I've seen the movie a few times and have always wondered what the book was like. Surprisingly, it's a lot like the movie. Kubrick was apparently very...moreI've seen the movie a few times and have always wondered what the book was like. Surprisingly, it's a lot like the movie. Kubrick was apparently very faithful to the story, with only a few small changes and cutting a bit of material. Where the book differs most from the movie is towards the end, where there is much more detail, and much more is explained (i.e. it actually can be understood). I enjoyed the book. It felt a little dated, but much less than you would expect given that it was written in 1968. Otherwise it is well-written, thought-provoking, and difficult to put down. (less)
**spoiler alert** Update: okay, now that I've had a week to think about it, I realize just how frustrating and out of place the end of this book seeme...more**spoiler alert** Update: okay, now that I've had a week to think about it, I realize just how frustrating and out of place the end of this book seemed to me. It's not until you reach the end that you realize the story and characters, which you've come to really admire and care about, are just devices to make the author's point about truth--a point which renders the rest of the plot meaningless and leaves the characters (who solved the mystery!) feeling hopeless about their ability to discern truth. It's a bit annoying, especially since the book leads you to believe from the beginning you're reading a genuine historical fiction/mystery, not participating in a philosophical parable with a joke's-on-you twist ending. Additionally, the point it makes doesn't even make that much sense. After using logic and reasoning very effectively to solve the mystery (and do so correctly), why should the few logical mistakes and lucky moments involved cause William to despair about his worldview? Does the occasional lucky discovery invalidate scientific research, or mean that there is no discernible order in life? Perhaps a detective story is the wrong framework to use in trying to prove a post-modernist position that there is no objective truth. In any case, it is a bit of a let down and seems to undercut the whole book. Too bad; this really was an informative, interesting, and well-written book until the last chapter. Oh well.
A 14th century version of a Sherlock Holmes detective story--if Sherlock and Watson were Franciscan and Benedictine monks investigating some grizzly deaths at a medieval abbey. The story incorporates a great deal of detail about the culture, politics, and lifestyle of its setting, and really drew me in to the setting. I feel like a learned quite a bit from reading it. I will say that it took me about 100 pages to be fully drawn into the action--there is a bit of background-building that was overwhelming to me at first. Also, there were a number of sections that, while fascinating in their understanding of the history, philosophy, and debates of the time, really tempted me to skim ahead. Clearly the author is brilliant, and knows a ton about his subject matter. Finally, without spoiling the ending I will say that it was quite satisfying plot-wise, but very unsatisfying emotionally and philosophically. I believe the author's point is to leave the reader questioning and thinking, but it felt like a bit of a curveball, and left me a little annoyed at the author's postmodernist punchline. Still, in spite of all these caveats, I have to say that it was a great book. It's easy to see why so many people have loved it. It's probably not for everyone--but for anyone who is interested in history (especially church history in the middle ages), philosophy, or just a good murder mystery, this is a good read.(less)
Ron Sider strikes again. Why is half the American church obsessed with the message of salvation while ignoring issues of poverty and injustice, while...moreRon Sider strikes again. Why is half the American church obsessed with the message of salvation while ignoring issues of poverty and injustice, while the other half focuses only on social issues to the exclusion of evangelism? Sider brings a great perspective to this situation, presenting a Biblical gospel, where the good news and good works go hand in hand.(less)
This is the second N.T. Wright book I've read, and I'm definitely becoming a fan. I love his insight, as well as his ability to make scholarly concern...moreThis is the second N.T. Wright book I've read, and I'm definitely becoming a fan. I love his insight, as well as his ability to make scholarly concerns very accessible to non-scholars. He's especially good at developing analogies to describe difficult concepts. In that respect, he reminds me a bit of another favorite Christian author, C. S. Lewis.
In this book, Wright takes on the question of Biblical authority. What does it mean to say the Bible is authoritative? How do we interpret it in a way that gives it real power in our lives, while also understanding it in context and making use of relevant scholarship. To be honest, these questions were not much on my mind. But I appreciate the need for this kind of thinking given the arguments within the church about this topic, and I thought Wright did an excellent job clarifying the issue and offering his own solutions. I especially liked his view of scripture as a play of five acts, and how the different parts relate to each other. That alone was worth the time reading the book. I'm sure it will help me in my own thinking and teaching. I also appreciated his view of the role of scripture in the Christian community and worship service, and hope to find ways to apply it more in my own context.(less)
This is a fantastic book. I've read it several times and plan to read it occasionally throughout my life. I wish every Christian living in the U.S. wo...moreThis is a fantastic book. I've read it several times and plan to read it occasionally throughout my life. I wish every Christian living in the U.S. would read it.(less)
I had a copy of this book on my shelf for most of the time I was growing up, but I never read it until recently. That's probably just as well--I don't...moreI had a copy of this book on my shelf for most of the time I was growing up, but I never read it until recently. That's probably just as well--I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much when I was younger.
