April Book Haul 2017 | #SmartReads

BookHaulApril2017

TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
May 8, 2017

“You cannot open a book without learning something.”
– Confucius

“The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Another month, another book haul.

What follows are this month’s pickings.  Being the bibliophile that I am, a couple of patterns will be quite evident, which thankfully led to some intriguing reads when time was available.  There were even some fortuitous garage sale finds which were a pleasant surprise.

All in all, it was a solid month of reading, although didn’t read as much as I would have liked due to unforeseen circumstances.  That said, life will be life, and books certainly help through the journey in myriad ways.

The Mindful Writer by Dinty Moore

Looking for a source of inspiration to summon the muse more often, The Mindful Writer seemed like a sure bet.

In similar footsteps to the War Of Art by Steven Pressfield where the author dabbles within aspects of the writer’, The Mindful Writer was even more inspiring then conceived at first blush.  Not only is the book a lightning quick read, but it also features a mindfulness approach that other books could feature but do not.

If you’re looking for a book that dabbles in quotes that are thought-provoking, employs writing that is purposeful and inspiring, while echoing the Zen point of view if mindfulness, you’ll definitely enjoy this book.

Magicians Of The Gods by Graham Hankcock

Graham Hancock has been researching Ancient Civilizations for a few decades, with his landmark piece Fingerprints of the Gods which is easily his magnum opus.  Magicians Of The Gods is the sequel to that touchstone of alternative history research of ancient civilizations.

Fingerprints Of The Gods was one of the first books I read about alternative history and it was as in-depth as it was thought-provoking.  It captivated me for various reasons, not the least of which was the author’s methodical and thorough research of verifiable sourced materials which broadened the alternative history perspective considerably.  Without a doubt, Hancock’s research set the bar high for the author’s future work, and because of that, Magicians of the Gods will be expected to deliver in similar sound fashion.

Although I haven’t had the time to read this book, really hope that over the next month or so I will be able to read it.  Either way, a review will promptly follow after the book has been thoroughly read.

Curiosity by Alberto Manguel

As an avid reader, and someone who has spoken about the importance of curiosity, finding out about this book was like a child finding a gift on X-mas morning.  That said, I actually have not read this book, but plan on within the next month.

Curiosity is one of those indispensable qualities that are important.  Unfortunately, this s also why modern public schooling seeks to stamp it out while they wish all to conform and make individuals manageable.

As award winning teacher and 30-year veteran of the public school system, John Taylor Gatto stated in the Weapons Of Mass Instruction, the true purpose of public schooling is simply to engineer division, conformity and control.  In fact, these are some of the reasons why Gatto quit teaching within the corrupt schooling system and began speaking at length about these pervasive issues.

For all those reasons, and more, I am really looking forward to reading this particular book.

The Library At Night by Alberto Manguel

Another great book authored by Manguel, this book was purchased having not only had a great respect for libraries, but also because libraries are one of those places where many unexpected and yet life changing circumstances took place.  To not get this book and read it would be a crime!

I can definitely say the book was everything expected and a bit more.  For what it’s worth, the review for this book just got published today.

A History Of Reading by Alberto Manguel

Wanting to do a little bit of research on the history of reading and books, this book felt like a natural place to begin that adventure.  Learning the author was a lover of books simply sealed the deal.  Now having read it, the book was definitely worth the time.

If you appreciate reading and books, you will love this book.  The review for this book was written a few weeks ago.

The Elements Of Style – Classic Edition by William Strunk Jr. Edited By Richard A De A’Morelli

Having read The Elements Of Style 4th Edition by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, this book seemed like a natural addition to avail myself of some writing tips.

Unfortunately, the book was a huge let down for reasons mentioned in this review.  Needless to say, although the book had some noteworthy points, it was a huge fell quite short from what was expected.

Origins Of The Sphinx by Robert M. Schoch Ph.D. & Robert Bauval

This is a truly scholarly dissertation into a more precise dating of the Sphinx that makes a lot more sense than the mainstream explanation.  In any case, Origins Of The Sphinx samples a wide array of data on a redating of the Sphinx – enough for the layman, and plenty still for the academic.

More can be read about this book in this review.

