I actually finished reading this a few days ago, but I've been so busy that I've been unable to do anything more but think only of sleep when I get hoI actually finished reading this a few days ago, but I've been so busy that I've been unable to do anything more but think only of sleep when I get home. Whoops! Anyway, on with the review.
I was quite keen to get started on this book. The concept behind it- that people are born with rings on their wrist that signify when they will die- grabbed me, as did the concept of what society would be like if this were to occur. In the early chapters, this is actually explored, and we get an insight into London and how the groups have broken up.
The romance between Ama and Hal is very quick, and there's little character development. Their romance just is, and it's made to seem utterly perfect. The chapters jump ahead in time, and we go from their meeting to a brief description of what followed, and then it's a year or two later and Ama is going to Kepler. I actually had to go back several times to double check the dates and to see if there was any actual reference to time being skipped.
From here I felt the book began to fall apart. Kepler's society seemed very interesting, but also very artificial and I couldn't help but think it seemed very standard sci-fi. It was made to appear above human pettiness and otherworldly.
Admittedly I began to lose interest. I finished the book, but I was so uninterested and uninvested in the characters that I didn't care what became of them. The chapters constantly jumped between Ama and Hal(/Liam) that it became confusing to follow who was where and why any of this mattered. When Ama and Hal(/Liam) finally did meet up again, there was a brief, sweet reunion... and again we jump ahead in time and must accept these two are soul mates.
The rest of the characters were a blur and I found it hard to distinguish them, particularly Laozi and... the other one.
Finally, I feel this book needs a comb over with really good editor. There were a lot of minor grammatical mistakes that dragged down the quality of the writing. The characters were all a bit stiff, and I think if Lewis worked with a good editor, he could get them to be a touch more realistic, and their interactions would ring more true. As it was, it felt like he was trying to force them into situations and pushing for the outcome he wanted, instead of allowing the characters to get there on their own.
I feel bad about dragging down the review score, but I think with a bit of work, Lewis' next book could be better.
I received this book as part of Goodreads Giveaways and First Reads....more
I wanted to enjoy this book, but it was sluggish and just dragged on. I didn't wind up finishing it, unfortunately, though I did get halfway through.I wanted to enjoy this book, but it was sluggish and just dragged on. I didn't wind up finishing it, unfortunately, though I did get halfway through. I think part of the problem was that the writing seemed very dry. Although the topic was fairly interesting (though admittedly not what I'm personally interested in), it could have been written in a better way.
I'll try to get my husband to read this and see what he thinks- it seems more up his alley, anyway....more
I received this book as part of Goodreads Giveaways and First Reads.
This is a delightful Christmas book about what Santa Claus represents. I think it'I received this book as part of Goodreads Giveaways and First Reads.
This is a delightful Christmas book about what Santa Claus represents. I think it's important that the Christmas season (and other similar holidays) are remembered to be a time of sharing and being kind to one another. This is what this book explains- that Santa represents goodness and that children should learn to be good (and kind and helpful).
What I particularly liked is that it talks about 'magic' in the world in a rather sensible manner. D.W. Boorn explains how what was considered magical in old cultures is now science, but there can still be magic in today's world- namely how people interact with one another. I really liked this description.
Overall, this is a lovely book and one I'd love to give to family members come Christmas....more
This is a fantastic book, and one I think more couples should read. I want to read the full-sized version eventually. This is a good starting off forThis is a fantastic book, and one I think more couples should read. I want to read the full-sized version eventually. This is a good starting off for conversations and a way to explore how your partner speaks and hears 'I love you'....more
I won this book as part of Goodreads Giveaways and First Reads.
This is quite a dense book, filled with interesting characters and well-developed worldI won this book as part of Goodreads Giveaways and First Reads.
This is quite a dense book, filled with interesting characters and well-developed worlds. Each character has a role to play in the narrative, although it's not always clear at first. The worlds they went to were also all vastly different to one another, but each had their own history and culture that we were shown, even briefly.
I did find parts of the story hard to follow, however, particularly the 'point' of their mission. I feel that it was brought in a little too late. Although it was suggested this was their point from the beginning, it didn't really develop in time, and by the end it felt rather rushed. New, important characters were being brought in too late in the game for me to understand and empathise with their mission.
While I enjoyed the writing overall, I do think it needs to be tightened a little bit. Jean and Mack's dialogue started to blend together at points, and it seemed to cross over into the narrative at points. It just needed to be neatened up a little bit and given a bit of a brush over.
