viernes, 14 de octubre de 2016

MercatorNet: Dracula’s daughter takes on the Ottoman Empire [ONLY FOR THOUGHT - NEW SECTION OF LOST IDEAS] while adding value

MercatorNet: Dracula’s daughter takes on the Ottoman Empire

Dracula’s daughter takes on the Ottoman Empire

Dracula’s daughter takes on the Ottoman Empire

Yet another young adult novel full of sex and violence
Jennifer Minicus | Oct 14 2016 | comment 
And I Darkenby Kiersten White
written for ages 13-16 | not recommended
published in 2016 | Delacorte Press | 496 pages

Lada has always both feared and revered her father, Vlad Dracul, Prince of Wallachia. Having inherited none of her mother's beauty and all of her father's cruelty, Lada determines at a young age that she will conquer by force. Her gentle and extremely handsome younger brother Radu, in contrast, frightens easily and clings constantly to their nurse, earning the scorn of Dracul.
When Wallachia is surrounded by hostile neighbors, Dracul leaves Lada and Radu in the courts of the Ottoman Empire as insurance that he will remain loyal to the Sultan. Deep feelings of betrayal grow within the children. Lada decides to hide all emotion which she sees as a sign of weakness. Radu seeks refuge in Islam. One day they meet the Sultan's heir, Mehmed who himself longs for friendship and a sense of belonging. Both fall in love with Mehmed who wants Lada to become his wife by entering his harem. Radu, for his part, enters into a sham marriage with a friend who has a relationship with her maid.
Kiersten White's first novel in this series is engrossing and full of intrigue. The complexities of international and court politics create an intricate plot full of changing relationships. Even the Sultan's harem has a pecking order in which Mehmed's mother wields more influence than any man in the government.
Sadly, none of the three protagonists earn the reader's sympathies. Although Lada is admirable for her independence and loyalty to her own country, she is savage and controlling. Radu is manipulative, using his good looks and gentle demeanor to gain the trust of people he hopes to use. Mehmed claims to love Lada, but spends much time with his harem and consequently his children, whom he tells Lada are nothing more than one of his duties.
Having never learned much about Christianity, neither Lada nor Radu have much respect for the religion of their homeland. At the same time, the graphic scenes of torture and punishment they witness at the hands of the Islamic Sultan serve to fuel Lada's hatred of the Ottomans. Indeed, there are several detailed passages involving violence (often perpetrated by Lada) and sexuality, including assaults on both Lada and Radu, as well as vulgar dialogue.
Perhaps the one redeeming aspect of the novel is the fact that Lada refuses to have relations with Mehmed (though they come close). She suspects that once she does, she will mean no more to him than any of his other wives and concubines. Despite the poor example of marriage she witnessed between her parents, her instincts tell her that marriage should be between one man and one woman. If not, the woman is always the loser, and Lada has no intention of losing.
A former teacher, Jennifer Minicus is now a full-time wife and mother.


I would like to issue a big thank-you to the Swedes for giving Bob Dylan the Nobel Prize in Literature. Thank God we have something to argue about this week other than the failings of Donald Trump.
I’ve noticed that reactions to the news varied according to the age of the pundit. The baby-boomers are swooning. Dylan is, after all, the guardian angel of baby-boomerdom – rebellion, nostalgia, confusion, and anxiety. He captured the Zeitgeist.
But I’ve noticed that millennial critics tended to say: “Dylan, what the…? He writes songs, not poetry?! They don’t make sense without the music.” It’s odd that Dylan’s trademark surrealism and protest don’t strike a chord with a younger generation.
Anyhow, a bit like the Nobel Peace Prize, which Al Gore won for his PowerPoint skills and Barack Obama for nothing at all, the Nobel Prize in Literature is meant to provoke controversy. Let it begin. Read Martin Fitzgerald’s reaction below

Michael Cook 

Why Bob Dylan is a Nobel choice

By Martin Fitzgerald
Of course it's literature. Of the highest order.

Read the full article
In honouring Dylan, the judges have made a category error

By Jen Webb
The greatest living poet? Not on your nelly.

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King Harold the Great: if the English had beaten the Normans in 1066

By Charles West and Alyxandra Mattison
950 years ago today, the last successful invasion of England took place

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Your kids and the facts of life, Part 2

By Carolyn Smith and Mary Cooney
An experienced mother offers great advice

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Transgender identities are not always permanent

By Walt Heyer
A man who lived as a woman for years shares his traumatic experience

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Some thoughts on marriage from young Chinese

By Marcus Roberts
An insight perhaps into why marriage is declining in China.

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Dracula’s daughter takes on the Ottoman Empire

By Jennifer Minicus
Yet another young adult novel full of sex and violence

Read the full article
As medicine improves, how long can we expect to live?

By Karl D. Stephan
We seem to have a built-in expiration date of about 115 years

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All the boxes have been ticked, but single career women are still not happy

By Julia Vidmar
Today's young women are over-achievers and the young men are under-achievers.

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Siblings with benefits

By Tamara El-Rahi
A little gratitude for my siblings as I settle into motherhood.

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