As part of the need to continue feeding my head after college, I got the Playaway version of this book from the library. The back of the box the devicAs part of the need to continue feeding my head after college, I got the Playaway version of this book from the library. The back of the box the device came in reads "Augustine’s spiritual crisis and conversion to Christianity, detailed in his 'Confession,' ultimately led to his major contribution to philosophy: the fusion of the two doctrines of Christianity and Neoplationism." There’s probably something a little off about an atheist listening to a nutshell version of Christian-influenced philosophy while riding an exercise bike, but I enjoyed it anyway. At least now I know the source of the quote, "Give me chastity – but not yet!" (Confessions, Book VIII, Chapter 7)
The audio book, read by Robert Whitfield, is indeed ninety minutes long. The introduction, which is four pages long in the hard copy version, gives a VERY brief overview of the history of philosophy and Augustine’s place in it. The twenty-eight page biography sounds a bit judgmental at times, especial when discussing his mother, Monica (as in, "Monica didn’t want to let him out of her clutches," page fourteen). This is followed by thirteen pages of the Christian philosophy that followed Augustine’s time as well as a section of his most famous quotes. I now know the source of the oft-said (if not always heeded) line, "Love the sinner but hate the sin." (Letter 211 in Patrologiae Latinae, Volume 33)
The rest of the book – Chronology of Significant Philosophical Dates, Chronology of St. Augustine’s Life, Chronology of St. Augustine’s Era and Recommending Reading – are pretty self-explanatory. I would recommend this book to anyone who has signed up for a Philosophy class for the next semester and want to have a basic grasp of one of the big names so they won’t be totally lost. ...more
This volume contains issues #13 through #18 and, as of this writing, some of the events in the comic book series have been depicted on the televisionThis volume contains issues #13 through #18 and, as of this writing, some of the events in the comic book series have been depicted on the television series (yesterday’s episode was "Killer Within," Season Three, Episode Four). Once again, I’ve made a game of guessing where one issue ended and the next began within this collection. FYI, some of this review might get a bit spoiler-y, so...pretend there may be zombies around the corner and proceed with caution.
This volume begins with the group of survivors pulling up to the place their TV counterparts find at the beginning of Season Three and ends with a conflict involving that place’s residence that has been televised. It is also here we learn through eye-witness accounts what Rick was told at the end of Season One and what he shared with the group at the end of Season Two. In between, a lot more goes on than has been depicted on AMC so far.
What’s different between the comic book series and the show to this point are some of the characters and how they behave. The Tweets that are posted whenever a new TWD show airs makes it pretty clear the viewers do NOT like Lori, which is a shame because she’s much stronger and much more sensible – and therefore FAR more likable – in the original work than on TV. Even as she and Carol discuss what it’s REALLY like to "live life like every day could be your last," she doesn’t sound a bit whiney. Plus her relationship with Rick is much better in print than on the screen, so when they DO argue (footnote #1) the situation could be far more intense for the reader than the viewer who has seen the couple grow apart. Their son is much younger in the comic than the almost-teenager on TV (who CLEARLY is going to have the worst bout of puberty ever), so we’re seeing a slower evolution of the character and what he comprehends.
There’s also a character named Tyreese who gets more lines than T-Dog ever did and is an excellent right-hand-man to Rick. He’s got his own baggage, made worse by a botched murder-suicide that lets the survivors know even the unbitten dead don’t stay dead. We also meet a different set of prisoners than the ones on TV, such as a killer named (of course) Dexter and a "nerd" named Thomas. Andrew is in here, but he behaves differently in the book than on the show and Rick treats him WAY differently – let’s say more sympathetically. (Footnote #2)
I’m wondering if the characters in the graphic novel are (mostly) more likeable / relatable than the ones on TV because Robert Kirkman has more “space” to write and build them up, but then I come across tight bits of writing that could’ve easily been put into the scripts. Here’s a small sample of the conversation between Maggie and Glenn about her time in college:
“One measly semester. We kinda ran out of money around the same time I flunked out. I usually pick the reason based on how well I know the person.”