The end leaves an opening for a sequel. Although I probably wouldn't read any sequels, the world given in this book certainly leaves enough scope to explore. ...more
This book is fairly standard YA fare. Beautiful young protagonist with her beautiful best friend and beautiful boyfriend have magical goings-on that tThis book is fairly standard YA fare. Beautiful young protagonist with her beautiful best friend and beautiful boyfriend have magical goings-on that tempt fate and what have you. There's very little character development that's going on here, as Charlotte wants to help people from the start, Sarah is fairly rude from the start and Harlin is... well, Harlin, from the start.
In saying all this, it's probably one of the better YA novels I've read. It's not challenging in the least, but there's no dubious consent at all throughout the novel. It's light and refreshing in that regard, and the motivations all lie on Charlotte. It's pretty clear what side she's going to choose early on- even the 'temptations' she's given seem pretty weak- and she never wanders from that path.
It's a bit fluffy all in all, but it's a nice change of pace....more
I'm very amused by the negative reviews for this book- not because I agree or disagree (they all have very valid points), but because there's a wholeI'm very amused by the negative reviews for this book- not because I agree or disagree (they all have very valid points), but because there's a whole strong of four of them in a row.
Anyway, this is an incredibly quick read- easily doable in one sitting if you were so inclined- and much easier than I thought it would be. The moral was very hard hitting and drilled into every page, but hell, I still got through it.
A nice book, but not one if you hate dripping sentiment. ...more
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 yesA 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
Gorgeous book. I was surprised the language was so easy to read- I've read books written in a similar time frame, and I felt my brain was going to leaGorgeous book. I was surprised the language was so easy to read- I've read books written in a similar time frame, and I felt my brain was going to leak out of my ears. But Forster's use of language here was easy to follow without losing any of its richness.
I wish in a way that this book had been published shortly after it was released. I would be interested to have read the reactions of the public if that were the case. But I can definitely understand Forster's hesitancy, and the reason why I wasn't published until so late after his death. Lady Chatterley's Lover is one thing- Maurice is another.
But this is a beautiful novel, and one I highly recommend....more
**spoiler alert** I'm surprised I enjoyed this book so much, but I did. It constructs the idea of what makes a human, well, human, it breaks it down.**spoiler alert** I'm surprised I enjoyed this book so much, but I did. It constructs the idea of what makes a human, well, human, it breaks it down. Our main character, Roger, slowly loses parts of himself, both physically and mentally, and the only thing really left of the original Roger is his emotional tie to his cheating wife. One of the more emotional scenes for Roger is when he loses his penis. He lashes out, and is unable to cooperate with those making these changes to him. But later, when his leg gets removed, there is no comment on his response. It's not until he's on Mars that he starts to reconnect with everyone.
I actually became very invested in Roger. Towards the end, when he starts losing control of himself, I was actually worried that Pohl was going to go and kill him off.
A really enjoyable novel, and one of my partner's less crazy choices....more
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 philoY'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. ...more
**spoiler alert** This book, I swear. I don't even know where to begin. It starts off batshit enough- everybody killing themselves, lots of brutal sex**spoiler alert** This book, I swear. I don't even know where to begin. It starts off batshit enough- everybody killing themselves, lots of brutal sex scenes, mutilating the children. If you could start a book by ensuring that it will never, ever get published by a major publishing company... well, I think this is it. If this was Roger Williams' intention- good job, bro! You did good.
But then we move past that, and we find out why Caroline and her companions are like that- because they've been trapped in the same cyber world for the past six hundred years, and far out, guys, I can see why they'd start to get batty. Caroline has gone from elderly grandma to I KILL EVERYONE. I think I would, too, if only to break up the pattern a little.
And then we get into sci-fi land, lots of computers doing their thing, and curing cancer with blue glowy lights and now we're paddling and paddling and paddling and hello father and daughter having sex, and implication of the mother molesting her son and what is going on here?!
Y'know, this book could easily go overboard. It does. It could easily go into The Gap into Conflict: The Real Story, or as I have dubbed it, 'The Rape Book'. But somehow it doesn't. I don't know why- maybe because everything is just so plain bizarre that you can't help but go 'oh. right.' or because the characters are six hundred-plus years old. They've seen everything by this stage, and they've just about done everything. Life is boring. Most people hate their lives for the simple reason that they can't do anything about it.
