I really enjoyed this book. I'm all about post-apocalyptic futures, teen romance, and strong female protagonists. The plot, while not entirely origina...moreI really enjoyed this book. I'm all about post-apocalyptic futures, teen romance, and strong female protagonists. The plot, while not entirely original (I know it's kind like, what is? But some books owe more to existing fiction than others do) is interesting and I had trouble putting it down, reading most of this in one sitting. So why not the fifth star? Well, unlike everyone else on this site, I didn't find the book change-my-life amazing. It was a great read, oddly fun while being brutal, but it didn't blow my mind or anything. Also, I realize I'm being a ridiculous snob here, but why has nobody else commented on all the grammatical issues? The run-ons I could write off as stream-of-consciousness (since this was, after all, first-person POV), but the incorrect pronoun use? No. It wouldn't bother me so much if Collins wasn't a best-seller author who SURELY has an editor, right? Just apparently not a very good one.
Okay, this sounds a bit bitter, but really: I liked the book a lot. I will definitely be checking out the second in the series.(less)
Eh, 2.5? It's no Julie and Julia; I'm not even sure it's good. It's pretty emo and self-indulgent in parts. But the butchery stuff was interesting, an...moreEh, 2.5? It's no Julie and Julia; I'm not even sure it's good. It's pretty emo and self-indulgent in parts. But the butchery stuff was interesting, and I still enjoyed it at times, enough to rate it as slightly-better-than-okay.(less)
I haven't the slightest idea how to rate this book. I would say 2-3 stars, depending on my mood.
Here's the thing: I spent much of my time after work z...moreI haven't the slightest idea how to rate this book. I would say 2-3 stars, depending on my mood.
Here's the thing: I spent much of my time after work zipping through it this week. It was hard to put down. BUT. I really started hating it more and more as it went on.
Okay, the first half was actually interesting, and I genuinely enjoyed it despite its flaws (the main one being that the author falls back on cussing way too much -- he seems to think it makes the characters authentic and gritty, but it really just feels very forced). But the second half of the book can be summed up in two horrible, boring words: existential crisis. I mean, of course some of the navel-gazing search for meaning is to be expected with teenage characters, but the whole second half is just all O DESPAIR and trying to Make A Statement by taking the magicalness out of magic and perverting stereotypical fantasy lands and then you start realizing how often everyone gets drunk and, honestly, crises just bore me. Make your own meaning and move on, already, b/c you are annoying.
As it ended I also realized that the author left a bunch of loose ends, so he's either preparing a sequel (which I, glutton for punishment, will doubtless read) or else he really had no idea how to tie up all the issues raised.
But like I said, the first half of the book was enjoyable, so I guess it's not all bad. The theme I noticed is that when Grossman actually dealt with MAGIC, it was good. And I really liked the idea that magic is hard work and takes a fierce intelligence. But as he increasingly strays away from that and into the bleak mental world of these possibly alcoholic teens, I increasingly wanted to punch him in the balls. Especially b/c one gets the feeling that he thinks he's being so damn clever throughout. B/c we've NEVER read a book pondering the meaninglessness of the universe, have we?(less)
4.5. This was a really great book that just got more interesting as it went on. It started with a discussion of discrepancies in the Bible, which was...more4.5. This was a really great book that just got more interesting as it went on. It started with a discussion of discrepancies in the Bible, which was informative, but where it really hit its stride was in talking about who wrote the Bible, who decided what was included, the historical information we have about Jesus, and an overview of the formation of Christian doctrine.
It loses half a star because at times he was a little repetitive; he goes a little overboard, I think, trying to assure us that his own journey from evangelical Christianity to agnosticism was not a result of studying the Bible from a historical-critical perspective. And I believe him, and I know this is a touchy subject. But rest assured: he is not trying to convert anyone. He's just presenting information that all biblical scholars are familiar with, but for some reason, the average person is not.
If, like me, you're coming at this book from an atheist's perspective, then yes, I do think learning about the human roots of Christianity fit into that perspective in an affirming way; which is to say that it makes sense to read about the discrepancies between what Jesus preached and people now believe, and to read about the formation of the early church in light of trying to make sense of predictions that never came to pass. But, I also don't think this book would be offensive to any believers except those who believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God; the scholarship makes it pretty clear that it isn't, but it certainly doesn't disprove any beliefs about whether deities exist, etc.