In three short sentences, we learn way more about Maggie’s background and a bit about her personality in an info-drop that sounds totally natural. Why wasn’t this used on the show?
Lastly, the "Ricktatorship" that began at the end of Season Two doesn’t start in the graphic novel until the group has been in the prison a while and something pretty drastic has happened, making Grimes’ power surge much more understandable. I’ll continue to watch the show, but I far prefer the writing in Kirkman’s original work than what I’ve seen on my television.
(1)At one point, canon Rick says something to canon Lori that would’ve made the TV audience cheer.
(2) Which brings me to another difference between the original TWD and the TV version. Bisexuality is brought up twice within a few pages of this volume, but bi- and homosexuality aren’t even hinted at on the show. I don’t know if the AMC producers thought the average viewer would be offended or if the topic was completely unimportant, but come on...SOME gay people must’ve survived Atlanta, right? ...more
This volume, which features issues #7 through #12, begins with the flashback involving Lori (wife of survivor team leader Rick) and Shane (Rick’s co-wThis volume, which features issues #7 through #12, begins with the flashback involving Lori (wife of survivor team leader Rick) and Shane (Rick’s co-worker and friend) watching a city fall and, well, doing other stuff and ends with the group finding the same place the TV characters find at the start of Season Three. Won’t say too much about what happens as the AMC program deviates from the comic in some ways, but I will say I sometimes agree with the show writers as far as who was allowed to move on/live (i. e. some characters that didn’t do so in the graphic novel). There's also more discussion in the comic book about dealing with death and the survivors' precarious positions than group dynamics and who is chatting with who. Maybe this is why Season Two of AMC's "The Walking Dead" seems like a gory soap opera to me - the topic of conversation is more substantive in the original TWD than what's on TV. I also notice the graphic novel has the survivors making an additional "stop" that doesn’t happen in the TV series, so I’ll leave that surprise for the reader.
As usual, I’m finding the canon Lori, Rick and Dale much more likable and understandable than their counterparts on the show. Seeing the two males neutered doesn't bother me as much as seeing the lead female wussy-fied...it's not as if there's a plethora of strong female leads in literature and on TV to look up to. The motives of the original TWD Lori and the things that come out of her mouth make MUCH more sense to me than what I see on television, which is a bit frustrating. I *LIKE* seeing well-written female characters and this one was undone between page and screen. Glad I made a point of reading Kirkman’s original work before I watched the show. ...more
I got this graphic novel from the public library to see what the fuss was about and I'm officially in. Volume One follows sheriff's depuOkay, I'm in.
I got this graphic novel from the public library to see what the fuss was about and I'm officially in. Volume One follows sheriff's deputy Rick Grimes from the time he is shot and put into a month-long coma to - spoilerish alert - he has to pull up stakes to get the hell away from the title characters. This volume is actually a collection of early TWD comics put into one book, so I've made it a game to guess where one ended and the next began. [UPDATE: Found out on 10/19/2012 this volume covers comic issues #1 through #6.]
I'm not into gore porn, but there's way more to TWD than graphic, mangled bodies (though there IS that for the gore hounds). What I like about the story is that it follows one man (Grimes) as he does what he can to survive an insane situation - in this case, brain-eating zombies. TWD has what fiction, especially speculative fiction, needs to grab and keep the reader. No matter how bizarre the setting or situation is the characters find themselves in, those characters and their motives better be believable. If you've ever read Octavia E. Butler's "Xenogenesis" trilogy, you'll see ordinary people such as Lilith, the first human we get to know, acting as a human being would upon finding out the Earth is toast and some aliens have taken over the joint AND even started mating with humans to save us from ourselves. What she and those around her do makes sense - not everyone behaves in an honorable way, but what they do is believable. Whether the setting is a dystopia Earth or a school for witchcraft and wizardry or a zombie apocalypse in the USA, the characters and what they do HAVE to be believable for the reader to buy everything else. Writer Robert Kirkman pulls it off.
