Review from Google Books
Review from Google Book
Review from Google Books
Review from Google Book
After two years of careful reading, moving backwards through time, Robert McCrum has concluded his selection of the 100 greatest nonfiction books. Take a quick look at five centuries of great writing
1. The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert (2014)
An engrossing account of the looming catastrophe caused by ecology’s “neighbours from hell” – mankind.
2. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (2005)
This steely and devastating examination of the author’s grief following the sudden death of her husband changed the nature of writing about bereavement.
3. No Logo by Naomi Klein (1999)
Naomi Klein’s timely anti-branding bible combined a fresh approach to corporate hegemony with potent reportage from the dark side of capitalism.
4. Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes (1998)
These passionate, audacious poems addressed to Hughes’s late wife, Sylvia Plath, contribute to the couple’s mythology and are a landmark in English poetry.
5. Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama (1995)
This remarkably candid memoir revealed not only a literary talent, but a force that would change the face of US politics for ever.
6. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking (1988)
The theoretical physicist’s mega-selling account of the origins of the universe is a masterpiece of scientific inquiry that has influenced the minds of a generation.
7. The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe (1979)
Tom Wolfe raised reportage to dazzling new levels in his quest to discover what makes a man fly to the moon.
8. Orientalism by Edward Said (1978)
This polemical masterpiece challenging western attitudes to the east is as topical today as it was on publication.
9. Dispatches by Michael Herr (1977)
A compelling sense of urgency and a unique voice make Herr’s Vietnam memoir the definitive account of war in our time.
10. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins (1976)
An intoxicating renewal of evolutionary theory that coined the idea of the meme and paved the way for Professor Dawkins’s later, more polemical works.
11. North by Seamus Heaney (1975)
This raw, tender, unguarded collection transcends politics, reflecting Heaney’s desire to move “like a double agent among the big concepts”.
Sacks’s moving account of how, as a doctor in the late 1960s, he revived patients who had been neurologically “frozen” by sleeping sickness reverberates to this day.
13. The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer (1970)
The Australian feminist’s famous polemic remains a masterpiece of passionate free expression in which she challenges a woman’s role in society.
14. Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom by Nik Cohn (1969)
This passionate account of how rock’n’roll changed the world was written with the wild energy of its subject matter.
15. The Double Helix by James D Watson (1968)
An astonishingly personal and accessible account of how Cambridge scientists Watson and Francis Crick unlocked the secrets of DNA and transformed our understanding of life.
16. Against Interpretation by Susan Sontag (1966)
The American novelist’s early essays provide the quintessential commentary on the 1960s.
17. Ariel by Sylvia Plath (1965)
The groundbreaking collection, revolving around the poet’s fascination with her own death, established Plath as one of the last century’s most original and gifted poets.
18. The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan (1963)
The book that ignited second-wave feminism captured the frustration of a generation of middle-class American housewives by daring to ask: “Is this all?”
19. The Making of the English Working Class by EP Thompson (1963)
This influential, painstakingly compiled masterpiece reads as an anatomy of pre-industrial Britain – and a description of the lost experience of the common man.
20. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (1962)
This classic of American advocacy sparked a nationwide outcry against the use of pesticides, inspired legislation that would endeavour to control pollution, and launched the modern environmental movement in the US.
21. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S Kuhn (1962)
The American physicist and philosopher of science coined the phrase “paradigm shift” in a book that is seen as a milestone in scientific theory.
This powerful study of loss asks: “Where is God?” and explores the feeling of solitude and sense of betrayal that even non-believers will recognise.
23. The Elements of Style by William Strunk and EB White (1959)
Dorothy Parker and Stephen King have both urged aspiring writers towards this crisp guide to the English language where brevity is key.
24. The Affluent Society by John Kenneth Galbraith (1958)
An optimistic bestseller, in which JFK’s favoured economist promotes investment in both the public and private sectors.
25. The Uses of Literacy: Aspects of Working-Class Life by Richard Hoggart (1957) This influential cultural study of postwar Britain offers pertinent truths on mass communication and the interaction between ordinary people and the elites.
26. Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin (1955)
Baldwin’s landmark collection of essays explores, in telling language, what it means to be a black man in modern America.
27. The Nude: A Study of Ideal Art by Kenneth Clark (1956)
Clark’s survey of the nude from the Greeks to Picasso foreshadows the critic’s towering claims for humanity in his later seminal work, Civilisation.
