As someone raised as a Bible-believing Christian, who minored in Biblical studies in a Christian University and served on several mission trips in hisAs someone raised as a Bible-believing Christian, who minored in Biblical studies in a Christian University and served on several mission trips in his youth, who devoted the “first fruits” of his life to the Lord and believed at one point that his main goal was to die while firmly holding intact the convictions he had developed as a 13-year old . . . I am totally the target audience of Ken Daniels. I know the Bible intimately, having read it four or five times (in two languages) since I was 12 years old (I am now 51). I had even considered working with Wycliff Bible Translators as he did, at one point in my youth. In other words, as I negotiate this dark woods in the middle of my life, I believe this is the book I was rather fearfully seeking and not sure I would ever actually find.
I found this to be an honest and vulnerable book, absolutely devastating in its kind, gentle tone. Unlike the shrill atheists we seem to hear a lot from these days (and who totally turned me off on atheism as a philosophy and on atheists as a community), Daniels speaks understandingly of just how pervasive is faith and how difficult the path away from it. He is honest about the longing he still feels for the days when he “walked in the courtyards of the Lord”, yet describes in unflinching detail the logic behind his gradual loss of faith. As I read this book, I felt respected and supported by him as I progress through my own “deconversion”, and the language he uses (and the Scripture he quotes) gives him great credibility with believers who must, if they are honest, connect on some level with his doubts....more
I read this book out loud to my nine-year old son Zach at bedtime. I enjoyed how Le Guin's sentences rolled off my tongue; her phrases had an almost B
I read this book out loud to my nine-year old son Zach at bedtime. I enjoyed how Le Guin's sentences rolled off my tongue; her phrases had an almost Biblical (KJV) cadence to them at times. For some reason I never got a clear physical picture of Ged in my head and had a difficult time connecting with him. We often referred back to the little map of Earthsea to trace Ged on his travels, and it would have been nice to have access to a larger map, in colour. Will we read the other books in the series? I will leave that up to Zach....more
Plot: 8/10 Characters: 6/10 Dialogue: 5/10 Potential for increasing your paranoia towards all electronic devices and for provoking flashes of panic thatPlot: 8/10 Characters: 6/10 Dialogue: 5/10 Potential for increasing your paranoia towards all electronic devices and for provoking flashes of panic that your iPhone might one day turn against you: 10/10 Recipe: "I, Robot" + "Terminator" + "The Singularity Is Near"
When I heard that Spielberg had bought the rights to make this novel into a movie (scheduled for 2013, if the world survives 2012, lol!), I began imagining just how he would likely do that, and this perspective helped me synthesize in my mind the rather disparate chunks of this novel. It is written as a series of recorded incidents involving "heroes" (so-named with grudging respect by Archos, the Singularity himself) who played a role in the New War between Humankind and Robotkind. The sweeping lines of the plot are quite interesting, although I had to blur them a bit in my mind to keep the flow - and a plot device which I'm sure appealed to Spielberg was that of introducing main characters in vignettes and gradually merging the various characters' individual stories as they eventually met up and joined forces. (This reminded me quite a bit of the TV sci-fi series "Heroes"). Some characters were memorable, but others I kept mixing up in my mind; I couldn't picture them, and occasionally had to turn back to the chapter where I first met them to remind myself who they were. Dialogue tried to capture different cultures, personalities and levels of education of the various narrators, but it was often quite strained, especially when soldier-"grunts" ended up slipping into rather poetic descriptions, which seemed unlikely. (And Spielberg will have to purge quite a bit of the swearing if he wants to capture a PG rating). I did like how the author took us inside the mind of the robots on occasion and gave us their own perspective and internal dialogue, which was revealing and sometimes quite humorous.
What did I like best about this book: The sense of credibility which came from knowing that the author has a Ph.D. In robotics ... the diversity in our "heroes", who ranged from a little girl to a cocky Native youth to an elderly Japanese man ... the chilling sense of the unknown as the robots began systematically exterminating their human owners and as they began evolving in new directions ... the surprise twist near the end involving help to the human army from an unexpected direction ... and the portrayal of Archos as a shy little boy, trying to understand and carve out his place in an unfathomable universe - which might have even been poignant had it not involved blowing up, crushing, stabbing or otherwise wiping out our own kin. I feel like the plot device of reviewing recorded incidents from the New War didn't quite work, and it would have been better to let the incidents of the war spool out rather than revisiting them retrospectively.
I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot more novels with similarly dystopian themes as we approach 2045 (the year we reach Singularity, doncha know!), and I would like to see the occasional best-case scenario "ET" to balance out all of the "War Of The Worlds", to balance horror with hopefulness.