Just one thing - Kirkman better not end the series with a lame ending a la "Lost" or the "Battlestar Galactica" reboot or I will be highly disappointed. ...more
I tore through the entire book while sitting out on the porch one evening, not just because graphic novels are more pictures than text but because I sI tore through the entire book while sitting out on the porch one evening, not just because graphic novels are more pictures than text but because I simply couldn't put this down.
Local artist Derf Backderf, best-known for his "Derf" strip in your local free weekly, went to the same high school as the infamous Jeffry Dahmer. They even hung out a little, so Backderf has some insight those studying the killer years later lacked but he still supplements his own memories with what investigators learned. This probably makes "My Friend Dahmer" one of the most thorough popular books about Dahmer written to date.
There doesn't seem to be any ONE thing that would've let the world know this person would go on to kill seventeen people (the dog skull on a pole in the woods was credited to "devil worshipers" rather than the high school student - see pages 155 to 157), but taken together one HAS to wonder, as the author does on page 67, "...where were the damn ADULTS?" It turns out the parents were wrapped up in their own divorce drama (p. 101 and p. 128) and the teachers seemed to turn a blind eye to the kid who would reek of alcohol at 7:45 in the morning (page 114). This may sound strange in a post-Columbine "zero tolerance" internet era, but anyone with even the slightest memory of the 1970s can see how such bizarre behavior could fly under someone's radar if they're not comparing notes with anyone else who SHOULD have been watching out for the teen.
I've visited the house in Bath, Ohio where Dahmer spent his teen years and killed his first victim (a nineteen-year-old hitchhiker named Stephen Hicks, lest we forget). The house is beautiful, but it's set far back from the road. The back area isn't a lawn so much as a small, sloping forest. While an adult can look at the area and see it as pleasantly secluded, imagine how isolating it must've been for a teenage boy already isolated in so many ways, especially once the snow falls, especially in the days before internet and e-mail and YouTube and anything else that could remotely connect one human to another today.
Backderf makes it clear he sees Dahmer as a tragic figure TO A POINT. Once Hicks is dead, all sympathy is gone and the author recons his former schoolmate could've put an end to the carnage at that point had he either turned himself in to the police or shot himself. But he didn't and there's a list of seventeen "known victims" on Dahmer's Wikipedia page. I can't help repeating what was already said on page 67...where were the damn ADULTS? ...more
Author Jodi Picoult reads three pieces - a letter and two short stories - in this hour-and-a-half long audiobook.
1. Letter - The author give life andAuthor Jodi Picoult reads three pieces - a letter and two short stories - in this hour-and-a-half long audiobook.
1. Letter - The author give life and learning advice to her son as he leaves for college. I couldn't really get into this much, maybe because I don't have kids. Three out of five stars.
2. "Weights and Measures" - A couple deals with the death of their daughter in this short story that takes a slight turn into the fantastic. For some reason, I imagined this being made into a short movie. Four out of five.
3. "Ritz" - How does a family left behind deal when MOM is the runaway? Would've liked this more but for the teenage daughter narrating with word choices I don't normally hear from a 16-year-old. ...more
This is not a happy picture book. Malachy McCourt, brother of "Angela's Ashes" author Frank McCourt, writes in the foreword he initially didn't want tThis is not a happy picture book. Malachy McCourt, brother of "Angela's Ashes" author Frank McCourt, writes in the foreword he initially didn't want to do so because he thought the book would "show an Ireland that exists only in the minds of the Shure Begorrah Brigades that pollute the papers and indeed all the media around the green ghetto days surrounding the feast of St. Patrick." But these are photos of a real and raw Ireland featuring children in filthy, threadbare clothes - not filthy and threadbare because they were just playing, but because indoor plumbing and proper baths were not an option and you wore what you wore because THAT was ALL you HAD.
"Through Irish Eyes" is organized according to the text and order of events from "Angela's Ashes," so you'll get more out of this book if you read the other one first. Better still, have the picture book next to you as you read Frankie McCourt's life story. ...more
I strongly recommend getting the audiobook version of this via Interlibrary Loan if your local institution doesn't already own a copy, because while tI strongly recommend getting the audiobook version of this via Interlibrary Loan if your local institution doesn't already own a copy, because while the book is fun, listening to it in Jillette's voice is more so. Listening to works read by the author can be hit-or-miss, but anything read by an author who is accustomed to public speaking are usually wins.
