The Art of War by Sun Tzu: #bookreview #DBowieBooks

war

Goodreads Synopsis

Conflict is an inevitable part of life, according to this ancient Chinese classic of strategy, but everything necessary to deal with conflict wisely, honorably, victoriously, is already present within us. Compiled more than two thousand years ago by a mysterious warrior-philosopher, The Art of War is still perhaps the most prestigious and influential book of strategy in the world, as eagerly studied in Asia by modern politicians and executives as it has been by military leaders since ancient times. As a study of the anatomy of organizations in conflict, The Art of War applies to competition and conflict in general, on every level from the interpersonal to the international. Its aim is invincibility, victory without battle, and unassailable strength through understanding the physics, politics, and psychology of conflict.

(Original publication date was circa 500 BCE.)

Details

Title: The Art of War

Author: Sun Tzu

ISBN: 1590302257 (ISBN13: 9781590302255)

Published: Originally published circa 500 BCE

Genre: Classics, Eastern Philosophy, Non-Fiction

Source: Own Copy

My Rating: 4/5 StarsThis book is part of the

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This book is part of the David Bowie Reading Challenge #DBowieBooks

1. 1984

2. The Great Gatsby

3. The Gnostic Gospels

4. A Clockwork Orange

5. Lady Chatterley’s Lover

6. The Art of War

My Thoughts

Although The Art of War was written over 2000 years as a war manual for Chinese soldiers, many of the lessons can be applied to almost any situation where there is conflict, particularly the business world. The 13 topics in each chapter include: laying plans, attack by strangers. tactical dispositions, energy, weak points and strong, maneuvering, variation in tactics, the army on the march, terrain, the nine situations, the attack by fire, and, the use of spies.

While it is relatively safe to skip some of the more detailed descriptions of Chinese terrain, there are some valuable and universal lessons to be learned. The biggest take aways for me is that to effectively ‘win’ when conflict arises it is important to learn as much about the situation as possible and deploy the right tactic for each situation. Only sometimes is an all-out attack is the best option:

“To fight and conquer in all our battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting”.

The Art of War is the 6th book I read since undertaking the David Bowie Reading Challenge approximately one year ago and today is the anniversary of the day Ziggy Stardust went back home. I still wish he was here but the past 12 months have brought my own little Ziggy Stardust into my life and I have thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated every single book that I’ve read from David Bowie’s top 100 books of all time.

zs
My own Ziggy Stardust

 

I’m going to pair this novel with David Bowie’s recently released posthumously track, No Plan. After being ripped off in his early years Bowie strategically built his empire to be so strong that he is still in control of when and how his music is released!

#Review: Broken Sky by L.A. Weatherly

Broken Sky is the first book of the Broken trilogy, set in a dystopian America that is brokenskyreminiscent of the 1940s. The book has a very noir feeling to it, the technology, dress and entertainment in this world are true to the 1940s war-time genre, but the world in Broken Sky has a lot of differences. In this world nuclear war has been banned after WWII and disputes between countries are settled by pilots who are known as Peacefighters. America has been split into sections, with the leader of the Central States running his country based on Astrology.

In the Broken Sky world having the wrong star sign can be fatal. Basically, everybody in the Central States has their Astrology charts done and if there is anything in their stars that could mean trouble they are labelled ‘Discordant’ and sent to concentration camps very similar to Nazi Germany. The evil leader of the Central States is looking to increase his power of course. I really enjoyed the comparisons between Discordants and Jews and how well it highlighted the inhumanity of the Holocaust and punishing a group of people simply for the circumstances of their birth.

The main character, Amity, is a Peacefighter for the Western Seaboard which once used to be part of the USA. Amity is a brilliant YA heroine. She’s tough but fair and is one of the best Peacefighters for the Western Seaboard. She has to battle deception, betrayal, and corruption to protect herself and her family.

Broken Sky is also written from the point of view of Kay who is an astrologist in the Central States. She doesn’t believe in Astrology in the slightest but she is skilled at reading people and telling them what they want to hear. During the novel she manages to work her way up to becoming the top Astrologer for the Central States, so we learn a lot about the evilly enigmatic Central States leader through her.

