A little disappointed by this book. I found Hitchens repeated himself quite a bit. Of course, a lot of it was a case of preaching to the choir (oh yes...moreA little disappointed by this book. I found Hitchens repeated himself quite a bit. Of course, a lot of it was a case of preaching to the choir (oh yes, pun intended), but on the flipside, I don't think he was really aiming for theists, either. I can't help but a lot of the book was to incite anger from believers and the like
Y'know, it's not that I didn't enjoy this book- I've read some Alain de Botton books in the past and have enjoyed them. I think it's mostly that philo...moreY'know, it's not that I didn't enjoy this book- I've read some Alain de Botton books in the past and have enjoyed them. I think it's mostly that philosophy was something I enjoyed a lot in the past, particularly as a child when I read Sophie's World and was astounded and marveled and thought it was so deep and interesting. Now I just can't be bothered dealing with it.
But this is a good layman's book, and sums up some of the main philosopher's theories in a few paragraphs. (less)
This is interesting read some thirteen years after it was published. It covers a range of subjects, from racism to gender rights to global warming and...moreThis is interesting read some thirteen years after it was published. It covers a range of subjects, from racism to gender rights to global warming and terrorism and education, and other things that the authors deemed were getting 'better'. Now, I agree that issues like racism, women's rights and equal rights are definitely better than they were some hundred, hundred and fifty years ago. People still discriminate, sure, but it's certainly frowned upon. But I can't help but feel that in terms of wars and global warming, we're still fighting an uphill battle.
I can't help but feel that if you're a type of person who looks at more than point of view than this book is going to be very 'no duh' to you. That's...moreI can't help but feel that if you're a type of person who looks at more than point of view than this book is going to be very 'no duh' to you. That's how I felt reading it, anyway. It didn't matter that this book was written back in 1999 and focused primarily on the years 1993 - 1996; most of what Glassner was talking about were things I did when approaching news stories anyway.
While this book may be helpful to those trying to find a more middle ground in sensationalist news articles (and that's who I'm presuming it's directed towards), I can't help but feel that if you're already starting to question what you read, then you're already on the way there.
These days I feel this book is quite dated, even if the heart of it is still in the right place. Also, Glassner appears to be very anti-gun. Fair enough.(less)
Ahhh! What a gorgeous, gorgeous book- everything about it is just beautiful, from the thick, softly-cushioned hard cover, to the rich colour design in...moreAhhh! What a gorgeous, gorgeous book- everything about it is just beautiful, from the thick, softly-cushioned hard cover, to the rich colour design inside to the texture of the paper. When I went to see Wicked last year, I just knew I had to get this. And given I'm such a fan of the novel... well, it was inevitable.
I love companion books to films, TV shows (and, I suppose, theatre!). I love hearing how plots got developed, reading about how actors approach characters. The detail that goes into costuming (my favourite aspect of any piece of theatre), set design, music, lighting, whatever. This covers so much, and is a necessary piece for an big fan of Wicked.
I would have liked to have read more about the San Francisco portion of creating the musical. I know Galinda's Popular dress was original blue, not pink (see: http://www.galindaswardrobe.com/pictu...), and I would have liked to hear more about what got taken out, what was added... that sort of thing. More of the deconstruction process, really. But still, given what this book offers, it's not that big a grumble.
I received this book as part of Goodreads giveaways and first reads.
I'll freely admit that my knowledge of foreign exchange is limited to the tail end...moreI received this book as part of Goodreads giveaways and first reads.
I'll freely admit that my knowledge of foreign exchange is limited to the tail end of the news programmes, typically smushed in between the sport and weather report as part of the 'finance' segment. I know of things like margins, Dow Jones, gold commodities and other such nonsense, but typically in name only. I know that the US dollar and Australian dollar are fairly equal at the time of this review's writing, and the New Zealand dollar is typically weaker than the Australian dollar. And that's about where my knowledge ends. When I won this book, I was admittedly a little bit floundered, but hey, I like reading new topics, and I figured if anything this would let me expand my knowledge a little more. I can't say I'm planning on going into currency trading any time soon, but hey, at least I would have an idea on what the news folks were talking about.
