Saw that a Goodreads friend (can't remember who now, sorry!) had enjoyed this and must say that I am similarly enjoying these little essays...more#80 - 2010.
Saw that a Goodreads friend (can't remember who now, sorry!) had enjoyed this and must say that I am similarly enjoying these little essays about the origins of such American staples as Instant Breakfast, Minute Maid, Wonder Bread, Velveeta. A quick but enjoyable read that takes us down memory lane to a time when we weren't guilt-wracked over what we ate ... well, except to want it to be more nutritious or technologically modern. Oh, those were the days. :-)(less)
The second book in the Time Traders series which I also had on my Kindle, I began this one after reading Time Traders. It was perfect vacation reading...moreThe second book in the Time Traders series which I also had on my Kindle, I began this one after reading Time Traders. It was perfect vacation reading and one that I hadn't read before.
One of Andre Norton's friends wondered why there were no sf books with Apaches in them so she obligingly wrote this interesting tale of time travel. When a troop of modern scientists, who also happen to be Apaches, are nefariously injected with a drug that forces their minds to revert to ancient patterns (in this case, that of Indians in the Old West) and then loads them onto a spaceship for a planet that they want explored ... well, we know something is going to go wrong. The ship crashes and the scientists are left battling not only their "double minds" with tendencies to revert to the old ways while also retaining knowledge of the "new ways" but also each other and a mysterious band of other "natives" they discover. Yes, the Cold War continues with the Reds' attempt at the same thing and the mysterious, evil aliens interfering as well.
Great fun and, as I said, a great vacation read.(less)
This is actually a short novella from Ted Chiang and the first of his work I ever experienced when JJ Campanella read it (brilliantly) for StarShipSof...moreThis is actually a short novella from Ted Chiang and the first of his work I ever experienced when JJ Campanella read it (brilliantly) for StarShipSofa podcast.
I recently received a signed (!) copy from a friend who was clearing out his bookshelves and took the chance this weekend to reread it.
It is told in what I'd call Scheherazade-style, of a story within a story within a story. This story folds in and around an alchemist who has opened a shop in medieval Baghdad. He has the secret of gates which will take one twenty years into the future or into the past. A penniless beggar tells the tale which takes readers into the lives of thieves, weavers, wives, lovers, and more. Surrounding the story is the question of whether one can change the will of Allah or how previously hidden knowledge may change one's life or even one's soul.
Charming and beautiful, the story has the power to make us ponder our own lives, circumstances, and how "chance" affects us. Chiang is an interesting writer also because he continually explores what it means to be human and how that intersects with different ideas of God. He's a self-stated atheist but always is honest with where the story goes, which is a rare talent these days.(less)
For discussion on A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast.
We'll be discussing this next week but suffice it for now to say that these are very good scien...moreFor discussion on A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast.
We'll be discussing this next week but suffice it for now to say that these are very good science fiction stories. However, they must not be approached by the faint of brain, unless that reader doesn't mind skimming lightly over much of the science involved. Luckily, I don't mind skimming and it was necessary to do so in order to move on with the story and not have my head explode.
We're going to discuss only three of these stories but I read them all and am glad that I did ... not only for the stories' value but because I believe I got some insight into Mr. Chiang's thought processes and beliefs to some degree. It is going to be very interesting to talk about these.(less)
Saw that Scott and Jesse interviewed this author about his sequel to this book, which somehow had escaped my notice. I love the Dallas Library, I've g...moreSaw that Scott and Jesse interviewed this author about his sequel to this book, which somehow had escaped my notice. I love the Dallas Library, I've gotta say. They got me a copy in a few days. So I'm dipping my toes in to see how I like it. So far it looks like a love letter to pulp fiction with L. Ron Hubbard as the young go-getter who is determined to make his fortune writing for John Campbell's Astounding Stories magazine. Also featured so far are Lester Dent (Doc Savage) and Walter Gibson (The Shadow) as the pros who Hubbard longs to best.
Here's the summary:
An astounding literary debut that brings a beloved genre of the past roaring into the twenty-first century, The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril casts the rivalry between two of pulp fiction's most legendary writers into its own amazing saga, which bursts from the pages with blood, cruelty, fear, mystery, vengeance, courageous heroes, evil villains, dames in distress, secret identities and disguises, global schemes, hideous deaths, beautiful psychics, deadly superweapons, cliff-hanging escapes, and other outrageous pulp lies that are all completely true.
