Book: The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

The Name of the Rose Cover Image

Title The Name of the Rose
(originally published in Italian under the name ‘Il Nome Della Rosa‘)
Author(s) Umberto Eco
Translator William Weaver
Initially Published In 1980 (Italian) 1983 (English)
Publisher Multiple –  Bompiani; Martin Secker& Warburg; Harcourt; Vintage Digital; Everyman’s Library; Mariner Books
Formats Available Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, Audio

I was planning to re-read and post the review of this book after a few months. However, when I heard of the death of Umberto Eco (the author) on 19th February 2016, I decided to pick it up ahead of my original schedule.

The Name of the Rose(Italian: Il Nome Della Rosa, 1980), is the first novel by the Italian author Umberto Eco. It is an intellectual murder mystery set in an Italian monastery, in the year 1327. It combines semiotics, biblical analysis, medieval studies and literary theory. It was translated into English in 1983 by William Weaver.

“The most intelligent and at the same time the most amusing book in years”

— Der Spiegel

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Cartoon: Slaves to Measurement

Cartoon: Slaves to Measurement

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Movie: The Shawshank Redemption (1994, English, US)

Shawshank Redemption DVD Cover

Directed by Frank Darabont
Released in 1994
Genre Prison Drama
Cast Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne
Morgan Freeman as Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding
Bob Gunton as Warden Samuel Norton
Music by Thomas Newman
Produced by Niki Marvin
Language English
Based On Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption – A 100 page novella  by Stephen King
Length 2 hours 22 mins

The Plot, the Setting

The Shawshank Redemption is a 1994 American prison drama film starring Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, and Bob Gunton. It is about a financial wizard a serving a life sentence for a double murder. The protagonist Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), lives his days and years in prison, through good, bad, and nasty times, while he maintains the hope that one day he will be free.
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Book: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

One Hundred Years of Solitude Cover Image

Title One Hundred Years of Solitude
(original Spanish title: Cien años de soledad)
Author(s) Gabriel García Márquez
Translator Gregory Rabassa
Initially Published In 1967 (Spanish) 1970 (English)
Publisher Multiple –  Harper & Row (US); Jonathan Cape (UK)
Formats Available Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle

One Hundred Years of Solitude, originally published in 1967 in Spanish and later translated to English in 1970, is considered to be one of the best novels of the century. According to some reports, the number of copies of the Spanish version is next only to the Bible.

“The narrative is a magician’s trick in which memory and prophecy, illusion and reality are mixed and often made to look the same.”

— Robert Kiely, The New York Times

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Cartoon: How Many Marathons Does a City Need?

Cartoon: How Many Marathon Does a City Need?

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Movie: Pushpak (1987, Hindi++, India)

Pushpak (1987 Movie) - DVD Cover ImagePushpak (Hindi), Pushpaka Vimana (Kannada), Pushpaka Vimanamu (Telgu), Pushpaka Vimanam (Malayalam), and Pesum Padam (Tamil), is a movie without dialogues. It was released in multiple Indian languages in 1987 (being a movie without dialogues, the language does not matter; except for the credits/ titles at the start of the movie; the movie is exactly the same in all languages 🙂 ).

Directed by Singeetam Srinivasa Rao
Released in 1987
Genre Dark Comedy, Silent Movie, Romantic Comedy
Cast
  • Kamal Haasan as an Unemployed Youth
  • Amala as a Young Lady
  • Tinu Anand as a Contract Killer
  • Farida Jalal as Young Lady’s Mother
  • Sameer Khakhar as The Rich, Drunk Man
  • K S Ramesh as Young Lady’s Father and Magician
Music by L Vaidyanathan
Produced by Singeetam Srinivasa Rao, Shringar Nagaraj
Written by Singeetam Srinivasa Rao
Language No dialogues
Length 2 hours 11 minutes

The Plot

An unemployed youth-UY (played by Kamal Haasan) lives alone in Bangalore. He lives in an old, run-down apartment building (chawl) with common toilets and bathrooms. He spends his day trying to look for jobs, but gives up easily, when he sees long queues, and long waiting times. He also wants to be rich and powerful, while not willing to put in the required effort. At the start of the movie, the UY is down to his last coin.
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Book: The Shore of Women by Pamela Sargent

The Shore of Women Cover Image

The Shore of Women, originally published in 1986, is treated as one of the classics in the science fiction genre. It is also a romantic story (with a mild dose of eroticism), and a story about a dystopian society. Some label it a feminist novel.

“With her luminous prose and vivid characters, Pamela Sargent has written a compellingly and emotionally involving novel”.

