I have to say I lost a little respect for Lewis in this book. I mean, seriously, psychics? Oy vey! I like the cover gag - hands together, he's walkingI have to say I lost a little respect for Lewis in this book. I mean, seriously, psychics? Oy vey! I like the cover gag - hands together, he's walking on water on the front. On the back, hands apart, he's in the water. Not hysterical or anything, just cute....more
Far too short, this merely scratches the surface of the horror that was "Mother Teresa", but highly recommmended. (And people wonder why President ObaFar too short, this merely scratches the surface of the horror that was "Mother Teresa", but highly recommmended. (And people wonder why President Obama was given a Nobel Peace Prize...)...more
I'm almost finished with this, so I can start to talk about it. This is a collection of many different essays (and one comic story) about various reliI'm almost finished with this, so I can start to talk about it. This is a collection of many different essays (and one comic story) about various religions, factions of religions, details in religious literature (Bible, Q'uran), art and some truly fucked up people doing crazy things in the name of religion or in the name of greed. I wish it had the normal dimensions of a regular book, though. (Although Neil Gaiman & Steve Gibson's comic was already reduced in size; it would have been really hard to read if it were smaller.)
Want to read about the goof ball who built a mechanical Messiah in 1854? Did you know that bowling was originally a religious game? (I guess thunder really is angels bowling...) It's even got snapshots of the lives of some of America's (and the world's) greatest composers.
There's a chapter that discusses the known facts and the theories on who wrote the gospels and when. (It's common knowledge among Bible scholars that it was not the men they are named for.)
One thing I find utterly fascinating is religious folk who try to come up with actual physiological reasons for miracles (the water Jesus walked on had flash-frozen, the Red Sea was parted by wind, etc...) Isn't the whole point of magic and miracles that it isn't a natural phenomenon? If you can explain the miracles in the Bible scientifically, then they aren't miracles. What's the point in that?
Some people try to take the Bible too literally - and I don't just mean religious folk with cognitive dissonance regarding the contradictions in the Bible, I mean my fellow atheists who rip into every little detail with no regard as to context. And honestly, if you believe in a magical man in the sky, there's no problem with a virgin birth any more than there's a problem with Harry Potter flying on a broomstick.
Then there was the coverage of the plaigarism trial for The Da Vinci Code (the guy who wrote it had a touch of the context problem I mentioned above). This was pretty good, and really the only really unbelievable thing about The Da Vinci Code is how a hack like Dan Brown (or rather, his publishers, since they were the ones on trial) wasn't found guilty to the Nth degree.
I drew a line when it came to the chapter on poopies of the gods. I don't care what American Indians, holy rollers, Jesus, Roman or Egyptian gods did (or was done) with their excrement, I'm just passing through. (This chapter was written in the 19th century, FYI.)
Most disturbing wasn't the story of a man giving his young daughter and another man's wife to a crowd to rape and murder (rather than raping and murdering the aforementioned man, who was his guest, a story from Judges 19) but the highlights from the Philadelphia Grand Jury Report On Abusive Priests. Brrrr.