28. The Hedgehog and the Fox by Isaiah Berlin (1953)
The great historian of ideas starts with an animal parable and ends, via a dissection of Tolstoy’s work, in an existential system of thought.
29. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett (1952/53)
A bleakly hilarious, enigmatic watershed that changed the language of theatre and still sparks debate six decades on. An absurdist masterpiece.
30. A Book of Mediterranean Food by Elizabeth David (1950)
This landmark recipe book, a horrified reaction to postwar rationing, introduced cooks to the food of southern Europe and readers to the art of food writing.
31. The Great Tradition by FR Leavis (1948)
The controversial critic’s statement on English literature is an entertaining, often shocking, dissection of the novel, whose effects are still felt to this day.
The historian’s vivid, terrifying account of the Führer’s demise, based on his postwar work for British intelligence, remains unsurpassed.
33. The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care by Dr Benjamin Spock (1946)
The groundbreaking manual urged parents to trust themselves, but was also accused of being the source of postwar “permissiveness”.
34. Hiroshima by John Hersey (1946)
Hersey’s extraordinary, gripping book tells the personal stories of six people who endured the 1945 atom bomb attack.
35. The Open Society and Its Enemies by Karl Popper (1945)
The Austrian-born philosopher’s postwar rallying cry for western liberal democracy was hugely influential in the 1960s.
36. Black Boy: A Record of Childhood and Youth by Richard Wright (1945)
This influential memoir of a rebellious southern boyhood vividly evokes the struggle for African American identity in the decades before civil rights.
37. How to Cook a Wolf by MFK Fisher (1942)
The American culinary icon was one of the first writers to use food as a cultural metaphor, describing the sensual pleasures of the table with elegance and passion.
38. Enemies of Promise by Cyril Connolly (1938)
Connolly’s dissection of the art of writing and the perils of the literary life transformed the contemporary English scene.
39. The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell (1937)
Orwell’s unflinchingly honest account of three northern towns during the Great Depression was a milestone in the writer’s political development.
40. The Road to Oxiana by Robert Byron (1937)
Much admired by Graham Greene and Evelyn Waugh, Byron’s dazzling, timeless account of a journey to Afghanistan is perhaps the greatest travel book of the 20th century.
41. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (1936)
The original self-help manual on American life – with its influence stretching from the Great Depression to Donald Trump – has a lot to answer for.
Brittain’s study of her experience of the first world war as a nurse and then victim of loss remains a powerful anti-war and feminist statement.
43. My Early Life: A Roving Commission by Winston Churchill (1930)
Churchill delights with candid tales of childhood and boy’s own adventures in the Boer war that made him a tabloid hero.
44. Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves (1929)
Graves’s account of his experiences in the trenches of the first world war is a subversive tour de force.
45. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf (1929)
Woolf’s essay on women’s struggle for independence and creative opportunity is a landmark of feminist thought.
46. The Waste Land by TS Eliot (1922)
Eliot’s long poem, written in extremis, came to embody the spirit of the years following the first world war.
47. Ten Days That Shook the World by John Reed (1919)
The American socialist’s romantic account of the Russian revolution is a masterpiece of reportage.
48. The Economic Consequences of the Peace by John Maynard Keynes (1919)
The great economist’s account of what went wrong at the Versailles conference after the first world war was polemical, passionate and prescient.
49. The American Language by HL Mencken (1919)
This declaration of linguistic independence by the renowned US journalist and commentator marked a crucial new chapter in American prose
50. Eminent Victorians by Lytton Strachey (1918)
Strachey’s partisan, often inaccurate but brilliant demolitions of four great 19th-century Britons illustrates life in the Victorian period from different perspectives.
51. The Souls of Black Folk by WEB Du Bois (1903)
The great social activist’s collection of essays on the African American experience became a founding text of the civil rights movement.
There is a thrilling majesty to Oscar Wilde’s tormented tour de force written as he prepared for release from Reading jail.
53. The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James (1902)
This revolutionary work written by Henry James’s less famous brother brought a democratising impulse to the realm of religious belief.
54. Brief Lives by John Aubrey, edited by Andrew Clark (1898)
Truly ahead of his time, the 17th-century historian and gossip John Aubrey is rightly credited as the man who invented biography.
55. Personal Memoirs by Ulysses S Grant (1885)
The civil war general turned president was a reluctant author, but set the gold standard for presidential memoirs, outlining his journey from boyhood onwards.
56. Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain (1883)
This memoir of Samuel Clemens’s time as a steamboat pilot provides insight into his best-known characters, as well as the writer he would become.
57. Travels With a Donkey in the Cévennes by Robert Louis Stevenson (1879)
The Scottish writer’s hike in the French mountains with a donkey is a pioneering classic in outdoor literature – and as influential as his fiction.
58. Nonsense Songs by Edward Lear (1871)
The Victorians loved wordplay, and few could rival this compendium of verbal delirium by Britain’s “laureate of nonsense”.
59. Culture and Anarchy by Matthew Arnold (1869)
Arnold caught the public mood with this high-minded but entertaining critique of Victorian society posing questions about the art of civilised living that still perplex us.
60. On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin (1859)
Darwin’s revolutionary, humane and highly readable introduction to his theory of evolution is arguably the most important book of the Victorian era.
61. On Liberty by John Stuart Mill (1859)
This fine, lucid writer captured the mood of the time with this spirited assertion of the English individual’s rights.
A gloriously entertaining autobiography by the widely revered Victorian sometimes described as “the black Florence Nightingale”.
63. The Life of Charlotte Brontë by Elizabeth Gaskell (1857)
Possibly Gaskell’s finest work – a bold portrait of a brilliant woman worn down by her father’s eccentricities and the death of her siblings.
64. Walden by Henry David Thoreau (1854)
This account of one man’s rejection of American society has influenced generations of free thinkers.
65. Thesaurus by Dr Peter Mark Roget (1852)
Born of a Victorian desire for order and harmony among nations, this guide to the English language is as unique as it is indispensable.
66. London Labour and the London Poor by Henry Mayhew (1851)
The influence of the Victorian journalist’s detailed, dispassionate descriptions of London lower-class life is clear, right up to the present day.
67. Household Education by Harriet Martineau (1848)
This protest at the lack of women’s education was as pioneering as its author was in Victorian literary circles.
68. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by Frederick Douglass (1845)
This vivid memoir was influential in the abolition of slavery, and its author would become one of the most influential African Americans of the 19th century.
69. Essays by RW Emerson (1841)
New England’s inventor of “transcendentalism” is still revered for his high-minded thoughts on individuality, freedom and nature expressed in 12 essays.
70. Domestic Manners of the Americans by Frances Trollope (1832)
Rich in detail and Old World snobbery, Trollope’s classic travelogue identifies aspects of America’s national character still visible today.
71. An American Dictionary of the English Language by Noah Webster (1828) Though a lexicographical landmark to stand alongside Dr Johnson’s achievement, the original sold only 2,500 copies and left its author in debt.
An addiction memoir, by the celebrated and supremely talented contemporary of Coleridge and Wordsworth, outlining his life hooked on the the drug.
73. Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb (1807)
A troubled brother-and-sister team produced one of the 19th century’s bestselling volumes and simplified the complexity of Shakespeare’s plays for younger audiences.
74. Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa by Mungo Park (1799)
The Scottish explorer’s account of his heroic one-man search for the river Niger was a contemporary bestseller and a huge influence on Conrad, Melville and Hemingway.
75. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin (1793)
The US founding father’s life, drawn from four different manuscripts, combines the affairs of revolutionary America with his private struggles.
76. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft (1792)
This radical text attacked the dominant male thinkers of the age and laid the foundations of feminism.
77. The Life of Samuel Johnson LLD by James Boswell (1791)
This huge work is one of the greatest of all English biographies and a testament to one of the great literary friendships.
78. Reflections on the Revolution in France by Edmund Burke (1790)
Motivated by the revolution across the Channel, this passionate defence of the aristocratic system is a landmark in conservative thinking.
79. The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano by Olaudah Equiano (1789)
The most famous slave memoir of the 18th century is a powerful and terrifying read, and established Equiano as a founding figure in black literary tradition.
80. The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne by Gilbert White (1789)
This curate’s beautiful and lucid observations on the wildlife of a Hampshire village inspired generations of naturalists.
81. The Federalist Papers by ‘Publius’ (1788)
These wise essays clarified the aims of the American republic and rank alongside the Declaration of Independence as a cornerstone of US democracy.
Burney’s acutely observed memoirs open a window on the literary and courtly circles of late 18th-century England.
83. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon (1776-1788)
Perhaps the greatest and certainly one of the most influential history books in the English language, in which Gibbon unfolds the narrative from the height of the Roman empire to the fall of Byzantium.
84. The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith (1776)
Blending history, philosophy, psychology and sociology, the Scottish intellectual single-handedly invented modern political economy.
85. Common Sense by Tom Paine (1776)
This little book helped ignite revolutionary America against the British under George II.
86. A Dictionary of the English Language by Samuel Johnson (1755)
Dr Johnson’s decade-long endeavour framed the English language for the coming centuries with clarity, intelligence and extraordinary wit.
87. A Treatise of Human Nature by David Hume (1739)
This is widely seen as the philosopher’s most important work, but its first publication was a disaster.
88. A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift (1729)
The satirist’s jaw-dropping solution to the plight of the Irish poor is among the most powerful tracts in the English language.
89. A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain by Daniel Defoe (1727) Readable, reliable, full of surprise and charm, Defoe’s Tour is an outstanding literary travel guide.
90. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding by John Locke (1689)
Eloquent and influential, the Enlightenment philosopher’s most celebrated work embodies the English spirit and retains an enduring relevance.
91. The Book of Common Prayer by Thomas Cranmer (1662)
Cranmer’s book of vernacular English prayer is possibly the most widely read book in the English literary tradition.
A portrait of an extraordinary Englishman, whose scintillating firsthand accounts of Restoration England are recorded alongside his rampant sexual exploits.
93. Hydriotaphia, Urn Burial, or A Brief Discourse of the Sepulchral Urns Lately Found in Norfolk by Sir Thomas Browne (1658)
Browne earned his reputation as a “writer’s writer” with this dazzling short essay on burial customs.
94. Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes (1651)
Hobbes’s essay on the social contract is both a founding text of western thought and a masterpiece of wit and imagination.
95. Areopagitica by John Milton (1644)
Today, Milton is remembered as a great poet. But this fiery attack on censorship and call for a free press reveals a brilliant English radical.
96. Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions by John Donne (1624)
The poet’s intense meditation on the meaning of life and death is a dazzling work that contains some of his most memorable writing.
97. The First Folio by William Shakespeare (1623)
The first edition of his plays established the playwright for all time in a trove of 36 plays with an assembled cast of immortal characters.
98. The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton (1621)
Burton’s garrulous, repetitive masterpiece is a compendious study of melancholia, a sublime literary doorstop that explores humanity in all its aspects.
99. The History of the World by Walter Raleigh (1614)
Raleigh’s most important prose work, close to 1m words in total, used ancient history as a sly commentary on present-day issues.
100. King James Bible: The Authorised Version (1611)
It is impossible to imagine the English-speaking world celebrated in this series without the King James Bible, which is as universal and influential as Shakespeare.
PDF Bản từ The New York Times – Tháng 3 2017
PDF Bản từ The New York Times – Tháng 10 2016
Danh sách những đề tài về Công nghệ & Trường học.
Một số nguồn tìm hiểu về đề tài Thuyền Nhân VN, đặc biệt riêng với Canada, tôi ghi lại đây. Nếu anh chị nào có thông tin, nhờ chỉ giúp.
NICE TO READ
– NGUYEN VIET THANH – THE REFUGEES
– Paul James Rutledge – The Vietnam Experience in America
– James M. Freeman – Changing Identities Vietnamese Americans 1975-1995
A Moonless Night: Boat People, 40 Years Later full movie
Tác giả: Paulette Jiles
News of the World kể lại một câu chuyện đơn giản. Ông lính già, Capt. Jefferson Kyle Kidd, làm nghề đọc tin dạo ở Texas những năm 1880. Một hôm, được nhờ mang một cô bé da trắng, từng bị bộ lạc da đỏ Kiowa bắt cóc 4 năm trước, trả về họ hàng ở San Antonio. Chuyến hành trình nguy hiểm đúng kiểu cao bồi viễn tây. Nhưng điều thú vị nhất với mình chính là nghề đọc báo dạo của ông Kidd.
