[...]It is true that to trace the exact boundary between rightful and wrongful resistance is impossible: but this impossibility arises from the nature of right and wrong, and is found in almost every part of ethical science. A good action is not distinguished from a bad action by marks so plain as those which distinguich a hexagon from a square. There is a frontier where virtue and vice fade into each other. Who has ever been able to define the exact boundary between courage and rashness, between prudence and cowardice, between frugality and avarice, between liberality and prodigality? Who has ever been able to say how far mercy to offenders ought to be carried, and where it ceases to deserve the name of mercy and becomes a pernicious weakness? What casuist, what lawgiver, has ever been able to nicely mark the limits of the right of self-defence? All our jurists hold that a certain quantity of risk to life or limb justifies a man in shooting or stabbing an assailant: but they have long given up in despair the attempt to describe, in precise words, that quantity of risk. They only say that it must be, not a slight risk, but a risk such as would cause serious apprehension to a man of firm mind; and who will undertake to say what is the precise amount of apprehension which deserves to be called serious, or what is the precise texture of a mind which deserves to be called firm. It is doubtless to be regrettet that the nature of words and the nature of things do not admit of more accurate legislation: nor can it be denied that wrong will often be done when men are judges in their own cause, and proceed instantly to execute their own judgment. Yet who would, on that account, interdict all self-defence? The right which a people hast o resist a bad government bears a close analogy to the right which an individual, in the absence of legal protection, has to slay an assailant. In both cases the evil must be grave. In both cases all regular and peaceable modes of defence must be exhausted before the aggrieved party resorts to extremities. In both cases an awful responsibility is incurred. In both cases the burden of the proof lies on whim who has ventured on so desperate and expedient; and if he fails to vindicate himself, he is justly liable to the severest penalties. But in neither case can we absolutely deny the existence of the right. A man beset by assasins is not bound to let himself be tortured and butchered without using his erapons, because nobody has ever been able to precisely define the amount of danger which justifies homicide. Nor is a society bound to endure passively all that tyranny can inflict, because nobody has ever been able to precisely define the amount of misgovernment which justifies rebellion.[...]
I've updated my booklist for 2008: Link

I didn't even make it to 200. :-(
And there's a lot of re-reads on that list, and lots of - erm - rather quick reads. (Which is to say, books that are better read with brains shut off, or best yet, not at all.)

That last aspect is somewhat unlikely to change in 2009, though I will try to be better with the re-reads.

Books 2008

Feb. 4th, 2008 06:23 pm
As so many people are doing it (me sheep again) and I want to figure out how much I actually read, I'm going to make a list of books I finish in 2008.
So here goes what I have so far (the ones with an asterisk I have re-read):

fiction )

non-fiction )

further notes )

That's around 175 books. Considering the year has 365 days, that's not very impressive.
On the other hand, I do have a full-time job.
I should read more high-quality stuff, too.


Aug. 31st, 2007 08:50 pm
Mike: You're in denial.
Marc Antony: I don't believe so, no. Unless this is a very large boat we're in here.

I love love love these books.
Channeling Cleopatra was totally funny, and Cleopatra 7.2 is hilarious. And it makes me paranoid about the characters because by now I expect every single person they meet out to betray them, kill them, steal their DNA or something like that.

[livejournal.com profile] martianmooncrab, thank you so much!
And please tell EAS that I love her and I want to have her babies. ;-D
I have 66 LJ friends.
I don't think I ever had 66 friends. Ever.
And when you take away those that are secondary journals of people who have more than one, the remaining number is still more than I ever had in RL.

I love me some internet.

Why did I just notice? Well, typing 66 usernames into GJ to find secondary journals is too much for my attention span. Especially as some of you guys seem to exist over there, I'm just not sure the people there are really you.

Sooooo, do you have an account over at Greatest Journal? One of those backup, LJ is down again, OMG I can't post, the world is falling apart journals?
I do, same username. I'd greatly appreciate it if you could friend me if you're over there too.
Just like a good boy scout. Be prepared.

