the texture of the pebbled leather cover, the zipper on the side that sealed it up and kept the impossibly thin pages from damage as it was shuttled around in my book bag through elementary school. Unzipping the book at home was often exciting. The book filled my young imagination with images of an ancient, mythic past, complete with arid landscapes and exotic costumes. The book had it all, warriors and kings, prophets and pharaohs, bloody battles and fiery calamity. The language of the venerable King James edition, which celebrated its 400th anniversary just last year, was archaic, evocative and challenging. The Christian school I attended focused our attention on the New Testament. There I and my fellow students learned the gospels, Jesus’ life and teachings, Paul’s ministry and letters.

But I always thought all the good bits were in the first part. There was plenty of violence and warfare, razed cities, miracles and strange happenings, betrayal, and a great deal of begetting going on.

The Bible fixed itself permanently in my mind, an inevitability based on my background.  And I am certainly not alone. Everyone knows the big stories from the big book: Adam and Eve, the flood, the exodus, Samson and Delilah. The American lexicon is chock full of Biblical references. The blind leading the blind, washing your hands of something, reaping what you sow…

It’s no surprise then, that as I prowled the non-fiction stacks in search of material, my attention would eventually fix itself on studies and criticisms of the Holy Bible. CLP boasts a ton of titles on the topic, ably reflecting the recent demand for a bridge between the rarefied world of academia and the inquisitive consumer. Engaging the Bible with a critical eye, as one would with any text from the past, resided for the most part outside the public imagination–an activity for universities and seminaries. A couple of Dan Brown books and the discovery of a few gnostic gospels later, and now the demand for more information about the Bible is at a high point.

It had been a long, long time since I had cracked open the Bible so I humbly kicked off my reading with the Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Bible. With 66 separate books in a collected work that straddles two major religions, I felt like I needed a good refresher.

A neat book about the Bible as cultural icon is Timothy Beal’s The Rise and Fall of the Bible.  This easily digestible work is an interesting overview of the movement to make the Bible a ubiquitous item in the American landscape, its promotion and recent commercialization, and the aftermath of a century’s worth of scholarly examination. If you’ve ever wondered why there is a Bible in your hotel nightstand, then this is a great book for you.

Jesus, Interrupted is a stormy work of inquiry into many of the thornier contradictions and potential problems in the text of the Bible. Scholar and former Evangelical Bart Ehrman has lit a firestorm of debate, judging by the amount of rebuttals revealed online by a simple Google search. Ehrman concentrates on the problems and difficulties of assembling the canon and the perils of hand copying–the method of replicating the scriptures in the long centuries between Jesus and the printing press. It’s a rollicking read with a great number of challenging points.  The book follows closely on the heels of Ehrman’s earlier work, Misquoting Jesus, which concentrates more heavily on untrustworthy scribes.

On the opposite end of the above works stands the New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties by Gleason L. Archer Jr. This dense volume has an explanation for any possible oddity or discrepancy that one could find in the Bible. Those who cherish the idea of Biblical inerrancy will find this book indispensable.

I can’t leave without mentioning this fun read, The Good Book: The Bizarre, Hilarious, Disturbing, Marvelous, and Inspiring Things I Learned When I Read Every Single Word of the Bible. David Plotz of Slate fame takes the reader on a sidesplitting journey through the entire Bible.

Works on the Bible occupy a fairly large area in the book stacks, so browsers are likely to strike gold. Up on the Mezzanine are many works on testaments Old and New, dozens of books on Jesus and early Christianity, women in the Bible, etc, etc…

But do be careful of studying too hard:

Ecclesiastes 12.12:  And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

Sky

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The big plan

Unless you are living under a rock (if so, I can hardly blame you), you are probably aware that the US and allies have been fighting a war in Afghanistan. October will mark the 10 year anniversary. CLP Main’s shelves are well stocked with books for any reader looking to expand their knowledge of the ongoing conflict past the nightly soundbites and short articles that are a now familiar part of daily life. I’ve read a good share myself but I have always felt a bit at sea when trying to grapple with some of the larger issues. I am not referring to the big debates, “good war” versus “bad war,” hegemony, imperialism, or the War on Terror and its implications.  Whichever side of the fence you are on, there exists scores of books to either buttress or challenge your dearly held beliefs. I am talking about some fundamental questions about the war itself that have always bothered me. What is the big plan? What is the goal? What does victory look like, and what is the plan to see it through?

