To not to have read this book is to amble blindfolded through life into barrage after screaming barrage of rich cultural references and have none of tTo not to have read this book is to amble blindfolded through life into barrage after screaming barrage of rich cultural references and have none of them hit you. It has been argued more than once that Don Quixote is the greatest novel ever written--not to mention the first novel. There was nothing like it before, has been since, and probably ever will be. Let's leave it at that....more
Really, really wish Frank were a better writer. I do understand why many love it, and for some (like me) it will be worth a look for the concepts alonReally, really wish Frank were a better writer. I do understand why many love it, and for some (like me) it will be worth a look for the concepts alone, but. . . the writing stinks. Fear of this basic drawback is what makes me wary of the science fiction genre. Still, I read them all, thinking the guy might get better. Eh. Wonky, unpolished gems. I read somewhere that his son's continuation of the series was markedly worse. Wow. Hells to the no on those....more
The book is fascinating, and deserves its popularity, but for me the greater point is that there are still truly new avenues of thought and ways of paThe book is fascinating, and deserves its popularity, but for me the greater point is that there are still truly new avenues of thought and ways of parsing information that need exploring. I think a sort of ossification has occurred in the modern Western narrative that we ignore to our peril. As Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury said in a super academic lecture series about language which I could barely follow, 'There are no last words.'
To use a drastic but timely example, I think the West is utterly unequipped to speak clearly on the rise of so-called radical Islam and its wholesale rejection of things we all thought we could more or less put to bed, like Human Rights, for goodness sake. That's the peril part.
Gladwell's independent mode of thought is welcome to say the least, and we need more of it. There's even been a new term coined to describe his oblique methodology: 'Gladwellian.'
She never shuts up. Her philosophy really is worthy of consideration, but good Lord I got the thrust the first 67 times. I should have took my friendsShe never shuts up. Her philosophy really is worthy of consideration, but good Lord I got the thrust the first 67 times. I should have took my friends' advice and tried The Fountainhead first. Now I'll probably never read that one, either.
Way to murder your own ideas, Miss Objectivism. And then resurrect and murder them again. And then infect them with a zombie virus and disembowel them and bury the parts separately. Then dig them up and stitch them back together again and then give them a stern talking-to before. . .yeah, it's like that. Sarcastic clapping....more
Funny, creepy, weird, mystical, ridiculous, with a dash of erotic radiation. I am predisposed to the Russians already, but this guy will pull you offFunny, creepy, weird, mystical, ridiculous, with a dash of erotic radiation. I am predisposed to the Russians already, but this guy will pull you off your warm perch on the hearth of a bucolic peasant's cottage and take you on a romp through a surreal wood on the bristly back of a wise-cracking devil and have you vacillating between terror and irony. Lots of fun, and I probably missed half the double entendres. Good shiba. Reminds me I'd better read Dead Souls....more
I saw this book on my parents' bookshelf all through childhood and out of all the books no title looked at once so forbidding and boring. I thought itI saw this book on my parents' bookshelf all through childhood and out of all the books no title looked at once so forbidding and boring. I thought it was some dour didactic tome about the Roman Catholic Church written by some dour academic clergyman with an unbelievably Dickensian name. The only thing that could have made it worse is if he had been a Lord or an Earl of Bogglebrookendale or something. It seemed like the kind of books gray, sedentary adults would only read after they had become ambivalent about their pending deaths. Yeah, I somehow got all that out of looking at a faded spine. I wasn't going near it.
Then I grew up, and started coming across references to Chesterton that were not at all in line with my imagined expectations or lack thereof. The voice I heard was not that of a clergyman, scholar, aristocrat, and it certainly wasn't dour. Here was a vibrant, jovial, absent-minded man with an intimidating intellect and an mischievous wit. Hm. It was time to read Orthodoxy.
There is no unpacking this book here; I simply do not have the processor for it, and I'm not talking about my computer. It is about the Catholic Church, turns out--or starts and ends there, but meantime he cranks the curtain wider and wider and paints with ease an aerial view of human activity like a photographer snapping the grid of London from the top of St. Paul's (reference to another book of his. I've never been to London corporeally).
And then it's funny even at it's most incisive or enigmatic, at least to a nerd like me. It's peppered with witty as hell turns like this (found these on Goodreads, by the way):
“The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.”
“The men who really believe in themselves are all in lunatic asylums.”
“Love is not blind; that is the last thing that it is. Love is bound; and the more it is bound the less it is blind.”
“I did try to found a little heresy of my own; and when I had put the last touches to it, I discovered that it was orthodoxy.”
And if, like me, passages like this make one eyebrow go up and your jaw disengage, know this: The sonofabitch dictated nearly everything to some unlucky assistant, and rarely EVER redrafted. And yeah, sometimes it shows, but to quibble with word vomit of Chesterton's quality is to complain that the exorbitantly expensive foie gras came out in the shape of a can.
Sorry for that metaphor, but you see how vain this review is getting. Read Chesterton. Probably twice.
Now when I look back on that forbidding tome on my parent's shelf, I think that the title itself must have been a joke on imperious little kids like me, as it is indeed a sort of joke on everyone, including the author. It was a lot of fun to finally be let in on it....more