Broken Sky is perfect for all the dystopian lovers out there. There is plenty of action, adventure, deception, romance, and betrayal. The world is just similar enough to 1940s America to be familiar, but the Astrology spin added a refreshing point of difference. I was a bit disappointed there wasn’t much about my own star sign though. Hopefully somebody in the next book is an Aquarian! This is the kind of YA novel that can be enjoyed by all ages, with just the right amount of romance to add to the story. And make sure you’re sitting somewhere you will be able to hold onto your seats for the crazy twist at the end! I can not wait to read the sequel now…

Corrected to add that there is an Aquarian character and just as I suspected they are on the Discordant list!

Description

Welcome to a ‘perfect’ world.

Where war is illegal, where harmony rules.

And where your date of birth marks your destiny.

But nothing is perfect.

And in a world this broken, who can Amity trust?

From the bestselling author of the Angel trilogy comes Broken Sky – an exhilarating epic set in a daring and distorted echo of 1940s America and first in a new trilogy.

Details

Title: Broken Sky

Author: L.A. Weatherly

ISBN: 9781409572022

Published:  March 1st 2016 by Usborne
Genre: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 500
Source: Review copy from publisher (HarperCollins Australia)

My Rating: 4/5 stars

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Review: Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence

Lady Chatterley’s Lover is famous for being banned for its racy sex scenes. There is a lot ofchatterley  discussion about sex and quite a lot of swear words are sprinkled throughout, but it really isn’t that controversial for this day and age.

The novel was published in 1928, so it definitely was very sexual for those times. What I think is much more interesting about this novel is the discussion surrounding class the way Lawrence viewed the ways that England had changed due to the Industrial Revolution. These views were extrememly controversial for the 1920s and this is what makes Lady Chatterley’s Lover such an important novel. It’s a snapshot of a time of great upheaval.

I also found the contrast between this novel and The Great Gatsby interesting. They were both written about the same time but from very different perspectives. Where The Great Gatsby is about the wealthy New Yorkers, Lady Chatterley’s Lover is about the titled familys of England.

I found Lady Chatterley’s Lover to be a bit of a slow read. I really didn’t feel very interested in any of the main characters and didn’t much care what happened to them in the end. I did find Lawrence’s views on class and the industrialisation of England enlightening and found myself pausing to highlight quite a bit.

Definitely a novel worth reading, but not simply for racy sex scenes. I do wonder if the 2020s will be as tumultuous as the 1920s? That seems about the right time for the digital revolution to be in full effect!

David Bowie Song:

Under Pressure by Queen and David Bowie feels like a good choice to describe the pressure felt by the workers during this period

 


Description

LADY CHATTERLEY’S LOVER was banned on its publication in 1928, creating a storm of controversy. Lawrence tells the story of Constance Chatterley’s marriage to Sir Clifford, an aristocratic and an intellectual who is paralyzed from the waist down after the First World War. Desperate for an heir and embarrassed by his inability to satisfy his wife, Clifford suggests that she have an affair. Constance, troubled by her husband’s words, finds herself involved in a passionate relationship with their gamekeeper, Oliver Mellors. Lawrence’s vitriolic denunciations of industrialism and class division come together in his vivid depiction of the profound emotional and physical connection between a couple otherwise divided by station and society

Details

Title: Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Author: D.H. Lawrence

Published: 1928

ISBN: 0007925557 (ISBN13: 9780007925551)

Genre: Classics, Literature, Romance, Historical Fiction

Pages: 402

Source: Own Copy

My Rating: 4/5 stars

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This book is part of the David Bowie Reading Challenge #DBowieBooks

Books Read: 4/100

1. 1984

2. The Great Gatsby

3. The Gnostic Gospels

4. A Clockwork Orange

5. Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Review: The Serenity Stone Murder by Marianne Jones

When Margaret and Louise set off to visit Thunder Bay, Ontario, for a church retreat theyserenity get a lot more than they bargained for. Instead of a nice relaxing holiday, they experience a series of unfortunate events that end up in a murder investigation. Will they solve the mystery of the Serenity Stone murder or will they become the killer’s next victims?

