Saturday, December 31, 2011

Finished (E-Reader): "Locked On" - Tom Clancy

Tom Clancy delivers again with a page turner of the Jack Ryan (Sr. and Jr.) line of books.  A terrorist group has nukes, John Clark is on the run, Jack Jr. has a date, and Jack Sr. is on the road campaigning for the White House.

Very well written, though I seem to sense the politics of the right invading the series.  I consider myself centre-left and would support the Jack Ryan (Sr. ) candidate over the Kealty.

Anyway, a book very much worth reading.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christopher Hitchens - 13 April 1949 – 15 Dec 2011 - RI?

Given Hitchens open hostility toward religion, I'm unsure what type of post-partum existence he's undergoing.

He does now understand what we can only speculate on.

Finished (Audiobook): "Hitch-22: Some Confessions and Contradiction" - Christopher Hitchens

Hitch-22: Some Confessions and Contradiction is the autobiography of Christopher Hitchens, who died on December 15, 2011, during the period that I was listening to his book.

Hitchens lived an interesting life.  I've recently read his views on religion (he's not a fan), but have never read his other works, newspaper articles etc.

He spent most of his life "on the left", referring to himself as a socialist, though his actual view was increasing critical of the actual manifestations of socialism, particularly as many regimes are dictatorial, which would be the key complaint.  His views on all things seem well considered, thus, they are normally not very simple to isolate and label - I would hope all people, regardless of the direction of their views, adopt a similar style of actually thinking about and creating a nuanced opinion , not a knee-jerk one.

Hitchens primary enemy was not religion or political views per se, but as he terms it "stupidity".  He rallied against poorly thought out opinions on a range of issues, not all simply cast as "left" vs "right".  His support for the Bush (Jr.) war in Iraq certainly moved him out of mainstream "leftist" thinking and he gained support from the "right", which I'm sure his religious views killed or maimed.

His book is very open with aspects of his life that scream "1970's" where sexual experimentation and openness and heavy drinking were not seen negatively, as similar behaviour would be seen today.

I was unaware of how hostile, and bullying private English schools were, and how common homosexual relations were among folks who would not later remain homosexual, nor would they have, at any point, considered themselves to be anything other the heterosexual.

All in all, a very long audiobook, but it did maintain the listener's interest.

As a postscript to the book, there was a short interview with Christopher Hitchens, where he "backslides" a bit on his earlier criticisms of audiobooks.  His initial view was that reading is a commitment, and that it should be done with a physical book in hand, and a silent environment in which to partake.  As he is the actual reader of the book in audiobook format, he somewhat softened on that stance.  He was convinced to listen to some audiobooks, and gave a grudging acknowledgement of the format, but still expects that the listener is engaging fully in the exercise.  He would not have been approving of my listening, as it is 100% in the car, chopped and parsed not by the narrative, but by arrival at destination and/or presence of little ones in the car.