I didn't think this was as awesome as O'Donnell's biography of Augustine, but it's a much quicker book to read so that's to be expected. The scholarshI didn't think this was as awesome as O'Donnell's biography of Augustine, but it's a much quicker book to read so that's to be expected. The scholarship is still impressive. If you are interested in religious history, this book might be one to pick up because it deals with how the 4th century Christians created an identity for themselves. (Pagans didn't call themselves that until very recently.)
There were times I started to get confused about which ancient Roman did what, but O'Donnell (true to my experience of his other works) does a really good job of making sure the reader doesn't get too lost in the details....more
I was a senior in high school about to graduate when the Gary Hart campaign for President imploded, so I probably wasn't paying close attention. TurnsI was a senior in high school about to graduate when the Gary Hart campaign for President imploded, so I probably wasn't paying close attention. Turns out most of what I remember about it is the mythology that formed around the story afterward.
However, what indisputably did happen is that the American media crossed a line it has never managed to get back behind -- no matter how much damage their new way of working causes the country. Candidates for public office are now presumed to be people who are surely hiding something horrible in their past rather than people who have ideas that can help move our country forward. We judge our politicians on that single misspoken word or tenuous connection to someone unsavory. We're more interested in their knowledge of people in the Biblical sense than in their knowledge of public policy. The result is that our best and brightest no longer want to go through, or put their families through, that kind of terror. The only people who can go into public service reflect the "tabloidization" of our media. Perhaps one day we'll just use a reality TV show to choose our leaders.
Given this shift, I suppose Hart wouldn't have made a good president. If he couldn't deal with it in his campaign, he couldn't have been an ideas man in office. You wonder what would have happened if this media sea change had come only a little later. As Hart himself says, maybe Bush senior wouldn't have been President, propelling his son to public office, and all the bad things that came with his presence there. But who knows?
What I find sobering is the notion that a handful of people from a regional newspaper (The Miami Herald) could decide for the rest of the country that it was their job to bring about this kind of transformation in how our media worked. It's not like we all got together and discussed the role of the media and how it needed to be more involved in private lives of candidates. But, once they decided on our behalf, the genie could never be put back in the bottle.
Bai writes a compelling story that really drives to its end moment. When you get to the end and put the book down, you'll realize that you've been watching the death of something we all long for now. (But I won't spoil it.)...more
It's hard to know what to say about this book. I found it emotionally exhausting, yet I could hardly put it down.
Stevenson does a great job of selectiIt's hard to know what to say about this book. I found it emotionally exhausting, yet I could hardly put it down.
Stevenson does a great job of selecting the most moving stories and conversations from his professional life, which is probably among the most difficult and yet meaningful on the planet: he saves innocent people from execution and tries to get the courts to show some mercy to people who have suffered more than their share already.
There is much to recommend this book. I suspect it will mostly be taken up by "the choir" -- those already convinced that our judicial system is needlessly brutal. But, to Stevenson's credit, he even presents people in a favorable light who are not naturally sympathetic that that point of view. So I think even an ardent advocate of "law and order" would gain much from reading his book.
After all, part of "law and order" is about justice. Punishing people beyond what their crimes merit is not really justice at all....more
A beautifully crafted suspense novel about a man who leaves home to work in a carnival, then tries to break out with a major long con. Memorable charaA beautifully crafted suspense novel about a man who leaves home to work in a carnival, then tries to break out with a major long con. Memorable characters, colorful language, lots of suspense.
A lot has been said, so I'll keep it brief: I really enjoyed this novel and would recommend it to just about anyone to at least check it out. The subject matter may not be your cup of tea, but I don't think anyone would say it's not a powerful novel....more
Any review of Ship of Theseus will necessarily be a review of the effectiveness of the narrative convention that's used: faux marginalia and ephemeraAny review of Ship of Theseus will necessarily be a review of the effectiveness of the narrative convention that's used: faux marginalia and ephemera in conjunction with an original work by a fictitious author. If that convention cannot be repeated for a new story, then basically we're discussing whether a gimmick worked.
In some ways it works; in others it doesn't.
Works 1) The marginalia/ephemera create a setting for the composition of the original novel, which makes it much more interesting than it would be otherwise
2) Also, the marginalia and ephemera are totally convincing. Hats off in that regard. Wow!
Doesn't Work 1) The marginalia appear to the reader in the same order as the novel, but we have no idea what order they were actually left in. (To the authors' credit, this generally is easy to follow. For me, there were times I thought how absurd it would be that these notes would be written in anything like the time it took me to read them.)
2) There's also the matter of the relationship between the people leaving notes for one another. It's basically a college-student romance. There isn't really any dramatic tension there, even though there's some trauma in telling old stories, because we don't know when anything is happening. It's hard to get nervous about what's about to happen when the next note(s) have no temporal relationship to the one you just read. Or might not.