Naturally, I found a lot of answers on the shelf at CLP. Hot off the press and waiting for you on the New Books shelf is Afghanistan: How the West Lost Its Way. The book is written by two English professors, Tim Bird and Alex Marshal. Both lecturers have long ties to the UK’s security establishment. Straight from the horses’ mouths comes a long, detailed outline of “the big plan” and its numerous changes and ultimate shortcomings. Anybody looking to understand what the US and allies have been trying to accomplish this last difficult decade needs to read this book. Currently I am searching for more titles along these lines. After all, you can’t read just one source or outlook on such an important topic.

—Sky

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Enemy Faces

I grew up in the Eighties, the Golden Age of America. Reagan had the Communists on the ropes and we were all going to be rich someday.  Hollywood blockbusters provided us all with stories and shared experience, like so many bearded shamans around the Neolithic campfire. I was particularly struck by the wave of Vietnam War films of that time. I wanted to know more and consumed dozens of books on the American involvement in the war. I was always most eager to read the personal narratives of soldiers in the conflict.

In the stacks last week I came across this book, Red Plateau: Memoir of a North Vietnamese Soldier. Looking it over, I had the startling realization that I had never read anything from the Other Side. All the personal stories from the war I had read were from American perspectives. Whether in book or film, the enemy was a largely faceless and impersonal danger, an elemental force lurking in a primeval jungle.

I read the short book in a day and half and was floored.  Comparing the differences and similarities between this story and the American stories I have read was interesting. The inherent wastefulness and horror of war are present in both. As a North Vietnamese soldier fighting in the south, Nguyen Van Tan is away from home like his American counterparts. But he doesn’t count the days until he can return. He and his comrades are there to fight until they are killed or the North prevails.  The details of the hardships he faced are gripping and poignant, marching for days and days with only puddle water and moldy rice balls for sustenance, frequently under the threat of nightmarish B-52 strikes. The North Vietnamese soldiers are a sentimental lot and form the close bonds familiar to anyone who has served. His entire platoon weeps openly after Tan, himself paralyzed with shock, receives a letter with the news of the death of his father.  Nguyen Van Tan  miraculously survived some of the heaviest engagements of the war, including the assaults on Khe Sahn.  He credits his survival to a grievous wound he received in 1971, keeping him off the line for a long period of recuperation. Tan had been a schoolteacher and his rudimentary knowledge of English was put to use for a time translating captured documents. In these sections we can read that the North Vietnamese troops found their American foes equally inscrutable.

I only took a moment to mine some more material in the stacks.

Vietnam: A Portrait of its People at War contained personal stories from members of another shadowy antagonist of  the Vietnam War film, the Viet Cong. Interestingly, this book was first published under the title Portrait of the Enemy.

Once again, the power of browsing is revealed. I didn’t know I needed to read these books until I saw them.

—Sky

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Two Wheeled Mayhem, Part 1

Every now and then something you thought was very hard turns out to be very easy. I have been meaning to get my motorcycle license for years now and was often heard to complain about the complicated logistics involved:  getting a permit and then buying or borrowing a bike and practicing in an empty lot somewhere until sufficient skill is gained in order to try the test. Did you ever see Pee Wee’s Big Adventure? Remember when the bikers lend Pee Wee a motorcycle and he drives straight into a billboard? That actually happens all the time. Seriously, I have heard at least a dozen variations of the “Let me take it for a spin” tragedy. I am deathly afraid to wreck a borrowed bike and I don’t want to buy one and wreck that on day one either.

