This is a book I will read again and again. Matthieu Ricard is a Buddhist monk and his guide to meditation is very practical and written with a seculaThis is a book I will read again and again. Matthieu Ricard is a Buddhist monk and his guide to meditation is very practical and written with a secular reader in mind. Ricard is also involved in the Mind and Life Institute, (http://www.mindandlife.org/) dedicated to the collaboration between Buddhism and modern science. Universities such as Princeton, Harvard and Berkeley are conducting intensive studies on meditation and its long-and short-term effects on the brain (page 21) and Ricard himself has been a subject of such studies.
Ricard defines meditation, suggests what one should meditate on and explains how to meditate. He includes exercises, inspiring extracts from learned writers on meditation and a detailed bibliography, citing Buddhist and scientific sources.
In his acknowledgements, Ricard refers to his "lack of natural literary talent". He is being too modest. Ricard writes simply and elegantly and no one could ask for more than that. ...more
Trollope wrote a great many books during his lifetime, so it is not surprising some were a little mediocre. Unfortunately The Duke's Children is one oTrollope wrote a great many books during his lifetime, so it is not surprising some were a little mediocre. Unfortunately The Duke's Children is one of them. There is a shameless re-hashing of plots and characters, with just a little twist of each to keep him from completely plagiarizing himself. Having said that, however, I will persist with the book because even characters that pale in comparison with those in the earlier Palliser novels are interesting enough for me to follow to the end. ...more
The Confession reads more like a true crime book than a novel and is a strong political statement against the death penalty. I liked it, not least becThe Confession reads more like a true crime book than a novel and is a strong political statement against the death penalty. I liked it, not least because I don't like the death penalty.
I don't know much about Texas, but I hope and doubt the police, prosecutors and judges are as stupid and bigoted as they appear in this book. As a lawyer myself, I found the legal errors made by the police, then the prosecutor, right up to the US Supreme Court frankly unbelievable, but hell, I'm just an Australian gal and what would I know?
The characters were not subtle. The crooked cops, judges and politicians were unreconstructed red-necks. The murder victim's mother was a champion Victim with a capital V. The wronged man's mother was a saintly, truly God-fearing woman. The real killer was BAD, complete with an evil tattoo on his neck.
Grisham presses all tear-jerker buttons and I was a bit choked up at times, I am embarrassed to say.
This all sounds pretty negative, but I did enjoy the story and it convinced me, once again, of the barbarity of state-sanctioned execution.
I listed to an audio-book, which was well read, if a tiny bit slow at times, by Vincent Marzello. ...more
The Hunger Games (THG) is an excellent adventure. I listened to the audio-book, expertly read by Carolyn McCormick. I'm not going to give you the blurThe Hunger Games (THG) is an excellent adventure. I listened to the audio-book, expertly read by Carolyn McCormick. I'm not going to give you the blurb, you can read that on THG Goodreads page.
Collins inspiration was two-fold, the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur and the history of Ancient Rome. In an interview, Collins said the idea for the book came to her one night when she was channel surfing on TV, between reality TV competitions and the Iraq War. She has cleverly amalgamated the two in telling the story of Katniss Everdeen.
At first I was concerned about the level of violence, then I realised the images kids see on the news now are worse than the violence in THG, not to mention computer games and films.
I wasn't completely addicted until the second half of the book, when Katniss and Peeta are in the midst of the Game. The first half was still very engaging though and plots background that is important for the rest of the story.
The second half of the book is unputdownable, as Katniss battles nature, competitors and sometimes herself in the Arena.
I highly recommend The Hunger Games, it's a ripping yarn. ...more
Basil is the younger son of an old, aristocratic English family. His father's family pride is the paramount consideration in his life. Basil falls inBasil is the younger son of an old, aristocratic English family. His father's family pride is the paramount consideration in his life. Basil falls in love at first sight with the exotic looking daughter of a successful draper and this premise sets the scene for an engaging story.
Unlike Woman in White and The Moonstone, both of which employ different narrators throughout the book, Basil is written from the perspective of one man. The novel also differs from Collin's more famous works in that there is little humour.
The characters are interesting if not subtle and Collins descriptions of nouveau riche London will be fascinating for anyone interested in the Victorian period.
I really enjoyed this novel. It was fast-paced and further enhanced my impression of Collins as the pre-cursor to the modern day thriller writer. I was expecting a straight-forward tale of star-crossed love in Victorian England and was pleasantly surprised as the story unfolded.
If you are a fan of Woman in White and The Moonstone, I think you will enjoy reading Basil. ...more