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

In one of his recent posts entitled Ayn Rand Reconsidered, Jon Rappoport from [JonRappoport.wordpress.com] spoke at length about Ayn Rand, her characters and her work in respect to Individuality.  This quickly became the impetus for me purchasing the book.

Since I respect Individuality a great deal, getting this book was a no-brainer.  Read the book right after receiving it, and it’s hands down one of my favorite fiction books without a doubt.  There really is no other book like it.  A review of it can be read here.

How To Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie [Miniature Edition]

Having read this book in college, thought it practical to get this brief synopsis of that work.

Curiously, the book’s size shocked most people even though it was stated as “miniature”.  There might have been some tampering with the description according to one reviser.  However, when I myself read the description it was stated as a Miniature Edition, and saw nothing wrong with it, especially since the book only cost $5.  I really wasn’t expecting much more than what arrived.  That said, I do understand some people having wanted a larger book however, so I can empathize with their plight.

Goddess Of The MarketAyn Rand & The American Right by Jennifer Burns

After reading The Fountainhead, I made it a point to seek out as much of Rand’s work as possible.  Although a lot of what she states I am still ruminating upon, regardless, I still very much appreciate her point of views, especially about individuality.

Whether I agree with her, or anyone else, matters not.  What matters is what I can learn from said individuals, and there’s much to learn from Ayn Rand.

Being able to gaze through the eyes an intellectual from decades ago is definitely something I intend to do more of, and thought it sensible to follow suit with more of Rand’s work.

On Writing Well by William Zinsser

Along the same lines as Elements of Style 4th Edition, On Writing Well is another salvo into my self-directed learning process about writing.  The book was worth every penny, and made me consider writing in ways I had not previously thought of.

Veterans of the craft will know many of the tenets, but for me, being a neophyte, it offered much for contemplation.

The Chicago Manual Of Style 15th Edition

Mirroring the above book, this book was purchased to serve as a reference for particulars rules about writing.

This is not in any way to make writing mechanical, but to makes sure some of the simple mistakes that can be glossed over are swept away from the page before they arrive at writer’s row.

The Art Of Fiction by Ayn Rand

Having thoroughly enjoyed Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, which is a veritable crashcourse on all things individuality, and having read nothing as meaningful in fiction from anyone else with such depth, The Art Of Fiction became a natural target for my curiosities on Rand’s point of view on writing fiction.

Unfortunately haven’t read it, but will do so within the next month or so and a review will certainly follow.

Phenomena by Anne Jacobson

Having experienced some paranormal circumstances in the past prompted me to search for answers.  At the time, this led me to read books on remote viewing and extra-sensory perception.  After reading many significant books on the subject and finding much purchase in most of them, seeing Phenomena available piqued my curiosity on the psi phenomena considerably.

Unfortunately, for many reasons this book was an absolute failure, which can be read about here.  There are much better books out there to say the least.

Battlefront: Twilight Company (Star Wars)

Needing a hiatus from all the non-fiction books I’ve been reading, and being a veritable Sci-Fi junkie and avid Star Wars fan, my sights were set on this particular book.

So far I am only a fourth of the way through the book, but it’s been rather engaging, intriguing and consistent on all areas.  I might review the book if time permits, time will tell.  Regardless, unless the story drops off a cliff or something unexpected takes place I cannot see myself not enjoying the book.

As far as unplanned purchases are concerned, at a  garage sale, James Patterson’s Private Berlin and Max were found, as well as Robert Ludlum’s The Rhine Exchange & John Grisham’s The Whistler.  All of these totaled a whopping $2 collectively.

How was the month for everyone else?  Any of you read anything enjoyable and/or intriguing lately?  Were there any hidden gems that shone fortuitously on your path?  Feel free to share them below, for I would really enjoy hearing what other people are reading about and finding intriguing.

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This article is free and open source. You are encouraged to share this content and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.

___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His other blog, BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com features mainly his personal work, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information nigh always ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

Book Review: The Library At Night by Alberto Manguel | #SmartReads

LibraryAtNight
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
May 8, 2017

“A house that has a library has a soul.”
– Plato

Just like A History Of Reading is an unabashed book about all things reading, The Library At Night is an unabashed book about the veritable signature sanctum for all readers throughout history: The Library.