Jillette organizes the book around the Ten Commandments and offers his "suggestions" in their place, followed by two to five personal stories to illustrate his point. In other words, "God, No!" is about nine parts autobiography - and WHAT an autobiography he has - to one or two parts philosophy.
I don't always agree with Jillette's assessments of human nature or some of the things he's done - was it really necessary to drop trou in front of the TSA agent just doing her job? - but you don't have to agree with ever single thing he says or does to enjoy the book....more
I love how comedians such as Colbert can find the balance between the serious and the silly. Granted, this is a story about a pole looking to find itsI love how comedians such as Colbert can find the balance between the serious and the silly. Granted, this is a story about a pole looking to find its way in the world, but apparently it's also a "Caldecott Eligible Book" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caldecot... ) per the raised stamp on the cover, the late Maurice Sendak (who can be seen on the final page with his cane) said, "The sad thing is, I like it" AND according to "The Colbert Report," proceeds from the audiobook version (read by Tom Hanks) go to charity. I hesitate to call this an actual children's book because some of the humor would go over a child's head AND there's that picture of the exotic dancer near the end. Get it for an adult with a sense of humor. ...more
If I ever meet Chris Hardwick, I must give him a big hug and buy him a lobster dinner.
Holy CRAP, Batman - I cannot rave about this self-help book forIf I ever meet Chris Hardwick, I must give him a big hug and buy him a lobster dinner.
Holy CRAP, Batman - I cannot rave about this self-help book for nerds enough. If you know a nerd - or someone Hardwick calls "creative-obsessive" - odds are they need the advice in "The Nerdist Way." As the comedian / tech guy / actor points out, we thinky folks can get in our own way mentally more so than the pinks / normals / mundanes do. Or as my nerdy husband has been told by co-workers, "You think too much." Hardwick demonstrates to the readers – usually through stories of his (VERY) personal experiences – how they can "make your innate talents for overanalysis and hyper-self-awareness work FOR you and not AGIN you." The whole tone of the book is that of a friend who has been there, done that and is now sitting YOU down for a much-needed heart-to-heart about your own life and own choices.
The book is divided into three sections; "Mind," "Body" and "Time" (this last one should really be called "Organization" considering the breadth of topics covered, but since all of Hardwick’s advice is awesome, I’m letting that slide). The first section – and the one I found most helpful – deals with assessing one’s own strengths and weaknesses (as explained using Dungeons and Dragons terminology), handling anxiety and psyching yourself UP rather than OUT. "Body" gives examples (using a cute cartoon bear) of the kinds of exercises we brainy types picked LAST for kickball can use to get healthy. "Time" deals with everything from fixing your credit score to discarding tangible items you really don’t need to building up your work portfolio.
The single most useful bit of advice is explained on pages 47 to 48 and is called "Your Default Word," which is brilliant in its simplicity and flexibility. In lieu of making particular resolutions on New Year’s Eve, Hardwick picks a single word such as "fitness" or "superlative" that can be plugged into any situation, so no matter what crossroads he comes to, no matter how big or small the decision, he has a quick and easy way to MAKE that decision rather than ponder to the point of analysis paralysis. I’m using a default word and find it very useful in making snap (and correct) decisions.
The only people I would NOT recommend this book for are those easily offended by foul language. For example, Hardwick describes the panic attacks he used to get as feeling as if he was "being fucked in the heart." Probably not something Grandma wants to read. ...more
If sections of this book don't move you, you have no heart. This story is told from the POV of a boy with a developmental disorder, so it's a bit likeIf sections of this book don't move you, you have no heart. This story is told from the POV of a boy with a developmental disorder, so it's a bit like the Benjy section of "The Sound and the Fury," but nowhere near as opaque and, frankly, this story is far more compelling.
Here's the blurb from the back of the audiobook, read by Jeff Woodman:
"Fifteen-year-old Christopher Boone has Asperger's Syndrome, a condition similar to autism. He doesn't like to be touched or to meet new people, he cannot make small talk, and he hates the colors brown and yellow. He is a math whiz with a very logical brain who loves solving puzzles that have definite answers.