The first couple of chapters are easy enough. It was very 'buyers beware'. Okay, I said to myself. A bit obvious- I don't need to be slow on the uptake to know that the foreign exchange market can be volatile. But hey, sometimes we need to be obvious, and this is presented as being a 'ForEx for Dummies' kind of book.
But then things got a bit overwhelming. RSIs? Margin calls? D1s? I don't understand! How does this relate to me, and where's my dot point list of simple explanations I'd like right now? So I flip the page- oh, nice, a graph, this will put things in perspective for me. But that Ivan Cavric starts talking about different coloured lines, and the book is all in black and white... and my brain starts hurting. Really, an editor should have picked up on this- along with other punctuation, grammatical and spelling errors.
All in all, this is a good book- if you already have a good, basic knowledge on the ForEx system. Unfortunately, I don't, so a lot of what Cavric was saying went up and over my head. Sure, I learnt a tiny bit, but not as much as this book, and Ivan Cavric, promised me.(less)
Oddly enough, despite poor reviews, I really enjoyed this. Yes, it's a fictionalised account on a nonfictional event, but I still liked it. I really e...moreOddly enough, despite poor reviews, I really enjoyed this. Yes, it's a fictionalised account on a nonfictional event, but I still liked it. I really enjoyed the first half/first two thirds of this book. After that, I do feel that it started to get bogged down, but I think the 'account' of the nun and soldier did bring it back up to speed.
I'm okay with fictionalised accounts of events, so long as they're advertised as such- and this one is. I like to look at them as historical events from another person's perspectives. So long as the reader remains aware of this, then it's fine to enjoy the book and get what you can out of it.(less)
I can't say how great this book works in terms of effectiveness given I've just started the programmes, but I wanted to say that I really like the way...moreI can't say how great this book works in terms of effectiveness given I've just started the programmes, but I wanted to say that I really like the way Vivienne Cass approaches the issues presented. Her tables, descriptions and pointers have helped me to analyse where my problems and issues are, and have given me an idea of how to take my own personal growth.
With any book on this subject matter, it's really up to the reader to take the initiative to change how they approach the topic. Cass says she can't promise the reader will orgasm by the end- which I appreciated it. I'd hate for the author to promise that I'll be having multiple orgasms every time. It's up to me to, well, practice.
I like the programmes Cass offers at the end, and I know I'll be trying to my hand (pun so intended) to have a good.
Oh, and one more thing- I like how this book is lesbian-friendly. Cass switches between potential male and female partners and offers suggestions for both sexes. Fantastic!(less)
This is another book I gave my father for Christmas last year and stole- er, borrowed- a short while ago. My dad loves his cat, Mr Sooky, and given hi...moreThis is another book I gave my father for Christmas last year and stole- er, borrowed- a short while ago. My dad loves his cat, Mr Sooky, and given his perchance for quirky, non-fiction books, I thought this would give him a chuckle.
This book treats your feline as a cat-human-vacuum compound. Part robot, part bored cat who looks at you in contempt, this book will teach you all you need to know and them some on how to care for your pet.
While this humor is the driving point for this book, it does contain a lot of facts and good tips for taking care of your beloved animal. Highly recommended for cat owners.(less)
This book is about baby animals. Fuck yeah, baby animals! If you have a problem with baby animals, this book isn't for you. You are also a sad, sad pe...moreThis book is about baby animals. Fuck yeah, baby animals! If you have a problem with baby animals, this book isn't for you. You are also a sad, sad person with no love in your soul.(less)
This memoir is so much more than growing up fat- it's about a lack of love, of terrible abuse and a need to find acceptance. Throughout the whole stor...moreThis memoir is so much more than growing up fat- it's about a lack of love, of terrible abuse and a need to find acceptance. Throughout the whole story, I was hoping that Judith Moore found what she was looking for as an adult, but given some of the few passages she wrote about her adult life, it doesn't seem to be the case. Some people have mentioned that certain aspects don't add up- swimming classes and her mother's alleged abuse- which does give me something to think about.
