Quite by accident, I've been reading a lot of stories about righteous people who do wrong things for what they believe are right reasons. Some of thesQuite by accident, I've been reading a lot of stories about righteous people who do wrong things for what they believe are right reasons. Some of these people reap the consequences of their decisions, and some do not. Some see the error of their choices, and a very few go on blindly believing that nobody else really understands, only they can see that they are right, and only they are able to interpret what is true.
The religion of my childhood referred to itself as "The Truth." As a child, I trusted in everything that implied, up to and including believing that there could be only one truth, and not realizing that there are many such groups who call themselves by those precise words.
In "The Truth," there are many rules, and the less thinking one does, the more following is possible. People act like they are happy when they choose not to think. But the truth is not "The Truth," and acting is not the same as being. Among the many rules in my particular "Truth," were rules regarding whom could teach, and whom could lead. There were rules governing relationships, permitted and proscribed activities, gender roles, clothing, and possessions, just as there is conformism in every society, to a greater or lesser degree. In my "Truth," to the greater degree, there were also rules regarding treatment of those who did not keep to the other rules, as well as instruction to repudiate any succumbed to "independent thinking."
Koriba, the mundumugu - a witch doctor and spiritual counselor - tries to hold his people, in the Utopia he helped to create, to unreasoning rules and tradition which do not allow for personal growth and change, and prevent cultural progress. His reasons are clearly in protection of what he thinks is perfect justice and ideal society, but he forgets to love the people in loving the ideas. The stories are brilliant in their execution.
These stories hurt my heart, but they are cathartic too. I lived in my own Kirinyaga. I know what it means to walk to Haven....more
This is more of a testimonial than a review: My husband heard about this book nearly 7 years ago on the Tom Martino radio program. At the time, we hadThis is more of a testimonial than a review: My husband heard about this book nearly 7 years ago on the Tom Martino radio program. At the time, we had a brand new puppy, little more than 3 months old, and he was already showing signs of severe allergies. The vet, an older country doctor, suggested that unless we got a handle on the allergies, my puppy would need ear surgery and life-time medication.
I was very resistant to the idea of "natural" feeding, but agreed to read this book and give it a try. Within a few days, ALL of my puppy's symptoms started to clear up, and over a couple of months he became glowingly healthy and energetic.
At 7 years old, my dog (a cocker spaniel) is routinely mistaken for an older puppy, even by the vet techs (at first glance).
About 6 months after putting the pup on the natural diet, one of our cats developed a UTI, so we put the cats on Schultz's diet. At 11 years old, he has never had a reoccurence, and our second cat also is glossy, healthy and full of energy, even though he is at least 10 years old. All of the pets are at their ideal weight.
Schultz' diet is explained in detail, but simple enough so that it's not overwhelming. In seven years, my implementation of her program has changed a bit, but the basics remain the same.
This book is my starting recommendation for anyone who is interested in a more biologically appropriate diet for their fuzzy babies. ...more
I picked up this book awhile ago because I'm neatness challenged. I read it through and was very entertained by these two "local girls make good," butI picked up this book awhile ago because I'm neatness challenged. I read it through and was very entertained by these two "local girls make good," but didn't really do anything with the information.
About two months ago I realized that I was not willing to live with all of the clutter anymore, so I started with this book. I haven't implemented the card system that they show in the book, but have used their method of decluttering.
Fully 1/2 of everything in my house is 100% unnecessary, and has taken a trip to the goodwill or recycling. I can clean in half the time, and things stay neat, not just neat until an hour later when a pile of papers tips over, or I have to root through a drawer or closet searching for a misplaced item. Really, truly neat.
Sunday afternoon, I arrived at the Seattle train station, with a book I thought would last me the two days of my quick trip. I was wrong, and I finishSunday afternoon, I arrived at the Seattle train station, with a book I thought would last me the two days of my quick trip. I was wrong, and I finished it on the train. What's a girl to do? Confessional: I should have frugally started the Tor.com bundle of short stories I downloaded last week (Thanks Tor! Happy Anniversary!) but with the Seattle Mystery Bookshop practically around the corner? How could I not stop in?
Last time I was there I picked up one of Margaret Coel's mysteries, and loved it. There are at least a dozen of those, but I wasn't feeling it, so I wandered around picking up books and putting them back. Aimless.
Finally, as I often do, I asked for a recommendation, which is always a good move.
The Last Policeman isn't your usual mystery. An asteriod is heading toward earth, and it's large enough to be cataclysmic. The countdown is set at a little over 6 months. Society is breaking down, along with garbage service and cellphone towers, and a rookie Detective is trying to solve a suicide that he thinks is a murder.
I've noticed a trend in fiction toward unlikeable characters, sometimes even the protagonist is nobody you'd want to know. The "good guys" are really more "the not-as-bad-as-the-other-guys-guys." Not so here. There are a lot of people who are doing bad things, but you the reader really want to sympathize with them, because they are so ordinary, they're just like you, and really what would you do if the world was ending, literally, and you had the date in hand?
Some people go "bucket list;" some collapse into depression, suicide; some go all-out criminal; most go on living their lives, going to work, even when there's no point to the work. I think this is what makes the novel stand out. Woven throughout is a pretty classic mystery - if you've read even a single mystery, you're already familiar with the plot progression. The star of this one is the why, why for everyone. Why do we care if it's suicide or murder? The End of Everything will be here before the trial can start. Everybody is getting the death penalty. Death penalty for you, and death penalty for you. Do you want yours now, or later?
