Tuesday, January 20, 2009

To Whom it May Concern: Finished 2009.02.16

ISBN: 978-0-385-65993-2 (0-385-65993-8)

Began January 20, 2009;
Finished February 16, 2009.

A delightful and beautifully written book.
Often poetical.
The characters are interesting as they
struggle to accept, with whole hearts,
the particular nature of their physically
circumscribed lives.
Wonderful. Highly recommended.

Dorothy is an 18 year old high school student who collects the stories of strangers in her journal that she calls 'Soundscape Diaries'. She is deaf. Her high school friend Kite, also deaf, has gone to have a cochlear implant to restore the hearing he lost as a very young child. She speculates on what hearing is:

... Dorothy thinks about Kite … already in his paper gown in a hospital bed, being monitored and hooked up to monitors, undergoing his own renovations, a new receptacle of sounds. Like other students, she's heard horror stories about those who are overwhelmed, like blown-out speakers, and choose to turn off their implants, unable to get used to those distracting, disruptive, disturbing noises the hearing population accepts and ignores; toilets flushing, cars honking, cellphones ringing, cash registers reeling, police sirens wailing, lawnmowers buzzing, dogs barking, balloons bursting, faucets dripping, vacuums screeching, crows cawing, snowplows beeping, sprinklers sputtering, winds howling, airplanes zooming, engines rumbling, cameras clicking …the endless onslaught of sound. But oh, how she hopes he will hear his mother's voice, his brother's laughter, a nurse's comforting sighs, robins at sunrise, a cat's purr, and music — his favourite rock bands, but also Mozart, which Mrs. Kotek says makes her believe that God exists. She is aware that if Kite hears only pleasant things, he won't won't truly understand what sound is. Nevertheless, why is it that, according to what she has been led to believe, the most horrible sounds are also the loudest

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Decline of the West: Began 2009.01.01

Oswald Spengler

The Decline of the West
Knopf, 1962 Abridged.

Began January 2009

This is a fascinating and very difficult book.
The knowledge required to properly assess the
ideas is broad and esoteric.
A challenging read, but worth while.
I've had to return it to the library.
And my to date short search of the used book stores has not turned up anything - yet.