"My power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor 12:9)
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not...more"My power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor 12:9)
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." (1 Cor 13)
This is a description of love, of Our Lord, of holiness, and to the extent that Our Lord dwells in us (His Power), He is glorified by our weakness, our smallness, our seeming irrelevance. Could anyone argue that Bl. Teresa could have accomplished all that she did--caring for literally millions of people over half a century--on her own? Her weakness shows that she did not act alone. If Bl. Teresa can continually say "I am nothing," then what does that make regular people like you and me?
A beautiful book. I share many of the disappointments and objections of the other reviewers here, but even a rather blandly written book by a non-Christian who admits he has a weak understanding of Christian theology cannot help but being beautiful when its subject is as beautiful as Blessed Teresa. She cannot help but be vivid. She, like all the saints, is an ikon of Our Lord.
And why? What is the difference between Bl. Teresa and the rest of us poor mortals? She did everything with love, said everything with love, with grace. If you cloned Bl. Teresa (please don't: it's a mortal sin), or if Bl. Teresa had an identical twin, a short, frail, poor, uneducated Albanian nun, it doesn't seem likely that such a person would be so captivating, so unforgettable as Bl. Teresa, in whose very presence people wept, as they did with St. Francis, or St. JP II. The loving nature of the saints harrows us, as their love reveals our nature as creatures made by love for love. It is hard not to weep at being so beloved. Only a fool would love something unlovable; to receive the love of a saint, of a holy person, is to find your own value, to find that you were found worthy by Our Lord Christ of His Own Blood. To read the life of a saint (or a blessed) is to be in their presence, and to be loved by them.
Garbage. Mostly chatter, commentary. There are a few pages in Judea that are alive, but the rest are rubbish. Roth is always prone to tell rather than...moreGarbage. Mostly chatter, commentary. There are a few pages in Judea that are alive, but the rest are rubbish. Roth is always prone to tell rather than show, piling on the adjectives and adverbs, and Counterlife turned out to be his worst indulgence. I got the sense that he was just filling pages, trying to make a novel out of what is basically one or two short stories, maybe a novella.
The postmodern gimmick seems to have boggled all sorts of minds. Dude, no way! Writing about a writer! Why didn't I think of that? Okay, so 1, 2, 3, and 5 are contained by 4. Mind blown! It's all the creation of Zuckerman, who is the creation of Tarnopol, who is the creation of Roth. Idea for next Roth novel: Tarnopol is just the invention of another writer! Next novel after that: he's the creation of another writer!!!111
It's all the same content, in a different, unpleasant form, which is a huge disappointment for me, because I had excitedly looked forward to reading about Israel and its drama. But it turns out that the only thing that happens in Israel is 2 or 3 long conversations and 2 letters. And then we're back to New Jersey, back to Jewish funerals, back to, as Roth puts it in The Facts, "Family family family, Newark Newark Newark, Jew Jew Jew." Though Roth is coy and protests being labeled a Jewish writer, half of this "novel" is dialogue about "what it means" to be Jewish, which interests me about as much as "what it means" to be Eskimo, or "what it means" to be any other ethnicity. To the extent that it has any import at all, it is in what it reveals of human nature, which, by the very insistence that it is not universal, amounts to almost nothing.
As with much of Roth, the sexual stuff is preposterous, farcical. The prose is tone deaf for page after page, and relies heavily upon cliches (e.g. "the eulogy drove him nuts.") Roth, of course, gets to have everything both ways because it's just another novel by Zuckerman, which is just another novel by Tarnopol, etc. So the bad writing is not Roth's fault, that's him doing the character of Zuckerman.
Roth works in binaries here, binary after binary, which leads to simplification, cliches, stereotypes, flat characters. I still can't get past Zuckerman's fourth wife, an English woman, being named Maria Freshfield. It's not even Dickensian, it's just stupid, as is almost every word of this novel. Even if he were not giving us page after page of conversation between NZ and Maria Freshfield (it hurts to type that name), we would not require such heavy-handedness. But no, Roth is all about interpretation, all about clarification, with characters and narrators doing the reader's job for them, and then other characters arguing against that job, and back and forth and back and forth and zzzzzzz.
I realize that I am in a minority probably of one when I say that this novel was likely just a warm up for the far superior, forgotten Deception, which actually has a structure, a plot, while still doing all the postmodern stuff people love to give awards for. And it's made entirely of dialogue: Roth, it is possible to move the plot along through dialogue.
The novel ends with an image of Zuckerman's genitals, and it is appropriate enough for this narcissistic waste of time.(less)
I ordered what I thought was the complete 1,220 nouvelles, but this showed up instead. No harm done, though; these 28 illustrated nouvelles are deligh...moreI ordered what I thought was the complete 1,220 nouvelles, but this showed up instead. No harm done, though; these 28 illustrated nouvelles are delightful, even cute, if that word is allowed in book reviews. Much of the mixed-media work heightens the power of the epigrammatic little nouvelles, primarily by delaying punchlines, often to great effect. Highly enjoyable. Now I will try once more to get the complete text.(less)
Shortly after college I attempted to use the Randy Pausch productivity method, namely that everything is about importance. I found this idea attractiv...moreShortly after college I attempted to use the Randy Pausch productivity method, namely that everything is about importance. I found this idea attractive, novel, but completely impossible to implement and I quickly gave up on it. And while Pausch cites GTD, GTD seems to be a lot more practical.
I definitely agree with the reviewer who said that this could have been cut in half. Very repetitive, but the core insights are good. Some of the best ideas, e.g. the wheel, the sundial, the rules of logic, at first encounter seem simple, not to say facile, but these little things save energy and time, freeing you to work on more difficult and complicated things. GTD seems to be like that: a simple way of simplifying. I am beginning to try it out and so far it works. Now the real test begins. I wish that I had known about this years ago.(less)
It is embarrassing to admit how badly I need this. But after I completely bombed at the Christmas party of an organization to remain nameless (at the...moreIt is embarrassing to admit how badly I need this. But after I completely bombed at the Christmas party of an organization to remain nameless (at the National Headquarters of a Political Party to remain nameless), I gave in and gave this thing a shot. I was very skeptical, for fear of becoming a sleaze, and of good old-fashioned snake oil. To my great relief, and great interest, this book is full of fascinating insights. Many of them are downright depressing, namely how easily manipulated we humans are, how stupid and illogical we are, how predictable we are; in sum, we are animals, not angels. I have tried out some of the tips in here and found that they do work. I still as yet have a small sample size--I have only done this a few times--but so far they have worked like gangbusters. (less)
A good collection of 28 short poems, spanning 2 centuries. Also some beautiful photography of the Emerald Isle, which made for a fun day snowed-in to...moreA good collection of 28 short poems, spanning 2 centuries. Also some beautiful photography of the Emerald Isle, which made for a fun day snowed-in to my apartment.(less)