This was assigned for the "Black Women in America" class that I am CAing for. I really enjoyed the book a great deal. Hunter's prose is very accessibl...moreThis was assigned for the "Black Women in America" class that I am CAing for. I really enjoyed the book a great deal. Hunter's prose is very accessible, and I think she does a fantastic job of making the history of black women after the Civil War accessible and interesting to an undergraduate audience while still maintaining scholarly rigor. That said, I am left wanting to know more after many of her anecdotes and, while I understand that she couldn't possible give us all the details on every encounter, both for spatial limitations and absences in the record, it could be frustrating at times.(less)
I cannot rave about this book enough. It was a spur-of-the-moment purchase during a visit to a local independent bookseller. The salesperson had press...moreI cannot rave about this book enough. It was a spur-of-the-moment purchase during a visit to a local independent bookseller. The salesperson had pressed this book on me like a used car salesman and I figure he at least deserved the commission, or it might actually be as good as he said.
I must say, as I began reading the book aloud to a friend on the way home, I began to be a little skeptical. The book was all right, sure, but the first fifty pages or so were far from fantastic. It read like every other run-of-the-mill fantasy novel. When it picked up around page 100, however, I was completely hooked. My hands literally shook during some intense passages of the book, and at certain points I was sobbing so hard I had to put the book down, something I hadn't done in response to a book since I started college.
The book was everything the bookseller had said it would be. He described it as Harry Potter with a new, adult and physics-based magic system. He also stated that it was particularly good because unlike most fantasy novels, where the heroes magically come by everything they need unless their poverty is necessary for a plot point, the readers are constantly aware of precisely how much Kvothe, the main character, owes and has in his pockets. This is a comforting element that poor college kids can certainly relate to.
Perhaps my favorite element of the book, however, is its focus on words and story. Without saying too much, the book is written as if it were the main character telling his own story back, and both the magic system and the narrative itself focus on the power of stories and words, as well as the truths or deceptions that lie within them. This self-awareness of the story turned what I thought were some of the more heavy-handed, cliche fantasy moments (such as the first 50 pages, or Kvothe's relationship with his love interest) into parts that fit. It causes the reader to reminisce on other tales of valor and heroics, thus giving cohesion to this hero's tale.
Ultimately, this was an exciting, fun book to read, and one of the best fantasy novels I've read it in a long time. I'd recommend it to anyone who has the slightest tolerance for fantasy, and I cannot wait for the sequel!(less)
I received this short book, I believed it to be a condensed, pamphlet-style version of the larger Great Lent. The book follows the Orthodox Lenten cal...moreI received this short book, I believed it to be a condensed, pamphlet-style version of the larger Great Lent. The book follows the Orthodox Lenten calendar, translating parts which apparently have not yet been translated. It then explains the meaning of repentance, breaking it into the four parts prescribed by the liturgy. It also offers suggestions for how to practice Lent as a lay person.
Although I am not Orthodox, I still found the work helpful, particularly for its breakdown of repentance and for its practical suggestions. It's also a very quick read.(less)