It turns out the state of Pennsylvania has the solution. A completely free course is offered at various times during the warmer months to train new riders in the fundamentals. Now I can get training and tips by professional instructors rather than take the risk of becoming “that guy” and laying down a friend’s bike. I can flog a bike owned by Tom Corbett with no remorse whatsoever.

Until my course date arrives I have been looking to get my motorcycle fix in the Film and Audio section and have not been disappointed.

Faster is an incredible documentary about the Moto GP, the top level of motorcycle racing. These utterly fearless riders reach speeds in excess of 200 mph in the straights. It must be seen to be believed. Narrated by actor and motorcycle nut Ewan MacGregor, the film takes us through the 2001 and 2002 seasons, introducing the viewer to a range of fascinating characters. Foremost is the hot shot Valentino Rossi, winning race after race with apparent ease. His arch rival is another Italian, Max Biaggi, who sports what must be the world’s most perfect goatee. Aussie vet Garry McCoy’s struggles with painful injury and American rookie John Hopkins’ first races on the Moto circuit are gripping stories. The racers and their supporting cast construct compelling narratives and are rarely overshadowed by the roar and snarl of their dangerous and potent machines.

 A host of past champions like Kevin Schwantz and Wayne Rainey provide commentaries that explain the Moto GP’s rich history, giving immediate context for a viewer new to the sport.  Anyone interested in that peculiar side of human nature, the aspect drawn to fierce competition and danger will be very interested to watch this exciting documentary. After it was over I was left hungry for more. But there was more! Disc two featured the sequel Faster and Faster, a whole other season of coverage to watch.

That still wasn’t enough. Thankfully CLP has the next follow up, The Doctor, The Tornado, and the Kentucky Kid. This one centers on the Moto GP leg in here in America, the Red Bull Grand Prix at Laguna Seca in July of 2005.

A completely different motorcycling experience is available in another stupendous documentary, Exploring the Deserts of the Earth. This grand yet understated film documents a journey by motorcycle across all the deserts of the earth. Director Michael Martin and photographer Elke Wallner spend 900 days on a BMW, stopping periodically to capture some of the most breathtaking desert scenes one can imagine. Difficult customs officials and extremes of terrain and temperature are stoically overcome time and time again in this real life adventure. The film was incredible, the journey was incredible, and yet the documentary proceeds with no fanfare or air of self congratulation. Remarkably, the pair traveled without a chase vehicle of any kind. Just the two on a heavily laden BMW.

The documentary features 12 episodes, clocking in at 357 minutes! The generous length provides a lot of time to feature the people they encounter along the way, ranging from nomads who count their wealth in horses to gulf Sheikhs surrounded in gilt splendor. I found it peculiarly fascinating when the pair came to the good old U.S. to tour our deserts. Michael Martin displayed a detached interest here identical to that which he showed in other places.  Upon encountering an American couple vacationing in Nevada he declares that they are “typical Americans.” I found this jarring and humorous. I am an American, I am supposed to point at things and other people and declare what is typical! Oh well, turnabout is fair play, another illusion justly shattered.

Whether speeding along at over 200 mph or crawling across deep dunes, any one of these documentaries will provide a rewarding view into the world of motorcycling. And do watch Pee Wee again, while you are at it. While it’s only a bicycle he’s after, it certainly does a wonderful job of showing the love one can feel for a two wheeled machine.

–Sky

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After the Fall

All the buzz about the world ending has put me in the mood to refresh my survival skills.  While the label of  “survivalist” is sometimes synonomous with “nutjob,”  you are doing yourself a disservice if you don’t spend a little time planning and thinking about what you might need to do if things go completely pear-shaped. As usual, CLP can scratch that itch.

How to Think Like a Survivor by Tom Watson has a great deal of basic information, including some discussion about the psychological states one may find themselves in after an accident. Overcoming panic is the first step!

Build the Perfect Survival Kit by John McCann takes it a step further, guiding one through a plethora of options. Everybody could use a little emergency kit in the car or home. Heaps of advice and information are packed into this little book. One thing missing from the author’s recommendations is any sort of religious text. Personally, my ideal survival kit would include a copy of the Torah, Bible, and Quran. I imagine if my life is in jeopardy I would get religious. With all three books in hand my options would be open.