This book is so freaking bizarre and out there... and it works. Because it's pretty much limited to print-to-order, most people seeking it out are ready for it and understand it's going to be a ride to read, and I think this is why it's been achieving such good reviews....more
A good addition to the first volume of Death Note. It's a very interesting concept, but one I'm certain that many others have written about. It is disA good addition to the first volume of Death Note. It's a very interesting concept, but one I'm certain that many others have written about. It is disappointing that Naomi was written out, though. That would have been something to hang on to and follow. I'm not the type of person to go and presume, though, that this is due to misogyny or what have you.
Having seen most of the movie I know how this part of the manga is going, but it's nice to see the original copy....more
This is a book I'd heard a lot about, even before Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett had really registered on my radar. I'd never really wanted to go outThis is a book I'd heard a lot about, even before Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett had really registered on my radar. I'd never really wanted to go out and read it, simply because I never remembered it when I was at book stores. Hey, it wasn't even until I was rummaging through my partner's childhood bookshelf that I remembered that I'd figured I should go and read it. So I nicked it off the shelf and it lay in mine for many a dusty month until it was finally at the top of the list.
This is a very clever, and at times, very funny book. I actually found myself laughing out loud at parts- something I don't often do when reading. I read on Wikipedia (the source of all great and reliable knowledge) that when a movie of the book was being pitched that Robin Williams and Johnny Depp were considered for the roles of Aziraphale and Crowley respectively. Ever since reading that, I kept picturing those two actors as the characters, and I have to say, I do agree.
Many parts reminded me of Gaiman's Sandman series. Good verses evil, religious ideas, mythical gods. Lots of things covered in American Gods, too- one of my favourite books. I haven't read any of Pratchett's works, though, so I can't really compare. However, if you're a fan of Gaiman or styles similar to Gaiman and haven't read this yet... you really ought to.
I just have one quibble- I feel the writing started to fall apart a bit at the end. I never really warmed to Adam's voice/speech style, and his long speeches at the end... I think it really dragged the story and pace down. Everything felt quite rushed and smashed together, and, for me, it didn't really sit as well as I'd have liked it to. I did like the way the story resolved itself, though.
And if the ending implies what I think it implies... well, that's certainly dark and fitting....more
I have previously read two other books by Sandra Brown: Breakfast in Bed and Ricochet, both of which I received as part of Goodreads giveaways. My opinion on these books were somewhat split- they were written with some thirty years between them, and Brown's style of writing had definitely evolved and improved. Although both novels could easily be placed under the 'romance' genre, a style I'm not a particular fan of, Ricochet appealed to my tastes more.
When I received Tempest in Eden, I also received an audio novel I haven't listened to yet (The Witness), that also appears to have been written a while after Tempest in Eden. However, by this book alone, I can already tell Brown's style of writing had started to change. There was more character development here than there was in Breakfast in Bed, and the relationship between Shay and Ian, although definitely heated and passionate, was much more restrained initially and they held back- though no doubt due to Ian's profession. I like to think of this book as 'sex stories for the religious'. Shay and Ian don't knock boots until they're well and married- but hey, it shows that ministers get randy under their clothes!
So the character development here is still limited, and everyone is sexy and luscious and randy all the time... and Shay and Ian do get married very, very fast. But Brown had improved on her writing in two years- and that's a good skill and ability to have. I also applaud Brown for releasing some of her earlier work to the public. This shows a certain humbleness that I like.
Another thing I like is that both times I've won Brown's books, I've received an additional bonus- bookmarks, photos, signatures, plus an extra book to enjoy. I understand not all authors do this- money restrictions and what have you- but I like that Brown (or her PR reps or whoever sends them out) adds that little thing to make it special. Also, it allows me, as a reader, reviewer, and, er, reluctant fan, to compare her from 'then' and 'now'. It gives me a chance to make a wider decision on how to digest the book.
OH! And Shay and Ian are step-siblings. Take that as you will!...more
I feel bad rating this book so low. It's not all that bad- Phil Cummings is definitely able to work his way around a paragraph, and as far as these soI feel bad rating this book so low. It's not all that bad- Phil Cummings is definitely able to work his way around a paragraph, and as far as these sorts of books go, it may very well make the death of a family member easier on a child. But it's just so heavy handed in some parts, and other parts just made me scoff and go, 'yeah, right'. None of this is to do with the whole angel thing, by the way. Cummings very carefully left out anything to do with religion, or heaven, or Christianity as a whole- and that would have been very easy to drop in. My issue here is mostly to do with the whole therapy thing.
