May Book Haul 2017 | #SmartReads

MayBookHaul

TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
June 14, 2017

Though a busy and tiring month it sure was, there was still a lot of time to feed the old addiction in May.

And as addictions go, they need sustenance.  What follows are my chosen literary drugs of choice, with some new literary spices to add additional flavor.

The Art Of Non-Fiction by Ayn Rand

Having read two books by Rand, and having them offer much for rumination, I got The Art Of Non-Fiction to dig deeper into Rand’s process of writing.  Thankfully, book offered much to glean from, and it showed what Rand’s latitude and precision can accomplish in works of non-fiction.  A review of it can be read here.

Bradbury Stories – 100 Of His Most Celebrated Tales by Ray Bradbury

Short stories are not something I usually read, although have always held an interest in.  Having ruminated upon that, the work of Bradbury, which I had held in high esteem for some time, seemed like a great place to dive in.  I am only a handful of stories in, but the book is vintage Bradbury in bite-sized chunks.  It’s definitely a book that I will take my time reading given its colossal size.

Strange Candy by Laurell K. Hamilton

Along the same lines as the Bradbury book, this book is also features short stories.  The topics of this book are considerably different – being sci-fi, paranormal, and fantasy – but still hold great interest to me.

Maximum Achievement by Brian Tracy

This book is about maximizing efficiency.  Wanting to get more done on a daily basis, centering upon Maximum Achievement was a straight forward choice.  The book was excellent for my tastes; here is a review of it.        

Getting Things Done by David Allen

Following the notion of maximizing efficiency, this book followed the same previous thread.  That said, taking a look at the title, it’s easy to be skeptical considering many books make claims but do not deliver.  Thankfully, this book was worth the effort.   With that in mind, there are various editions of this book, and after doing some research, for my purposes the first edition of the book seemed best given it covers the nuts and bolts process.  Later editions change a bit, while also adding a lot of seemingly unnecessary information.  That’s merely what I learned from reading reviews.

What I can say for sure is that the first edition offered much purchase.  Some of it common sense, but quite easy overlook as well.  Since adding more efficiency to my daily routine is paramount, this book was another no-brainer.

As A Man Thinketh by James Allen

The work of James Allen was unknown to me up until a few weeks ago.  Synchronicity being what it is, ‘out of nowhere’ the book popped up in my radar and quickly seemed like something that I was meant to read, as uncanny as it sounds.  Fortuitously, Allen’s words are not only brilliant, but they are insightful, and even poetic in a way.  I have never read a writer like him.

The book focuses on mindset and the thoughts one harbors.  Although overlooked by some, a lot of evidence is beginning to show that whatever intention and thoughts people hold in their mind does have a conscious effect on our environment.  Books like The Biology Of Belief by Bruce Lipton Ph.D., Lynne McTaggart’s The Intention Experiment, The Field, as well as many other books cover components of this idea.

In any case, Allen merely espouses being a master of the self and of your thoughts.

A dash of his work follows:

“Every thought-seed sown or allowed to fall into the mind, and to take root there, produces its own, blossoming sooner or later in act, and bearing its own fruitage of opportunity and circumstance.  Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bear bad fruits.”[1 ]

Most people including myself have seen this play out on a daily basis once my attention was focused precisely on it.

Beyond that, though, the work of the author was so sensible and mindful that I sought out more of his work.  However, before purchasing one of his other books, I luckily stumbled upon a book called Mind Is Master.  This book happens to be a collection of all of the works of the author and sure saves a lot of money if one was planning to buy all of his books.  That will be featured in next month’s book haul.

Star Wars Rebel Rising by Beth Revis

Being an avid fan of Sci-Fi and Star Wars, I bought this book wanting to examine where the franchise is going considering the considerable increase in Star Wars books over these last few years.  I have attempted starting it twice, and the second time got slowly into it, only to get bogged down early on.  This book just isn’t as engaging as the other ones.  I will read it, but after a few samplings I’m not holding my breath.  I hope I am wrong though!

The Art Of Description by Mark Doty

The Art Of Description popped up within one of my streams on social media, and having liked the blurb, I got one at AbeBooks.  It is short but engaging book, and having now read it I really enjoy and appreciated the author’s unique method of examining a wide array of descriptive examples.  A review for this book will soon follow.

Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg

A few trusted friends suggested this book.  Given my penchant for wanting to know more about history, and fascism in particular (given its considerable increase over the years) this book seemed to be a great place to go to task.   Witnessing the evolving political climate over the last decade, the information in this book is becoming even more important for the future, which was also one of the leading reasons for wanting to research this further.

