Tag Archives: leonard nimoy

Reading of Books #33

A bunch of books I read, with Elaine Pagels, Teresa Iezzi, William Shatner and Aaron Mahnke. Satan, lore, Leonard Nimoy and copywriting all in one post.

Elaine Pagels – The Origin of Satan

Elaine Pagels had previously written about Gnosticism and therefore has e wide and deep knowledge of the early history of the Holy Bible. I’ve always found it very interesting how the Christian faith supercharged a Manichean worldview thanks to their black and white view of the world. You have people that are saved and people that are doomed, which is pretty much how Judaism and Islam view the world too. This was not an unheard of concept, the ancient Greeks viewed everyone who didn’t speak their language as inferior and barbaric, but even that was not to the same extent as the Christian faith changed the way we look at the world.

Satan embodies the other half of the dichotomy in Christianity, raised from a more pagan-like spirit to God-sidekick, he was cast as the opposing force. There’s a lot Pagels has to say about this, pointing out the incongruities of that whole viewpoint, but its shaping by human intervention in the teachings of Christ really has influenced our worldview and the complete dominating nature of these Semitic religions. I was mildly disappointed by this book, simply because most of it is not dealing with the name of Satan itself or its conceptualizations, but its socio-political meaning. This is highly interesting, but the book is mostly a critical reading of Biblical formation and censorship. A topic that can’t be highlighted enough in this illuminated world.

William Shatner – Leonard:┬áMy Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man

The passing of Leonard Nimoy hit sci-fi fans around the world hard. I still tear up at certain fragments in the new Star Trek films, like the brief scene where Zachary Quinto’s Spock receives word that Nimoy-Spock (time-loop thing, use google) has passed away. There was much ado about the fact that at the funeral one guest was sorely missing. That was William Shatner. His two daughters were present though and Shatner did have a huge event to attend. Though the two grew apart in their later years, Shatner probably felt the hurt of this sudden gap Nimoy left more than anyone else. So then he answered with this book.

The book is the life story of Spock and Kirk, of the men behind them and their long-lasting friendship. The story tells about elements of both their lives, the connective pieces and the discrepancies in the context of busines where friendships are rare. It’s a heartfelt story that includes a lot of painful moments that both men shared. Some moments are quirky and at times there’s a little too much Shatner in the story and too little Nimoy, but friendship is a process and feeling at the same time that is highly personal. It’s a good book, a pleasant read for those that want to experience that remarkable man through the eyes of his remarkable friend. Probably as close as you can get.

Aaron Mahnke – The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures

Aaron Mahnke has been hosting an amazing podcast for a while now and I had never heard of it until I came across this book. Lore is a rather complex term, that involves an element of common knowledge, mystery and its embeddedness in general consciousness. In the podcast, and obviously in the book as well, Mahnke explores the world of mystery and stories that fill our daily lives. Old superstitions are a big part of the book, for example, the story of where the vampire myths come from. The way they shaped and merged into the modern Bela Lugosi-esque view on the mythical being, illuminated through stories of vampire hunters, frauds, and very suspicious happenings.

But Mahnke uses the term Lore very broadly. Modern-day myths also are a part of the book. What you get is a collection of remarkable stories with dubious truths, that put a bit of mystery back into the world we live in. I became aware of the podcast and surrounding outlets during the book, so there’s a tendency in the writing style of short, bite-sized internet communication. You know, sometimes a bit too much suspense and almost sensationalist cliffhangers are a part of the way the stories are brought to you. But that’s what makes them so appealing, the way they often are told. In that sense, this is a great book for those who love the strange and weird.

Teressa Iezzi – The Idea Writers: Copywriting in a New Media and Marketing Era

As someone who has been involved with professional writing for most of my working career (and recently have started to work as a copywriter), I have a constant interest in the field and its development. I have a particular love for language, for the way it captivates us and how we gravitate to good storytelling. Even the opening line of my beloved Star Trek is an example of that: “Space, the final frontier…”. That’s still copywriting in an age where we have a different landscape of media. Advertising has changed a lot through that and Teressa Iezzi brilliantly outlines this in her book.

The best part about this book is that it’s not trying to summarize or conceptualize this new way of advertising. Iezzi tells it, the way it should be told: with stories. The book describes the heroic tales of new advertisers, innovative products, and daring ventures to tell the world about a product. Mostly without talking about the product. It aptly describes the heavy kind of jobs copywriters face and how their job has changed in these recent times to a more and more art-director-like position. A thoroughly enjoyable work, that builds up my enthusiasm more and more for the way words still carry magic as we used to believe.

