Did you ever wonder when the world was going to end? How it was going to end? Why?
Apparently the answers, according to this book, are: soon by collidinDid you ever wonder when the world was going to end? How it was going to end? Why?
Apparently the answers, according to this book, are: soon by colliding with Mars, and because you aren't practicing Scientific Chastity.
I'm still not entirely certain what Scientific Chastity is, but apparently we really need to get on it before the sea monsters, nourished by nuclear waste in the ocean, become Nuclear Creatures and begin eating us all....more
This is a book I often see recommended as a gateway to Mindfulness, a first taste so to speak, and it works well enough for that purpose. Jon Kabat-ZThis is a book I often see recommended as a gateway to Mindfulness, a first taste so to speak, and it works well enough for that purpose. Jon Kabat-Zinn takes the reader step by step through the process of cultivating mindfulness, why it is generally seen as being helpful, who it might work for, who it wouldn't. While the practice is rooted in Buddhism, and the book touches upon it a fair bit, it is still secular enough to appeal to non-spiritualists in my opinion.
I would especially view this book as valuable for the extensive bibliography at the end of the book for further reading, most of it categorized well by topic, and some with more information by the author as to why he recommends it.
All in all, this was a very interesting read and a book I would like to pick up again. I will be reading more by this author for certain, as well....more
This book was recommended to me by a friend, and honestly I'm rather happy that she took the time to recommend it to me.
While self-help books have a tThis book was recommended to me by a friend, and honestly I'm rather happy that she took the time to recommend it to me.
While self-help books have a tendency to be either too coddling or too clinical, On Fire was able to largely avoid both. In telling the story of how he survived being burned over 100% of his body and making something of himself, John O'Leary details the perseverance and grit that most of us wish we possessed... and tells us that we indeed have it. It's a study in tough love and finding hope in places one might not usually find them, and an oddly touching story at that.
I don't know if I just happened to read this book at the right time in my life, or if it was just genuinely moving, but this book did touch me a fair deal. I found value in the lessons it taught, and smiled on more than one occasion while flipping through its pages.
The book isn't for everyone, certainly, but I did get rather a lot out of it when I read it....more
When Jonas read this book he did so with a constant look of incredulity on his face. He was bursting at the seams to talk about it, but not having reaWhen Jonas read this book he did so with a constant look of incredulity on his face. He was bursting at the seams to talk about it, but not having read it myself, there wasn't all that much that I could do. The moment he finished the book I picked it up, and I am incredibly glad that I did so. Now I can understand his confusion, and more, the sense of wonder that this book elicits. There's weight to this book, and let me tell you, it gets even stranger than the general high strangeness that Philip K Dick is known for...
PKD is an author that I really adore. His intertwining of sci-fi and religious themes speaks to me, and the hallucinatory quality of his books is downright addictive. The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch delivers on both accounts in spades, surpassing the general undertones of other of PKD's work and making them overt. The themes of transubstantiation and whether it is purely philosophical or literal was fascinating, and even long after finishing the book it still makes me wonder. I wanted to read more, to examine more, to inhabit the world[s] a bit longer after I had finished the book itself.
I honestly can't recommend this book enough, and would be happy as could be to talk to anyone about it. This was just such a cool book....more
I picked this book up on a whim at my local library, and soon discovered it was already on my to-read listing. Clearly, this was a fortuitous sightingI picked this book up on a whim at my local library, and soon discovered it was already on my to-read listing. Clearly, this was a fortuitous sighting.
This book was incredibly fascinating. Others have complained about the surfeit of speculation within it, and I will agree that there is a lot of speculation, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. If you pick it up as a relative newcomer to the Bog Body phenomenon, I feel this book has a lot to offer and a lot of fascinating insight into the not all that distant past. The photographs, at the very least, are worth quickly thumbing through the book to see. They're truly breathtaking.
Ultimately, I think my favorite part of the book was the utter respect with which the author treated the subject. At no point do the Bog Bodies become some freakish display, they are always human. It's important that we respect the past, and the bits of life that were managed to be reconstructed with startling things.
We may never know why the bodies were put into the bogs, why the ritual sacrifice (if it was such) occurred. But we can wonder, and we can do our best not to forget those we find, and what their last moments must have been like as they sunk beneath the surface, trapped forever somewhere between life and death....more
You know, this short story gets thrown around quite a lot.
