To appreciate this book, we have to first understand and contextualize it as a by-product of a remarkable time--the restoration of the Gospel during aTo appreciate this book, we have to first understand and contextualize it as a by-product of a remarkable time--the restoration of the Gospel during a time of great advances in knowledge. Written in the passionate, often poetic style of the mid-1800s by Elder Parley Parker Pratt, who joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints just five months after it had been organized on April 6, 1830, the book touches on a broad array of ideas ranging from the purpose of government, through the creation of the universe, the purpose of science and the arts, and of course, the mysteries of the Godhead. An indefatigable missionary and writer, Elder Pratt wanted members throughout the fledgling Church to know about the concepts that the Prophet taught. So Pratt wrote countless missionary tracts, books including the History of the Missouri Persecutions, and founded the Millennial Star, the oldest publication issued by the Church. He served numerous missions, was imprisoned for his views, as well called as an apostle on the first Council of Twelve for the Church along with his brother Orson Pratt. To know more about his remarkable life, I would recommend the Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt (Deseret Book, 1874).
This book is fascinating as it shows how the time Elder Pratt spent with the Prophet Joseph Smith broadened his vision of what life holds for the follower of Christ. For Elder Pratt, truth was all encompassed within the Gospel--all part of what he called the science of theology. Some of the most interesting chapters span the second half of the book, including ruminations on the powers and calling of angels, the divine nature of dreams, qualifications for understanding the "science" of theology, the differentiation of spirits, and the power of miracles. Some members of the Church may not feel that there is anything new here, but a careful contextualization reminds us that these ideas were for the time, almost unimaginable and often breathtaking in their scope.
The book has many often quoted passages including a personal favorite on the refining influence of the Holy Ghost: "It quickens all the intellectual faculties, increases, enlarges, expands and purifies all the natural passions and affections, and adapts them, by the gift of wisdom to their lawful use. It inspires, develops, cultivates and matures all the fine toned sympathies, joys, tastes, kindred feelings and affections of our nature. It inspires virtue, kindness, goodness, tenderness, gentleness and charity. It develops beauty of person, form and features. It tends to health, vigor, animation and social feeling. It develops and invigorates all the faculties of the physical and intellectual man. It strengthens, invigorates and gives tone to the nerves. In short, it is, as it were marrow to the bone, joy to the heart, light to the eyes, music to the ears, and life to the whole being."
I thoroughly enjoyed John Adams as well as 1776 by McCullough, but for my reading style made a mistake by attempting to listen to this book on AudibleI thoroughly enjoyed John Adams as well as 1776 by McCullough, but for my reading style made a mistake by attempting to listen to this book on Audible. Over 17 hours of narration long, the Greater Journey, literally dragged on for almost a year. There is so much of interest from politics and medicine, through architecture, fashion, and fine art in this expansive retelling of a time period (approx. 1830-1900) when everything worthwhile appeared to be found on the Continent, especially in Paris, the City of Lights.
As I generally can read so quickly, I found myself bogged down as I listened and then discovered that speeding up the reading ruined the storytelling for me. The moral of my experience is that paper texts have an actual landscape that one can return to, an experience that is unavailable to a listener. Plus, this is a book I would have enjoyed much better if I could have annotated it. I will probably want to revisit it in paperback....more
A magical garden, a pair of half-sisters with secrets long kept from one another, a Southern town, and of course, some handsome men and an eccentric aA magical garden, a pair of half-sisters with secrets long kept from one another, a Southern town, and of course, some handsome men and an eccentric aunt are stirred together into a delightful read. Parts of this novel reminded me of childhood magic--apple trees that seemed to be alive and an abundance of flowers that we could use to change emotions and perhaps fate. This was Allen's first novel and if you enjoy gardens and romance, this just might be your summer read.
Reader's warning: this is an adult novel with some sexual references. My younger friends tell me it is tame for today, but I thought I would mention it anyway. ...more
Some books take a while to get caught up in, but with a cold, some chicken noodle soup, and a blanket, this was a perfect escape once I got past a fewSome books take a while to get caught up in, but with a cold, some chicken noodle soup, and a blanket, this was a perfect escape once I got past a few literary things which bothered me. I would have adored this as a teen reader. ...more
A fast-paced and satisfying ending to the long-awaited conclusion of the Lunar Chronicles. While it was, of course, a bit predictable, even at 800 pagA fast-paced and satisfying ending to the long-awaited conclusion of the Lunar Chronicles. While it was, of course, a bit predictable, even at 800 pages or so, it had flashes of humor and enough detail to keep my interest up. Deciding which of the four heroines, each very distinct from one another was most believable or most appealing made for a delightful discussion with some of my fellow YA readers.
"Who am I to presume what is good for others?" 287
"Let's not be cruel. One should never save cake for later when it can be eaten now." 810 ...more
I have followed Anthony Williams Facebook page called Medical Medium, for quite some time as I like to learn about the properties of good foods--fruitI have followed Anthony Williams Facebook page called Medical Medium, for quite some time as I like to learn about the properties of good foods--fruits, vegetables, spices, and herbs. He is called an "intuitive" healer like Edgar Case in the early 1900s. A lot of what he has to say makes sense and follows mindful eating habits and the Word of Wisdom. I used his celery cleanse, for instance, and felt fabulous. He feels that the new so-called mystery illnesses like fibromyalgia, Epstein-Barr, rheumatoid arthritis, Lyme Disease, and chronic fatigue can be healed by a cleansing diet of lots of (you guessed it), fruits and vegetables. He also posits a case for super mutating viruses like CMV as the root of many of these unexplained illnesses. Healthy people may have these viruses in them (over 60% of American grownups, for instance has CMV) but when stress and illness strike, they predispose people to exhibit these ailments which are then hard to diagnose and cure. Another issue that causes the body to get out of balance according to Anthony is the overuse of "super-antibiotics" that play havoc with the human biome.