This was a really fun short read. Louise and Margaret are lovely characters. They’re two women in their 50s and Jones did a brilliant job of developing their bantering style of relationship. Louise and her cheeky dog brought a lot of smiles and lightness to the overall feel of the story and were a perfect foil for Margaret and her slightly grumpy ways.

Description

The peaceful city of Thunder Bay is shocked when one of its most prominent businessmen is murdered with a stone stolen from a nearby church garden. Visiting the city to attend a retreat, friends Margaret and Louise become intrigued by the circumstances surrounding the murder and quickly find themselves embroiled in the investigation. Will they discover that they’ve stepped into something they won’t be able to walk away from? Will the murderer target them next?

Details

Title: The Serenity Stone Murder

Author: Marianne Jones

ISBN: 9780981251684

Published: September 6th 2014 by Split Tree Publishing Inc.

Genre: Mystery

Pages: 204

Source: Review copy from author

My Rating: 4/5 stars

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Review: Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

Beautifully written crime thriller missing

When Edith Hind suddenly disappears the police immediately treat her case as high priority. Her father, Sir Ian Hind, is a prestigious doctor with connections to the royal family and politicians so they don’t want to stuff this one up. Missing, Presumed is told from the perspectives of Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw, Edith’s mother, Detective Constable Davy Walker and Edith’s best friend, Helena.  Through the multiple points of view, we are able to see the effect a missing person case has on everyone involved, both the police investigating and the family and friends who are going out of their minds with worry.

I really enjoyed reading this novel from the multiple points of view. This allowed far greater character development than you normally find in crime thrillers. Steiner did a brilliant job of bringing each character to life and I enjoyed finding out more about each character by reading about them through the eyes of the other people they interact with.

This novel is also beautifully written. It is a bit of slow-boil thriller, but it is definitely worth the wait because by the time I got to the twists and final reveal I felt like I was reading about people I knew intimately. Add this one to your TBR list if you like crime thrillers with the depth and observation of literary fiction.

Description

Edith Hind, the beautiful, earnest Cambridge post-grad living on the outskirts of the city has left nothing behind but a streak of blood and her coat hanging up for her boyfriend, Will, to find. The news spreads fast: to her parents, prestigious doctor Sir Ian and Lady Hind, and straight on to the police. And then the hours start to dissolve and reality sets in.

Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw soothes her insomnia with the din of the police radio she keeps by her bed. After another bad date, it takes the crackling voices to lull her to sleep. But one night she hears something. Something deserving of her attention. A girl is missing. For Manon the hunt for Edith Hind might be the career-defining case she has been waiting for. For the family this is the beginning of their nightmare.

As Manon sinks her teeth into the investigation and lines up those closest to Edith she starts to feel out the kinks in their stories and catch the eyes that won’t meet hers. But when disturbing facts come to light, the stakes jolt up and Manon has to manage the wave of terror that erupts from the family.

A stunning literary thriller that shows the emotional fallout from the anxious search for a young woman and lets you inside the mind of the detective hell-bent on finding her.

Details

Title: Missing, Presumed

Author: Susie Steiner

Published: 1 March 2016 by HarperCollins Publishers Australia

ISBN: 9780008123284

Genre: Crime, Thriller, Mystery, Literary Fiction

Pages: 400

Source: Review copy from HarperCollins Publishers Australia

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

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Review: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Horrorshow raskazz with lashings of ultraviolence! clockwork

A Clockwork Orange is a modern classic. Published in 1962, it depicts a frightening dystopian future where youths hopped up on drugs run riot in the streets and terrorise people in their own homes. Alex, our humble narrator, is one of those youths.  Even though it is obvious he knows better, he is determined to continue on his merry way wreaking havoc with his droogs (friends), until they set him up and he is sent to prison. Alex undertakes an unusual and horrifying form of ‘therapy’ which makes him physically unable to perform or even think about acts of violence and is unceremoniously discharged from prison and left to fend for himself.

This novel raises some important questions about the matters of free will and choice. Is it morally ethical to remove a person’s ability to choose their own behaviour? How about when it means they will cease to commit acts of violence against others? Clearly the message this novel conveys is that is unethical to remove a person’s free will. I almost began to feel sorry for Alex when he was first released from prison and was unable to defend himself, but I soon got over that when he went straight back to his old ways as soon as he was able to.

