Monday, April 26, 2010

The Pianoplayers by Anthony Burgess

Rating: 3 out of 10

His frankness is his best aspect

Well this is a tale about the life of Ellen Henshaw, she grows up in modest conditions with her father making his living as a pianoplayer for the silent movies in the 1920's. Already when Ellen is a minor she earns her first money as a prostitute. Later she will make a living by being a prostitute and eventually she turns a madam. Her life is in no way sad, actually it seems quite ordinary and commonplace. Somewhat it seems like the point of the story is, that following the line of her father (the pianoplayer), eventually Ellens grandson becomes a pianist. From there the title: "The Pianoplayers" - The talent of her father as a pianoplayer finally reemerges in her grandson. The story seems somewhat like a film, I don't know if Anthony Burgess was thinking of movies when he wrote it? The best thing about the book is that the fact that Ellen starts as a prostitute as a minor is in no way a sad or terrible thing, contrary it's just quite normal and ordinary. It's nice that the author don't make a fuss about something which there is maybe no reason to make a fuss about.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz

Rating 5 out of 10.
This is an ok read. It tells the story about the first European christians in a setting of Nero's Rome. Still the person descriptions are a bit too simple and shallow for my taste. It was first published at the hight of the epic novel in the last part of the 19th. century, but as said the person descriptions never go beyond the kind of Victor Hugo like characterisation. The most interesting character of the account is definitely Nero himself, I am not sure that the author intended it to be this way. It rather seems like that the account was written as a praise to Christianity.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

We-Think by Charles Leadbeater

Rating 0 out of 10
This is a really lousy book. Leadbeater is musing over the fact that people are making things together on the internet, like wikipedia and open source software. But the proplem with the book is that Leadbeater is adding absolutely no interesting perspectives or insights to this subject. This book is a 100% total waste of time! It's incredible that any publisher has agreed to publish this shit.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Nybrud - dansk kunst i 1990erne by Rune Gade and Camilla Jalving

Rating 6 out of 10.
This book has been an interesting read for me. It quite extensively recounts the happenings on the Danish art scence in the 1990's up until the middle of the 0's in our century. So modern art... Well I must admit that I am a little critical, I mean to a large extent modern art of today is still running in the same groove as was established by modernism almost 100 years ago! I mean it was cool when Marcel Duchamp submitted his urinal to an exibit in 1917 or gave Mona Lisa a mustache, but how cool is it when lesser artists copycat such acts today? Not particular cool! Not that much rock'n'roll! These Danish guys are all on the payroll from the government and they just want their work accepted at the next museum. Duchamp knew that was an impossibility for him to make any money on his art so he (The Jesus Christ in modern art) made his money as a language teacher! I mean nobody supported the modernists, no government grants to them, and they made history! Anyway it seems like painting has come back in Danish art and there are some good ones, I especially like a painting by Kathrine Ærtebjerg called "Forestilling, forvandling", it's a kind of fairy-gnome like painting which is nice. Also it was interesting to see some works by Jes Brinch and Henrik Plenge Jakobsen called "Burn Out", on a main square in Copenhagen the simply turned a bus and 18 cars arround and smashed them up, and in a museum they made the scene of a burnt down kinder garden. These work were made in 1994, but it's quite amazing that it exactly looks like a scene we often see all over Europe today, young immigrants of moslem descendance putting fire to everything, cars, buses, schools, kinder gardens, vandalism at large. It's almost like the artists back in 1994 had a presentiment of what was coming. Anyway for anybody who wanna know what has happened on the Danish art scene recently this is a good book.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Silent Angel by Heinrich Böll

Rating 3 out of 10.
This is an unfinished novel from Heinrich Böll, as usual he is writing about social differences, religion and love. The thing I liked most about the novel is that it takes place in a totally destructed German city in May 1945. There is something very interesting when a war ends and, an otherwise civilized country and people, return to civilization. (In undeveloped countries this is not so interesting because the culture that exisited before and after the war is so barbaric anyway. (like Somalia or Iraq)). But the scene in Germany and Japan just after WW2 was kind of interesting because it was highly developed countries, especially nazi Germany. Anyway the book is unfinished so the plot is a little confusing.

The Clown by Heinrich Böll

Rating 3 out of 10.
This book is a little strange, Heinrich Böll seems to me to be a somewhat strange man. Anyway the book is about the nazis, the cathologic religion and love. The main character Hans seems to always be in conflict with everyone. But he is quite outspoken, for one example he is playing with some Hitler jugend in nazi Germany and then he exclaimingly call them nazi-swine! Now that's kind of bold isn't it? This book reminded me about some of the works by Georges Bataille, in it's irrational selfdestructiveness.

ASP.NET 3.5 Social Networking by Andrew Siemer

Rating 9 out of 10
I have been happy to read this book. I had approximatly ½ year ASP.NET experience when I started reading the book 2 months ago and I actually understood everything that Andrew Siemer did. Siemer has just the right way of explaining things, not wasting time on things you already should know (You need to have a basic knowledge of ASP.NET to read this book) and otherwise clear and intelligent. He very beuatifully demonstrates the MVP pattern in his architecture, if you wanna do a social network in ASP.NET, this is the book. One little problem about the book is that it is written just when ASP.NET MVC was released, Siemer himself acknowledges that in the book, but he couldn't use this new technology because it was simply too young and unproven at the time. I don't know that much about MVC, but maybe if you wanna do a MVP web application MVC supports that better? Anyway it has been a great tour with Siemers out on the praeries of ASP.NET with the MVP pattern and social networking, with high too the sky and fresh air and a super intelligent and helpful guy right next to you. Also Siemers makes use of various open source software along the way, that is also great, because apparently the Microsoft solution is not always the best one.

Arch of Triumph by Erich Maria Remarque

Rating 7 out of 10
This is a great book. Erich Maria Remarque is a great writer! This is a story about a german refugee living in Paris just before Germany declares war, that is around 1939. He is living there as an illegal refugee under the cover name Ravic. He seems deeply disillusioned about life, having partaken in WW1, he knows without much doubt that war is coming back. He is a very skilled surgeon, but he seems quite detached from life, apparently his wife was also killed in Germany before he managed to flee. Sometimes when he knows some of his patients are going to die, but he refuses to inform them about it. I must admit that I found that a little strange, it appeared to me as rude and insensitive, yeah kind of like psychopatic. Like there is no contact, maybe like there is noone. So he kind of flows through life, mostly he is friendly and tries to relieve the suffering even to his own great cost, but he can't really have any deeper relationships with anyone, maybe he is broken deep down? Ravic is a man of great resourses, in the end of the novel a remarkable indifference fills him, nothing really seems to matter to him anymore.