Wilderness Survival by Gregory J. Davenport is the book to have if you plan to get lost on your next camping trip. I love the simple drawings, the lean-to, the A-frame shelter, all survival classics.

Wild: Stories of Survival from the World’s Most Dangerous Places is an amazing anthology of adventure and survival. These tales make for thrilling reading and will steel the nerves and prepare us for our own challenges.

The above books will certainly arm us against misadventure. But if we need these skills because civilization has collapsed then I would recommend an additional title:
   

The Art of the Table by Suzanne Von Drachenfel is the go-to book for questions of etiquette, table setting, and menu selection at any meal or occasion. This information will be vital in avoiding something like we saw in Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome. Survival situations are by nature incredibly stressful. If you are in such a situation as part of a group then I imagine etiquette will be vital in maintaining harmony.

In addition to its use in staving off complete social anarchy, the book is a wild read. I like to periodically read things far outside my usual interests and this was a great choice. I had no idea the variety and purposes of different stemware. And flatware is placed on the setting in order of use, corresponding with the course. This arrangement ensures one always uses the right utensil. I had always wondered.

–Sky

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Sakura

The cherry blossom trees behind the Carnegie Museum have almost reached the end of their brief bloom.  The delicate pink and white petals inevitably remind me of Japan. And anytime I am reminded of anything, it’s time to browse the stacks and see what we can find to scratch that itch. With Japan in mind, my browsing led me to an old favorite, the works of Yukio Mishima. I might have preferred a nice non-fiction, perhaps something about the visually arresting and dramatic samurai period, maybe a samurai film (CLP has a great collection), or a fun travelogue.

But I ended up with Mishima. He is the type of author you can’t ever leave permanently. I read several of his novels about five years ago and I knew then I would be back for another round. For a guy who likes non-fiction and genre fiction, Mishima is an odd choice. This is good.  You have to shake things up. His books are complex and engaging, and at times rather difficult.  But a reader is richly rewarded.  Characters are dissected to their core amidst sensual and precise descriptions of casual detail that work magic on the reader’s subconscious. 

Mishima’s work stands on its own. But no discussion of it is really complete without a look at his life and death. I imagine there could be others, but as far as I know, Mishima is the only author to have attempted a coup d’ état.

Coup d’Wha?

That’s right. Mishima and a few members of his private army attempted to stage a coup d’ état.

Private army?

You read correctly. Mishima had a small private army. Two of its members assisted Mishima in the completion of his ritual suicide after the coup inevitably failed.

Ritual suicide?

Mishima ended his own life in the traditional samurai fashion.  Although he was a wealthy  and highly successful  author, he did have a bit of a reputation for outlandish behavior in the press with his late turn to nationalism , a private army, and the persistent discussion about his sexuality.  But no one was prepared for his actions on November 25th, 1970.  The coup and suicide were incredibly shocking.  

1970???

This all happened in 1970.

If you have a pulse, at this point you must be at least mildly curious about this man and his work. For those wishing to start with a critically acclaimed and accessible novel, I would recommend After the Banquet. It’s an engaging story about the conflicting pressures of love and ambition. If you are just wondering about the life of this unique and conflicted man then you should have a look at Henry Scott-Stokes The Life and Death of Yukio Mishima.   Confession of a Mask, the story of a closeted homosexual, was the first of Mishima’s works translated in the west. I am currently reading The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea.  Don’t worry, there are multiple copies.  And I would be very remiss if I failed to mention Mishima, A Life in Four Chapters, an amazing film about his life and work.

For the truly ambitious there is the Sea of Fertility, a tetralogy starting with Spring Snow. These novels delve deeply into Buddhist theology and ideas about reincarnation, spinning a decades long storyline into a shocking conclusion. The manuscript of the final volume, The Decay of the Angel, was submitted to the publisher on the very day of Mishima’s death.

Anyone interested in themes of love, life, beauty, and death, will find much to admire and enjoy in Mishima’s work.

–Sky

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