Tag Archives | Books

Real Life Submission: French Jews Exodus To Israel

Reading the just-published English edition of Michel Houellebecq’s novel Submission over the last week has been quite surreal given the real-life events in Paris. (For those unfamiliar with the book, literary gadfly Houellebecq envisions a scenario where France becomes an Islamic nation upon the victorious national election of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2022.)

One of the effects of the changeover from a secular to an Islamic state is the exodus of Jews from France to Israel. Recent events have accelerated the process greatly, reports the Observer:

Birthright Israel, the charity founded in 1999 to bring young Jews on trips to Israel, has witnessed an unprecedented increase in participation among French citizens over the past two years.

The Observer has learned that 2500 French Jews will have visited Israel as part of the program this year—more than double the 1100 who went last year and a stunning 2400% increase over the 98 who visited as program participants in 2013.

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Books Are Dangerous

Contagion, poison and trigger. The idea that books are dangerous has a long history, and holds a kernel of truth, says Frank Furedi at Aeon:

At universities around the world, students are claiming that reading books can unsettle them to the point of becoming depressed, traumatised or even suicidal. Some contend that Virginia Woolf’s novel Mrs Dalloway (1925), in which a suicide has taken place, could trigger suicidal thoughts among those disposed to self-harm. Others insist that F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925), with its undercurrent of spousal violence, might trigger painful memories of domestic abuse. Even ancient classical texts, students have argued, can be dangerous: at Columbia University in New York, student activists demanded that a warning be attached to Ovid’s Metamorphoses on grounds that its ‘vivid depictions of rape’ might trigger a feeling of insecurity and vulnerability among some undergraduates.

deviant lit

This LA bookstore decided to label disinformation books as “deviant” – we love that!

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The Master Game: A Secret Religion That Has Shaped The World

If you’ve every wondered if there is a grand plan being carried out over millennia, you should listen to Robert Bauval talking about what he and co-author Graham Hancock call THE MASTER GAME:

Hancock and Bauval’s book, THE MASTER GAME is a roller-coaster intellectual journey through the back streets and rat runs of history to uncover the traces in architecture and monuments of a secret religion that has shaped the world. We have just a few copies left as our one-time only “Book Blowout” enters the final few days and at just $6.24 using coupon code “Book Blowout” you really can’t lose. (We’re blowing out ALL of our books! Use the “book blowout” coupon for 50% OFF already discounted prices.)

Pivotal historical events and processes, not least the Renaissance, the birth of scientific rationalism, and the French and American revolutions, are radically re-evaluated in the light of new investigative evidence presented in THE MASTER GAME.… Read the rest

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How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll

811+aY5djDLThe paperback edition of Peter Bebergal’s book Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll is out today. To celebrate we’re republishing our exclusive interview with Peter:

Disinformation: You seem to struggle somewhat to define “occult.” Is it a loaded term?

Bebergal: For a word with such a simple definition, the “occult” has lost almost all meaning, as when you say a word over and over again until it sounds made-up. When I told people I was working on this book, the responses were wildly different, and extremely prejudicial. Some folks assumed I was writing only about the devil and rock music, others—believing the occult to be nothing more than base superstitions—thought the project had no merit, and then there were those that assumed, and hoped, I was going to be making metaphysical claims. I’m sure there were others who worried about my soul. There are just too many preconceived ideas to give it a single satisfying definition.… Read the rest

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‘This Goes All the Way to the Queen’: The Puzzle Book that Drove England to Madness


Jess Zimmerman via Hazlitt:

There were more and more signs every time Ron Fletcher went to Rodborough Common. First, he found empty bottles of Haigh whiskey under a hawthorn bush—Haigh, like Haigha, the name of the March Hare in Lewis Carroll. Hare. There were more in the trash bin, along with bottles of Idris lemonade—when he took them away, they replenished themselves as if by magic. Of course, someone could be a heavy drinker of whiskey and lemonade, but everyone knows Idris is an ogre in Welsh mythology, and he plays a harp, and the trash bin was near a bench dedicated to one Fred Harper. It all connected. Ron found nothing in the hole in the tree with the blue ribbon—a blue ribbon just like the one on the Penny-Pockets Lady’s apron in the book—but on the bench he found a letter. It seemed to be a love letter from a man to another man, but that was only a front.

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Banned Books Week 2015

It’s Banned Books Week and needless to say we recommend you read all of the titles on the ALA’s list:

This year the theme of Banned Books Week is Young Adult* fiction. We have put together a list of frequenlty challenged YA title from the past year:

  1. indianThe Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
  2. Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi (Pantheon Books/Knopf Doubleday)
  3. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison (Holt, Rinehart, and Winston)
  4. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini (Bloomsbury Publishing)
  5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky (MTV Books/Simon & Schuster)
  6. Drama, by Raina Telgemeier (Graphix/Scholastic)
  7. Chinese Handcuffs, by Chris Crutcher (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins)
  8. The Giver, by Lois Lowry (HMH Books for Young Readers)
  9. The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros (Vintage/Knopf Doubleday)
  10. Looking for Alaska, by John Green (Dutton Books/Penguin Random House)

Data courtesy of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.

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Eternal Life for the One Percent?

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”Benjamin Franklin

J Kent Messum

J Kent Messum

I used think that statement was true. Now I’m not so sure. It’s the first of those two so-called inevitabilities that troubles me in particular. Death is supposed to be the great equalizer, but humans are anything but equal in practice. Once we find a way around a balance, we will try to tip the scales. As soon as we find a cheat, it’s exploited. The objective of this has always been to greatly benefit a few to the detriment of many. If politics, business, religion, and history have taught us anything, it has taught us that.

When I started writing Husk a couple of years ago, there was a lot weighing on my mind. Repercussions of the 2008 Wall Street crash were being felt through almost every inch of life, and more than anyone wanted to admit.… Read the rest

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Let Hunter S. Thompson guide you through the election season

51m74hame4LI love the US election season. I think it’s because I live overseas now and I don’t have to sit through commercials or look at billboards, which is a blessed relief. Also, for better or worse my guy won the last two elections, and I joyfully took sustenance from the flowing tears of the Republicans standing around in abject shock that they had lost, then lost again. Each mouth agape in bewilderment, each wail of disbelief, each and every tear filled me like wine and I immediately wrote a letter to Apple demanding that they include a picture of Nelson Muntz in the emojis package for the next iPhone OS update. 

Of course, I was also around for the George W. Bush years when the shoe was on the other foot, watching the democrats run Frankenstein in 2004 and clawing at my hair when they seemed to actually expect him to win, as if a man who couldn’t excite a crowd if his hair suddenly caught on fire had a chance against the political skullduggery of Bush, Cheney, et al.Read the rest

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