I've seen it copied and pasted in comments threads, seen it appear as an image on imgur, aYou know, this short story gets thrown around quite a lot.
I've seen it copied and pasted in comments threads, seen it appear as an image on imgur, a short film on YouTube, even as a Facebook status once or twice. It's a bit of a meme in and of itself, and it just won't die. The first time I saw it, I feel, was when I was a little kid though I doubt that's actually the case. It's more recent than that, isn't it?
Maybe it's insidious in some way. It slips into your mind until you're convinced it's something you've always known. Maybe that makes it a great work of art, or at least a decent one. I'll give it that. If it's the first time you've been exposed to this sort of philosophy it definitely will stick with you. If you're of a bit more of a philosophical bend and this is not news to you, then it won't really impact you that deeply.
I'm more of the latter, and I've seen this before. I've seen it in The Matrix, The Fountain, and in the works of Jonathan Carroll. I've seen some of the better aspects of it in [Book: The Magician King] and The Dark Tower. It's a mish-mash of popular ideas with a heady dose of Deepak Chopra.
So it goes.
Other authors have treated this material better, and in a more striking way. Even The Book Thief touched on this philosophy in a more meaningful way.
It's decent for first exposure, but I'm afraid many people will only get that first exposure and not delve deeper into what better writing and more ambitious projects have to offer....more
I first read this book in seventh grade, and although I enjoyed it I can't claim I really understood it. It was a gorgeous readSuch a beautiful book.
I first read this book in seventh grade, and although I enjoyed it I can't claim I really understood it. It was a gorgeous read then, and is a gorgeous one now. The story is a beautiful myth, an exploration of Buddhism and Hinduism that was written before either one was thoroughly understood by the West.
The introduction and the analysis offered at the beginning of the book both enhance the reading of the actual story, and reading Joseph Campbell I can even further understand the text itself. I think this is the sort of book that the more one reads it, the later in life one reads it, the more thoroughly it can be understood and appreciated.
I can't recommend this book enough, but I do know why everyone might not enjoy it....more
Can't get enough of that textual criticism and early Christian history. Yeah, I know how that sounds. Nope, I don't care. I'll continue to litter everCan't get enough of that textual criticism and early Christian history. Yeah, I know how that sounds. Nope, I don't care. I'll continue to litter everyone's update feeds with my occasional forays into these topics.
Zealot by Reza Aslan got ridiculously popular in a short period of time. I was reading arguments on the internet about its history and sources, hearing occasionally it being touted on popular television shows. It changed lives, or people claimed it did. They used it as an argument for the oft-repeated centurion hypothesis of paternity and other such poorly researched finds. It was inevitable I eventually read it, and lo and behold, the library just happened to have a copy sitting right there.
All in all, I actually enjoyed Zealot. I didn't find it as well researched as much of Bart D. Ehrman's works, nor as in depth. I nearly stopped reading when he argued that authorship wasn't necessarily worth questioning as people often wrote under other's names to imply they were further espousing their ideas (false) and that there was no definitive concept of history at the time (also false.) The idea that a lot of what was written would be known to be historically inaccurate and was meant as metaphor - that could gain better ground. The other two points though... we really need to excise them from our minds. They are patently untrue, and history just doesn't work that way.
Zealot shines not in its early bits, but far far later when his arguments come in about Jesus, his relation to Rome and Paul and James and their arguments for what early Christendom should mean. The book truly shone in the Pauline arguments and James refutation of them. The book would be good reading for anyone interested in Christianity, or simply Christian's themselves. It offers at once a more literal and metaphorical view of what was done, and a more concise view of what Jesus said and meant at the time in which he lived. Bart D. Ehrman's works are a better source of textual criticism, but Zealot was a better way to get a true feel for the history of the times and just how much the Jews went through during the Roman occupation.
The two authors, and their respective works, complement one another wonderfully and together offer a more comprehensive understanding of a vast and heated topic....more
I think this book would serve far better as a standalone than as a proper part of the Wrinkle in Time movement. Aside from Sandy and Denny, the otherI think this book would serve far better as a standalone than as a proper part of the Wrinkle in Time movement. Aside from Sandy and Denny, the other characters are pretty much only mentioned. It isn't as involved with Meg and the family as A Swiftly Tilting Planet managed to be, and really only tangentially dealt with the science aspects that dominated the other three books. The idea of something only existing when it is observed, however, is one that's fascinating and worth a bit of a think.