One of my all-time favourite reads, and one of the few books (along with Walden!) that I must re-read every few years. In this, her "meteorological j
One of my all-time favourite reads, and one of the few books (along with Walden!) that I must re-read every few years. In this, her "meteorological journal of the soul", Dillard channels C.S. Lewis and Thoreau in a mystical exploration of nature and the nature of good and evil....more
Well, I finally read it—the book I'd been told since high school I needed to read but had never got around to reading. I'm a psychologist, so I foundWell, I finally read it—the book I'd been told since high school I needed to read but had never got around to reading. I'm a psychologist, so I found the internal contradictions and introspections and stream-of-consciousness non-sequiters and adolescent reinventions of the world of Holden Caulfield interesting—but I didn't 'enjoy' the book, and I actually came to find it rather tedious. I had always read that Salinger more accurately than most authors had captured the internal world of adolescence—and he may well have done so for 1945, but as i was reading I found the vocabulary distracting and quaint in the same way I found watching "West Side Story" and its efforts to capture the vocabulary of adolescence at the time ("daddy-o!"). Holden calls everyone "Old", as in "Old Sally", including his six-year old sister; he has several verbal tics ("if you like to know") that get really annoying, the equivalent of hearing valley girl talk today, ("so like I say, like, gag me with a spoon!"); and he uses the adjective "crumby" all the time (the equivalent today would be, I believe, "fucked-up"). He was a complex character, I suppose, as are we all—a mixture of compassion and self-centredness, of cowardice ('yellowness') and bluster, of desperate loneliness and self-sufficiency. I just felt sorry for him and kept thinking this kid really needs some parenting and guidance.
I began reading this book shorty after my own initiation weekend into The Mankind Project, wanting to compare my experience with the author's and to c
I began reading this book shorty after my own initiation weekend into The Mankind Project, wanting to compare my experience with the author's and to consolidate my own transformative experience. I found his style extremely intuitive and New-Agey, for lack of a better term (lots of talk about Spirit Guides and too-amazingly coincidental discoveries and dreams and mysticism), and to be honest, this turned me off; not to say that his autobiographical approach wasn't valid, but I found myself writing "WTF?!" more than once in the margins.
That being said, the last 20 pages of summary were the most valuable part of the book for me. The author recognized that his own healing process was happening in layers, from easier to more difficult, "the difficulty probably related to consciousness, the less conscious it was the more difficult it was" (p. 219)—and a large part of being conscious means being aware what I am feeling in any given moment or situation. I was struck by the author's assessment that addiction is actually the polar opposite of consciousness, and that many men use addictions to counterbalance their own numbness and pain. And I will end by quoting the author's penultimate statement about the kind of personal change that occurs during the course of the MKP Weekends: "To become conscious is to change, and change means dealing with fear. Men with deep wounds create behavior patterns to cope with the wounds. To heal the wounds is to let go of the behavior patterns, and the letting go means change, means stepping into the unknown". (pp. 229-230).
I suppose every single man who experiences these weekends could write his own story, and each story would be different. We each have a "Shadow"—the parts of ourselves and our early experiences that we hide, deny or repress—and the voyage towards wholeness involves facing and confronting that of which we are most afraid. ...more
Had a hard time respecting Bryson and his buddy's rather slacker approach to hiking the AT, but that's because I tend to get all spartan and extremis
Had a hard time respecting Bryson and his buddy's rather slacker approach to hiking the AT, but that's because I tend to get all spartan and extremist about challenges like this. Hitchhiking into town to shower and stay in motels and do laundry doesn't strike me as the way to do a thru-hike, and skipping large sections of the Trail and dropping out with the end in sight left me shaking my head. That being said, I did enjoy the humorous perspective of life as a thru-hiker and the Laurel-and-Hardy style relationship between Bryson and Katz was a lot of fun. And I think I learned enough about the Appalachian Trail to realize that I do not want to hike it; I tend to agree with the author, that 2,000+ miles of trees, trees, trees is a little much and it would have been nice for the Trail to occasionally pass through villages and hamlets....more
I really wanted to like this book—but unless one is a fervent Latter Day Saint, one will likely find somewhat tiresome Ty's frequent deferences to theI really wanted to like this book—but unless one is a fervent Latter Day Saint, one will likely find somewhat tiresome Ty's frequent deferences to the established authority of the Mormon Scriptures and church presidents and leaders. This book is largely an apologetic addressed to other Mormons, both those who may be 'struggling' with same-sex attraction and those who may be judgmental towards those in the Church who are struggling. Due to the primacy of his faith, Ty's own felt needs must be subjugated to his theological beliefs. As a result, this book contains a rather emotionless, cognitively-oriented argument in favor of understanding and accepting same-gender attraction—without ever giving in to it. I believe that Ty is a good and sincere man trying his darndest to integrate his Mormon/ Christian beliefs with his same-sex attractions. He tries to reconcile the two, and his book is likely most helpful for the homophobic church member who has zero empathy for those who struggle with same-sex attraction—but not as helpful for the same-gender-attracted individual who may be less theologically inclined....more