When Shane mentions David, his deceased brother, visited him as an angel, his parents freak the fuck out, drop everything, and immediately drive to his therapist. Never mind talking to him first, taking a careful approach- no, mum in slippers and dad half shaven pack him up, freak the kid out and take him to the therapist. This was just way to over the top for me. Poor Shane will now suffer in silence and delusions as he tries to cope with his brother's death in the only way he finds comfort in. Way to go, parents!...more
I received this book as part of Goodread's Giveaways and First Reads.
The short, sci-fi stories contained in this book shuffled between really interestI received this book as part of Goodread's Giveaways and First Reads.
The short, sci-fi stories contained in this book shuffled between really interesting and engrossing to boring and difficult to follow. Some of the ideas contained within were interesting, such as Sister Sun and Have a Nice Day Pass The Arsenic (the former about time travel, I suppose, and the latter about having children in space). I especially liked Green Season, where lions were involved.
Unfortunately I felt that the poorer stories, such as And The Angels Sang and even Jaguar let the book as a whole down. I also feel that Lorina Stephens' writing style as a whole left something to be desired. I think the book as a whole lacked punch, or a spark that really tied it together....more
There's a line when it comes to sci-fi where it becomes too difficult for me to read. This book just tiptoes over that line. I had to really struggleThere's a line when it comes to sci-fi where it becomes too difficult for me to read. This book just tiptoes over that line. I had to really struggle to read it, which is a pity as I really liked Marianne de Pierres' Parrish Plessis series. I could get into it when the sci-fi was light, but then it would cut to Jo-Jo and Tekton and the biozoons and my head would spin and I'd have to put it down and take a breather.
So, good idea, but too hard for me to really follow....more
As far as books for children and the 'young' part of Young Adult, this book is fairly good. It's a very simple read, but perhaps long enough to challeAs far as books for children and the 'young' part of Young Adult, this book is fairly good. It's a very simple read, but perhaps long enough to challenge younger or reluctant readers. Riley, the main character, is realistic enough to both charm and annoy me. There are plenty of italics in this book, and a lot of noooos (sic).
There were a lot of ideas that were cut short, such as where Riley went after she died and before she crossed over. There was also Bodhi's so-called 'dorky' fashion sense, although he was apparently a 'cool' guy back when he was alive. Frankly, to me he sounds like a hipster, though I suppose to a twelve-year-old that line may not be drawn yet and to someone twice her age that line doesn't exist. There was also the fact that apparently her parents wouldn't care that she was no longer in her ghostly home... though maybe all these facts are going to be touched on later down the Radiance book series line?
Anyway, I found this book charming, albeit slightly eye-rolling at times. I would definitely recommend it to a much younger audience than myself, and perhaps suggest it to a parent who wants their child to start delving into older literature but doesn't want them to wade too far yet.
Oh, and this book is going to easily date itself in six, twelve, eighteen months time. It references Robert Pattinson (Patterson? Anyway, RPatz) and the Jonas Brothers. ...more
**spoiler alert** Seeing the movie trailer is what made me want to read this book. I'm the type of person who likes to have read the book before I see**spoiler alert** Seeing the movie trailer is what made me want to read this book. I'm the type of person who likes to have read the book before I see the movie. That way I can picture the characters in my head first and won't be constantly comparing them to how they're portrayed in the film. The story seemed to be beautiful, and the type of thing I'd lap up. Ultimately, though, I was let down. Kazuo Ishiguro tended to meander all over the place in his writing, and although I got a clear picture of the characters, I never really liked them.
I felt that so much more could have been done about the cloning process and who was chosen, why, and how this was reflected in Kathy, Ruth and Tommy. Parts of their personality could have been further explained- was Tommy based on someone with rage problems? Kathy, a potential nymphomaniac? Ruth and a sociopath? This needn't make the book any more a sci-fi- this could have been added on when Kathy and Tommy are talking to Madame and Miss Emily at the end of the novel. 'Who are we based on?' they could have asked, 'who are our possibles?' That would surely have been the sort of information they kept on hand. They wouldn't want two Kathy H.'s walking around. And how were they gestated? In the possibles themselves or in a lab? Via thousands of surrogates? I just felt so much potential was missed out on. Instead, there was a rather long, drawn-out love triangle that no one really catches until the end. ...more
Delirium by Lauren Oliver offers another dystopian novel for teens/young adults. In this case, set in some indeterminable time in the future, but probDelirium by Lauren Oliver offers another dystopian novel for teens/young adults. In this case, set in some indeterminable time in the future, but probably not too far from now, love has been dubbed a disease and the US government is trying to eradicate it. Apparently the US is alone in this view and the rest of the world (dubbed the uncured/Invalids) are trying to fight against them.
