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Parmathule has commented on (5) products.

The Arrival by Shaun Tan
The Arrival

Parmathule, October 24, 2014

The Arrival is a graphic novel in the fullest sense; the entire story is told exclusively with images. It is the story of a man who immigrates to a foreign land to escape oppression and to make a better life for himself and for his family who will join him later. The voyage the protagonist makes is as much an internal one as an external one. He is totally immersed in the unfamiliar: language, food, clothing, furniture, appliances, vehicles, architecture, even plants and animals. Not a single element of his life remains unchanged. For instance, one comical scene has the new arrival trying to figure out how to use the water spigot in his room. Priceless!

The world he left behind is a dark, dreary, sinister, claustrophobic sort of place, while the new world is a bustling, bright, animated and welcoming one. Even so, adjustment is difficult. Tan has created an alphabet for the new country so that the reader can experience the disorientation of encountering undecipherable signage, just as his protagonist does. It is remarkable how Tan manages to fully engage the reader in the difficulties inherent in the immigrant’s predicament without using a single word, and his dreamy, sepia-colored artwork is stunning.

This book has the size and format of a traditional children’s picture book, but I would not consider it suitable for young children. I think the subtlety of the story told through the images would likely be lost on the very young, and the images of war are quite sinister and menacing.
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The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood (Vintage) by James Gleick
The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood (Vintage)

Parmathule, October 24, 2014

Somehow Gleick has managed to condense the entire history of the human communication of ideas and processing of information into this one volume. It takes a writer of great skill to digest the vastness of this subject, process it down to its essence, and then render it in a fashion understandable to the lay person. Gleick succeeds admirably. That doesn’t mean I understood all of it, of course; a person would need more background in mathematics and certain fields of science than I have in order to comprehend the finer points. But even a comparative ignoramus like myself can recognize the brilliance of minds like Charles Babbage, Ada Byron, and Claude Shannon, among others, whose conceptual leaps overcame the theoretical and technological limitations of their respective ages to make possible the breakthroughs that are the foundation of the digital age.

This is a fine, comprehensive overview of a subject central to life in the modern world, and which will ultimately determine the shape of the world to come.
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The Hobbit: Or There and Back Again by J. R. R. Tolkien
The Hobbit: Or There and Back Again

Parmathule, January 31, 2013

The Hobbit and I go way back. I first read it the summer I turned 15, and have been reading it again and again ever since. It is not my favorite of Tolkien’s works; I prefer the more serious and, admittedly, ponderous Lord of the Rings. But this is where it all started, and it’s a wonderful tale of adventure. I read it most recently in anticipation of the premiere of Peter Jackson’s film version. Although I feel Jackson had to be the one to make this film, I will also confess to disappointment that he did not adhere more closely to his source material, which is perfect just the way it is.
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Period Piece (Ann Arbor Paperbacks) by Gwen Raverat

Parmathule, September 15, 2011

Period Piece is an affectionate, and often hilarious, account of life in the large and exceedingly eccentric Darwin clan in turn-of-the-century Cambridge. Written in 1952, it paints a vivid portrait of the childhood and youth of one of Charles Darwin’s granddaughters, artist Gwen Raverat. The idiosyncrasies of the age (the turn of the last century), the social milieu (Cambridge University faculty and students), and her family make for fascinating reading. Raverat's illustrations are icing on the cake.
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The Road (Vintage International) by Cormac Mccarthy
The Road (Vintage International)

Parmathule, January 31, 2011

The positive reviews I read of this book beforehand did not prepare me for the electrifying experience of reading it. I was mesmerized from the start; by the time I had finished, I was emotionally drained. The Road is a masterpiece of understatement and subtlety. Against the backdrop of a bleak post-apocalyptic wasteland, McCarthy explores the nature of love and the source of its power. This may sound trite, but the book is anything but.

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