So, Many Waters basically has Sandy and Denny travel back in time to hang out with Noah and his family in antedivulian times and deal with Seraphim and Nephilim. Yeah, it is overtly Biblical fiction, and although the author butchers Neanderthals a bit in her depictions of them all in all the ideas of how people survived in that time aren't terrible. It would do to interest people in prehistoric times, perhaps?
I didn't like it as much as I enjoyed the other books. I did enjoy the fact that as a coming of age story it dealt more directly with ideas of budding sexuality and how sometimes what you want isn't necessarily what you should have. The importance of family is emphasized, as well as the importance of following one's instincts and in general doing the right thing even if it isn't the easy thing to do. The ending felt a bit rushed, and I think the book would have done better to not be written for a YA audience, but that might just be the fact that I'm older now.
This used to be my favorite installation in the Wrinkle in Time series. I adored Charles Wallace, enjoyed the trip through history and seeing differenThis used to be my favorite installation in the Wrinkle in Time series. I adored Charles Wallace, enjoyed the trip through history and seeing different time periods... Rereading it, some of the twists were rather obvious and a bit insulting. The repetition of the rune got trying. Realizing when it was written, what was happening... well, it gave the book a context that made its message rather clear. It would have been interesting to see what kids thought of it at the time it was released with the very real threat of nuclear annihilation looming.
Good to see some Welsh mythology creeping in, as it doesn't tend to get looked at nearly often enough. The witch hunt was a bit annoying, but so it goes....more
Out of what I read of the Time Quintet originally this was the book I had the scantiest recollection of. I reread A Wrinkle in Time and A Swiftly TiltOut of what I read of the Time Quintet originally this was the book I had the scantiest recollection of. I reread A Wrinkle in Time and A Swiftly Tilting Planet many many times, but this one? Not so much. My memory of it was very shaky and I think it got mixed somewhere over the years with some Magic School Bus episodes.
Nevertheless, rereading the book I found a lot of charming parts of it. I don't feel that it was nearly as strong as A Wrinkle in Time, but poking around I discovered that for a great many people this book was really their favorite. The author's speculative biology was both misinformed and predictive, interesting and thematic. It's a bit heavy, but all of her books are. I think my main problem was that the book came off as more rushed than the others for me.
Progonoskies is a fantastic character, but Blajeny and Sporos both didn't seem fully developed. Calvin could have been emphasized a bit more, too, considering what part he and his family play in A Wrinkle in Time and A Swiftly Tilting Planet but that might just be my own bias speaking.
Man, I wish this universe had been more fully fleshed out....more
I previously reviewed Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy and found both books interesting and informative. I thought the style was somewhat simplistic, but overall they were interesting and decent starting grounds for people who want to look deeper into history. This book, however? It didn't even really serve that purpose. It was just... very, very strange.
Being George Washington wanted to be a biography while also wanting to be a legitimate history book, political history, and a self-help book. It wanted to prove that Washington was religious while also wanting to show how Washington bettered himself by simply being civil and persistent. Essentially? It wanted to be way too many things.
I think an editor needs to go at this book with a machete, restructure it, and find out where the book wants to live. I think the purpose of the book would overall be better served if it simply rested comfortably in the arms of a dramatic narrative such as Killing Lincoln did. I think the book would be better served by relying on primary documents without editorial asides trying to emphasize Christianity over Deism or any other religious point of view.
Just... it was a bit like reading through someone's scribbled notes in a textbook this way....more
The Dead Sea Scrolls are something that truly fascinate me. There's so much speculation about the community that wrote them, so much sheer oddness wheThe Dead Sea Scrolls are something that truly fascinate me. There's so much speculation about the community that wrote them, so much sheer oddness when it comes to what the Essenes believed and preached. It sheds new lights about just how different the religious communities were then.
This book goes into the history of the scrolls discovery, and what was known at the time of publication about the community that wrote them. It was a fascinating read, though of course now a bit out of date. I still would recommend it to anyone interested in the scrolls, as any information is still good information in my estimation. It was by no means a dry read....more
The content of this book was marvelous. It collected a series of Australian aboriginal folktales, transcribed from oral accounts. The low rating largeThe content of this book was marvelous. It collected a series of Australian aboriginal folktales, transcribed from oral accounts. The low rating largely comes from my lack of background in that field and the difficulty I had with the language therein. A lot of native language was used, and although the words were defined in the glossary in the back, it was a trying experience constantly flipping through to attempt to garner a better understanding of the content.
