If you are a political junkie or if you shy away from politics because it's "too messy," this book is for you. If you are disturbed by bickering extreIf you are a political junkie or if you shy away from politics because it's "too messy," this book is for you. If you are disturbed by bickering extremists and wonder how the rest of the population (Rev. Davis calls them "the muddled middle") fits in, this book is for you. If you have been guilty of incivility in your own discussions with those you don't agree with, this book is most definitely for you.
The premise is this: Our political discourse isn't civil, it's just plain ugly. Particularly when we talk about "moral issues" (abortion, fetal stem cell research, euthanasia, and homosexual marriage) and the "moral values" that accompany them (the conservative position on such issues). The arguments are constantly defined as those from the "Christian nation" vs. those who are "secular progressives." There are many problems with this set-up. One problem, as noted by Rev. Davis, is that there is a whole lot of gray between those lines. Both sides quote the Bible, historical information - particularly from the founding fathers, and court cases as it serves them. However, these are mostly clever cherry-picking. The other, even more troubling problem, is that there are many moral values and to let "the big 4" and the conservative positions on the big 4 corner the market is to leave out something substantial.
Piecing together those things, we are able to see that in fact there is clear evidence for religious people to offer their opinions in these debates, because for them, their religion and their morality are tied. And often, within these debates, we find that it's the competing moral values that are at odds rather than "moral" vs. "immoral."
It's a very nice read and doesn't get too bogged down in the academia that sometimes plagues these sorts of research-based books. Instead, it's a breezy read, one that can be read a chapter at a time or straight through. It is written by a Presbyterian minister and there is an agenda here, but it may not be the one you think. No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, you can learn something from this book. No matter what you consider your religion, or lack of religion, there is likely something for you here. Even if all you get from the book is how to be civil in your everyday relationships, I think it's a success.
I had the pleasure of attending a seminar taught by Rev. Davis and I found the discussion about the book and the book itself to be thought-provoking long after they were done....more
I think it was a decent overview of the toddler months, for a first-timer. I didn't find it energizing though and I saw no great advice for "keeping uI think it was a decent overview of the toddler months, for a first-timer. I didn't find it energizing though and I saw no great advice for "keeping up with your turbo-toddler." I can see why you would pick it up as a quick review of each 3 month block, but I'm glad I got it at the library....more
This book was so sweet. A memoir written by Alice Ozma (likely if you "get" her name, you will "get" this book) about her life growing up with her fatThis book was so sweet. A memoir written by Alice Ozma (likely if you "get" her name, you will "get" this book) about her life growing up with her father, a Philly area elementary school librarian. When she was about 9, they made a deal for him to read aloud to her for 100 nights in a row. The Streak - as they called it - just kept going and didn't stop until an emotional scene the day he dropped her off at college.
As bibliophiles ourselves, I spent a lot of time thinking about how much I hope that my kids still let me read aloud to them. I love to listen to an audiobook now and again and I know that the world of literature is so different when you hear it, as opposed to just reading it yourself.
Many tears were shed, yet I'm a softy. My kids and books and the magic they bring are two of my passions, and bringing them together made for a good read.
The only think I wish that the author would have done was bring a few more pieces in about how the specific books they were reading fit into her world. ...more
This story was heartbreaking and inspiring. It's a biography/auto-biography of a Palestinian doctor from Gaza who studied and practiced medicine in IsThis story was heartbreaking and inspiring. It's a biography/auto-biography of a Palestinian doctor from Gaza who studied and practiced medicine in Israel. Members of his family are wiped out in Israeli bombing of Gaza, but he remains committed to peace and coexistence. It's an interesting look into what life is really like to live in Gaza and a beautiful perspective on how to practice love in a world where hate and violence are the rule.
I would actually give this 4.5 stars. The story was excellent. It was only when he got to the "what you can do" part that I thought he probably should have skipped it. It's not that I don't think a person should make a difference in the world, but he didn't have a lot of concrete ideas....more
This book was really great. And really disturbing. I probably shouldn't have been so shocked by the status of women around the world, but I am. I wasThis book was really great. And really disturbing. I probably shouldn't have been so shocked by the status of women around the world, but I am. I was very encouraged to see the data on how much difference a little change can make though. The book is comprehensive, interesting, and well-written.