The Reading of Books #16

I read some interesting books from Leonard Nimoy (twice about Spock), Dostojevski’s ‘The Idiot’ and a theory about Hitler escaping to Argentina.

Williams, G & Dunstan, S. – Grey Wolf: The Escape of Adolf Hitler

source: goodreads.com

It’s the topic of many films and books, most in high fantastic approach, that the nazi’s somehow escaped. To the moon even, if we may acknowledge the film ‘Iron Sky’. With this sensationalist book the writers have posed that Hitler did indeed escape in an elaborate plot to Argentina and lived hout his life there. The truth of this book has been highly disputed and ridiculed by historians. There are plenty of sources though, that state a similar truth. IN fact, there is also public FBI files on the topic. When dealing in absolutes, these still make it highly unlikely that Hitler did escape.

So reading this book should be done as if reading a historical ‘what if’ story, with a string of factualities that might, possibly lead to an alternative ending. The writers are clearly from a journalistic angle and there for really know how to sell the story to you. You’ll find yourself considering the reality of their version highly likely at some point. It’s a captivating read, but should not be confused for fact. Really, it shouldn’t be. There is a lot of dirt to be found in regard to the third reich and its decline and this book is trying to dust of one of the biggest questions concerning the possible escape of Hitler. It’s well written, exciting and full of accounts to prove the theory.
Well worth reading, but probably not believing unless you like tin foil hats.

Fyodor Dostojevski – The Idiot

source: goodreads.com

I’ve been enjoying a bunch of Russian classics lately and I still find them hard to read often. Not because they are boring, but it’s endless details and focus on the internal turmoils of the characters, the focus on the feelings and expressiveness and the endless superlatives that come with it can be exhausting. Ever since Iggy Pop’s ‘The Idiot’ came up as Ian Curtis’ suicide record I’ve been intrigued by the title and the link of that title to the book. It’s far fetched, but I’ve always felt this might get me in touch more with things from that time. So this is one of the Dostojevski books I’ve read and enjoyed.

The book focusses on Prince Mishkin, who is to all extents and purposes an idiot, a simpleton and a fool. This allows for the society he takes part in a strange touch stone with a guy they can just make fun of and mock, but who turns out to have a much deeper understanding of peoples drives and motivations than any other. Unfortunately not of his own and the story continues while everythign unravels and pretty much everyone ends unhappy and dispersed. It’s writing style is elaborate and rich, focussing much on the main few characters. The other characters are even more made fools, flat figures with good harts but little touch with reality, creating a strange disconnected feel for the reader. A recommendation for the Russian literature afficionado, but not one to take lightly.

Leonard Nimoy – I am Spock

source: goodreads.com

I have never been big on biographical works, but the autobiography of Leonard Nimoy was one I could’t miss out on. So I got myself the audio version, read by the man himself. It’s a glorious account of a wonderful life by Nimoy, from his childhood days to directing Star Trek. It deals with the struggle he had with the character Spock and is a direct reply to his previous book, titled ‘I Am Not Spock’. The embracing of this character and making it a part of himself is a heartfelt account of personal identity, acceptance and knowing the self.

Nimoy describes the troubled history of the original series, the switches in directors and the inevitable end the show was heading for. He also is very clear about his strong affinity with the character and his commitment to making it work, causing conflicts with the directors and writers but which have made Spock the beloved character we all love and adore. He is funny enough very limited on his personal life, which is fine but noteworthy. The funniest bits are the dialogues with himself, with Spock and Nimoy, who discuss certain issues with eachother. This is a great listen or read for lovers of Star Trek, but really for any human being that wants to see how far integrity and honesty get you in life. Live Long and Prosper.

Leonard Nimoy – I Am Not Spock

source; Goodreads.com

Strange choice ofcourse, to read the latest autobiography first and only then focus on the original. Well, I did so anyways, which was regrettably not too rewarding. Where the second edition is narrated by Nimoy himself, on this original you’ll have to make do with another guy. He tells you in big lines the same story as told in ‘I Am Spock’, but allows no doubt to exist about Nimoy’s struggles with the character and firmly keeps the door to the future shut.

Where Nimoy seems elated and free in his later autobiography, this one seems apologetic, difficult and written in a time of struggle. Turns out later that this was actually the case. What I did enjoy in this biography, which was lacking in the later edition, is Nimoy’s passionate descriptions of his love for photography and how he started on it and the pivotal role it played in his carreer. It ironically shows a man much more like Spock than the jovial Nimoy in his later version of the life story.