I received this book through the GoodReads first reads program.
Ricky Maye's book is a concise examination of Christianity and the problems that he hasI received this book through the GoodReads first reads program.
Ricky Maye's book is a concise examination of Christianity and the problems that he has with the current incarnation of the faith. He explains how Christian's should strive to be more... well, Christian. What emerges is an understanding of the faith that incorporates the understanding, empathy, and altogether open-mindedness of the faith that existed when the religion first came into existence. I've no problem whatsoever with this message, and indeed, think it is altogether quite a good one.
The book didn't receive more stars from me because altogether this message is one that I've read/heard many times before. I didn't feel that this book brought anything to the table that other authors have not previously thought about and/or wrote about or spoke about in other mediums. Indeed, I thought some other books (such as Jesus for President) did it a bit better. This book, however, may reach a larger audience as it is readily available through more mediums and might catch someone else's eye.
It's a pretty good quick read, in other words. :)...more
A rabbi's cat eats a parrot and gains the ability to speak in 1930's Algiers. Thus begins arguments on theology, philosophy, and simple social proprieA rabbi's cat eats a parrot and gains the ability to speak in 1930's Algiers. Thus begins arguments on theology, philosophy, and simple social propriety.
The artwork for this is beautiful, especially the scenes of Paris in the rain. The writing is hilarious, and perfectly capture's what I'd imagine a cat's perspective to be... All in all, a great set of comics, none standing out hugely from the others instead all being a uniform level of greatness. No complaints here. ...more
I'm a bit torn between how many stars to give this book.
I read it in just a small handful of days, and indeed did find it interesting. I feel the titlI'm a bit torn between how many stars to give this book.
I read it in just a small handful of days, and indeed did find it interesting. I feel the title was a bit of a misnomer, as only a handful of chapters actually described Don Piper's experience in heaven. The bulk of the book was focused upon the injuries sustained during the accident that killed him, and how it affected the rest of his life. So, as I said, the title was a bit of a misnomer. Nevertheless, the time he spent dead and in heaven did severely affect how his life went from then on.
This book was pleasant, and indeed inspirational. Regardless of how one feels about the religious aspects of it Don Piper is an inspirational man, someone who truly practices what he preached. While he acknowledges his faults, the time he spent talking to those who had the same treatments he did (to regrow the missing bones in their legs. Seriously, did you know we can do that?) was huge. It means a lot, to have a mentor who has been through what you have.
All in all, I'd look at this as a book similar to Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a short, inspirational read that would be well suited for holiday or time at the beach. Not a great book, but certainly a good one. Also, by no means a bad read at all. Gives you something to think about, and another small reminder to do what good you can each and every day....more
I won this book from a giveaway a while ago, and finally got around to reading it. This collection of short-stories was very well written, and quite cI won this book from a giveaway a while ago, and finally got around to reading it. This collection of short-stories was very well written, and quite compelling. As the title implies, the book revolved around issues of the Jewish religion, history, and identity.
Not being Jewish myself, I was unfamiliar with some of the traditions that the book discussed. Nevertheless, some of the stories were rather universal and did speak to me. In particular, I enjoyed the story about the Author, the title story, and the story about the camp.
The stories were very well written, and I was torn between giving it three and four stars, but ultimately decided upon three as the book didn't quite strike me as amazing. I did enjoy it, it just wasn't precisely to my own taste. Others, I know, would quite love it....more
I won this book through the GoodReads First-Reads giveaway.
I wasn't entirely sure what I expected to get from this book. The title, of course, intriguI won this book through the GoodReads First-Reads giveaway.
I wasn't entirely sure what I expected to get from this book. The title, of course, intrigued me as did the description. Nevertheless, I don't entirely feel that either quite does the book justice. The book is more than just a treatise on what it means to be a Christian in the modern world and it's a bit more than what it means to be involved in the world in a positive way. For me, the book seemed to be more about what it means to live a full life, according to your own values and expectations.
While the book did drag on in a few places, notably when talking about faith, the words jumped off the page in a few other places. I was surprised by the selflessness with which the authors acted, and the honesty which their children showed. Patience and perseverance were likewise in evidence, and altogether the book served as a good reminder that now and again we all could slow down a bit and perhaps compromise a bit less on what matters most to us. If we want something to happen, we need to take the first step. If someone we love wants something to happen and takes the first step, it would do to help them make it a reality, too....more
I won this book through the GoodReads first reads program.