I would think/hope that Christians who don't already know would want to learn about the history of their religion and its most important book. I do think this knowledge of history is compatible with faith (the author repeatedly points out that the two coexist for most biblical scholars), though I also think if more people were aware of this, it would help bring about both a useful updating of beliefs and a lessening of the annoying cherry picking of verses many people like to do (one of the authors most compelling points is that context matters: not just the context of a piece within the Bible itself, but also the context of first century Palestine -- and that not everything applicable then/there can just be seamlessly inserted into 21st century American Christianity).
Like I said, a really fascinating book. Recommended if you have any interest in religion.(less)
4.5? I liked this one better than The Hunger Games (tho I liked that book a lot). It was deeper and more complicated and plot twisty and scary and bru...more4.5? I liked this one better than The Hunger Games (tho I liked that book a lot). It was deeper and more complicated and plot twisty and scary and brutal. Looking forward to the final book in the trilogy.(less)
It had some useful information, but a lot of it was common sense or specifically related to infertility issues, which seems like it should be a differ...moreIt had some useful information, but a lot of it was common sense or specifically related to infertility issues, which seems like it should be a different book.
My biggest issue, though, is that I hate cutesy writing. I hate it all the time, but I especially hate it in books about science. The bad puns and euphemisms (sorry, but grown ass people should not be referring to sperm as a dude's "swim team") really got to me. I know that eventually I will be trying to get pregnant, and I will probably post on message boards and thus succumb to using the awful abbreviations so as not to seem snobby, but if I ever spell out those abbreviations and ever refer to my period as Aunt Flo, or, worse, refer to sex as the Baby Dance, anyone reading this has my permission to kill me.(less)
Only the first in a series of three, but it shows a lot of promise. Haunting, painful, and with deep folklore roots. Beautiful art. I'm eager to see w...moreOnly the first in a series of three, but it shows a lot of promise. Haunting, painful, and with deep folklore roots. Beautiful art. I'm eager to see where it goes. (less)
I really liked this book, despite its flaws, the main two being:
1) It's somewhat redundant, almost as if he really wrote each chapter to stand on its...moreI really liked this book, despite its flaws, the main two being:
1) It's somewhat redundant, almost as if he really wrote each chapter to stand on its own, and
2) As others have mentioned, he does tend to do a bit of glossing when talking about violence inspired by religion (which is not to say that the theory that, evolutionarily speaking, religion has been more helpful than hurtful when it comes to passing on genes is incorrect), and then when he DOES talk about violence in religion, he mostly focuses on the Aztecs. Which wouldn't be quite so questionable if he didn't spend so much time giving us the history and development of Judaism/Christianity/Islam -- why not follow through and give us some of the violence in THOSE religions? He seems to give Judaism/Christianity the most flattering treatment, and I'm not sure how accurate that is.
Still, a fascinating look into the origins of belief (albeit from a more anthropological and historical view than a biological one) and morality, and a brief history of the rise of the three big monotheisms. He doesn't really tackle whether or not the supernatural beliefs behind religions are true/valid or not; he mostly just gets into the evolutionary benefits of belief (mostly group cohesion and transmission of morals). B/c of this, I think it's fairly friendly to believers and non-believers alike, though I'm sure those at the extremes will be unhappy with it. Like I said, an interesting read. (less)
This was a fantastic book. I admittedly haven't read very many parenting books, so on that front I don't have much to compare it to, but I would still...moreThis was a fantastic book. I admittedly haven't read very many parenting books, so on that front I don't have much to compare it to, but I would still recommend this book to parents, particularly if you like information that's based on actual research. In that regard I'd also recommend this to anyone (parents or not) interested in child development. Some fascinating stuff here!
Some chapters were more interesting than others, of course, but with the exception of the chapter on gifted and talented programs (which I think was less interesting to me merely because I don't ever see it applying -- even if I don't homeschool my future kids, I doubt I'm going to be a very achievement-test-oriented parent), they were all pretty engrossing. I especially loved the sections on praise, sleep, racism/racial beliefs, lying, and language development.
Like I said earlier, beyond being interesting, what makes this book so great is the solid research backing up all their claims. Lots of times the research is counterintuitive, or different than what they were hoping/expecting to find, but they always report on the actual science, which is great. I bought a print copy of this to reference when I do have kids, because it's definitely the type of book where you want to underline and dog-ear and go back to. (less)