All the same, this is a good book to read, if only because it's so far beyond the other pity party memoirs out there. Moore is frank and harsh, but she refuses to wallow in her misery and keeps pushing on. She admits at points that perhaps she led herself into certain situations, though for the most part her life was out of her hands. It's also a short read, which is typically a thumbs up for me when it comes to autobiographies. Your life isn't that interesting.(less)
I received this book as part of the Goodreads first reads/giveaways.
This book grabbed me quickly. Although the topic is something I'm interested it, I...moreI received this book as part of the Goodreads first reads/giveaways.
This book grabbed me quickly. Although the topic is something I'm interested it, I can't say it's something I'd seek out willingly, so I was, admittedly, a little skeptical about reading it at first. But it hooked me in and I devoured it quickly.
I believe this is to do with Greta van der Rol's writing style. She has a good flow, and it's easy to follow. It's also rather simple, though not to the detriment to the story-telling. van der Rol has the type of writing that I like.
This is famed Russian ballet teacher Vaganova's style of dancing, written out. She discusses her style, how they are similar a...moreAhhh, my beloved ballet.
This is famed Russian ballet teacher Vaganova's style of dancing, written out. She discusses her style, how they are similar and different to French (École Française) and Italain (Cecchetti) schools. She describes different steps and gives an example lesson.
Lovely book, though with teachers definitely in mind.(less)
I received this book as part of the Goodreads giveaways and first reads.
Maria Martinez Aenlle describes her childhood in Cuba and the start of the rev...moreI received this book as part of the Goodreads giveaways and first reads.
Maria Martinez Aenlle describes her childhood in Cuba and the start of the revolution. She presents a laypersons point of view to what was going on around her. She wasn't involved in the political scheme, but instead was effected by it. Through each chapter she describes her life, predominately before the effects of the new regime.
Aenlle writes well and she focuses on each aspect of her life both in Cuba and in the US. However, I would have liked more of a linear timeline in this book. Life before the Communist regime, during the turnover and then moving to the United States and settling down. While Aenlle's style does allow each area of her life to be focused on in detail, and there is some linear flow in the last few chapters, the beginning of the book meanders all over the place.
However, for a book focusing on a layperson during a new government regime, this book is good.(less)
I now know I how to boil a flamingo! Hooray! Now I just need a flamingo to boil.
This is a tongue-in-cheek look at years gone past on how to act and lo...moreI now know I how to boil a flamingo! Hooray! Now I just need a flamingo to boil.
This is a tongue-in-cheek look at years gone past on how to act and look like an upper class woman. It focuses predominately on the late-16th to mid-19th centuries, taking its advice from books written during the periods. Each chapter details where the advice came from.
It would have been better, I believe, if the chapters were put into some kind of order. We have housekeeping, then birthing babies and finding a husband. Some kind of order, whether it be theme or supposed chronological order or even advice by social year, would work better.
This book is all about the creation of Gaga- who she is and what she represents. Although Lady Gaga says Gaga isn't a persona, it's who she really is,...moreThis book is all about the creation of Gaga- who she is and what she represents. Although Lady Gaga says Gaga isn't a persona, it's who she really is, I think we as an audience can state rather comfortably that Gaga is a character of Ziggy Stardust proportions.
This beautiful photographic book explores who this Gaga monster is and what she represents of today's society. It glosses over Stefani's early life and looks mostly into who Gaga is; her style, music, motives, tattoos and more. A fun book, even though it may be a touch shallow... like Gaga herself, maybe?(less)
As a fellow sufferer of OCD, I can definitely feel the anguish Jeff Bell was going through during the severe bouts of anxiety he suffered (and most li...moreAs a fellow sufferer of OCD, I can definitely feel the anguish Jeff Bell was going through during the severe bouts of anxiety he suffered (and most likely still suffers). This is something that OCs will probably be the ones to understand, or the ones to really appreciate this book, I think. I know I did. Certain passages really grabbed my attention and spoke to me.
One day I boast of being on top of the world, the next I use the most dire language possible to describe the depths of my hell. One day I list three items on my episodes cards; the next day twelve. Up and down, and up and down again. Week after week.
