The word “mnemonic” has nothing to do with anything in the movie. Nothing. It’s just a weird word that makes the title sound fancy.
As an adjective, “mnemonic” means “aiding or designed to aid the memory” or “relating to the power of memory”. As a noun, it means a special word or poem that helps you recall a set of connected ideas—like “FANBOYS”, which reminds you of seven coordinating conjunctions in English: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.
But the premise of Johnny Mnemonic is that the protagonist is carrying data in his head like a drug mule and doesn’t even know what it is! Moreover, he doesn’t remember much about himself; he dumped his memories to make more space to carry data. From the title, I would have guessed he had a special memory skill, but no. He just has a cybernetic upgrade that turned his brain into a (rather faulty) hard drive. He’s nothing special. Might as well be named John Doe.
William Gibson wrote the screenplay as well as the short story of the same name, so the title was his choice, nothing to do with Hollywood. Maybe he picked it because the character wishes he could remember his childhood?
I didn’t particularly like Crime and Punishment… it was third-person omniscient but drifted into unreliable narrator territory because the protagonist is crazy, and you spend a lot of time watching him very closely as he goes around in circles being indecisive. I find his behavior dull at best and really frustrating at times—which is perhaps the point, but it’s unpleasant and rather drawn-out. I think I was expecting more overt philosophy, but there’s only a couple of scattered bits.
I was too tempted by the price! Bought it for 50% off SG$5.89. But according to the rules I've been trying to follow for a couple of years now, if I buy it, I can't just put it aside for another day. Last in, first out. Means I have to read it. So that's what I'm doing!
Genre: Classic Literature (Russian)
Date started / date finished: 28-Mar-20 to 05-Apr-20 Length: 485 pages ISBN: 9781840224306
Originally published in: 1867/2000
Amazon link: Crime and Punishment
This book was printed in 1950. It’s in decent condition, although the pages are a little brownish. It has a pleasant smell, like an old library. The content as well as the paper, the fonts, and the typesetting make for a kind of armchair time-traveling experience.
When and Why I Read 30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary
My dad dug this book up out of a box in the house. The text was first was published in 1942; my copy is apparently the eighteenth printing (October 1950). I am not the least bit worried about the strength of my vocabulary, but when I opened the book at random and landed on "Seventh Day: Words About Theories", a chapter which defined and explained atheism, agnosticism, fatalism, egoism, altruism, stoicism, chauvinism, jingoism, liberalism, conservatism, and epicureanism, I decided this was perhaps not just another dime-a-dozen book about words. That the book stayed in print until at least the 1970s says something about its enduring appeal.
Genre: Reference (Language)
Date started / date finished: 23-Mar-20 to 29-Mar-20 Length: 242 pages ISBN: Originally published in: 1942/1950
Amazon link: 30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary
I am not practiced in evaluating biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs. I don’t often read them. In fact, I only just learned (by asking Google) that the difference between an autobiography and a memoir is that the former generally consists of key facts about a person who just happens to be the author, whereas the latter is more about “emotional truth”.
So what do I think of the emotional truth of Tara Westover’s memoir Educated? I’m not sure. I could go at it one of several ways. Maybe it’s an indictment of a backwards Mormon family. Maybe it’s the story of the triumph of a determined individual over uniquely challenging circumstances. Maybe it’s the literary equivalent of a sordid reality TV-show. Probably it’s a little bit of all those things. See below for more on what I thought of the book and why.
Are there spoilers in the post? Well… memoirs don’t have plot, and you know that Tara became a successful author in the end, so… no. Not really.
I know where the book came from, but not how it ended up where it did, in the West Elm home furnishings store in Ponce City Market in Atlanta, Georgia, where along with two other books it was resignedly decorating a console table.
When I moved to Singapore in 2008, my then-husband’s employer put us up in a hotel (The Copthorne Orchid, since torn down) while we looked for a place to rent. The hotel ran a shuttle bus to downtown Singapore’s shopping district, Orchard Road. The first time I took the shuttle bus, I alighted, went up and over a pedestrian bridge, walked in a shopping mall, and immediately encountered a bookstore. “I’m going to like this country,” I thought.
That bookstore, San Bookshop, has since closed. So have all the other San Bookshops. So has another bookshop I found at Far East Plaza that day.
Asian Proverbs is a heavy, compact hardcover volume of full-color, glossy pages showcasing 40 sayings from each of 11 different countries and regions: India, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Tibet, China, The Philippines, Korea, and Japan. The quotations are shown in smoothly translated English and the original language opposite a selection of artworks representing the culture of the country or region. Some of the sayings are rather opaque, while others have a familiar flavor. Most have the ring of truth.
When and Why I Read Asian Proverbs
I bought this book at ANA Book Shop at Far East Plaza.
Genre: Reference Date started / date finished: 21-Mar-20 to 21-Mar-20 Length: 186 pages ISBN: 9789889827069
Originally published in: 2011
Amazon link: Asian Proverbs
Either Onward wasn’t that great, or I was in a weird mood when I watched it.
Or maybe the previews ruined it. I prefer to watch movies that I know nothing about. Movie trailers that show you jokes from the movie are awful, because a joke is really only funny when it’s a surprise.
Or maybe it’s that I don’t like movies about high school. Onward is about a magical quest, sure, but it is also somewhat about being in high school. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a television or film depiction of “the American high school experience” that bore any resemblance to my own high school experience. Relatability fail. Every time.
Or maybe it’s that the movie can’t be about an epic quest and high school at the same time… too much cognitive dissonance.
Or maybe it’s that Pixar’s charm is fading; too much reliance on a formula? The story did seem to have the odor of plot coupons — not that the brothers had to physically collect things, but they did go through a series of preordained steps to reach a goal. Sure, there was a meaningful ‘inner’ journey, but the outer journey seemed a bit paint-by-numbers.
It’s not that it was a bad movie. It was good. But I couldn’t love it whole-heartedly.
The funniest part of Onward was the scene at the chasm. I laughed so much! But there are some really, really sad moments too… And some cringey ones, which is probably another reason I didn’t like the movie as much as I was hoping to.