Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

3/5 stars.
ebook, 154 pages.
Read from November 07 to 13, 2013.

“…everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last human freedoms–to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Viktor Frankl was a neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor. His observations as a scientist in combination with his experiences as a Holocaust victim allowed him to create a form of Psychotherapy called Logotherapy. Logotherapy was created with the Greek word “logos” which translates as “meaning” and is based off Kierkegaard’s “will to meaning”. This book was one of the first to define his new form of therapy which helped many Holocaust survivor’s get through their experiences.

This book is remarkable in so many ways and was unlike any Holocaust memoir that I’ve read. Viktor did not reiterate the horrors of the events he experienced but rather outlined what he did to get himself through it. Even more interestingly, was how academic the book was written. You don’t expect a memoir to be written in this manner but it was effective for what Viktor was trying to get across to his readers, which, in its simplest form, is about being able to choose a positive attitude, perspective and approach to your life and if you can find meaning within suffering. Or as Viktor quotes Nietzsche, “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how‘”.  Viktor’s direct and brief writing style epitomizes his simple yet potent ideologies. However, if I had a criticism, I would say that his academic approach, while effective, I found that it takes way some of the emotional power of his story and his ideas a bit. With that also being said, his approach also meant that he was able to provide poignant advice without coming off like a self-help book.

Viktor’s story is inspirational and he truly makes us take a look at our own lives and what we have to grateful for and how we can use the power and reasoning of our minds to overcome any obstacle.  I would recommend this book to everyone as I believe that Viktor’s approach is effective and that we severely undermine the power of our own thoughts.

Winter is coming… oh wait. It’s already here.

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I’m trying to devour the behemoth that is Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust at the moment and thought that this image was appropriate.

Where I’m located is going through a bit of a cold snap; lots of snow and -30 C (-22 F) temperatures, meaning that I’ve been spending a lot more time inside lately. So I’ve had a bit more time with my books and my kitties as running, functioning or trying to get anything done in this weather proves to be quite difficult (yes, I still want to run, even when the weather is this bad). It’s not such a bad thing to be forced inside as I just got back from a wonderful trip over to the UK, the chilly temperatures allow me to catch up a bit and it forces me to take some down time before I really start tackling Christmas. I’m normally all done my Christmas preparations by this time but it’s just been too hectic, as the excuse always is. On top of Christmas and all that it brings, I also have to start preparing to move in four weeks time as well as start planning some stuff for a wedding that I’m going to be a part of in February. This also means that I have to be careful that I don’t procrastinate for too long but this weather, just like when you’re trying to drive in it, forces you to slow down a bit.

Hoping to have some new reviews up soon before the madness of the season ensues.

A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

3/5 stars.
Paperback, 761 pages.
Read from September 10 to November 04, 2013.

Another solid novel by Martin. Admittedly though, I feel like I have become comfortable with Martin’s writing so there were not as many surprises in this novel as in comparison to the first one, which I suppose, is the be expected to some degree. Regardless, I am still enthralled with the majority of the characters and most of the plots. My only fear is that so many of these precious details that Martin puts into his work that make his stories unique and exceptional will be lost in the coming novels. He has been successful in not missing too many so far which has provided some enthralling twists but, well there are just so many details in this novel and as reader, there are some that I don’t easily forget. Such as with Ayra’s direwolf, Nymeria, who was released to escape death in the first novel, will she return to Arya? I’m hoping so.

I think what I can appreciate most and what I think Martin could attribute the success of his novels to is the expansive and intricate characters that he creates. Even for those who don’t care for fantasy can still appreciate a well-developed character. For example, you don’t know whether to love or hate some, whether their intentions are for the better good or for their own means or if they are truly as heartless as they appear because Martin gets inside each and everyone of his characters. You’re able to see just how human they are, with all their quirks and faults, and empathize with each in one way or another. The characters that are straight forward and innately likeable, Martin doesn’t seem to keep around for very long (ie. Eddard Stark). Even with this second novel alone, some of the characters have changed so much from the first and are starting to show their true colours (ie. Theon Greyjoy).

While I have enjoyed this novel and the one prior, I don’t know if I would continue them were it not for the fact that my boyfriend really wants to continue watching the television series. There is just so much out there to read and if I’m already feeling too comfortable with Martin’s work I’m hesitant to continue and dull the excitement. However, I just can’t stand watching something that’s based on a book without having read it first! Since I have now finished this second book we can proceed in watching the second season. I hope that Martin continues to deliver.