I'll go with 3 stars, but really I want to give it 1. Or maybe 5. I had some serious Love/Hate going on with this book.
I loved the messages: Education...moreI'll go with 3 stars, but really I want to give it 1. Or maybe 5. I had some serious Love/Hate going on with this book.
I loved the messages: Education is key, one person can make a huge difference, the Muslim faith is complex and peaceful. I loved the work and the accomplishments. I loved the education, both the basic education of hundreds of children and the education the reader gains regarding geopolitics.
I hated the writing. Relin's style is distractingly bad. I hated that the book didn't stick with one purpose. Was it the biography of Greg Mortonson or the history of the CAI or something else? I hated that they never followed up about how life in the villages was changed by the schools.
The topic deserved better than this. If Three Cups of Tea was readable, the messages could have been so much more wide-spread. I hope they make the CAI's history, mission and message into a documentary. This is a story that deserves to be told and a film could be just the do-over that it needs. But no matter what the book jacket claims, Harrison Ford is probably not the best fit to play Greg Mortonson.(less)
I am more interested in the falafel that I plan to cook for the book club meeting than I am in discussing this book.
For one, I didn't enjoy reading Sn...moreI am more interested in the falafel that I plan to cook for the book club meeting than I am in discussing this book.
For one, I didn't enjoy reading Snow. And didn't like any of the characters to even try to get into the literary stuff in the book. For two, I'm pretty sure I'll be the only one in the group who bothered to finish. (The women in my group are all smarter than me a know that reading tedious books isn't worth their time.) Snow only started to get worth discussing at the end, so the few things I'd like to discuss won't be anything anyone else has read.
Also: That was probably the most depressing sex scene I've ever read.(less)
When I think about Germany during World War II, I never think about German civilians, or even the soldiers. I only think of atrocities and evil leader...moreWhen I think about Germany during World War II, I never think about German civilians, or even the soldiers. I only think of atrocities and evil leaders and evil officers and most of all, the victims. Sympathy for Germans doesn't cross my mind. At least it didn't until The Book Thief. This is a story about a lot of things. Most of all, for me, it's a reminder that the casualties or war not not all soldiers. Not the good guys or the bad guys. But regular people, trying to live and grow up in a war zone. This is a timeless truth.
Now, the compulsory question: Gimmicky or not? I say gimmicky.
At the beginning, the little notes seemed new and experimental. But no. Just gimmicky. And the voice of death could be edgy or even humorous if done in that tone. And seriously, this is Germany in 1943 - Death has a staring roll. But I don't think it was necessary. Just another hook.
I kind of even wonder, if the book didn't have these devices, would it have been marketed as a YA book? Or do publishers think they need to appear edgy to get teens reading? And do teens fall for it? Not that one needs to be tricked into reading The Book Thief. It's really quite a read. You don't need to gimmick people into reading, why gimmick at all?(less)
I think I did myself a disservice by watching the movie first. I bet I would have loved Persepolis had I not always known exactly what was about to ha...moreI think I did myself a disservice by watching the movie first. I bet I would have loved Persepolis had I not always known exactly what was about to happen.(less)
I found Galileo's Daughter to be both slow and fascinating. Or rather, it lead me to several fascinating thoughts, mostly more about the time period t...moreI found Galileo's Daughter to be both slow and fascinating. Or rather, it lead me to several fascinating thoughts, mostly more about the time period than the actual book/story, and mostly rage-filled. Everything I have to say is more about the time period described in the book than about the book itself.
The book itself: not a page-turner.
Let me just be strait and say: I'm really glad that it is 2010 and not 1610.
I'm really grateful that I live in the US and not a church-state. And I really really am motivated to continue supporting the separation of church and state in every single aspect of life.
I am thankful for freedom of speech. Thankful that writers and scientists and thinkers are not censored by a church.
I am thankful that it is no longer deemed acceptable (and celebrated even by the writer of this book) to imprison pre-teens in convents where they will be forced to live in abject poverty, endure malnourishment, perform unlimited manual labor, Catholicism, imprisonment and alternating celibacy/sexual abuse by priests for the rest of their lives!
I am shocked by the gall of someone who would imprison his daughters and then ask those daughters to do his damn laundry and manage his household and feel compassionate that he's on house arrest on his estate with plenty to eat and visitors and servants. And that his daughter did those things happily.
I don't understand the concept of doing someone's penance for them.
I don't understand the concept of respecting a church/organization that refuses to acknowledge the obvious just because it disagrees with something someone said once.
I don't understand the concept of being kicked out of believing something. In fact, this idea of religion as something you can be kicked out of is a huge and interesting concept.
I don't understand the concept of taking the Bible as fact.
I am horrified by the plague.
I do not and will not believe that church officials are particularly religious/good/spiritual...
What on earth were they teaching in universities before the understandings of physics that Galileo introduced. They even had complicated degree programs and credit requirements and all that stuff we have now... But they taught engineering without the concept of gravity, and medicine without the concepts of germs and with the nonsense of astrology! Makes you wonder what kind of bogus we're teaching each other these days.
I am amazed that anyone lived to be 70 years old when they were treating major diseases with candied oranges.(less)
If this were a movie, I never would have made it through. It was just so so horribly descriptive, nearly boarding...moreWow. So incredibly violent and sad.
If this were a movie, I never would have made it through. It was just so so horribly descriptive, nearly boarding on rape-porn or something. I was cringing and crying and feeling like some kind of creeper listening to the audio book in traffic. Maybe that comes through differently in print, listening to a woman with a lovely voice and lovely accent calmly and graphically describing rape in beautiful prose was just gross.
I get that it is supposed to be gross. And supposed to make the reader angry (and it did), but it also had another vibe that I just couldn't shake. I felt so exploitative to use this story as entertainment. If someone can read this and take it as a call to action to help these kids, then yes. Some good can come out of this book. But just reading about horrors for the shock and emotion just isn't siting well with me.(less)
Things this story could have used: * Discussion of aphasia besides basic psych 101 definitions * Discussion of bilingual aphasia beside basic psych 101...moreThings this story could have used: * Discussion of aphasia besides basic psych 101 definitions * Discussion of bilingual aphasia beside basic psych 101 definitions * Discussion of treatment for bilingual aphasia * Descriptive incites into differences between Chinese and English and how language shapes perceptions, attitudes and reality besides basic statements that such differences exist * More quick wit and barbs from Meiling, especially toward the Americans * Americans who aren't contemptible boors.
Things this story could have done without: * Attempts to be sympathetic to incompetent and obnoxious characters * Promises of interesting story featuring fascinating neurology as a cover for a story about a marriage. * The notion that there are approximately 7 people in all of Shanghai who speak English, and only 2 that speak both English and Chinese * The misguided idea that when a powerful and talented person must leave their career the most appropriate person to take over is their spouse despite having no relevant skill or training, rather than their presumably highly trained and qualified coworkers. * Using mental illness and disability as an excuse for infidelity.