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 not everyone would 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
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.
This isn't exactly a book, but rather a Bible Study and would be best read in that scenI received this book through the GoodReads First Reads program.
This isn't exactly a book, but rather a Bible Study and would be best read in that scenario.
The book is divided into several lessons, each focusing around a different story of hardship that was well-endured. These lessons are further broken down into a day by day study, complete with verses to write out and analyze along with questions relating the stories to your own life. All in all it is very well thought out - the verses are relevant, the questions would work well to lead discussions, and the stories are rather touching.
A lot of good thought was put into this book and I believe it would serve its purpose incredibly well. While I couldn't personally relate to many of the stories within it, I will say that the stories would likely resonate extremely well with many people. ...more
I was a bit torn about this book, as aspects of it I thoroughly enjoyed. Emily's trip to Florida, andI won this book through the first-reads program.
I was a bit torn about this book, as aspects of it I thoroughly enjoyed. Emily's trip to Florida, and overall online dating experience were worthy of a romantic comedy - as were aspects of her relationship with Jerry. The evolution of Emily's relationships (familial and non) are worth a book in their own, as are her spiritual pursuits.
While I found the book delightful, in spite of the misfortunes encompassed therein, I found the balance between the sacred and profane a bit jarring. A little rearranging of some of the events in the book would have served to balance it a little better pacing wise.
I would certainly pick up the second book in this series, and actually would have appreciated something along the lines of a biography on the sacred texts that are referenced several times in the book itself. Eastern philosophy fascinates me, and not being too well read in it.. well, this book is a fine gateway to rekindle ones want of Buddhist teachings.
I reviewed the previous book in this series, though right now I can't find a copy of the third one.
This book was much the same as the previous one, thI reviewed the previous book in this series, though right now I can't find a copy of the third one.
This book was much the same as the previous one, though the content has changed now to encompass the War of the Roses period and the general political climate that that encompassed. The stories were interesting, and the bibliography at the back rather good. I quite liked the fact that Robert Lacey included both Museums and Gardens, books and websites - primary sources are great. I sent several recommendations based upon the bibliography to my parents, who will be in England soon. Talk about good timing, right?
This book offers a very nice introduction to the stories and legends that shaped England into what it is today. The bibliography is a very good resource for finding out more information, and the family trees in the beginning help sort out some of the more complicated lineages (here's looking at you, Henry VIII).
I previously read Robert Lacey's first and second installment in his Great Tales of England which I also reviewed here. I was mildly disappointed to cI previously read Robert Lacey's first and second installment in his Great Tales of England which I also reviewed here. I was mildly disappointed to come across many of such tales in the reading of this book, and the tales worded as similarly as they were in the books I've read, but what can one truly expect? It makes sense for the tales to serve as summations of larger books, after all. At he very least I respect his retelling of Canute bringing his throne to the shore. Promoting the correct 'full' version of the tale and its moral (that the power of a king is limited by that of nature and god) is worth however many times it needs to be retold so people will stop using it to illustrate kingly arrogance. It's a disservice to Canute's memory.
Anyway, the book is divided by month, complete with the illustrations from the Julian calender and each illustration is explained within the chapter. The result is a very good look at the year 1,000 and how little it differs from where we are now. Human nature hasn't changed that much, and Robert Lacey is quite good at showing the human side of things. He acknowledges that the analogies are not perfect - in particular when it comes to medical acumen - but at the same time it's heartening to see just how lusty and ridiculous people were... and still are. The riddles were a particularly nice touch.
So, to sum it all up, this is a very good overview, though I wouldn't use it as a primary resource. I shall leave you with this riddle from over 1,000 years ago:
I am a strange creature, for I satisfy women... I grow very tall, erect in a bed, I'm hairy underneath. From time to time A beautiful girl, the brave daughter Of some fellow dares to hold me Grips my reddish skin, robs me of my head And puts me in the pantry. At once that girl With plaited hair who has confined me Remembers our meeting. Her eye moistens.
So, what's the answer?
Yeah, the other riddle they included was even worse. Now I'm just waiting for one of you to ask me to type it up. ...more
This is technically a first-reads book, an advance short section of a book to be released later this day or next. Luckily, it's up on Good Reads for rThis is technically a first-reads book, an advance short section of a book to be released later this day or next. Luckily, it's up on Good Reads for reading, review, and all things good.
This is an interesting book, and one that more than piqued my interest to read the rest of it once it is offered. The story is strange, the sort of weird-fiction that one doesn't see too often these days. The ghost story may be purely psychological, historical, or just straight up real. It's uncertain.
As I said before, it is just a small snippet, but man, it's cool. I'm looking forward to the rest. Daniel Clausen has a fine ability to write poetic sentences that intrigue and fascinate. I'm looking forward to the rest, and hoping we hear more about "Silence" in the future....more