This was (largely) a fun book with much information, definitely a keeper for future reference....more
This was so funny. I was laughing throughout the book. Looking forward to the sequels, Blameless In Abbadon and The Eternal Footman. High satire, fairThis was so funny. I was laughing throughout the book. Looking forward to the sequels, Blameless In Abbadon and The Eternal Footman. High satire, fairly balanced. (Of course, the religion was - as usual - strictly Catholic and the atheists were mostly nut jobs, so how seriously could it be to start with?) :)...more
This is hysterical: the book is narrated (written) by Isaac Newton's Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica. (And Pilgrim's Progress penned AtlaThis is hysterical: the book is narrated (written) by Isaac Newton's Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica. (And Pilgrim's Progress penned Atlas Shrugged, Les Miserables is responsible for The Jungle and Waiting For Godot writes Windows software books!) This narrative conceit of a "factual" narrative written by another book is wonderful and not intrusive to the storyline (which it could have been, as the Principia Mathematica was in love with the main character)....more
Hahahaahahhaaaa!! Not every story is, strictly speaking, connected to the Bible or even Judeo-Christian-Islamic mythology, but some great satire here.Hahahaahahhaaaa!! Not every story is, strictly speaking, connected to the Bible or even Judeo-Christian-Islamic mythology, but some great satire here. Loved the final story where Helen finds out that the Trojan War is being fought over her. (This is toward the end of the war, when she's no longer so young and pixie-ish.) Great fun....more
The book started really well, very interesting (and more than a little but scary). unfortunately, about halfway through, Harris detoured to extremelyThe book started really well, very interesting (and more than a little but scary). unfortunately, about halfway through, Harris detoured to extremely abstract philosophy (which he denies, but if it walks like abstract philosophy, and quacks like abstract philosophy...) However, I will freely admit that he completely lost me at that point and many of the concepts are probably just beyond me....more
This book contained many things that I generally don't like: inconsistency of narrative voice (1st person in some chapters dealing with one character,This book contained many things that I generally don't like: inconsistency of narrative voice (1st person in some chapters dealing with one character, 3rd person for all other chapters); the 24-hour conceit, where everything occurs and just happens to fall together in one day; ancient religious artifacts (6500 years old in this case); and overblown codes and ciphers hidden within texts and artwork.
However, this was a fast, entertaining story tying the proverbial world's first murder to the murder of Mitchell Siegel, father of Jerry Siegel, co-creator of Superman. Conspiracies abound in a milieu similar in some ways to (though better-written than) The Da Vinci Code.
The characters are well-developed, at turns amusing, annoying or chilling, and absolutely drenched in their own personal dramas.
One thing did bother me, and as I look over some of the online reviews, I have good reason for viewing this as an oversight. Though Meltzer mentions and gives due credit to Joe Shuster, the artistic half of Superman’s creators, the focus on Siegel is so overwhelming as to make Joe’s contribution irrelevant. The book includes an illustration by Shuster, and more drawings were created for the book (as if by Shuster) to tie in to the Siegel mystery. This would make Joe part of the conspiracy, but his involvement is never mentioned. The artwork with the clues is therefore connected only to Siegel in the reader’s mind.
I get the feeling there was a bigger book here that was pared down to the basic thriller.
While the plot falters at some points, the momentum and sheer fun of it carries you through. The themes of stories, redemption, fathers-and-sons (and in general, parents-and-children) more than make up for any shortcomings in the narrative. (Oddly, given the Cain and Abel connection, the theme of relationships between brothers was hardly touched on.) I liked the book anyway, but really expected more from Meltzer. High concept, lacking in execution.
If you haven't seen the trailer for the book (looking like a full-blown movie documentary rather than a book!), you can find it here: http://www.bradmeltzer.com/novels/boo... Check it out, it's a great promotional piece featuring Joss Whedon, Christopher Hitchins, and other book, comic and TV writers....more
This was too cloyingly sentimental (and, frankly, superstitious/religious) to be worth rereading or recommending. Though I could appreciate some of thThis was too cloyingly sentimental (and, frankly, superstitious/religious) to be worth rereading or recommending. Though I could appreciate some of the themes, Evans is not what I consider to be a good writer....more
This was actually pretty fun. I got it mostly out of curiosity about how the famed underground cartoonist would handle a straight adaptation, and it wThis was actually pretty fun. I got it mostly out of curiosity about how the famed underground cartoonist would handle a straight adaptation, and it worked really well. Working primarily from a single modern translation (though occasionally referencing others and footnoting certain specifics), it really is just an illustrated version rather than just another cartoon adaptation.
The illustrations really help to hold interest in the text (which is generally pretty bad, no matter the translation), although I still tended to glaze over during the "begets". It reminded me of a thought I'd had before that Genesis was actually not a finished work but more an outline - or a cobbling of different versions - when it was added to the religious canon (i.e., the same things happening to different people, the odd repetition of conversations over and over and over and over, etc.)
Nothing was left out or watered down - so all the sex (and accompanying nudity) and violence (with the expected repercussions) found in the Bible is here....more