Didn't like it. Never thought making fun of religion could be so little fun. Same goes for celebrity-worship. I find Palahniuk's barrage of wit and wiDidn't like it. Never thought making fun of religion could be so little fun. Same goes for celebrity-worship. I find Palahniuk's barrage of wit and wisdom to be entertaining at a rate of about 1 out of every 100, which is just annoying.
I know his books are just vehicles for wonderfully fucked up characters and morose, stinging social commentary... but I still expect a more cohesive story than this. Of course the most fundamental theme here is suicide, which--maybe I'm just boringly even-keeled--has never made much sense to me.
I did like the ultimate end. I thought that took guts, and throughout the book, I hoped and doubted he would end it thusly, so hats off there. But looking back, I notice he employed a cheap device to make even that seem much more dramatic than it was, with the last thing Fertility told him and all... I don't want to give it away because lots of peeps haven't read this and ole Chuck seems to be a popular author.
For the record, I thought Fight Club the movie was the greatest thing since sliced bread, though the book was a lot more meh. I guess I'm not going to be a passenger on the Palahniuk train. Director Fincher and the actors really brought the movie to life, they knew how to work with and fill in Palahniuk's material....more
I was surprised by how similar the original story was to the movie, as I had heard they butchered it. Not so. The only changes of any weight were in EI was surprised by how similar the original story was to the movie, as I had heard they butchered it. Not so. The only changes of any weight were in Ellie's relationships to the other major characters, and the removal of dated material relating to the Soviet Union.
Sagan's forte is definitely in non-fiction science popularization, and it is on display even in this work of fiction, where I'm sorry to say, it doesn't make for particularly good storytelling.
I was not surprised by the book's greatest virtue, the preponderance of wonder, a deep and abiding respect for nature and humility before that which science has not (yet) elucidated. That and myriad ruminations on the nature and likelyhood of far more advanced civilizations than our own inhabiting the universe. This is very well done, and I was gratified that Sagan's original writing expounded on these topics far more than the movie could convey....more
Very solid, accessible, engaging, personable book. It is rare to find all these qualities in a treatise on atheism, so I recommend it with high marks.Very solid, accessible, engaging, personable book. It is rare to find all these qualities in a treatise on atheism, so I recommend it with high marks.
Mr. Barker is to me a luminary of rationalism, and therefore a valiant champion of a brighter future in which we, as a species, take responsibility for our own actions, misdeeds, and limitless potential....more
The title is ironical (a la C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity). The unspoken answer to the question is: "You do!" This is especially easy to miss, being aThe title is ironical (a la C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity). The unspoken answer to the question is: "You do!" This is especially easy to miss, being a pro-religion book on my religion shelf, which is populated mostly by books critical of religion.
This was assigned reading at my Catholic high school, and competently performed its intended purpose: indoctrination into monotheism. It probably staved off my inevitable atheism for 6, maybe 12 months. This is the only reason it gets a second star, being that I disagree with its premises so strenuously; it must have been fairly thought provoking.
In his defense, Kushner was not heavy-handed, and structured his arguments as an impartial analysis, coming down firmly on the side of belief. If I were feeling less charitable, I might characterize that tactic as delusory or even insidious, but given that many atheism books do the same thing, I can hardly complain. Let's face it: it is a fraught, contentious subject matter. ...more
I enjoy Wendy Kaminer's writing, but I waited entirely too long on this book and it dated itself. Also she's a militant agnostic, to the detriment ofI enjoy Wendy Kaminer's writing, but I waited entirely too long on this book and it dated itself. Also she's a militant agnostic, to the detriment of atheism.
Her attacks on New Age and therapeutic culture were sound and welcome. ...more
This was every bit as strong, strident and fun as I expected it to be, given the quality of Harris' contributions to Free Inquiry magazine. He disclaiThis was every bit as strong, strident and fun as I expected it to be, given the quality of Harris' contributions to Free Inquiry magazine. He disclaims that he doesn't mean "to single out Islam for special abuse", but he does, and witheringly. I thought he treated Christianity quite gently--nowhere in the book did he mention the modern Christian terrorists that bomb abortion clinics and shoot doctors, which would seem directly relevant to his central thesis of the immediate and profound threat posed to civilization by the faithful.
Another of Harris' powerful, necessary and politically incorrect contributions to the public discourse is his taking to task of moderate religion. In his words, "By failing to live by the letter of the texts, while tolerating the irrationality of those who do, religious moderates betray faith and reason equally.... religious moderation will do nothing to lead us out of the wilderness."
Rather than get bogged down in tedious philosophical discourse, Harris keeps it tightly focused and goes for the gut. This is a good tact when trying to reach as many listeners as possible in a mass-market release. Using this approach, there are a few passages so powerfully simple and self-evident that believers may find them challenging, or at least be at lengthy pains to refute. But naturally, most will bounce off the opposing camp and only resonate with eyes that have already shed faith....more