Looking at libraries from fifteen different perspectives, Manguel shows us the The Library as myth, order, space, power, shadow, shape, chance, workshop, mind, island, survival, oblivion, imagination, identity and home.

In each of these respective chapters, the author keenly compares each topic to the library, and in a very refreshing, vivid, and thoughtful way shows us how the library fulfills each of those themes.

Since time immemorial, entering a library has always been seen as entering a different domain.  It matters not whether one is merely a researcher, a reader, a student, or someone else.  Everyone knows that the library is a place of adventure, place of learning, a place of rumination.  The fact that one can hear pin drops in libraries [and most book stores for that matter] shows the respect everyone has for such an ancient intellectual sanctum.  Throughout the book, the same level of respect is shown by Manguel as he takes us on a journey on all things libraries.

For avid learners, libraries have always been a private realm, a place of mental solitude and discernmentAny individual, at any time, in any place can keenly escape into the mental freedoms such a place affords.

In a sense, libraries are a page of human history – a well known locale in which one can hearken back in time, and even forward, to witness the totality of the human experience.  Or at least what’s left of its memories.

Be that as it may, Libraries haven’t always been respected.  Within this book, Manguel details a few of the most heinous human acts: the destruction of libraries.

Given that books impart great power, books have always been seen as dangerous by those in power.  Libraries are symbols of what human nature can accomplish when totally free to explore and create, which is why time and time again there are those who have sought to destroy them, to keep people dumbed down and ignorant of the roots of civilization – the veritable pages of history.

As Manguel sobberingly notes:

“The libraries that have vanished or have never been allowed to exist greatly surpass in number those we can visit…”[1]

Of those that remain:

“Throughout history, the victor’s library stands as the emblem of power, repository of the official version [of history], but the version that haunts us is the other, the version of the library of ashes.  The victim’s library, abandoned or destroyed, keeps on asking, “How were such acts possible?”[2]

What has humanity forgotten?  What has gone by the wayside to the sands of time?  It’s worth ruminating upon, especially since the cycles of history teach us that sooner or later, the war against books and libraries takes center stage.

And given that censorship of articles, books and blogs is beginning to run rampant as governments and institutions try to censor “fake news”, the modern version of book burning will merely be the censorship of the written word through the landscape of the Internet, and many are feeling the flames of this fierce fire, myself included.  Again, what are they trying to prevent?  What are they trying to hide?  Each and every one of us should ponder these questions deeply.

Mostly though, Libraries conjure positive thoughts, and most of the book covers the positive aspects that libraries infuse into individuals.

Manguel elucidates on this:

“The existence of any library, even mine, allows readers a sense of what their craft is truly about, a craft that struggles against the stringencies of time by bringing fragments of the past into the present.  It grants them a glimpse, however secret or distant, into the minds of other human beings, and allows them a certain knowledge of their own condition through the stories stored here for their perusal.  Above all, it tells the reader that their craft consists of the power to remember, actively, through the prompt of the page, selected moments of the human experience.”[3]

Those reasons are exactly why libraries will confer power, because they allow individuals to become self sufficient in more ways than they can imagine, fine tuning their mental faculties in ways no other place does.

Libraries help us see the past, but even better, help us imagine a greater future.

In a time where countless issues abound, imagining a better future is certainly a prospect worthy of proper ponderance.

Whether you are a student, a researcher, a reporter, or merely a reader, the library will always provide a sanctum, a personal space, like a warm fire at night, to be used at any moment.  In similar fashion, this book provides readers with comfort and all the amenities that libraries provide, but in book fashion.  If that notion appeals to you, then you will undoubtedly enjoy this book.

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Footnotes:

[1] Alberto Manguel, The Library At Night, pg. 124.
[2] Ibid., pg. 247.
[3] Ibid., pg. 30.

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This article is free and open source. You are encouraged to share this content and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His other blog, BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com features mainly his personal work, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information nigh always ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

Book Review: A History Of Reading by Alberto Manguel

HistoryOfReading
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
April 17, 2017

“Real books disgust the totalitarian mind because they generate uncontrollable mental growth – and it cannot be monitored.”
John Taylor Gatto, A Different Kind Of Teacher, p. 82.