Mỗi khi đến một tỉnh lỵ, ông sẽ ghé mua vài tờ báo đưa tin thế giới và Mỹ, rồi lựa bài. Ông không đọc tin địa phương vì tin này dễ làm “quần chúng” xúc động, cãi vả, rồi quay sang tẩn nhau. Ông đọc tin liên bang, Châu Âu, phát minh khoa học, chuyện khó tin có thật, để người nghe mơ mộng một tí, hồi tưởng một tí và tất nhiên là đủ hài lòng để trả 10 xu tiền nghe đọc. Sau khi mua báo, ông sẽ đến tiệm in nhỏ trong phố để làm tờ quảng cáo cho buổi đọc của mình. Có lần, một bố già sai đệ tử đến dằn mặt, kêu phải đọc tin về những “đóng góp cho cộng đồng” của hắn. Đêm đó ông lặng lẽ trốn vì ông có nguyên tắc không theo phe phái nào.
Ông được rất nhiều người kính trọng. Người đi nghe đọc tin cũng như đi nghe nhà thờ, ăn mặc chỉnh chu. Đa số không quỵt tiền. Nếu lỡ quên thì sẽ có người nhắc, có khi nhắc bằng súng. Trên suốt đường đi, ân nhân của ông chính là người từng đi nghe tin.
Rồi công việc của ông cũng thưa thớt dần vì báo giấy trở nên rẻ hơn, phổ cập hơn và phủ sóng rộng hơn, dân chúng biết chữ nhiều hơn, có học hơn.
Đó là một thời xa xưa, khi thông tin là hàng hiếm và những người có học như Captain Kidd vừa biết chia sẻ thông tin, vừa biết tiêu khiển đám đông với kiến thức. Cảnh ông chuẩn bị cho buổi đọc, long trọng như một ông thầy đứng lớp; phản ứng thích thú của người nghe tỉnh lỵ về những chuyện xảy ra ở một thế giới rộng lớn khiến mình vừa xúc động vừa thấy mủi lòng. Giờ, khi thông tin trong tầm tay, với vài cái click, mình lại làm đủ cách để chặn, lọc và bớt lại thông tin. Chưa hết, khi đọc tin gì mình cũng có thái độ hoài nghi. Thời Fake News!
“If people had true knowledge of the world perhaps they would not take up arms and so perhaps he could be an aggregator of information from distant places and then the world would be a more peaceful place. He had been perfectly serious. That illusion had lasted from age forty-nine to age sixty-five. And then he had come to think that what people needed, at bottom, was not only information but tales of the remote, the mysterious, dressed up as hard information. And he, like a runner, immobile in his smeared printing apron bringing it to them. Then the listeners would for a small space of time drift away into a healing place like curative waters.”
Tác giả: Eowyn Ivey
Đọc The Snow Child như đọc một câu chuyện cổ tích, vừa hồi hộp, lo lắng cho tuyến nhân vật chính, vừa thích thú vì sự huyền bí của phong cảnh, và tình tiết.
Alaska, 1920, hoang dã, khắc nghiệt cho những người đầu tiên đến khai phá, và đặc biệt cho Jack và Mabel. Hai vợ chồng lớn tuổi, không có con, họ dần dần cách xa nhau. Jack oằn lưng với việc đồng áng; Mabel cô đơn, tuyệt vọng. Một đêm, trong trận tuyết đầu mùa, họ cùng đắp một em bé người tuyết. Sáng hôm sau, tượng tuyết biến mất và họ thấy thấp thoáng một cô bé tóc vàng chạy giữa rừng cây.
Cô bé đó có thật không hay chỉ là ảo giác của hai vợ chồng khổ sở? Làm sao giữ được cô bé ấy? Có những lúc mình muốn lật hẳn ra trang cuối để tìm câu trả lời, nhưng rồi cũng lật từng trang.
Cuối cùng, vừa tiếc nuối vừa cảm thấy lâng lâng. Một câu chuyện đẹp.
Tác giả: Paul Kalanithi
Tôi đọc When breath becomes air vào những ngày cận lễ Tạ Ơn của Canada. Trong một năm bình lặng, chỉ một biến cố xảy ra với gia đình lớn là dì ruột trải qua điều trị ung thư vú và kết thúc 5 vòng hóa trị, tôi cảm thấy thankful vì mọi người khỏe mạnh. Khỏe mạnh theo nghĩa tương đối nhất, khi so với bệnh ung thư.
Thế nên, khi đọc When breath becomes air, tôi khóc.