One night, he observes that the neighbor's dog has been killed, since it is not moving and has a large fork stuck in its body. Christopher knows this is wrong. He has never left his street on his own before, but now he'll have to in order to find out who killed the dog. What he discovers will shake the very foundation of his perfectly ordered life."
I hematite to add more here because I don't want to spoil anything, but suffice it to say there are a few "I did NOT see that coming" moments, largely because the narrator can't see them coming. There are some truly heartbreaking moments in this book where the narrator numbers them according to prime numbers (which can get a bit confusing at first if you listened to the audiobook as I did). We the reader also get some insight into the adults here when Christopher describes their body language and conversations, even though he doesn't fully understand them. Most of all, we see how difficult raising a special needs child can be when we see one parent handle situations well and another parent (via flashbacks) not.
"The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" is one of those novels I truly hope is made into a movie some day just so I can see what actors can do with the roles. ...more
What I listened to* was a collection of three short stories and two poems, so I'll discuss and rate them individually.
"The Man Who Would Be King" (stWhat I listened to* was a collection of three short stories and two poems, so I'll discuss and rate them individually.
"The Man Who Would Be King" (story) - You would think two clever con men could make themselves ruler of people they think themselves superior to. You would be wrong. If you've read H.G. Wells' "The Country of the Blind," you'll have and idea how and why this went very wrong. Five stars out of five.
"Danny Deever" (poem)- Soldiers are forced to watch one of their own put to death. An older, more experienced soldier tries to keep a young, naive one calm during the process. Four stars.
"The Drums of the Fore and Aft" (story) - Two VERY young drummer boys, Jakin and Lew, find out the hard way what war is like. Five.
"Mandalay" (poem) - Lands "East of the Suez" are compared to favorably against the bleak and damp England. I thought this poem's title might've inspired the mansion's name in "Rebecca," but I've checked and that's called "Manderley." Four.
"Mary Postgate" (story) - I'm not sure what to make of this one. The title character is painfully loyal and patient with a petulant man-child, but when she confronts a life-or-death enemy, she's suddenly strong and even energized. Three.
*Audiobooks are GREAT to listen to when you're exercising and trying to take your mind off the pain and sweat. ...more
This sentimental story - really, a character sketch as there's no plot - focuses on a British teacher named Chipping at the end of his life looking baThis sentimental story - really, a character sketch as there's no plot - focuses on a British teacher named Chipping at the end of his life looking back on his career (which began at Brookfield in 1870), the people he's met during that time and what he dealt with. It's a bit like "Forrest Gump" in the way it follows one man's life and shows the reader bits of history and attitudes during those times along the way.
There's a line in Chapter Four of the five chapter book that sums up Chips' attitude:
"Because always, whatever happened and however the avenues of politics twisted and curved he had faith in England, in English flesh and blood, and in Brookfield as a place whose ultimate worth depended on whether she fitted herself into the English scene with dignity and without disproportion."
This devotion and steadfastness is something I admire. Later in that same chapter, Mr. Chips reads the names of former students who died in a recent battle (circa the first World War), he adds the name of a much-liked teacher from Germany who also died "on the Western Front." Because of Chips' age and sense of humor, the students hearing him dismiss the acknowledgement as some sort of eccentricity rather than a genuine show of care for someone he respected, despite which side of the war the former teacher fought on. I respect that. ...more
The lone problem with this collection is that it's only two-and-a-half hours long. It features celebrities - well, celebrities and a few people you maThe lone problem with this collection is that it's only two-and-a-half hours long. It features celebrities - well, celebrities and a few people you may have heard of - answering questions for the "Not My Job" segment of the show. Hear actor Leonard Nimoy answer questions having to do with DOCTOR Spock, singer Mavis Staples guess about office supplies (Staples, office supplies - get it?) and comfort food queen Paula Dean respond to queries about - I kid you not - tofu.
Get this from your local library ASAP, and then tune into the NPR show every Saturday for more silliness. ...more