I wanted to enjoy this book far more than I actually did. I had not read anything on BonhoefI won this book through the GoodReads first reads program.
I wanted to enjoy this book far more than I actually did. I had not read anything on Bonhoeffer prior, beyond a brief reference to him in a book on philosophy that I read years ago. Jon Walker did a decent job of explaining his most basic beliefs throughout the book, but never went in depth in regards to it without it being directly related to horrible events within the authors life.
The basis of the book is admirable - essentially explaining that the hard times we go through are meant to define us and help us fully develop our character and faith. The trouble I had with the book was that I never fully felt that any change occurred. Jon Walker went through tragedy, and says he has come to terms with it but still, the tone was altogether rather bitter. Rather than feeling as if the book had helped me or enlightened me in terms of philosophy and theology, I came away from the book downright depressed and confused.
The book would be better served by framing the stories around Bonhoeffer, rather than tragedies within the author's life. By framing it with the philosophy it would have enhanced the events; by framing it with the events, the philosophy was lost in what seemed like self pity. I understand that others thoroughly loved the book, and took a great deal from it. Unfortunately, I simply wasn't one of them....more
This is the sort of book that more people need to read. Timothy K. Beal is the reasonable sort of person who needs to speak out about Christianity.
TheThis is the sort of book that more people need to read. Timothy K. Beal is the reasonable sort of person who needs to speak out about Christianity.
The first two thirds of the book are divided into a brief history of Christianity itself, and more interestingly, a history of the Bible. Timothy K. Beal takes the time to dissuade any reader of the Dan Brown styled notions that things are cut and dry, and instead explains the lack of consistency throughout the Bibles many incarnations. This is fascinating stuff, and moreover, it is important stuff to know when people tend to be hardlining notions that The Bible Says X when it reality that may not be the case.
The final third of the book is spent discussing how one can move forward with the knowledge they have. Like Bert Ehrman or even Karen ArmstrongTimothy K. Beale takes the time to explain that turning anyone to atheism is not the message of his work. If it happens, it happens, but nothing is explicitly stated within his piece that says God is Dead. Rather, the book is a celebration on the lack of a univocal Bible and a reminder that one can peel back the layers of these books to make their own meaning.
This book is a throwback to the deeply intellectual religions that Karen Armstrong celebrated and Bert Ehrman spends so much time focusing on. These are the intellectuals who find that knowledge itself is a form of worship and questioning the very basis of life. Some things don't require clean-cut answers, and for may things answers do not exist.
I won this book through the Goodreads first-reads program. :)
This book was utterly delightful. Preeti Gupta takes a casual look at the different philoI won this book through the Goodreads first-reads program. :)
This book was utterly delightful. Preeti Gupta takes a casual look at the different philosophies of various religions in order to convey her own views of what spirituality entails. While a heady topic, Preeti Gupta writes with all the humor of a book such as He's Just Not Into You and it comes off as more a casual conversation than a book. The asides are hilarious, the perspective no-nonsense, and the message a truly wonderful one. I have to admit, I laughed a great deal.
The book suffered from a few typos, easily enough fixed, and a questionable cover - but we don't judge a book by that, right? I think this book is an excellent primer for anyone interested in spirituality and wanting to ponder what they believe and why. This isn't a book for someone more interested in the scholastic side of theology, the debates about meaning and intention and all of that. This is a book for the practical person, one who wants to learn how to actively invite a more fulfilling life based upon.. well, hedging your bets. Want to learn how to invoke more good Karma than bad without meditating? Well, this book has some good ideas. ;)...more
I received this book through the GoodReads first reads program in exchange for an honest review.
This book was incredibly sweet. It lays out the variouI received this book through the GoodReads first reads program in exchange for an honest review.
This book was incredibly sweet. It lays out the various challenges that a grandparent may face in today's world. What do you do if your grandchildren are in a different state? What do you do if your children have cut off contact with you, but you wish to remain in your grandchildren's lives? What do you do to impart your life lessons to them, if others aren't listening?
Practical advice melds with real life stories in order to better show how to deal with these, and many other problems that face the modern grandparent.
Although I'm not a grandparent myself, I enjoyed the stories held within and passed the book on to a pair of grandparents I know. They certainly seemed to enjoy it as much as I did, and found the advice therein extremely helpful....more