Final Got to about page 100 of this but the author spends so much time filling in back story and author/pulp info that it gets tiring because the story is not moving along much. Plus, I already know most of that info, being a fan of the pulps. So ... sending this one back to the library where it may please someone else instead.(less)
I have always enjoyed C. S. Lewis' nonfiction more than his fiction. Using a gift card at Barnes and Noble, I came across this collection of essays an...moreI have always enjoyed C. S. Lewis' nonfiction more than his fiction. Using a gift card at Barnes and Noble, I came across this collection of essays and picked it up on a whim. What a pleasure the first essay is proving to be. For one thing, I had no idea that C. S. Lewis and I had such similar reading taste. And, of course, his logic about the importance of story and the different types of story is spot on. The essays are uneven, depending on what you are interested in, but all provide insights not only into reading and thinking about story, but also into C.S. Lewis' thoughts.
One of the most unexpected pleasures of this book was the final piece which was the transcript of a recorded conversation between C.S. Lewis, Brian Aldiss, and Kingsley Amis. The men were in C.S. Lewis' rooms and discussing science fiction, critics, and such topics. Their thoughts were fascinating and it was like reading a podcast conversation. Adding to the charm was their informality, especially moments when C.S. Lewis would say, "Are you looking for an ashtray? Use the carpet." And the response was, "No, I'm looking for the Scotch." Gotta love it.(less)
Simply fantastic. I am a H.V. Morton fan anyway. He had such a knack for drawing one into the past while talking about how it turned into his present...moreSimply fantastic. I am a H.V. Morton fan anyway. He had such a knack for drawing one into the past while talking about how it turned into his present time ... and he wrote long enough ago that his "current times" are a look into the past for us.
In this case, we see where St. Paul traveled through fairly modern eyes but while those places were still (I have a feeling) fairly close to what they would have been like long, long ago. At least in most cases. One understands that Rome stands still for no one following St. Paul.
Morton was a very engaging writer and he put me enough into St. Paul's life, especially at the end that I was actually crying over his last letter to Timothy. Actual tears. Now, that is a good travel writer.
Whether one is Christian or not, the look at ancient life and travel is often eye opening and it gives really fascinating glimpses into Turkey as it changed into a more European-style country under Ataturk. This is a simply wonderful book and I cannot recommend it highly enough.(less)
Listening to B.J. Harrison's reading of it ... which is fantastic. Yes it's old and it's got some non-P.C. talk in it (because it is super old) but it...moreListening to B.J. Harrison's reading of it ... which is fantastic. Yes it's old and it's got some non-P.C. talk in it (because it is super old) but it is a gosh-darned good adventure. Truly, Dr. Fu Manchu is a menace to all that is good, in epic proportions that astounded me with their imagination.(less)
Part of my book-a-licious birthday gifts. Who knew that watching In Bruges was going to kick off an interest in Hieronymous Bosch that would lead to t...morePart of my book-a-licious birthday gifts. Who knew that watching In Bruges was going to kick off an interest in Hieronymous Bosch that would lead to this gigantic book being one of the prize gifts I received? I tore open the paper and saw half of the back cover ... squealed "Hieronymous Bosch!" like a Twilight fan seeing Edward Cullen saunter by twinkling in the sunlight. This is a big brute of an art book but well worth it so far as Silver delves into Bosch's paintings and provides me with much food for thought and an education into looking at art.
I loved this book. I must have, because I read the whole darned thing. Am I any smarter? Probably not. But I know a lot more paintings that I love and it really came in handy when we watched The Mill and The Cross last weekend because the Breugel painting was right there to look at while we watched. Highly recommended. (less)
This was my third time through Pope Benedict's brilliant first encyclical God Is Love. Our Catholic women's book club read it for our May discussion.
J...moreThis was my third time through Pope Benedict's brilliant first encyclical God Is Love. Our Catholic women's book club read it for our May discussion.
Just reading the opening paragraphs made me remember what a wonderful piece of thinking and writing this is. And how brilliant Pope Benedict is at expressing not only the intellectual but also the heart of the matter. He also shows his practical side and that he is not isolated in an ivory tower but understands very well what it means to be human, craving the love of God and of our fellow men.
This is a piece I could recommend to everyone: atheists wanting to know the point of Christianity, non-Christians wanting to know the heart of the Gospel, Christians wanting to know more about Catholics and ... more than anyone ... to Catholics who need to be refreshed in their faith and reminded that love is the heart of God and the heart of our faith. What a powerful work by someone who thought so deeply and yet is able to communicate so well. Amazing.(less)
Got this for a project I'm considering but find that it is fascinating reading just on its own. To see what is known of Ur where Abram lived (before h...moreGot this for a project I'm considering but find that it is fascinating reading just on its own. To see what is known of Ur where Abram lived (before he set out for parts unknown at God's behest and became Abraham) and how everyone lived has really set my imagination alight. Suddenly those Old Testament figures are all quite a bit more human and three-dimensional.
I've skipped ahead for the moment to the thick section during Jesus' lifetime, but definitely will be going back to the rest of the book later. This is amazing material.(less)