Tác giả Paul Kalanithibị chẩn đoán bị ung thư phổi ác tính vào năm 2013, khi 36 tuổi, chuẩn bị cống hiến cho cuộc đời. Paul là một bác sĩ tài giỏi – chief resident của khoa Thần Kinh của Stanford, chỉ vài tháng là hoàn tất chương trình huấn luyện gian khổ nhất trong ngành y. Ông cũng là một nhà khoa học xuất sắc. Nghiên cứu tiến sĩ về đề tài gene therapy của ông đã giành giải danh giá nhất. Và ông còn là một nhà văn. Trước khi vào trường y, ông có hai bằng Văn Chương Anh của Stanford và đã có ý muốn trở thành nhà văn.
Kalanithi viết cuốn hồi ký này ghi chép lại cuộc đời của ông từ thời trẻ với những sự kiện trong cuộc đời đã đưa ông tới quyết định trở thành bác sĩ phẫu thuật não – một ngành chuyên môn khó và danh giá nhất trong y khoa; cho tới những ngày từ một bác sĩ trở thành một bệnh nhân – những ngày đi tìm định nghĩa về sự sống và cái chết, và định hình lại ý nghĩa sự tồn tại của mình trên cuộc đời này.
Xúc động nhất là khi Lucy quyết định có con. Ông yếu và lạnh vì hóa trị đến mức không thể áp con gái nhỏ vào người. 8 tháng sau, ông mất trong cùng bịnh viện con gái ra đời. Với một người cả đời – ngắn ngủi đi tìm câu trả lời cho hạnh phúc, sự sống, cái chết, chọn ngành y để hiểu về ý nghĩa cuộc đời, và ra đi sớm như vậy, thật là một mất mát.
Tôi cảm thấy thankful vì một sự ngẫu nhiên mà được đọc tác phẩm này.
Tác phẩm này đã được dịch sang tiếng Việt với tựa đề “Khi Hơi Thở hóa Thinh Không”.
Một số đoạn trích.
Don’t think I ever spent a minute of any day wondering why I did this work, or whether it was worth it. The call to protect life—and not merely life but another’s identity; it is perhaps not too much to say another’s soul—was obvious in its sacredness. Before operating on a patient’s brain, I realized, I must first understand his mind: his identity, his values, what makes his life worth living, and what devastation makes it reasonable to let that life end. The cost of my dedication to succeed was high, and the ineluctable failures brought me nearly unbearable guilt. Those burdens are what make medicine holy and wholly impossible: in taking up another’s cross, one must sometimes get crushed by the weight.
I began to realize that coming in such close contact with my own mortality had changed both nothing and everything. Before my cancer was diagnosed, I knew that someday I would die, but I didn’t know when. After the diagnosis, I knew that someday I would die, but I didn’t know when. But now I knew it acutely. The problem wasn’t really a scientific one. The fact of death is unsettling. Yet there is no other way to live.
I can’t go on. I’ll go on.
Openness to human relationality does not mean revealing grand truths from the apse; it means meeting patients where they are, in the narthex or nave, and bringing them as far as you can.
I would have to learn to live in a different way, seeing death as an imposing itinerant visitor but knowing that even if I’m dying, until I actually die, I am still living…Severe illness wasn’t life-altering, it was life-shattering. It felt less like an epiphany—a piercing burst of light, illuminating What Really Matters—and more like someone had just firebombed the path forward.
“Will having a newborn distract from the time we have together?” she asked. “Don’t you think saying goodbye to your child will make your death more painful?”
“Wouldn’t it be great if it did?” I said. Lucy and I both felt that life wasn’t about avoiding suffering.”
Words have a longevity I do not. I had thought I could leave [Cady] a series of letters–but what would they say? I don’t know what this girl will be like when she is fifteen; I don’t even know if she’ll take to the nickname we’ve given her. There is perhaps only one thing to say to this infant, who is all future, overlapping briefly with me, whose life, barring the improbable, is all but past.
That message is simple: When you come to one of the many moments in life when you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more, but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing.
“What makes life meaningful enough to go on living?”
By: Herman Wouk
The Caine Munity, tiểu thuyết đoạt giải Pulitzer Văn Chương năm 1951 về chiến hạm Caine của hải quân Mỹ trong những ngày cuối của thế chiến 2 là một tác phẩm thật sự hấp dẫn.
