The Yin and yang press

Literature that will make readers discover that there is a darker side to anything, but will still keep them glued to the works until the last word. 

WORKING Steve Terkel's "Working" features a large variety of interesting characters who all have different occupations. Their self-told stories portray the powerful concept that all working people, no matter their career path, are essential pieces of the puzzle that makes our society whole. Also similarly to a puzzle, each character has more to them than meets the eye. This book makes the reader realize that the variety of people in different occupations that we may encounter every day (the janitor at school, the prostitute on the other side of town, the secretary at the front desk) each have a story that goes much deeper than the first impression we get. Human beings are much more complex than the initial judgments we give them, and there is no better way to come to this realization than by reading about their experiences in their own words, from their perspective. Their stories dig much deeper than our first judgments, and reach emotional depths that every person should consider when thinking about the people that they often encounter. Every occupation matters, everybody has a personal story, and no one is insignificant when it comes to the big picture of our society.
REDEPLOYMENT While most war novels seem like an attempt at being told like a regular story, Phil Klay’s “Redeployment” is written in more of a diary style. Though many readers might prefer to read about war in a distance sense, the blunt style of this piece is what makes someone able to truly feel the impact of war through the eyes of a soldier, rather than a civilian. Sergeant Price speaks in a no-bullshit manner that may be unique to people, but is something that is essential for a reader to empathize with how ostracized someone coming home from war may feel. Feeling detached from his wife, being alarmed by the public noises at a mall, and needing to kill his dog in order to feel in control of his life are some of the primary issues that this piece speaks to. There should be more written works that are told in a manner that represent the exact thoughts of someone in Sergeant Price’s position so that civilians can more fully understand the impact that the war has on people. This piece is a great step for society to commiserate with returning soldiers so that we can take steps to assist them in feeling more comfortable at home. “A piece that truly illustrates the impact that war has on soldiers. More so, a piece that enlightens readers about the struggles of returning home and actually feeling at home.” – THE TIMES
REGARDING THE PAIN OF OTHERS While most readers are aware that the events of the world can influence what is being photographed and represented in the media, most have probably never thought about the fact that this causation can also be applied backwards. In Susan Sontag’s “Regarding the Pain of Others”, she not only portrays how frenzied and painful some of the world events in society are, but is artfully able to connect how important photography is to these events. Her opinion in reference to the fact that the media can use photography in order to influence the public’s opinion is an interesting outlook that speaks to how easily our society is affected by what we see. She proves that photography can be falsified in order to make society believe anything that the photographer is attempting to sway their beliefs to. “Regarding the Pain of Others” strongly influences the reader to understand that what we are seeing in the media may portray more of what we are being manipulated to believe than what is actually occurring in reality. After reading this peace, the reader may have a deeper understanding about the strong impact photography (and possibly other modern technologies portrayed in media) have on our outlooks.
THE MOST HUMAN HUMAN It is truly amazing just how omnipresent technology, specifically computers, are in our modern society. Their functions are becoming increasingly advanced, which makes one be able to consider the possibility that one day, computers may be able to copy human intelligence (including personality). Alan During’s Turing Test tests the possibility of machines that can “think”, rather than just function in the way they are programmed to do. This test requires judges to speak to either a machine or a human (without knowing which one they are conversing with). The prediction was that by the beginning of the twenty-first century, a computer would be able to emulate a human so well that it would fool about thirty percent of the human judges after just a five minute conversation. The author of “The Most Human Human”, Bryan Christian, was actually selected to be a participant of the Turing Test. In his book, he ponders the idea that computers essentially increase how human we are. He questions the idea of empathy and other emotions that are specific to humans. The book opens the readers mind as to what it means to be a human, and modern-day relationships with computers and technology. "An interesting outlook on the effects of computers on humanity. Makes the reader question what it truly means to be a human anymore."- THE TIMES
CAT'S CRADLE There are multiple notions as to how the world will meet its end. In Kurt Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle”, the reader finds out that it will be pretty awful either way. The world will either cease to exist due to an atomic bomb, or by the freezing of all forms of water on the Earth. As John goes on a journey searching for knowledge about Dr. Felix Hoenikker’s Manhatten Project, he encounters some interesting characters. These include an average woman and a fanatic of model trains, as well as the children of Dr. Hoenikker. His journey extends to many places such as San Lorenzo, where he learns about an unheard-of religion. This religion includes ideas about humanity that many people may have otherwise not previously considered. This novel includes many ridiculous notions: including strange methods of lovemaking and interesting ideas about social groups. There are many satirical notions of religion all throughout the novel that not all readers may be able to appreciate. This book is not for those who are not able to appreciate a more pessimistic outlook on reality. However, this novel is an interesting read for those with a sarcastic personality and an open outlook on literature.
THE YELLOW BIRDS Kevin Power’s “The Yellow Birds” is able to touch on the damage beyond that of external wounds as a result of war. This novel extends the soldiers’ pain to include emotional agony. Readers will quickly discover that the soldiers at war encounter pain both at war and also during their homecoming. Their mental and physical damage must be kept to themselves, seeing as soldiers carry a burden beyond the weight of their gun. They must keep all of their pain internal so that civilians like us can enjoy our lives in safety. They sacrifice their lives in battle in order to keep us protected. A soldier’s sacrifice is artistically well-portrayed in this novel, including the metaphors and references to birds, as is made obvious by the novel’s title. This novel speaks to the emotional aspect of a soldier, and easily keeps a reader’s interest with its artful style of writing.
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