3) There's never a pay-off. We never find out what the people writing the margin notes are trying to figure out.
Bottom line: Ach! Read this if you want to know what people are talking about, but be forewarned: unless you have time to join the community of people researching the references, you'll probably find the novel to be unsatisfying....more
Easy reading. Answers a lot of questions about kitchen stuff that you probably never even thought to ask. I don't think you'd have a lot of trouble fiEasy reading. Answers a lot of questions about kitchen stuff that you probably never even thought to ask. I don't think you'd have a lot of trouble finding this information on the Internet if you looked for it. I often found myself saying, "Oh yeah, that is a good question."...more
A thriller? Really? I guess different things count as thrilling in different parts of the world. I'll give it "suspenseful," but I think "thriller" isA thriller? Really? I guess different things count as thrilling in different parts of the world. I'll give it "suspenseful," but I think "thriller" is a misnomer. Ach! So it goes with classifying fiction, right?
It's got a good plot and an interesting premise and superficially likeable characters. I enjoyed the story while I was listening (to the audiobook version). I finished it a month or so before I noticed I hadn't added it to my Goodreads list. I'm struggling to remember much about it.
I think part of the weakness of the book is that the author doesn't explore anything other than the facts. Once you get the fact/piece of the puzzle, then you move on to the next piece. As a result, I don't really feel like I knew any of the characters and so although I can be prodded to remember what happened to them, I don't really remember it deep in my bones.
I suspect these authors could do write more emotionally memorable prose, but in this case, at least, just focused too much on unraveling the plot instead of getting inside the minds of the characters. This is a story that really fails to leave the reader with anything to chew on once you've put the book down....more
This book lacked any real tension or excitement for me. I can imagine that if you found out people you knew were talking to the authorities after youThis book lacked any real tension or excitement for me. I can imagine that if you found out people you knew were talking to the authorities after you left them or even while you stayed with them, it would be upsetting, even if you understood that they told nothing important and did so with the goal of getting permission to travel abroad. Yet, it doesn't really make for good reading.
I wouldn't really recommend it. That said, if you find other reviews or comments pique your interest to pick it up, I wouldn't discourage you. It was okay, but nothing great, in my opinion....more
I'm not sure the question the title asks is ever answered. This isn't a sociological look at internalised homophobia. It's a collection of stories aboI'm not sure the question the title asks is ever answered. This isn't a sociological look at internalised homophobia. It's a collection of stories about, often, how mean LGBT people are to one another. And, disturbingly, how often gay men are mean to transgendered people. Booh Eduardo's story "A Rock and a Bird" is especially haunting because the "antagonist" is apparently completely blind to how awful and selfish he is.
It's not all depressing, though, some are quite funny; and there are a few pieces (not really the best in my opinion) that try to pass for academic to some degree. They sound like something right out of a gender studies class. Most of the book, though, consists of compelling personal stories.
Don't be turned off by the title. If you are interested in the varied experience of LGBT existence, you could do a lot worse than to pick up this little collection of stories....more
According to Dr. May, we define ourselves by our addictions. From a spiritual perspective, addiction (which intersects with physical or psychologicalAccording to Dr. May, we define ourselves by our addictions. From a spiritual perspective, addiction (which intersects with physical or psychological addictions, but is not synonymous with them) is anything we cling to instead of God, anything that solves our problems for us. As one seeks authentic liberation, via the grace of God, we don't replace our attachments to non-God things with other non-God thing. May acknoweldges that it's a lifelong process and part of being human means there are almost always addictions we aren't willing to be liberated from.
I find May the most compelling when he writes about personal experience. From time to time, in this book, I think he jumps to generalisations unnecessarily. It took me a long time to get to this book after buying it, but I'm glad I finally did. I expect it will be a book I read again in some number of years....more
I am honestly not in a position to critique Carroll's scientific claims. I can, however, say that I really enjoyed listening to these lectures and theI am honestly not in a position to critique Carroll's scientific claims. I can, however, say that I really enjoyed listening to these lectures and they got me thinking about the nature of time, entropy and how the world we know began: things I didn't think much about before.
From time to time I got a little confused, but it didn't seem to last long. Listening to these required an ability to not understand all the time, but to stay with the lecturer nonetheless....more
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Professor MacMillan's lectures on the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. She disabused me of many mistaken ideas I hadI thoroughly enjoyed listening to Professor MacMillan's lectures on the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. She disabused me of many mistaken ideas I had about the effects of it -- for instance, the Treaty of Versailles on Germany.
It's easy for WWI to be overshadowed in contemporary minds by WWII, a war in which the bad guys were not only fighting a war, but murdering millions of their own civilians. This book presents a lot of ways the conflicts we see in the world now were either begun or promoted by the concluding treaties of WWII, yet many of the things we think it provoked (like the rise of Hitler) have been greatly exaggerated....more