Fat For Fuel by Dr. Mercola

Fat For Fuel is a veritable treasure trove of information about health that’s written in a cogent and accessible manner, that also outlines the many benefits of healthy fats.  Its in-depth approach helps individuals come to terms with many of the myths that have been expounded by mainstream press and Big Pharma.  The book also offers some solutions for those with significant health problems such as cancer.  It really is a great book, and anyone with any type of disease should contemplate on reading it.  A review of this book can be seen here.

The Vanishing American Adult by Ben Sasse

This book is a dire warning of what the future holds. The author examines many of the causes that have increasingly brought about less capable younger generations than their forefathers.  Not only is there a decline in education, but self-sufficiency is nigh non-existent; the newer generation just isn’t as robust as prior ones.  That’s only the beginning, though.  There are many other disturbing considerations.  Thankfully, the author also ruminates upon some solutions as well.  A review of this book can be seen here.

The Virtue Of Selfishness by Ayn Rand

As a strong proponent of individuality, Ayn Rand stands unlike none other.  Rand was rather outspoken in her views of the Individual against the Collective that pushes conformity.  This book examines those circumstances and analyzes them from various viewpoints.  Only about a quarter of the way through the book, but it’s been vintage Rand as one would expect.

The Romantic Manifesto by Ayn Rand

In this particular piece Rand delves into what she believes are the key tenets of art and its role in life.  Having never read nor found anything of substance regarding this topic in Academia, I am hoping this book leaves much for rumination.   Haven’t had time to delve into it though.

Why I Write by George Orwell

This book has four parts, and only one held great interested me, which was Orwell’s insight into Politics and the English Language.  The others were useful, just not as intriguing.  The language part alone was worth the price, which wasn’t much.   Although the section wasn’t long, it was still great on substance, like one would expect from the father of DoubleThink.

Last Words by George Carlin & Tony Hendra

Throughout his life, George Carlin was known for his no-nonsense straight forward approach to various subjects.  This is one of the main reasons why I wanted to learn more about him, especially given that this approach in life is rarely seen, although it’s much needed.  A review of the book will be posted sometime in the future after having read the book.

Like last month, a handful of books were found at garage sales, which cost next to nothing.  This month also featured some rather fortuitous finds as I was able to find George R.R. Martin’s A Dance With Dragons and James Patterson’s Beach Road for mere pocket change.  There was another book, but that was commandeered by a friend.  What’s up with some people?  Sheesh.

All things considered, though the month had its fair share of obstacles, I was still able to have enough time to read quite a bit.  I am certainly looking forward to finishing these books.

In any case, how was the month for the rest of you?  Found anything intriguing and portentous lately?  Feel free to share any recommendations or insights below.  Be well!

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[1] James Allen, As A Man Thinketh, p 14.
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If you find value in this information, please share it.  This article is free and open source.  All individuals 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, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, 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.

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Book Review: The Art Of Fiction by Ayn Rand | #SmartReads

ArtOfFiction
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
June 20, 2017

Analogous to the Art Of NonFiction, the Art Of Fiction, by Ayn Rand details the core concepts of Rand’s writing repertoire, crystallized for all to see.

In the first half of the book Rand cogently creates very practical, and yet methodical approach that narrows down on importance of the subconscious in writing, theme, plot and its development, climax, and characterization.  The latter half of the book focuses on style from a variety of angles, all from her objectivist point of view.

Throughout the book Rand speaks at length of the two types of writing that exist in her eyes: naturalist writing vs. romanticist writing.

Naturalistic style catalogues things, which often are inconsequential.  On the other hand, romanticist writing employs carefully selected concrete words in specificity to capture the essentials, what really matters, of a scene.

Rand juxtaposes the two, offering samples that precisely describe why in her mind one is superior to the other.  Moreover, after showing the reader the pros and cons of each style, Rand speaks at length about how to maximize writing while not overstating words.

Imperative as well is the importance of avoiding floating abstractions, choosing instead to gravitate towards making writing more concrete, more specific.  She also covers a few issues with style, for instance, narrative vs. dramatization, which was quite insightful.  Exposition is also covered, as well as flashbacks, transitions, and other notable points.

On the importance of style, Rand notes:

“What constitutes the heart of any style is the clarity of the thoughts a writer expresses – plus the kind of thoughts he choose to express.”[1]

Further:

“A good style is one that conveys the most with the greatest economy of words.  In a textbook, the ideal is to communicate one line of thought or a set of facts as clearly as possible.  For a literary style, much more is necessary.  A great literary style is one that combines five or more different meanings in one clear sentence.   (I do not mean ambiguity but the communication of different issues).”[2][Bold Emphasis Added]

More importantly, however, Rand elucidates on the importance of precision in writing:

“I never waste a sentence on saying: “John Smith meets James Brown.”  That is too easy; it is playing the piano with one finger.  Say much more, just as clearly, say it in chords, with a whole orchestration.  That is good style.”[3]

Anyone who has ever read any of Rand’s book knows that Rand’s novels function on multiple tiers, employing various layers of insights, just like a building features various floors that carry out different functions.  For instance, analyzing one of her passage from Atlas Shrugged, she points out how one passage had four purposes: a literary one, a connotative one, a symbolic level, and an emotional level.  The seamlessness of how Rand fuses multiple tiers of purpose is one of the many reasons Rand writing will always remain in the upper caste of the field/discipline.