Các nhân vật đều rất cá tính, đặc biệt và được khắc họa vô cùng sinh động. Riêng thuyền trưởng Queeg phải công nhận rất độc đáo. Có một số so sánh giữa tổng thống Trump và Queeg, nói rằng hai nhân vật này rất nhiều điểm tương đồng, ví dụ như chứng hoang tưởng, không nhận lỗi của mình mà luôn đổ cho người khác, chứng nói dối, và ảnh hưởng của hai nhân vật này tới tất cả những người liên quan. Phải đọc / xem thì mới thấm.
Mình chép lại link của phim này trên youtube để xem khi nào rảnh.
Đây là đoạn thuyền trưởng Queeg điều trần trước tòa án quân sự.
Sau đây là vài đoạn trích mình thích.
Một tập hợp công phu của
Quảng Trí Chánh/Vương Chước
Quảng Tuệ Dung/Vương Lê Lan
Xin cảm ơn.
Một trích dẫn
The definition is: being happy with someone’s fortune/happiness.
Sympathetic joy here refers to the potential of bliss and happiness of all
sentient beings, as they can all become Buddhas.
The near enemy is hypocrisy or affectation.
The opposite is jealousy, when one cannot accept the happiness of others.
A result which one needs to avoid is: spaced-out bliss, which can easily turn
Note: sympathetic joy is a great antidote to depression for oneself as well,
but this should not be the main goal.
By rejoicing in others’ progress on the spiritual path, one can actually share
in their positive karma.
Sympathetic joy is an unselfish, very positive mental attitude which is
beneficial for oneself and others. In this case, it also refers specifically to
rejoicing in the high rebirth and enlightenment of others.”
Mấy tháng nay mình đọc loạt tiểu thuyết về thám tử Gamache của Penny Louise. Điều thú vị nhất của bộ truyện này là tác giả lồng vào một đề tài tâm lý, xã hội để người đọc phải suy ngẫm. Trong cuốn 3 “The Cruelest Month” , mình học được khái niệm “near enemy”. Sau đây là trích dẫn.
“It’s a psychological concept. Two emotions that look the same but are actually opposites. The one parades as the other, is mistaken for the other, but one is healthy and the other’s sick, twisted.’ …
There are three couplings,’ said Myrna …. ‘Attachment masquerades as Love, Pity as Compassion and Indifference as Equanimity.’ … ‘Pity and compassion are the easiest to understand. Compassion involves empathy. You see the stricken person as an equal. Pity doesn’t. If you pity someone you feel superior.’
‘But it’s hard to tell one from the other,’ Gamache nodded.
‘Exactly. Even for the person feeling it. Almost everyone would claim to be full of compassion. It’s one of the noble emotions. But really, it’s pity they feel.’
‘So pity is the near enemy of compassion,’ said Gamache slowly, mulling it over.
’That’s right. It looks like compassion, acts like compassion, but is actually the opposite of it. And as long as pity’s in place, there’s not room for compassion. It destroys, squeezes out, the nobler emotion.’
‘Because we fool ourselves into believing we’re feeling one, when we’re actually feeling the other.’
‘Fool ourselves, and fool others,’ said Myrna.
‘And love and attachment?’ asked Gamache.
‘Mothers and children are classic examples. Some mothers see their job as preparing their kids to live in the big old world. To be independent, to marry and have children of their own. To live wherever they choose and do what makes them happy. That’s love. Others, and we all see them, cling to their children. … live through their children, manipulate, use guilt trips …
‘But it’s not just mothers and children,’ said Gamache.
‘No. It’s friendships, marriages. Any intimate relationship. Love wants the best for others. Attachment takes hostages.’
‘And the last?’ He leaned forward again …
‘Equanimity and indifference. I think that’s the worst of the near enemies, the most corrosive. Equanimity is balance. When something overwhelming happens in our lives we feel it strongly but we also have an ability to overcome it. … deep down inside people find a core. That’s called equanimity. An ability to accept things and move on. …
‘How’s that like indifference?’ he asked, not seeing the connection.
‘Think about it. All those stoic people. Stiff upper lip. Calm in the face of tragedy. And some really are that brave. But some, … They just don’t feel pain. And you know why?’ … ‘They don’t care about others. They don’t feel like the rest of us. The problem is telling one from another,’ Myrna whispered, … ‘People with equanimity are unbelievably brave. They absorb the pain, feel it fully, and let it go. And you know what? ‘They look exactly like people who don’t care at all, who are indifferent. Cool, calm and collected. We revere it. But who’s brave, and who’s the near enemy?’