My headache is better. Still, I'm going to go to bed soon. Maybe read a bit.

Which reminds me that I owe [livejournal.com profile] wolflady26 a book review for Game of Thrones.

In short: You. Are. Evil.

In longer form: I need to read the next volume.
I liked it, I really did. I wasn't bending over backwards to get as much reading time as possible, and I do admit to once thinking the author likes to kill a character off if he's bored or doesn't know what else to do. But the story is intriguing, I admit it. And I want to know where it's going. The end of that first volume is a mean cliffhanger.
So yeah. I do care about some of the characters. It might not come as much of a surprise that both Arya and Danaerys intrigue me, as does Jon. Sansa makes me want to strangle her. Tyrion - very interesting, that one.
As is Varys. I simply adore shady politician characters with unknown motives. Littlefinger, on the other hand, hasn't yet managed to capture my interest too much. Danaerys' knight, Mormont, is another interesting quantity. Eddard needs to get rid of some of his righteousness, but he does have a cool wife. Who in turn has an obviously crazy sister.

Anyway, next time I come to visit, I want the next volume. I'll bring you another Auel instead, I think I didn't the last time.
Oh, and do you still have my Narnia books?


Jul. 17th, 2006 05:14 pm
first, some fanfic related stuff )

Okay, now that we got the squeeing out of the way...

Thanks for making me feel so much better about me weeding here. I went back and looked at the books again, and I still think there's no good reason for us to keep them, and it'll be much better if other libraries, with users with more scientific interests, will get them.
And going through more shelves, I didn't throw out that much, so I hope I won't end up with an empty library.

This weekend, my parents and I met in Meiningen, a town halfway between here and where they are on vacation. The town is nice and they have a great theatre, where I've already been once with Katrin. And this theatre is going to have Mozart's Don Giovanni on stage this coming season! My mom said the last time she saw it on stage was when she was 18 or so. Apparently, theatres have it really rarely. So I took the chance and reserved a ticket for me - for January 20, 2007.
It's a Saturday, so that's nice, and I wanted to make sure I get a ticket on a good day and for a decent seat.

Sunday I went to Gemuenden, a small town around here. They have a castle (Sandra, it's on a mountain, and there's a really steep walkway up to it, but if I ever see one that is down in a valley, I'll take you there...), but I couldn't get into the courtyard because they have it all set up for a summer theatre festival. I later found out they have THe taming of the shrew, so I am going to try to get tickets for that.

A lot of culture, but I was thinking that I can do that right now. I can afford it, and there's nobody I need to take into account in my scheduling, and I can basically do whatever I feel like.
Fortunately, I am not afraid or reluctant to go to places on my own!

Today I also ordered a whole stack of books from amazon. The whole of Jean M. Auel's Earth's Children series except The Valley of Horses, because I already have that one (even though it's totally falling apart - I bought it used during one stay in America and being owned by me didn't really improve its condition...).
And I didn't want to get them in German, so there was no chance to just go to a bookstore and buy them.
It's not Shakespeare, but I like her style and the detailed information about prehistory. Okay, maybe it isn't historically accurate. But then I watched a show on TV about the homo neanderthalensis and from what they said there, Auel might as well be right. Often, scientists are just guessing anyway.
I talked to [livejournal.com profile] kaitkaitkait about the books and those by Joan Wolf recently, and it made me want to read the series again. The last time, I had borrowed them, but I thought it was worth buying. So I blame Kait, really. ;-)

Anyway, time to go home and get something to eat. And then tomorrow I'm off to Stuttgart to get all the paperwork out of the way. And then I'll be a civil servant!

I'm surprisingly happy considering I didn't really get anything done today.
A lot of things are supposed to tell others what sort of person you are.
The people you associate with, the things you wear, your hobbies.
For me, the best way to get to know a person is browsing their bookshelves.
A person who does not own any books, in my humble opinion, seriously lacks personality.