I can see why people love The Little Prince and consider it a classic. The story is so inventive that I kept reading just to see what creative direction it would go next. I also really enjoyed the illustrations. I had mixed feelings about the very prominent moral messages, though. On the one hand, I appreciated many of the points the author was trying to make about friendship and the way adults consider meaningless things to be very important. On the other hand it often felt self-righteous, as though the author were saying, "Only I have this all figured out." The ending was a little weird too. Even so I enjoyed this short read. It definitely made me think.(less)
The story of desert monks, preserving collections of history and knowledge against an external world that would pillage and destroy them if it could....moreThe story of desert monks, preserving collections of history and knowledge against an external world that would pillage and destroy them if it could. But rather than being set in ancient history this story occurs hundreds of years in the future, after nuclear holocaust has wiped out human civilization. The monks seek to preserve the remnants of human knowledge until humanity is fit and willing to receive them again. The story is drawn out in three distinct eras, picking up with successive generations of monks in a dramatically changing world.
Thoughtful, mysterious, and surprising, Miller's work will especially appeal to people like me who have a bizarre interest in both post-apocalyptic literature and church history. Note, this is not action-packed. The novel is at its best in imagining a fascinating future, analyzing the clash between Christian and secular thought, and wrestling with the issue human sin, particularly as played out in the broad scope of history. It is very religious in that its main characters are devout Catholics constantly musing on God and humanity, but it's otherwise mostly grounded in the normal extent of human experience.
I had no idea this book was a sci-fi classic. I'd never even heard of it until I stumbled upon it looking for downloadable audiobooks in the LA County library system. I'm glad I did. Recently in a review of Stephen King's book The Gunslinger I'd described his work as a mixture of Nine Princes in Amber, a cowboy novel, and Mad Max. Had I read Miller's book first I would have realized that King is almost certainly heavily influenced by this work. Perhaps Mad Max was too. I imagine Miller's novel has had a significant influence over the post-apocalyptic sci-fi genre in general.
Such a great book! This is the second one I've read by David Benner, the first being The Gift of Being Yourself. Both books have been easy-to-read, pa...moreSuch a great book! This is the second one I've read by David Benner, the first being The Gift of Being Yourself. Both books have been easy-to-read, packed with deep insights and practical suggestions. In the case of Desiring God's Will it took me over a month to get through it, despite its being only 123 pages long. Every few pages I had to stop to process what Benner was saying, or to try out a spiritual practice.
In my job I talk to many Christian college students who are hungry to know what God wants them do with their lives. They want guidance for the big decisions. The same is often true for people my age (almost 40, gah!). Benner tackles this question, but quickly flips it around to address the bigger problem--how do we align ourselves so that we are submitted to God's will and heart? This sets up a number of profound points about how much Christian activity comes from an exercise of our own will, in direct opposition to true submission to God. He talks about how to recognize this tendency, how to release it to God, how to allow our distorted desires to point us to our deeper hunger for God, and how to be attentive to God in a way that makes room for God to act upon us.
Argh, even as I try to describe the book I can't do it justice. Just go read it. I went and looked for the book on my bookshelf just now to get some help in writing this review and I realized I don't have it, having already leant it to someone else. I have a feeling I'm going to be loaning this book out a lot.(less)
"More slaves are in bondage today than were bartered in four centuries of the transatlantic slave trade" (page 6). This book is an eye-opening tour of...more"More slaves are in bondage today than were bartered in four centuries of the transatlantic slave trade" (page 6). This book is an eye-opening tour of the international human trafficking crisis. I found it highly moving, as well as being a very engaging book to read. The author has divided the book into 8 chapters: an introduction, six topical chapters, and a conclusion containing information about how to respond to the issue. Each of the six main chapters covers one aspect of the global slave trade, weaving together the real-life story of a particular individual caught up in slavery, the story of an individual or group fighting that form of slavery, and helpful facts about the problem. I found myself unable to put down the book until I reached the end of each chapter. I highly recommend the book for anyone interested in learning more about this massively important problem.(less)
This was a great book. I learned so much about current world trends in Christianity, much of which I never would have guessed. As a westerner, it's ea...moreThis was a great book. I learned so much about current world trends in Christianity, much of which I never would have guessed. As a westerner, it's easy to think of Christianity in the world as being primarily shaped by what happens in the Christian west. But it is becoming more and more true that the shape of world Christianity is being determined by it's growth in the developing world. What an eye-opener!(less)
This book totally surprised me. I didn't know what to expect going into it, and each time I felt like I was getting a handle on the story it would tak...moreThis book totally surprised me. I didn't know what to expect going into it, and each time I felt like I was getting a handle on the story it would take some surprising turn that changed everything. It starts out as a turn of the century detective story, but by the end becomes a sort of metaphysical exploration. As the book neared its resolution I was captivated, but also somewhat baffled. I could tell the book was trying to say something about different philosophical approaches to life and God, but I wasn't sure what. I had to do some research before I felt I could understand what it had all really been about, and even after that I still have some questions. But it was good to have my mind stretched this way, and I imagine philosophically minded people, and especially those with an interest in Christian thought will enjoy it.
I listened to this as an audio book, recorded by Simon Vance, who did an admirable job. The narration was easy to follow, and he maintained various voices with different accents. (The accents sometimes seemed a bit cheesy, but not distracting.)(less)