It would have gotten 5 stars if they authors hadn't spent quite so much time preaching about sending money and volunteering time. It's not that I disagree with them, it's just that sometimes one can sell something a bit too hard....more
Really good and really thought-provoking. For a pretty research-heavy book, the author writes in a sarcastic and humorous way so it's not too dry. CleReally good and really thought-provoking. For a pretty research-heavy book, the author writes in a sarcastic and humorous way so it's not too dry. Clearly she has an agenda, but that should be obvious from the title. I didn't agree with everything she wrote, but it was certainly enough to get me riled up on the obsession with a woman's sexuality. It was an interesting prospective that the purity crowd is as focused on defining a woman based upon how much sex she does or doesn't have, when and if she chooses to procreate, and what her "role" in a sexual relationship is as the crowd who is out exploiting women on billboards. ...more
All in all, I liked this one. Not so much "parenting" (dealing with day-to-day issues) as it was communication. Very practical, scripted conversationsAll in all, I liked this one. Not so much "parenting" (dealing with day-to-day issues) as it was communication. Very practical, scripted conversations to have with children ages 2 to 6, regarding some of the big issues (and some of the small ones) they will deal with. Death, manners, divorce, sex - it's all covered. I think I will likely refer to this one again as my kids get older and I need to shift the conversation to the next things their brain can handle.
The advice followed what I believe to be the right way to talk to children - factual and age-appropriate. What was nice for me was to see exactly what age-appropriate is for the different ages.
It was a decent book, with some good principles. But, at the end of the day I felt like it was way more common sense (don't yell at your kids, be consIt was a decent book, with some good principles. But, at the end of the day I felt like it was way more common sense (don't yell at your kids, be consistent, tell your preschooler to use their words...) than it was really practical solutions. Even the places that proposed to be practical didn't go into great detail. For example, the section on what to do if you have a time-out protester was only a couple of paragraphs, yet the chapter on time-outs was the longest in the book.
That said, there were some great sections. The section that helped to diagnose why the child is behaving a certain way and solving each of those problems a little differently was good. I also liked the parts that clearly explained the mind of a young child and why giving in even once can result in a setback.
Probably the two most helpful parts were: 1) the suggestion that you should work on one or two problem behaviors and get those going before starting on something else - it's always better to go too slowly than too quickly and 2) keeping a chart for yourself to count the number of time-outs and how they went and watch it over the course of a few weeks to decide if you are making progress (even slowly) or if you need to adjust expectations/solutions.
I'd probably give it 3.5 instead of 3 stars....more
So here's the thing. This is a good book to read, but it's not a great book. I loved the perspective of a Muslim straddling the line between the WestSo here's the thing. This is a good book to read, but it's not a great book. I loved the perspective of a Muslim straddling the line between the West and the East and the story was certainly compelling. It was the first book I read that showed the underbelly of the war in Iraq and what the American forces are actually doing to the civilians on the ground, as well as how the sectarian violence is creating havoc to people, not governments.
However, I expected much more of the prose. For a journalist, I expected brilliant writing and instead I thought it was disjointed and not that great. For this reason I was disappointed. But, it was a quick read and I would suggest it to anyone wanting an "insider's" perspective that neither pro- nor anti-American. ...more
Most people who were alive and breathing in the late 90s know the story of Matthew Shepard and his brutal murder in Laramie, but this is the story ofMost people who were alive and breathing in the late 90s know the story of Matthew Shepard and his brutal murder in Laramie, but this is the story of Matt Shepard, son and brother. Not a perfect human by any means, but an innocent victim of hate just the same. It was great to read something about the person, instead of just the character created by the media.
This book was pretty hard for me to rate. The truth is that it's not terribly well-written. I'm not sure it was actually written by Judy Shepard or just badly ghost-written to capture the story.
That said, while the writing itself left quite a bit to be desired, the story is a must-know. In the more than 10 years since this brutal murder, a lot may have changed but we haven't had a lot of true progress. Homosexuals are still not allowed to serve openly in the military, there is no federal hate crime legislation that includes sexual orientation, and marriage rights for homosexual couples are virtually non-existent. Much work is still left to do....more