Shockingly, for a hardcore sci-fi fan, the only Clarke I've read is "Hammer of God" about 10 years ago. So this was like my first (re)introduction toShockingly, for a hardcore sci-fi fan, the only Clarke I've read is "Hammer of God" about 10 years ago. So this was like my first (re)introduction to Clarke's fiction. The story was interesting, but I felt it could have been fleshed out a lot. Most of the characters are little more than passing figures, including the mysterious Overlords. I found that I didn't really care too much about their eventuality.
What I loved about the novel were certain, almost incidental concepts that have found their way into other great (and lesser) works of Sci-fi, even possibly formed the premise of other stories. For instance: The Overlords brought technology that allowed the humans to "tune in" any period in history, and watch the past as it occurred - a concept used by Orson Scott Card's "Pastwatch," one of my all-time favorites.
There is a vague idea presented that technology was developed that made lying not only impractical, but impossible to get away with - a idea that was developed in great detail in James L. Halperin's "The Truth Machine." Whether these authors were influenced by Clarke, I couldn't presume to say, as my own limited point of reference is bounded by my own admittedly small library. Not to mention that I'm certain these concepts have been explored many times and from multiple angles.
Laughably, at one point (remembering that the story was written in 1954,) he explains the presence, success, and lack of prejudice toward a central character who is black, by saying:
"A century before, his color would have been a tremendous, perhaps and overwhelming, handicap. Today, it meant nothing. The inevitable reaction that had given early twenty-first-century Negroes a slight sense of superiority had already passed away. The convenient word "nigger" was no longer taboo in polite society, but was used without embarrassment by everyone. It had no more emotional content than such labels as republican or methodist, conservative or liberal."
I enjoyed "Childhood's End" but felt that the ending (and indeed "the ending!") was tied up in a neat little bow, ala T.S. Eliot's "Hollow Men"- "not with a bang but a whimper." It was unexpected, a slight disappointment, a little odd, and a small- but very important- bit of it was completely implausible, even (or especially?) in science fiction....more
I wrote a nice review, then crashed my browser window. This is the "I'm so not reconstructing that" rewrite version.
Read this, loved it. Not a huge SI wrote a nice review, then crashed my browser window. This is the "I'm so not reconstructing that" rewrite version.
Read this, loved it. Not a huge Sherlock fan, but I liked the BBC miniseries, which is a very different sort of Holmes than this, but still quite recognizable. Mary might be just a little too perfect in the beginning, (with of course, her flaw/secret,) but it didn't bother me, because I really enjoyed the writing and pacing.
Haven't yet picked up Mary Russell #2, which might have been a mistake. I'd like some more please....more
This book was a gift while I was working as a nanny. At first it was funny, with all of the little observations that all nannies make- mainly about aThis book was a gift while I was working as a nanny. At first it was funny, with all of the little observations that all nannies make- mainly about a certain, small subsection of women who hire nannies- the wealthy, entitled, narcissistic bitches.
As the story progresses, it becomes obvious that the children are the losers, the parents have no business being parents, and the nannies do nothing to help make the family a better place. Instead they whine about mistreatment, go along with abuse, and try to replace the parent with their own immature version of love.
The account was infuriating because there was a great deal of truth in it, and it made me so upset (recognizing the same characteristics in children, nannies and parents of my acquaintance,) that I finally refused to finish the last few chapters.
What made the whole thing worse is that the book is written in a vain, selfish-masquerading-as-selfless, preening, whiny voice, that made me want to reach through the page and tell her to grow some cojones (and take a writing class or two.)
Thanks but no thanks, this book is a binner....more
I've read quite a few reviews of this book saying that it was patchy in places, or it bogged down in the historical parts, the character not being belI've read quite a few reviews of this book saying that it was patchy in places, or it bogged down in the historical parts, the character not being believable in others, etc.
I have not read the novel, so perhaps this is true. As an audiobook however, it was magnificent. The story was compelling, the history inseparable from the development of Calliope, and the voice of the reader - Kristoffer Tabori - was genius. His character variations made an interesting concept into a fascinating narrative of a little girl who was born different.
Middlesex elbows its way into my top 5 favorite listens with her awkward limbs sticking out to both sides like a boy's, hips swaying like a girl's....more
**spoiler alert** It's not over 'til it's over. The vampires are back, and nobody sees them as the threat they are... yet! Street kid Fray, discovers**spoiler alert** It's not over 'til it's over. The vampires are back, and nobody sees them as the threat they are... yet! Street kid Fray, discovers her destiny, with the help of another ugly demon (ala Joss-style. YAY!)
I loved this, and hope the next edition shows up soon!...more
I started this installment in the Dune series about 5 years ago, and it has been sitting on the shelf with a bookmark about 200 pages from the end eveI started this installment in the Dune series about 5 years ago, and it has been sitting on the shelf with a bookmark about 200 pages from the end ever since. This trilogy is less compelling that the Houses trilogy, which is less rich than Frank Herbert's original series. I'm invested in the story though, so every so often I have a compulsion to continue reading, in spite of the lack of richness and meaning in Herbert the Younger's continuation of the series.
Frank Herbert had so much to say regarding religion and faith, ecology, political machinations, indeed you could point an accusing finger at heinleinesque editorializing in the original series. (I must confess, I love these sections.) The trilogies, however, never realize the same heart that was invested in Dune,et al., and while it does more than a passable job of space opera/battle fiction, there always seems to be something missing.
I keep reminding myself that Frank Herbert left copious notes on his continuing story ideas, and for this reason, I keep reading these. Sometimes I like to imagine that I see a bit of Frank peeking through these novels, especially where he has something potentially profound to observe on his original themes. My primary reason for diving in and finishing this, is to close that storyline in anticipation of Sisterhood. The Bene Gesserit threads are by far the most interesting to me, so I will be reading that one soon....more