I know what Bell's talking about here- that agony of being right, of being well, for so long, and then to find it crashing down around you. The depression and feeling of failure that sinks in afterwards.
It's a case of managing the illness, of learning strategies, of ways of dealing with it. That way one can combat OCD, to shove it back and learn to live instead of hiding behind the obsessions and compulsions.(less)
What an interesting read. That part I enjoyed the most was when Roach (who has such an unfortunate surname) described the process that bodies go throu...moreWhat an interesting read. That part I enjoyed the most was when Roach (who has such an unfortunate surname) described the process that bodies go through before they're laid in an open coffin. The sewing procedure to keep the jaw shut, the cotton underneath eyeballs, the sewn anus. All these little processes just to make sure the body is neat.
The book goes through various, fairly obvious situations cadavers go through- the aforementioned embalming process, bodies donated to science, assisting safety procedures and autopsies. And then Roach goes further, such as cannibalism in the name of medicine and burial processes beyond, well, burial and cremation. As a few other reviewers have said, it does seem as though Roach is reaching towards the end in filling the book up. These stranger aspects of using cadavers still relate to the topic, but not as directly as I had hoped.
If you're interested in these kinds of subjects- morbidity, process of death, use of cadavers- then this is of interest. It's not dark, and it's not sick, in my opinion, as it's just another aspect of life and one we all need to face.(less)
Man moves to Provence, located in France, and goes about eating food at fixing up the old house.
That's what this book is about. Most of the book is ab...moreMan moves to Provence, located in France, and goes about eating food at fixing up the old house.
That's what this book is about. Most of the book is about problems fixing up his house, and the rest is about eating food. I wish I could elaborate more but I can't. Rich people doing rich things, while the rest of us eat Tip Top bread, eat Kraft cheese slices, and meanwhile need to work to afford both of these items.
So that is this book. I wish I could afford to quit my job, move to the middle of a lovely countryside and wonder why others want to visit me.(less)
Oh, Greenland. Someday I will get there and savour all the sights for myself. But for now I'll need to just live vicariously through books and authors...moreOh, Greenland. Someday I will get there and savour all the sights for myself. But for now I'll need to just live vicariously through books and authors detailing their adventures to the cold wonderland that is the Arctic.
Gretel Ehrlich details the cold winterland of Greenland, the hunters and ethnologists that trek over the country in hunt for food, solace and the secrets it hides. Part self-discovery, part romance, but biography, ethnological study, geographical study and all around wonderful story.
I wish I could say more, but this book just makes me want to go to Greenland all the more.(less)
Many have stated that this book repeats itself and a lot of it can really come down to common sense. However, some people don't realise that being kin...moreMany have stated that this book repeats itself and a lot of it can really come down to common sense. However, some people don't realise that being kind to people on the street also means being kind to people at clubs, music concerts, in the shops, at work and online. And common sense, as the adage goes, isn't really that common. I will accept that Jillian Venters repeats herself a bit, but sometimes it's necessary.
A lot of this book is also just general tips on manners and kindness. I will admit I think Venters was trying to pad the book out a bit, which I think is fair enough. But there are some goths who do think they are a bit above it all and haughtier-than-though and could do with some tips on how to be nicer.
But this book is quaint, cute and I do like the Lady of the Manners/Miss Manners attitude she takes to it. And no, I don't think Venters really sees herself as above everyone. I believe it's just a persona, folks.(less)
I can't remember where I heard about this book. Probably somebody on Goodreads or Peter.
Ben Goldacre makes some very good statements about homeopathy,...moreI can't remember where I heard about this book. Probably somebody on Goodreads or Peter.
Ben Goldacre makes some very good statements about homeopathy, anti-vaccinators and nutritionists. What he spoke primarily about are things that I've always held to be true, anyway, particularly about the placebo effect, and how homeopathy can be seen as a placebo. His comments on the MMR vaccines and the HIV/AIDS remarks (vitamin C is better for HIV sufferers than AZT) and issues presented are new to me, and I'm surprised, particularly by the latter, that people could even believe them.