The Final Chapter

My edition does contain the final chapter which is missing from many versions, as well as Stanley Kubrick’s film. I found it to be a bit of let down. I liked the idea of Alex deciding to change his ways, but thought the way he reached his decision was a bit unbelievable. It didn’t gel with anything we’d heard from him previously to just up and decide to be good for no other reason besides he wants a wife and child one day. Of course, I believe anyone can change, but there usually needs to be some kind of motivating event. Like maybe an actual wife and child.

Besides from that, it’s a must read. The made up language, nadsat, can be difficult to get into. I found this nadsat dictionary very useful for the first few chapters, but it is quite easy to get into the hang of it.

EDIT 24/02/16

I forgot to include my David Bowie song to match A Clockwork Orange. Obviously it’s Girl Loves me!

 


Description

“What we were after was lashings of ultraviolence.”

In this nightmare vision of youth in revolt, fifteen-year-old Alex and his friends set out on a diabolical orgy of robbery, rape, torture and murder. Alex is jailed for his teenage delinquency and the State tries to reform him – but at what cost?

Social prophecy? Black comedy? A study of free will? A Clockwork Orange is all of these. It is also a dazzling experiment in language, as Burgess creates “nadsat”, the teenage slang of a not-too-distant future.

Details

Title: A Clockwork Orange

Author: Anthony Burgess

Published: 1962

ISBN: 0241951445 (ISBN13: 9780241951446)

Genre: Classics, Sci Fi, Dystopia, Literature

Pages: 141

Source: Own Copy

My Rating: 4/5 stars

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This book is part of the David Bowie Reading Challenge #DBowieBooks

Books Read: 4/100

1984

The Great Gatsby

The Gnostic Gospels

A Clockwork Orange

The Pursuit of Happiness by Douglas Kennedy

A tragic love story spanning a lifetime pursuit

The year is 1945 and Sara Smythe reluctantly attends her brother, Eric’s, Thanksgiving Eve party. She is swept away by the enigmatic gate-crasher, Jack Malone. Jack says he is a U.S army journalist and is being deployed to Germany the very next day, despite the war being over. Will Jack make good on his declarations of undying love and devotion or will he breaks Sara’s heart, just as Eric suspects.

The Pursuit of Happiness is set in a time of great unrest in the USA. After the initial optimism of the war ending the country moves quickly to a state of great unease and fear of Communism. The McCarthy witch-hunts of this era a nasty little piece of American history!

The writing of this novel was beautifully done, perhaps a bit too well for me in parts. I found myself becoming a little bit depressed by this novel. There was just one depressing event after another for Sara and her loved ones. Kennedy did such a brilliant job with all of the characters that I just really felt their pain with them throughout the novel.

Description

The critically acclaimed bestseller from the number one bestselling author of The Moment and A Special Relationship. A powerful romantic novel set in the tumultuous world of post-war America.

New York, 1945 – Sara Smythe, a young, beautiful and intelligent woman, ready to make her own way in the big city, attends her brother’s Thanksgiving Eve party. As the party gets into full swing, in walks Jack Malone, a US Army journalist back from a defeated Germany and a man unlike any Sara has ever met before – one who is destined to change Sara’s future forever.

But finding love isn’t the same as finding happiness – as Sara and Jack soon find out. In post-war America chance meetings aren’t always as they seem, and people’s choices can often have profound repercussions. Sara and Jack find they are subject to forces beyond their control and that their destinies are formed by more than just circumstance. In this world of intrigue and emotional conflict, Sara must fight to survive – against Jack, as much as for him.

In this mesmerising tale of longing and betrayal, The Pursuit of Happiness is a great tragic love story; a tale of divided loyalties, decisive moral choices, and the random workings of destiny.

Details

Title: The Pursuit of Happiness

Author: Douglas Kennedy

ISBN: 0099415372 (ISBN13: 9780099415374)

Published: Arrow 2001

Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction

Pages: 646

Source: Own Copy

My Rating: 4/5 stars

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