Good yarn and solidly Harry Dresden, but it felt more like a setup-for-later-books story than a complete tale by itself. Still, good to see charactersGood yarn and solidly Harry Dresden, but it felt more like a setup-for-later-books story than a complete tale by itself. Still, good to see characters changing believably. ...more
This is a fantastic novel by a talented writer. To me a good book is characterized by two things: it makes me want to read more from that author, andThis is a fantastic novel by a talented writer. To me a good book is characterized by two things: it makes me want to read more from that author, and it makes me want to write as well, reminds me of the magic of the written word. The Namesake accomplishes both.
Anyone who is an immigrant, or can still identify with their immigrant heritage, is sure to connect with the story of the Gangulis, whether they are the immigrants themselves or the first generation of Whatever-American. Lahiri's simple prose gets to the emotional point of each sentence without making it sappy or heavyhanded; you truly come to care for each member of the family and their own struggle, and especially for Gogol, whom you learn his past and present and surrounding circumstances straight from their own point of view. There is no gimmick here, no surprise revelation, no conspiracy of any sort, just a straightforward story of lives lived between two sides of one self, and the reprecussions of lives split in two, whether the parts are old/young, male/female, Bengali/American, past/future.
After reading The Namesake there is no doubt left why Lahiri is hailed as one of the best new writers in modern American literature, why we suddenly care so much about the lives and dreams of the Bengali-Americans that inhabit her stories: in many ways, they are us, and we are them, and Lahiri is slowly showing that truth one brilliant book at a time....more
Regardless of the edition, Europe Through the Back Door is THE essential learn-to-travel book for any and everyone. Rick Steves has honed down his teaRegardless of the edition, Europe Through the Back Door is THE essential learn-to-travel book for any and everyone. Rick Steves has honed down his teaching skills after years of traveling to Europe and the world, and each lesson in this book is pure travel gold, teaching you tips and tricks usable for a multi-week trip to Europe as well as for a weekend jaunt not far from home....more
What a wonderful book! The novel is a fantastic snapshot of 17th century Spain, and since it is narrated in character by one of the characters, it reaWhat a wonderful book! The novel is a fantastic snapshot of 17th century Spain, and since it is narrated in character by one of the characters, it really puts you there as a reader. Alatriste is a compelling and complex swashbuckling hero, heroic as he is dark. I absolutely love the use of poetry in the book, both real verses from Spanish authors of the era, as well as those written by characters from the Alatriste universe. For the longest time I have loved this style of story, but all my examples have been from English-speaking sources, where Spain is usually the bad guy. It is wonderful to have a swashbuckling character to root for hailing from my own heritage, someone who brings to life the historical era that shaped my native country. Now I wanna see an Alatriste novel set in Puerto Rico.
The rest of the novels I will read in Spanish, though. The translation was not bad at all, but I can tell that something is being lost in translation, and after all, Spanish is my first language....more
Very comprehensive tome of the colonial history of America, including the French and Spanish territories. It's dense, I won't lie, and can get heavy tVery comprehensive tome of the colonial history of America, including the French and Spanish territories. It's dense, I won't lie, and can get heavy to read at times, but it is a good book to have gone through. It's holistic approach to the history of the United States is refreshing. A great addition to any home library. ...more
Richard Elliott Friedman set out to write a highly accessible book tackling one of the most controversial and studied subjects there is: the authorshiRichard Elliott Friedman set out to write a highly accessible book tackling one of the most controversial and studied subjects there is: the authorship of the Bible. By anyone's account it is a monumental task, and Friedman accomplished it brilliantly. It would be easy to dismiss this book for its relatively short length and friendly, conversational language, but that would be a mistake. Friedman is a master of the subject, and in very easy-to-understand language he lays down the important questions to ask, and the trail of historical, archaeological, and academic evidence that has led scholars to the most current answers.
So who wrote the Bible? I'd hate to rob you of the chance to read the book and find out, but without getting into too many details, what we find is that the evidence suggests that the five books of Moses are the work of four different authors. Designated as J and E for the way in which they primarily address God (either Yahweh or Elohim), these two seem to be the oldest sources, paralleling each other in the stories they tell, each with a different focus. Next is P, the priestly author that deals primarily with the vast number of laws, and lastly D, or the Deutoronomist author, creator of the book of Deuteronomy, as well as the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings. Friedman talks about each of the authors, their times and environments, their reasons for composing their works, and how they relate to all the other authors. There's also a fifth "author," called the Redactor, who is responsible for bringing it all together into the book that we have had for hundreds of years. Spoiler alert, you will recognize full well two of the authors, as their names are in the book of books.
Friedman even includes a section dealing with the inevitable question that this book brings up: how does knowing the human history of the document affect a person's faith? Friedman doesn't suppose to categorically tell anyone how to feel, what to believe, but talks candidly about his own experience, and how he has answered that question after years of pursuing this study.
To answer the question myself: As much as I have always believed that the Bible is the word of God, I have also always believed that it was the work of humans. It was fascinating to read about the world that shaped the writers and thus the document, and how it all took shape, culminating in the book that has shaped our civilization. This knowledge enhances my understanding of the Bible, of its stories and lessons, for the final work is far more than the sum of its parts. It is a fascinating glimpse into how God orchestrates events to achieve His goals.
I devoured this book, and even though the one I read was borrowed from the library, I foresee buying a copy for my personal library, and to read again down the road. ...more