I'm admittedly amused by his campaign against Gillian MacKeith and Patrick Holsford. Living in Australia, I haven't heard about either of these public figures, and so learning about them and was new to me. I've done some browsing around about these two myself, and I have to say that while I'm disappointed they've become so influential, I'm not surprised. People can be quite easily bought.
A lot of people have said this book should be required reading, but I don't agree. People should be looking deeper into claims made by others about new scientific finds, and people should be demanding the full research. Nobody should go by one book alone. This is a good book, sure (although I do find Goldacre to be rather arrogant), but people should move beyond just going by this book. Look further. Look beyond.(less)
I feel bad giving this book such a low rating when it appears so many others enjoyed it. It was the writing style that brought it down for me. The sud...moreI feel bad giving this book such a low rating when it appears so many others enjoyed it. It was the writing style that brought it down for me. The sudden changes in perspective, third person omnipresent, first person, third person limited, and then 'newspaper' articles, and wow, it just ended up doing my head in.
I can't help but wonder how much was real, and how much is Phillips' imagination coming into play. I think if this book was written in a much more linear form, and the perspective wasn't continuously changing, then it would be easier to pick it apart and decide where fiction started and non-fiction ended. Ultimately, I just found this book hard to enjoy when the writing seemed to be all over the place. Instead of appearing artistic, it just seemed messy.(less)
After I finished Nomad by Hirsi Ali, I wanted to read Infidel to get a better idea on her background. I'm glad I did. While Nomad did go over most of...moreAfter I finished Nomad by Hirsi Ali, I wanted to read Infidel to get a better idea on her background. I'm glad I did. While Nomad did go over most of the second half other back, Infidel goes into greater detail of her early childhood and her teen years. I liked this part of the book, especially the detailing of how she became quite devout in her teen years and the beginning of her 20s.
I know people debate this book, especially Muslims. Some people call Hirsi Ali's biography as being far too political. To those people I feel I must point out that she is a politician. It's like asking a musician to refrain from making their biography too musical, or to ask a sports player to remove all references to sports from their biography. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a politician. Her life is politics. You can't ask her to remove most of her life from her own autobiography.
Towards the end I started getting a little restless. I felt I had read most of this before, and I had, in Nomad. I mostly just skimmed the epilogue; most of it had been covered in the book I had already.
I find myself reading a lot of autobiographies and biographies about Muslim women who had pulled away from their religion. I think it's because it's so far removed from my life and my experiences. And I think this is partially why Hirsi Ali (and other women from Islamic backgrounds) write these books: to shock people like myself, and to get them to discover experiences that they wouldn't otherwise encounter. This is certainly why I read these books.(less)
Jostein Gaarder is one of my favourite authors, so I'm torn on what to think of this book- one that carries his name, but is allegedly not written by...moreJostein Gaarder is one of my favourite authors, so I'm torn on what to think of this book- one that carries his name, but is allegedly not written by him. I don't believe the letters are real. Gaarder gives a little tongue-in-cheek mention at the end about the truthfulness of these leters:
And indeed, it was incredibly naive of me not to ask the Vatican Library for a receipt at least!
This is basically his way of saying, sup guys, this is just a fictional story, like Sophie's World and The Solitaire Mystery. There's also the fact that Floria writes out several parts of St. Augustine's Confessions verbatim, she also meanders throughout the letters, repeating herself a number of times. She keeps falling back to the part where he asks her if she's ever been to Rome. This continual memory flashback bothers me. It doesn't strike me as true. Floria just strikes me also as being too much of a modern woman. Now, who's to say that the woman of the 4th Century and the woman of the 21st Century aren't very much alike in terms of pre-marital sex, the Catholic Church and sin? But ultimately I just found the entire thing to be too unlikely.