Although not originally created to be a book, and was instead drawn from Rand’s prior lectures, this book impeccably allows readers to view writing through her unique eyes.  Likewise, the way in which Rand breaks down the purpose of every single thing she does is a breath of fresh air.  The tenets within this book will make readers ruminate upon a much more precise type of writing, one that functions on a deeper level.  Such profound depth and meaning is usually missing from most modern fiction books, which is a shame since much more could be achieved if people employed different skills.

The Art Of Nonfiction is a terrific read in its totality.  The book is a veritable treasure trove of insights.  Couple this book with such classics such as The Element Of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, gather a bit of inspiration with The War Of Art by Steven Pressfield, and sprinkle a bit of The Art Of Description by Mark Doty, and one has the veritable seeds for success in writing.

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Footnotes:

[1] Ayn Rand, The Art Of Fiction, p. 142.
[2] Ibid., 143.
[3] Ibid., 143.
___________________________________________________________
If you find value in this information, please share it.  This article is free and open source.  All individuals 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, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, 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 Fountainhead by Ayn Rand | #SmartReads

TheFountainhead
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
May 7, 2017

There are writers.  And then there’s Ayn Rand.

Ayn Rand was a very unique individual; an individual that isn’t afraid to stand by her convictions, no matter what anyone said.  That’s what made her so beloved and hated.  Even more so, that’s why people were so bifurcated about her books.

Knowing that, then it isn’t shocking to realize that The Fountainhead was written with her very own ideals embedded within every page, within every character, within every thought.  In that sense, she is rather unique because not only did she create an amazing story, as many authors have, but she went a step beyond and used the book with the essence of her philosophy, which was, and will always be, a  truly daring endeavor for any writer.

The Fountainhead has been described in many ways, but at its core it is about The Individual vs. The Collective; about Freedom vs. Conformity.

With characters that are gripping, settings that are par excellence, and dialogue that displays incredible depth, the book is a well rounded synthesis about the nature of individualism and what it means to be human.

The leading characters all flow through their roles seamlessly, and whether you love them or hate them, you can feel the realism in them, even if at times they are the epitome of Rand’s ideal.

Anyone who values individuality will value this book.  Those that seek to conform will undoubtedly hate it.  That’s the nature of the beast, and always will be.  What Rand did though, perhaps better than anyone else, is show both sides of the coin – Individualism vs. Conformity – in a manner that nobody else had brought about through fiction.  This is why the book is so engaging, because you hate the villains as much as you love the characters you gravitate towards.  It is rare when a book has you personally invested in nigh every character failing or succeeding, but this book accomplishes that in spades.

Ayn Ran went to war for the Individual against The Collective in a torrential manner in a way almost nobody does.  Through her characters, Rand did a salient job of showing the wide range of latitudes within human nature.   All of this was, of course, was to highlight the importance of Individualism.

As Rand herself elucidates in the following passages, the last of the three which is in her own words, the prior two through her characters:

“Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their vision.  Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, their vision unborrowed, and the response they received – hatred.  The great creators – the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors – stood alone against the men of their time.  Every great new thought was opposed.  Every great ne invention was denounced.  The first motor was considered foolish.  The airplane was considered impossible.  The power loom was considered vicious.  Anesthesia was considered sinful.  But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered and they paid.  But they won.”[1]

“From this simplest necessity to the highest religious abstraction, from the wheel to the skyscraper, everything we are and everything we have comes from a single attribute of man – the function of his reasoning mind.”[2]

“And for the benefit of those who consider relevance to one’s own time as of crucial importance, I will add, in regard to our age, that never has there been a time when men have so desperately needed a projection of things as they ought to be.”[3]

Rand stated those words decades ago, and they apply even more so now.  Given that humanity keeps snowballing down a hill in a world where morality, common sense and virtues keep getting swept under the rug, such statements and their ramifications should be pondered at length.

Whether you love the book or you hate it, it will give you much to ponder about, especially if you value Freedom and Individuality in any way shape or form.

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Sources:

[1] Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead, p. 710.
[2] Ibid., p. 711.
[3] Ibid., p. vii.  Written in the Author’s Introduction to the 1968 Edition.

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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.