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The Art of Loving - A Ramble on Chapters 1–2.1

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This month, Cleo is hosting a readalong of The Art of Loving (1956) by Erich Fromm and On Friendship by Cicero. It's a sequel to the Four Loves Readalong - which feels recent but was actually back in June(!!).  Fromm and C. S. Lewis were contemporaries (and Lewis's book was published just four years later), so it adds interest to see how their perspectives correspond or differ.  I'm also looking forward to Cicero, as I haven't read many ancient classics.

You can find the full schedule on Cleo's post.  I felt the need to break down my check-ins a little more, so this one will cover the first 1 1/3 chapters.

Chapter 1, "Is Love an Art?" Fromm opens with his short but pithy thesis - that love is not just a flurry of feelings, but an actual scientific art, like music or medicine, which must be learned and practiced.

He posits three interrelated societal problems.  First, culture is overly focused on the state of "being loved," particularly for supe…

Moby-Dick - Chapters I-XVIII - Quick Check-In

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Though dreadfully behind on Brona's readalong, I am still plugging away at this American tome and really savoring it.  This is my second time reading Moby-Dick, the first time being nearly a decade ago.  The familiar scenes and phrases are coming back to me like old friends.


The first 18 or so chapters cover Ishmael's land journey to his ship the Pequod, anchored at Nantucket, and meeting his unexpected, cannibal friend Queequeg.  Much has been written about the exploration of religion and culture that Melville covers in this introduction, where we see both conflict and communality between different characters, both on a broad scale and on a personal level.

What really gets at me this time is the range of emotions and "worlds," if you will, which Melville shows us.  You feel Ishmael's wanderlust in the first chapter, his mix of fear and humor on meeting Queequeg, and the gloomy aura of the church where Father Mapple preaches.  The whale bones which decorate the P…

Spellbound vs. Laura - Two creepy movies for October

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First, an apology/disclaimer... there WILL be classic literature reviews coming soon!!  I often watch movies/TV in batches, so this is one of those phases for me.  :)

Spellbound (1945)Spellbound is a twisted tale of the romance between an ambitious young doctor (Ingrid Bergman) and her unlikely boss (Gregory Peck).  The two work as psychoanalysts in the same mental health facility, and in spite of the office gossip, Constance finds herself falling in love for the first time.  Anthony, on the other hand, begins to show signs of mental distress, haunted by fears he cannot remember nor explain.  When Anthony becomes implicated in a crime, Constance - terrified of losing him - decides to apply all her knowledge on mental health to try to discern the truth from his scattered memories.


Laura (1944) Laura (Gene Tierney), a charismatic young businesswoman, is found dead in her apartment one morning, brutally shot in the face.  Detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) arrives on the scene and b…

Ad Astra vs. Heart of Darkness - Movie review (spoiler free!)

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On Saturday, my brother and I went to see Ad Astra starring Brad Pitt.  This is a film that's been compared - by its director James Gray, no less - to Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (one of my axes).  Being in the middle of a Conrad "renaissance" if you will, I felt it was perfect timing.  A couple of my coworkers had seen it already and liked it, so that was another reason I was interested in watching it.

Pitt plays Roy McBride, a young astronaut whose impeccable career is overshadowed by memories of his absent father Clifford and the much-nearer loss of Eve, the devoted wife he sidelined for his career and who's recently left him.  After a series of devastating electrical surges sweep across the solar system, Roy is tasked by U.S. Space Command to investigate the situation, which they believe could be linked to his dad's scientific research on Neptune.  Roy sets out to confront Clifford, embarking on a journey through space that is every bit as perilous as…

Arctic, Roman Holiday, Titanic, and Nostromo - Four short reviews

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Time for some more bite-sized movie reviews...two 1953 classics, one costume drama, and one survival drama!

Arctic (2019)
Plot Mads Mikkelsen plays Overgård, the lone survivor of a plane wreck in the Arctic.  He spends his days in tedium, catching fish (which he eats raw) and sending out hand-cranked radio signals in hopes they'll get picked up. When the rescue team he has been waiting for finally arrives, their helicopter crashes, and he is left suddenly tending to another survivor, a young woman with terrible injuries.  Overgård resolves to set out on foot for the nearest outpost, to try to save both their lives.

Thoughts The trailer pulled me in many months ago...later I discovered it on Prime, and I'm glad I finally saw it.  Polar exploration nerds will soak in the stunning cinematography, filmed in Iceland (no CGI snowcapes here!), plus the human drama surrounding Mikkelsen's character.  In spite of the plot's simplicity, there is plenty of suspense, all the more…

A Comment Conundrum

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A couple of you brought it to my attention that the embedded comment form was not working for you...  I have changed it to pop-up format to see if that fixes the  issue.  If you have a moment, drop me a comment to let me know it works for you now, or if it doesn't, please send me a note using the Contact Form in the sidebar on the left. On mobile devices, you can pull up the sidebar by clicking the hamburger icon:


Sorry for the inconvenience, by the way!!  I've been debating switching to Wordpress, and this might be the catalyst for that.

Nostromo: The Lighthouse - And Final Thoughts

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Previously:
Part I - The Silver of the MinePart II - The Isabels The situation has reached a boiling point: General Montero's rebel forces have dismantled the government and are sweeping over Costaguana, while the traitor Sotillo, invading Sulaco by steamship, comes to establish a reign of terror.  The citizens flee to the countryside, seeking protection by the once-feared bandit Hernandez.  Everyone believes Nostromo and Martin to be dead, and Dr Monygham fears for the safety of Emilia Gould, who, half-abandoned by her workaholic husband, still remains in the town.  He realizes he must take action to save her, while the rebels and the elusive silver begin to take a corrupting hold over everybody else.

There is much, much more that happens in this third part, but I can't give it away.  It's as well Part III takes up nearly half of the book, because the initially slow plot here picks up with gusto, taking all the world-building from the first two parts and launching an all-o…