Now, none of this isn't to say the Gaarder made the whole thing up. It is likely he found a letter in Buenos Aires that was supposedly from Augstine's concubine, and it turned out to be a fake. That's definitely possibly. But Vita Brevis being the true thing? Yeah, unlikely. Still, this is a nice, romantic, bittersweet and very quick read. (less)
Throughout this book, I kept waiting for Nicholas Guyatt to come out and say that he thought the apocalyptic believers he was interviewing were a bunc...moreThroughout this book, I kept waiting for Nicholas Guyatt to come out and say that he thought the apocalyptic believers he was interviewing were a bunch of nutjobs. That's what I felt he kept building up to. He kept pointing out how wild some of their predictions/prophecies were, and how some of their predictions/prophecies failed. He also repeatedly pointed out how today's apocalyptic preacher's predecessors had been mocked in the past when their predictions didn't come true. But Guyatt didn't laugh at the preachers, and he didn't mock the writers. He just kept going on, occasionally swinging between a casual tone and a serious tone.
This continual see-sawing is what bothered me in the end. I don't know what Guyatt wanted to say in the end, and I would have liked a little more of a conclusive ending. Did Guyatt think the prophesiers were ridiculous or not?
Some of the book was interesting, though- the interviews, particularly. I also liked all the information on the Left Behind series, and I admittedly want to read the first book now. Though whether I actually will is another story altogether. Furthermore, I found some of the anti-American slanting in terms of rapture to be reminiscent of the Westboro Baptist Church's messages- God Hates America and all that. Not perhaps the best thing to be, ahem, left behind with. (less)
Given that Kerr wrote this about her own experiences as a young Jewish girl fleeing Germany in 1933, it's not surprising that this tale rang so true....moreGiven that Kerr wrote this about her own experiences as a young Jewish girl fleeing Germany in 1933, it's not surprising that this tale rang so true. While some parts are really only skimmed over, such as who Hitler was and why the family had to leave Germany in the first place, these were probably not the most important problems for a young child at the time. This is also somewhat different from other WWII novels/memoirs. This family escapes, and it's not the war that effects Anna so much as constantly moving and having to adapt to new people, places and situations.
It may be a trying book for some of the younger readers, and I'd recommend talking about what is happening in the book. Some children may be confused with the issues presented, and uncertain of who Hitler is, what World War II was and why the family had to move.
Furthermore, I am distinctly disappointed that the titular pink rabbit doesn't make more of an appearance beyond two lines.(less)
What a fascinating book. I have previously read Oliver Sacks' other book, The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat, which I enjoyed. I was a bit curious...moreWhat a fascinating book. I have previously read Oliver Sacks' other book, The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat, which I enjoyed. I was a bit curious as to what this book would entail. I couldn't quite picture how Sacks was going to intertwine music and psychology. When I did start reading it, I was pleasantly and quickly surprised, and I very much enjoyed the book. Many of Sacks' stories deal with various forms of memory loss (such as dementia and Alzheimer's), but also cases of mental retardation.
As a musician (albeit a very average one), I liked reading about how the brain becomes alive when one plays an instrument. It's so true that playing an instrument stimulates the brain in oh so many ways. But it was wonderful to read about all the other possibilities music can offer people- freedom for disabilities, opening the doors to emotion, allowing communication and what else. I like the other Sacks talks about his patients, and how he relates to them. I also like reading about how the patients relate to him, and what they teach Sacks and also those reading the story.
This is definitely one for those who enjoy reading psychological non-fiction books, but without the added melodrama. It's also one for musicians interested in discovering just how music is part of human nature.(less)
Danny Vendramini presents an interesting hypothesis here, and he really got me hooked at the start. His theory is that Neanderthals and homo sapiens w...moreDanny Vendramini presents an interesting hypothesis here, and he really got me hooked at the start. His theory is that Neanderthals and homo sapiens were caught in a predator/prey battle for thousands of years, and that is how we, homo sapiens, evolved the way we did. Vendramini breaks down each aspects of the pre-modern humans' lives, and how the Neanderthals could have changed humans when they were the major predators. He also goes into how Neanderthals possibly looked more like gorillas than humans.
But then it got a bit strange, when Vendramini started introducing teems and psychological genetic imprinting, and he lost me. His initials theories were quite well thought out, but I felt it just went a bit far. However, he does seem to realise this, and mentions that his theories are just starting and may be wrong. So good job, Vendramini, for realising your short comings.(less)