–Publishers Weekly

The World

On the earth, far away in the future,  the human society is gradually being rebuilt after nuclear devastation brought on by men wielding immense power and devastating technology. As the society is being rebuilt, men and women live separately – the women in city-enclaves and men in the wilderness, in small bands. The women have taken charge of the world and make sure that the men remain savage, superstitious and ignorant and have no say in running the world.
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The Secret Behind Impressive Corporate Language

Where do the heavy-sounding corporate statements come from?

Corporate Bullshit Image 1

You may have often marveled at the corporate leaders’ ability to spew wise-sounding, inspiring statements in presentations and speeches, and wondered how they can construct such sentences with heavy-sounding words, effortlessly.

Well, wonder no more, because the secret is out! They get their phrases and sentences from websites that generate such statements on demand. In the next meeting, you too can go armed with your set of phrases, and insert them at an appropriate point to impress everyone.

Here are some websites that generate corporate (bs) statements on demand:

Corporate to spiritual

So, what happens when these inspiring speakers ‘retire’ and there are no corporate captive audience to listen to them any more? They become spiritual leaders for people seeking ‘meaning’ in life. They expound profound theories in which the listeners look for hidden meanings.

Corporate Bullshit Image 2These spiritual leaders are now assisted by a different set of websites that generate statements with the right set of keywords.

Here are some random statements (generated by the website http://www.wisdomofchopra.com/):

  • “Making tea is a reflection of ephemeral confluence of divinity”
  • “Interdependence quiets your own balance”
  • “Hidden meaning results from precious mortality”

Another wonderful website randomly generating whole long articles is http://sebpearce.com/bullshit/ (just on click the “Reionize Electrons” button to generate an article).

Now, a Quiz

Please view the youtube video and  guess whether Deepak Chopra is being “profound” or is spewing “bullshit”  spiritual jargon (use the “Comment” feature below for your answer).

Use the link https://youtu.be/NoGwi9Ms09w

Please share your thoughts in the space below for comments! And don’t forget to answer the quiz: “Serious Talk” or “Making Fun”?

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Movie: What is Eating Gilbert Grape? (1993, English, US)

Gilbert Grape DVD Cover

Directed by Lasse Hallström
Released in 1993
Genre Family Drama, Romance
Cast
  • Johnny Depp as Gilbert Grape
  • Juliette Lewis as Becky (Gilbert Grape’s romantic interest)
  • Leonardo DiCaprio as Arnie Grape (Gilbert Grape’s brother)
  • Mary Steenburgen as Betty Carver (Gilbert Grape’s casual lover)
  • Darlene Cates as Bonnie Grape (Gilbert Grape’s mother)
Music by Alan Parker and Björn Isfält
Produced by David Matalon, Bertil Ohlsson, and Meir Teper
Language English
Length 1 hour 58 minutes

The Plot, the Setting

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? is a 1993 American family drama film starring Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Juliette Lewis, and Darlene Cates. It is a gentle, heartwarming film about a dysfunctional family in a small town somewhere in the US mid-west. The protagonist is Gilbert Grape (Johnny Depp), a grocery clerk in his early twenties taking care of his family consisting of his 500+ pound obese mother (Darlene Cates), a mentally challenged younger brother (DiCaprio) and two teen-aged sisters.
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Book: The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin

Dispossessed Cover ImageThe Dispossessed, originally published in 1974, and in print ever since then, is possibly Le Guin’s most intellectually challenging novel.

It is placed far away in the future – a long distance from the earth; yet it is easy to identify with.

It is a book about two societies – one a model egalitarian, anarchist, resource-strapped society (with its flaws) and another a resource-rich, capitalist society with huge inequalities. It is a story about a physicist (also an idealist) who wants to learn from others and share his findings with the whole of humanity. It is about the benefits of community collaboration while celebrating the lonely journey of the creative genius.

The Dispossessed is a timeless tale, with a science fiction setting, but appealing from a literary point of view. It is rooted in the political issues, communal counter-culture, and women’s movement of the late 1960s and early 70s.

It is hard to put down, once you start reading it. I have read it four times over the last 20 years, and I am likely to read it many more times.

The book has been studied and analyzed by scholars and students and is a subject of research.

Title The Dispossessed
Author(s) Ursula K Le Guin
Initially Published In 1974
Publisher Multiple – Orion Publishing Group, Harper Voyager, Easton Press, Harper & Row, Gateway
Formats Available Hardcover, Paperback

“Le Guin’s book, written in her solid, no-nonsense prose, is so persuasive that it ought to put a stop to the writing of prescriptive Utopias for at least 10 years.”

The New York Times 

The World(s)

Far away in the future and far away from the earth, human beings have occupied and thrived on other planetary systems, while the earth has been destroyed (our earth is not the focus in this book).

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