“So often, a visit to a bookshop has cheered me, and reminded me that there are good things in the world.”
– Vincent Van Gogh

“If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Whether you are a reader, student, a teacher, a writer, a researcher, an editor, a scholar, or someone who loves books, you have undoubtedly experienced the feeling of being swept away by words.  Individuals of all types, who use the written word as a form of expression, often showcase in one way shape or form, a new world, a different world, one of possibilities, one of vision, one of depth.  Such instances often leave the reader feeling  thankful for having experienced what they just did.

In similar fashion, the author of the following book, Mangel, paints a historical picture with such clarity and precision that it allows the reader to journey through the pages of time as if we were right there with other readers, even sampling actions and thoughts at times.

A History Of Reading by Alberto Manguel is an intriguing and in depth overarching overview of most circumstances that involve reading throughout the pages of history.

The book is essentially a conjunction of two different elements: part personal diary and part scholarly research.

Cogent and incisive, Manguel does not hesitate in delving into the full spectrum that encompasses a bibliophile’s delight, weaving through countless historical instances which home in on crucial events around the history of books and reading.

For instance, the author not only covers absorbing anecdotes, individuals and the origins of reading, but also curious ventures of prominent individuals who had prodigious libraries of all types, one of which insisted on having his library travel with him.

Manguel notes:

“In the tenth century, for instance, the Grand Vizier of Persia, Abdul Kassem Ismael, in order not to part with his collection of 117,000 volumes when travelling, had them carried by a caravan of four hundred camels trained to walk in alphabetical order.”[1]

A bibliophile to boot, no doubt!

Beyond that, the book also features intriguing anecdotes of a wide range which infuse into the reader full range of emotions that readers of all types experience.  Regarding this topic, the author states:

“The act of reading establishes an intimate, physical relationship in which all the sense have a part: the eyes drawing the words from the page, the ears echoing the sounds being read, the nose inhaling the familiar scent of paper, glue, ink, cardboard or leather, the touch caressing the rough or soft page, the smooth or hard binding; even the taste; at times, when the reader’s fingers are lifted to the tongue.”[2]

Manguel also does a fine job of making sure the reader gets a taste of what it would have been to be a reader throughout other distinct  time periods.

Additionally, Manguel covers the Library of Alexandria, book thieves, reading the future, ancient librarians, and much more.

Another noteworthy historical point of consideration examined  was the relentless censorship that governments have undertaken of books.  Such immoral instances show the inherent fear governments have of educated individuals due to the salient self-sufficiency and power that books can impart.

As the author soberingly contemplates:

“As centuries of dictators have shown, an illiterate crowd is easiest to rule; since the craft of reading cannot be untaught once it has been acquired, the second-best recourse is to limit its scope.   Therefore, like no other human creation, books have been the bane of dictatorships.”[3]

Given that we are in an age where censorship of the written and spoken word is increasing across social media platforms and through many media outlets as well, such words should be ruminated upon deeply.   Modern society is once again entering into an crucial age of censorship, and in this new age the excuse for it is the meme of “Fake News”, which is being bandied about relentlessly . This is leading to an unprecedented tidal wave  of censorship by those in power.  And as history shows, it’s probably going to get much worse.

Manguel speaks about this same issue:

“Absolute power requires that all reading be official reading; instead of whole libraries of opinions, the ruler’s word should suffice.”[4]

And the ruler’s words, in modern times, comes mostly through the mainstream media.

Nothing frees a mind more than a book, for it allows readers to be self-sufficient and be able to be free to the fullest extent of the word.  That’s why historically, books have always been dangerous.

With that said, the book covers much more than mere censorship, and censorship is only a fraction of the totality collated by the author.  The book still covers a kaleidoscope of information to satiate the curious reader.

Regardless though, books are to be enjoyed, and the ironic part is that, reading a book about reading made me want to read even more than ever before.  And perhaps, this book can do the same for you.

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Source:
[1] Alberto Manguel, A History Of Reading, p. 193.
[2] Ibid., p. 244.
[3] Ibid., p. 283.
[4] Ibid., p. 283.

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This article is free and open source. You are encouraged and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His own personal blog is BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com where his personal work is shared, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information usually ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.