While clearly one of the core texts of Crowley's system of Thelema, and key to understanding his cosmology, I found this particular edition of Liber 4...moreWhile clearly one of the core texts of Crowley's system of Thelema, and key to understanding his cosmology, I found this particular edition of Liber 418 to be excessively confusing, even while it remained revelatory.
Part of the problem is the system of commentary. Since the text of the visions themselves is often rather opaque in its symbolism, especially for those not already well versed in the Thelemic Holy Books as well as Qabbala, Crowley added numerous footnotes some 15 years later. In this edition, these are supplemented by further notes written still later by his student & former secretary Israel Regardie. Some of those notes are signed "I.R." but others, while referring to Crowley in third-person, remain unsigned. In all, this makes it very difficult to determine what was written by whom, when. And even with all that, and the whole internet as a supplemental resource, many references remain obscure.
I am hoping that much of this will be further elucidated by the later edition published as Equinox IV:2. Meanwhile, I already have lots of fodder for processing from this one; the core text, after all, is the meat of the matter, and leaves this reader with plenty to digest.(less)
I read it because my girlfriend did, and because I really enjoyed Harris's Fatherland. The latter was by far the better. While Harris clearly knows th...moreI read it because my girlfriend did, and because I really enjoyed Harris's Fatherland. The latter was by far the better. While Harris clearly knows the era, and convincingly creates the WWII atmosphere, the characterization is a bit thin here. It's rather a stock noir mystery novel set in and around Bletchley Park. It's entertaining enough, but Neal Stephenson creates a far more compelling use of the setting, among others, in his Cryptonomicon.(less)
While many of the techniques presented in this slim volume are entirely worthwhile and of great value in making oneself clear and defusing potentially...moreWhile many of the techniques presented in this slim volume are entirely worthwhile and of great value in making oneself clear and defusing potentially tense communications, I still disagree with some of the author's fundamental categorization of "needs." While it may be useful, or even necessary under certain circumstances, to address the desires of another person in addition to, or even perhaps prior to, their needs, I continue to maintain that there is an important distinction to be made between genuine human needs and mere desires, and that kowtowing excessively to the desires of others, while entirely likely to smooth out an otherwise difficult conversation, is of limited value in the long-term. Reinforcing the legitimacy, to say nothing of the primacy, of such desires can go quite a way toward reifying them in the minds of their holders, and thence to create an increased sense of entitlement. All that said, I still find the techniques described to be extremely useful, especially in such cases as "arguing about the toothpaste" when there is clearly a deeper and more important issue underlying a given conflict. What flaws there are, in many instances, are more the flaws of novice to intermediate practitioners of NVC rather than of the author himself, as is shown in many of the included examples.(less)
I had a class on dystopian fiction in college with one of my favorite professors (W. Russell Gray, who also taught on Detective Fiction, among other t...moreI had a class on dystopian fiction in college with one of my favorite professors (W. Russell Gray, who also taught on Detective Fiction, among other things) so between that and the fact that this is, essentially, a book for young adults, perhaps I am jaded. I mean, I see why so many people like it so much, but after Brave New World, 1984, 1985 and great heaping mounds of sci-fi, I find myself thinking "meh." I had all the big twists figured out by about page 60, and the biggest well before that.
So, bottom line: if you're just getting started in the genre, this is a great place for it. If you've been in for a while, I think you can skip it, unless you just want to be able to participate in the conversations knowledgeably.(less)
I'm still committed to finishing the series, but this is beginning to get tedious. Undoubtedly Goodkind gets paid by the word, because he keeps repeat...moreI'm still committed to finishing the series, but this is beginning to get tedious. Undoubtedly Goodkind gets paid by the word, because he keeps repeating things. He repeats things over and over. Granted, in a series this long, one needs to repeat things that the reader may have forgotten. But one does not need to keep repeating things that were just repeated 30 pages ago in the same book.
You have no idea how annoying it can be to read something where the author keeps repeating things over and over unless you have actually read something where the author keeps repeating the same things over and over. I wish I could find some example online of this sort of writing technique—one where things get repeated, with tiny variations, over and over—but alas, it seems to be unique to books that are five times longer than they need to be because the author's overinflated ego and low opinion of his readers makes it appear necessary to continually repeat virtually the same text, over and over.
I have this sneaking suspicion that I've already read 90% of the last book, without ever having laid eyes on it. And yet, I'm going to read it anyway, but not before the library gets a copy. [EDIT: OK, so I had to buy it, but at least it was from the cut-out bin, which was hardly a surprise.](less)