Now, considering that my predecessor for 30 years decided what was bought for the library, and that he served his own interest more than that of the institution, the bookshelves of the library can give quite a good impression of his personality.

I have gotten quite a good look so far into the stacks, and I can't say I like what I find overmuch.
His hobby was military music, so of course there are many books about this.
Secondly, I believe he is very much obsessed with conspiracy theories of any description. The bible code, how the evangelists anticipated everything from natural desasters to World War II - we have books about it. Just about every theory about 9/11? Certainly. The middle ages that were just an ínvention? Of course! Aliens who developed the earth, aliens at Area 51, some obscure power infiltrating our lives and stealing all our personal information? All there.
Lastly, he seems to be leaning quite close to the rather right-winged groups, politically. There are some books that would never ever make it into any bookshelve over which I have any sort of influence. (On the other hand, one of the books apparently blames the communist-fascist jewish corporations for 9/11...)

Personally, I have yet to find a conspiracy theory that sounds at all likely.
Not because I am so naive to believe that the press and TV tells us the truth and major corporations are benevolent and magnanimous, and governments are made up of truthful people with strong principles.
No, I simply don't believe in conspiracy theories because I don't see all the people involved as being able to work together so well to convincingly present a different reality.
My favorite example is the theory about the Middle Ages being invented, Charlemagne having never existed and all that. Because somebody found that if those years were indeed invented, they were invented all over the world. And of course, everybody knows that China, the Arabic world and Europe had well established lines of communication to pull this off...
*raises eyebrow*
Who believes those things???

But lets get back to the topic of bookshelves and their contents.
I suppose my own bookshelves show me as a person who reads mainly historical novels, with a tendency for historical romance, who loves fairy tales, but who also reads authors qualifying for "world literature". This selection interspersed with some non-fiction, selected with the aim to become a well-informed individual in every aspect of life, the sciences as well as history and politics. (We'll not discuss how much I succeed in that area...)
The nonfiction is all in German, but in the fiction there's quite a lot of English as well.
Pretty much all of the books have been read, I don't have books just for decoration.

Judging from my bookshelves, I seem like quite a nice, interesting person, actually.
So what's on your shelves?
I went and bought a fairy tale book.
And it's [livejournal.com profile] klmorgan's fault.

A conversation about fairy tales recently reminded me of a book I used to love when I was a kid. My dentist had it in his waiting room.
(I should probably say that I always loved to go to the dentist because he was the son of our neighbours and really cool and I never ever had any problems with my teeth anyway, except having to have eight of my baby teeth removed because they didn't fall out while the "real" teeth had already grown behind them.)
Anyway, it is a book of Russian magical fairy tales with illustrations by Bilibin. (And btw, doesn't he look great on that picture in wikipedia?)
My absolute favorite of the pictures in the book, from those I remember, is this one here.

Anyway, I got a message from the bookseller where I ordered it. He said it was practically on it's way. So Monday I should have it! (I gave the address of the base, and there's nobody here to take the mail on Saturdays.)
And it wasn't expensive, either.

I'm happy!

I think I am going to make an icon out of one of those pictures.

On a different note, [livejournal.com profile] linnapaw, do you remember the icon I told you about but couldn't find to show you when you visited me? I found it, it was at my parents'! DUH!
Warning: the following entry might be considered racist, even though it is not meant that way.