The main romance between Lena and Alex in this story is fairly simple. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, run run run. The entire time I was reading this, I kept expecting Hana to reveal that she is in love with Lena. I don't have anything to hold up this belief, it was just a feeling I got while reading.
One thing that really stood out to me was how similar it is to Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. I'm yet to decide if this is a good thing or bad thing. I love the Uglies series, and while I don't think Delirium brings much to the plate in terms of new ideas, I definitely think it has potential- I'll be checking out the last two of the trilogy when they're released, anyway.
Finally, I kept wanting more history. Just how did the government turn love into a disease? How was that law passed? How long ago did it happen? I've found some people saying that it was only a couple of generations ago (beg pardon if it's stated in the book)- surely peoples memories couldn't have changed that quickly? If Oliver could add more history in the subsequent books, that'd be great....more
I don't know why, but I just felt this book was a bit plain. A lot of the prose is lovely, and the character development works nicely. I just found aI don't know why, but I just felt this book was a bit plain. A lot of the prose is lovely, and the character development works nicely. I just found a lot of the book was treading paths already well laid in books gone by and it didn't bring anything. Abused, motherless, young girl and older, wiser, somehow different companion find love and family in places unexpected. The end.
I liked the bee theme throughout the book. I think it brought some freshness to this tired trope and it was a fun theme. But I think, also, that Kidd was a bit heavy handed at times. Look, bees match the life of Lily! Surprise!
I don't hate this book, but I don't love it either. I just found it dry....more
When people die, they go and live in The City so long as someone who is still alive remembers them. Then a lethal virus is released (unintentionally bWhen people die, they go and live in The City so long as someone who is still alive remembers them. Then a lethal virus is released (unintentionally being spread by Coca-Cola) and everybody on Earth starts dying.
How are you meant to conclude a book like this? This is the problem I could sense Brockmeier facing. Obviously Laura would have to die at some point and The City would fade away. The ending was satisfactory, but it wasn't brilliant. It could have been expanded more, and I would have liked to have read about Laura's transition or the population in The City dealing with Laura's death. When Laura dies, they die, too, in a sense.
Brockmeier has wonderful prose, but it did feel a little too heavy handed at times. I get the sense he wanted to share this idea with people, but he didn't know how to finish it. It was a little bit of a rip-off for me, admittedly....more
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 throuWhat 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....more
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 authorsOh, 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....more
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,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, 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....more
**spoiler alert** This is a beautifully written novel. Yes, it does involve the rape of a minor by her perceived father, and another rape of a young w**spoiler alert** This is a beautifully written novel. Yes, it does involve the rape of a minor by her perceived father, and another rape of a young woman by her uncle, and yes it also has violence and sex scenes. But these latter two aren't described in so much detail as other novels that are quite famous and well loved. The most descriptive sex scenes is Celie masturbating, and that only really mentions her touching her 'button' (read: clitoris) and her breasts.
Walker's description of the challenges Celie faces and the love she feels for Harpo and Sofia are delicately described. Her relationship with Shug is also fairly realistic- it's not perfect, and Shug, true to her nature, is somewhat flighty. Nettie's relationship with Samuel is somewhat difficult to swallow, but that could easily be because it's likely Nettie only wanted to write about all the good that had been going on.
What confused me most about the entire story is the pacing and timeline. I know that some thirty years had past over the course of the story, but I just couldn't figure out what was going on the whole time. How much time had passed, the ages of the characters, what happened during all that time. I wouldn't expect Walker to write all the little details that happened in those thirty-some years, but it did do my head in a little, especially with the interchanging letters.
Ultimately, I really did like this book, even if it is slightly misandristic. It's not something you want to read after a hard day at work, or share with the whole family, though....more
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 ofAfter 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....more
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 byJostein 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. ...more
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 buncThroughout 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. ...more