I really enjoyed the first half of the book, but skipped over the 40 magic tricks that constitute the second half. Criss comes across as both an extraI really enjoyed the first half of the book, but skipped over the 40 magic tricks that constitute the second half. Criss comes across as both an extraordinary and humble person as he describes his personal history and his obsessive efforts to perfect his "demonstrations" - as he calls his magic events. His fearlessness and drive for excellence are inspiring....more
I wanted to like this book more than I did, but it's the weakest of the three Zombie Bible books I've read so far.
The problem was the frequent use ofI wanted to like this book more than I did, but it's the weakest of the three Zombie Bible books I've read so far.
The problem was the frequent use of flashbacks, which interrupted the story's sense of urgency without providing any payoffs of genuine surprise or illumination. The plot would get to a crisis point, then jump back in time to provide more information. But with the exception of the meeting of Polycarp and Regina, the events all took place within a few days. The flashbacks felt like a stylistic choce that didn't actually serve the story.
The other weakness was that the sense of mythic power was nowhere near as intense in this book as in the others. In both "Death has come up into our windows" and "I will hold my death close" the horror of the zombies is balanced by the intensity of the portrayal of Divine spiritual power. I missed that balance, and I missed the powerful sense of the sacred as an active, living Presence.
Despite these two weaknesses in the story, Littore is an excellent writer. The three pov characters are unique and interesting, and his sentences are clear and often beautiful. I wish this book could be re-edited. ...more
I am continually startled and thrilled by the way Litore's Zombie Bible stories convey powerful spiritual truths and bring new life to old, over-familI am continually startled and thrilled by the way Litore's Zombie Bible stories convey powerful spiritual truths and bring new life to old, over-familiar stories. This is a hard, cruel book lightened by gorgeous, poetic passages and shining moments of human love and connection.
In this book, the Hebrew prophet Jeremiah is vitally, painfully real: both in his humanity and his prophetic calling. And Litore's choice to characterize G-d as feminine (appropriate, given the importance of the Shekinah, the feminine Presence of God, in the Hebrew scripture) makes the "lamentations" passages all the more affecting. This is a deity whose grief for Her children is real and powerful, but whose cries go unheeded.
I don't read horror stories, and I am not fascinated by zombies. But Litore's zombies are more than simple horror props or excuses for writing macabre scenes. They *are* horrifying, but they are also metaphors for sinfulness and evil, for humanity's excessive greed and hunger that lead to injustice, cruelty, and poverty.
This is a beautiful example of modern myth-making: telling old truths in new ways to help us hear and understand how immediate and urgent they actually are. ...more
This is a very interesting book. Instead of the hyped-up conspiracy-theory potboiler I'd expected, Robinson presents a series of historical, religiousThis is a very interesting book. Instead of the hyped-up conspiracy-theory potboiler I'd expected, Robinson presents a series of historical, religious, and linguistic data which strongly support the hypothesis that Freemasons emerged not from the Stone Masons guilds of the Middle Ages, but as a secret mutual protection society in the aftermath of the bloody destruction of the Knights Templar.
Robinson tells us that he didn't start out to investigate the roots of Freemasonry, but that various unanswered questions in the historical record, specifically those around the unexplained disappearances of some Templars, and the never-explained "Great Society" involved in the Peasants Revolt in England in 1381. The more he searched for answers, the more Freemasonry seemed the best explanation for the gaps in the historical records. Further, once he did start investigating Masonry, he found that puzzling terms and aspects of rituals were better explained when related to known information about Templar practices and language then they were by supposed links to a craft guild.
Throughout the book, Robinson is careful to never claim that he has found absolute proof of a connection. Ultimately there is no explicit evidence, only a pattern of data which can be reasonably interpreted certain ways. The Templar root of Freemasonry is presented as the most likely of a variety of hypotheses which could explain both the historical questions and some of the riddles within Masonry.
The only reason I gave this book four stars instead of five is that I thought he went into far too much detail regarding medieval history. The national and religious politics of the times are relevant to his case, but I think his own passion for that material (this project started out as more general historical research) prompted him to include a lot of information that wasn't actually relevant to the Templar-Freemason connection. Fortunately, he is an excellent writer, and even though there was a lot of unnecessary detail, it was (for the most part) interesting, and I feel like I learned a lot about the times.
I started this book feeling entirely comfortable with the idea of Freemasonry developing out of a medieval craft guild. I wasn't looking for any other "origin story." After reading this book, I'm far more inclined to consider the Templars the more likely founders. Ultimately, I don't think it matters. Hundreds of years of practice and evolution have resulted in Masonic Orders quite different from their original forms. The value of Freemasonry lies in its ability to transform lives in the present, not because of any particular quality of virtue of its source. But if someone is interested in that question, this is an excellent book to read....more
I would give this book more than five stars if I could.
First of all, the writing is excellent. Ms. Keenan's voice is clear and truthful and unaffectedI would give this book more than five stars if I could.
First of all, the writing is excellent. Ms. Keenan's voice is clear and truthful and unaffected, which is particularly admirable given the fact that she is sharing thoughts and experiences that do not often get shared in public -- and sometimes not even admitted to one's self in private.
There are three threads to this book. The first is the coming of age story of a smart, adventurous young woman from a troubled home: dropping out of high school to move to Spain, falling in love, discovering herself, finding out about the less-admirable aspects of her beloved, returning to the United States to attend Stanford, her life after graduation, and her developing relationship with the man she ends up marrying. If that had been all she'd written about, this still wold have been interesting book.
But Kennan goes another step and tells her story through the lense of her fetish as a spanking 'bottom' (someone who receives the blows rather than gives them). She writes of her early confusion and shame, and the frightening-but-glorious experience of finding someone to love her who can provide the stimulation she has always craved but never known -- and the consequences for that and future relationships.
For those of you who are not sure whether you want to read a book about "such things," I encourage you to give it a try, because her descriptions of her experiences are never pornographic. They are very, very real and vulnerable and convey the complex layers of the experience: emotional, psychological, and physical.
Finally, there is the Shakespeare thread. The first chapter opens with Keenan watching, in her imagination, a scene between Demetrius and Helena from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and realizing, suddenly, that the emotional impact of the scene is very, very different if you see it through the lense of a kinky relationship. As the book progresses, each chapter of her own life is refracted through a different play, and her experiences give her new insights into the old stories and characters. She does this not in a purely subjective, personal way, but through educated readings of the texts, including understanding of how Shakespeare's poetry works. Her passion for the Bard is every bit as intense as her passion for being spanked.
The most powerful chapter for me was the one in which she looks at the textual basis for a reading of "King Lear" which proposes that Lear has molested his daughters, while simultaneously exploring the thorny question of how much -- or little -- her spanking fetish was rooted in her mother's emotional and sometimes physical abuse of her.
As a kinky woman, Keenan's relationship with both her own kinky nature and her partners came across as authentic and lucid. As someone who has studied Shakespeare in a college classroom, as an actress, and as a director, I was impressed and enlightened by her interpretations of the plays. As a writer, I envied her highly intelligent yet unpretentious style.
This is a terrific book and I hope she writes others, because I will be keeping an eye out for her name. ...more