I just finished Segu by Maryse Conde (Original French title: Segou: les murailles de terre).
Basically it is the story of two generations of an African family living in Segu in the nineteenth century. Segu is a real town, on the Niger river.
The thing that is so interesting about the story is the tension between the different cultures clashing in Africa at this time. There were the Christian Europeans, Spanish,French, Portuguese, English, whose religious beliefs didn't keep them from buying and selling slaves, and whose contempt of the black people didn't keep them from impregnating slave women. Then there are the Arabs and Islamic Africans, who try to win over other nations to Muslim belief by any means necessary, just as the Christians babtize anybody they get their hands on (apart from the people they want to sell as slaves, as you can't sell a Christian, of course...). And then, of course, the African nations with their own religions, languages and cultures. I had no idea there were that many different African people in a rather small area. To say the truth, I didn't know much about Africa at all. That's why I like historical novels, you learn something from them.
Anyway, some things in the story really got me thinking. I knew before that some Africans tried to profit from the slave trade, selling their prisoners of war or kidnapping people to sell them. I didn't know that slaves were no invention of the whites coming to Africa. There had been some forms of slavery even before that. I didn't know how carefully some people counted the white and the black ancestors of everybody, denying their own African roots and being just as racist as the Europeans, or even more so.
It was no surprise to me to read about how religion was used in political matters. To find an ally, you just change to their religion, and keep your old gods stored away until you can get them out again. That's similar to the Christianization of Europe. There is a story of one monk who gave a new shirt to every person who would get babtized, and only several hundred shirts later realized that people would go right back to the end of the queue after being babtized to get another shirt. For the Germanic people, being dumped into some river had no religious meaning, so it was just a nice way of getting to some new clothes.
But reading that book made me wonder what exactly was wrong in Africa, and how it could be solved. I used to think that the main problem were the borders set up by the colonisation powers, paying no heed to the real borders between different people - see Hutu and Tutsi. Now I think that a main problem is simply development. When the Europeans and the Arabs came, Africa was for the most part on a level close to Stone Age, or maybe Bronze or Iron Age. And from there, they jumped right into industrialization, skipping everything in between. So the minds of the people could not keep up with the rapid changes in their environment. The changes in the minds of the white people didn't make it easier. For a while, the English traded slaves, then they abolished slavery in Great Britain, but kept it up in the colonies. And even while slavery was abolished, it just depended on how much money a slave trader was able to pay to bribe any officer.
The French were similar, first abolishing slavery and then putting it back just when the news of the abolishment had reached the colonies.
So while Africa always seemed like on big mass of land somewhere down there on the map, I now begin to really understand how diverse the continent is. It's not that I didn't know that before. Somewhere in my brain the information did stick. But I never really thought about it until now.
I didn't know either that there were several former slaves from America who managed to get back, bringing yet another influence to that strange mass of thoughts and ideas.
So why did I put that warning in the beginning of this entr, when in truth the only thing it reveals is my complete lack of knowledge of quite a bit of world history and geography? Mainly because of that "Stone/Bronze/Iron Age" comparison. I don't see myself as racist. I don't think I really care about the color of somebody's skin. So this is just stating my perception of the situation. But it might seem like I believe that Africans are a bunch of black morons who are unable to read and write and just communicate by beating a drum. Now for one thing, I never even gt around to understand Morse alphabet, so communicating long distance with drums is pretty cool to me. Also, somebody who is able to survive in Africa must be able to adapt to weird and often bad climatic and environmental situations. Without the European influence, I guess Africa would have developed into an industrial continent, too. But as the initial situation is very different from Europe, that development would have been quite different, too. We're not going to see how it might be. Even if every single person of European origin left Africa right now, you can't just undo several hundred years of interaction and influence.
I need to learn much more about Africa before I'll be able to see the problem from all sides. I only know that there is a problem, when people run amok killing their neighbors, no matter whether one civilian kills another or one army another or an army civilians or whatever. Somehow I don't believe that the development aid from Germany and other European countries really get to the root of the problem. It's just a way to try and fight the symptoms.
But I have no real solution, so I should stop talking nonsense. I'm not sure whether anything of this makes sense, it's just what came into my mind tonight, in no particular order and most likely contradicting myself.
Bear with me, it's getting late, it's terribly sultry and I didn't have much sleep last night.



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