Practical and easy to follow suggestions. Who am I to quibble? He is a quiet, non-flashy guy who now has about a million FB followers and tons of testimonials from people including Hollywood stars who feel that he has helped them to heal from chronic illnesses....more
A slow, meticulous reader who enjoys art and culture would love this book. It concerns the rise of the Ephrussi house, a wealthy Jewish family who comA slow, meticulous reader who enjoys art and culture would love this book. It concerns the rise of the Ephrussi house, a wealthy Jewish family who come as grain merchants from Odessa, Russia to cities including Paris and Vienna in the mid 1800s. They experience incredible success in business and begin collecting art as they build grand homes. During this time, one of the early family members buys several hundred netsuke figurines from Japan as part of his penchant for collecting. As the decades pass the family is at times honored and adored and then castigated and hated because of their race.
The threads of the story are woven together into a tapestry by a contemporary family member, a successful potter, who has inherited the netsuke. The author has a wonderful voice and an incredible eye for detail as he travels around Europe and beyond to follow the history of the netsuke as it passes through the scions of the family into contemporary times.
“Stories are a kind of thing, too. Stories and objects share something, a patina. I thought I had this clear, two years ago before I started, but I am no longer sure how this works. Perhaps a patina is a process of rubbing back so that the essential is revealed, the way that a striated stone tumbled in a river feels irreducible, the way that this netsuke of a fox has become little more than a memory of a nose and a tail. But it also seems additive, in the way that a piece of oak furniture gains over years and years of polishing, and the way the leaves of my medlar shine.”
“Yangi, a philosopher, art historian and poet, had evolved a theory of why some objects - pots, baskets, cloth made by unknown craftsmen - were so beautiful. In his view, they expressed unconscious beauty because they had been made in such numbers that the craftsman had been liberated from his ego.” ...more
Delightful essays and musings about life that are sometimes poignant and often funny. Diamant is an award-winning journalist and author who has that kDelightful essays and musings about life that are sometimes poignant and often funny. Diamant is an award-winning journalist and author who has that keen eye for the small things in life that resonates with readers. For instance, raspberries: "Tiny beaded lanterns, the color of a heart newly fallen in love--the architecture of the raspberry is precise and geometric, yet tender. There is even a specific, funny name for its succulent subdivisions: druplets." 180
I also appreciate the fact that she writes so honestly about herself, especially her discovery of her roots in Reformed Judaism and what having a spiritual community has done for her life. "Community is the place with dozen familiar faces (some with names attached) that always smile back. It is where I am told what a great kid I have been by strangers and comforted on the anniversary of my father's death by acquaintances. It is where I feel connected to people I don't even like, but who are part of my life by virtue of membership and affiliation and accident." 218 We all need a community to belong somewhere.
Some of the short essays are exquisite; all are worth reading....more
After visiting Quebec City last week I was intrigued to know more about the history of the French in the northeast. As we drove through KennebunkportAfter visiting Quebec City last week I was intrigued to know more about the history of the French in the northeast. As we drove through Kennebunkport Maine a couple of days later, a collectible bookshop caught my eye. This was one of my delightful purchases. Published in 1906, this book in Amanda Douglas' Little Girl series was an interesting view of the history of the founding of Quebec City, especially as it was written from the viewpoint of a woman living several centuries later. The heroine, Rose, is portrayed as an independent girl, the "Rose of Old Quebec" at a time when the Victorian restrictions on women were still very much a daily reality for the author. I wonder if Douglas was a suffragette? Hmm. It is fascinating to see the world, real or imagined, through an author's eyes. I learn so much from these off-forgotten authors. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amand......more
Jeffrey Holland is a consummate writer. Even when I am not particularly interested in a specific topic in this collection, his writing style is so beaJeffrey Holland is a consummate writer. Even when I am not particularly interested in a specific topic in this collection, his writing style is so beautiful, that he draws me in. He is not afraid to speak of truth as he sees it, unlike many moral relativists today. In short, he is inspirational and a writer's writer.
Quotes I like are too numerous to list but here are a few: "[T]he Savior makes it clear that in some situations we have to judge, we are under the obligation to judge . . . . The alternative is to surrender to the moral relativism of a deconstructionist, postmodern world that, pushed far enough, posits that ultimately nothing is eternally true of especially sacred and, therefore, no one position on any given issue matters more than any other. And that simply is not true." 104
"[W]e must try to help when and where we can because we are not checking our religion at the door, even as pathetic and irresponsible as some doors are." 108
"[B]elieve in the possibility of good things." 201 ...more
A friend I respect told me to read this and it is a veritable treasury of information for an LDS audience on life from pre-mortality through the afterA friend I respect told me to read this and it is a veritable treasury of information for an LDS audience on life from pre-mortality through the afterlife. Fascinating quotations from primary sources and insights throughout. This is the 1997 hardback edition. My hesitations with the book include the editing, which could have made it tighter, a few of the author's conclusions, and some of the personal sources that he cites. The book contains extensive footnotes which are really helpful for finding the original source material. I am grateful for the work and research that Crowther did and the insights that are to be gained. Fascinating reading....more
I was skeptical that this would not differ from the Elementary through middle school model called the literature circles approach, but after sitting tI was skeptical that this would not differ from the Elementary through middle school model called the literature circles approach, but after sitting through Sheridan Blau's session at NCTE I was hooked. It speaks to the work we do in secondary and college level English classrooms. An excellent book for discussing how we can read, retread, and use discussion to dig deeply into a text. ...more