It pains me to say that this is the worst book I've read this year. It pains me because I worked for Greg Hawkins many years ago and loved his insightIt pains me to say that this is the worst book I've read this year. It pains me because I worked for Greg Hawkins many years ago and loved his insight, his heart and his perspective on so many things. I know this book by reputation and am a little late the party in reading it. What is wrong with this book is it's complete inability to address the assumptions and biases that created the sociological work behind it. Hawkins and Parkinson speak with near certainty about the implications and results of the REVEAL study and yet show no academic humility about the way they ask the questions or the options they gave responders. The findings of the Reveal study and the sadly simplistic way that they present spiritual maturation are the result of a rigid set of 20th century Americanized Christian definitions that no church father would recognize. Their heart in it is deep and real, and for that I am grateful. They evangelical pastors to the power of data to overcome confirmation bias and this is important. But the study and the accompanying book draw little to nothing from the broader transformational material on how growth happens, a body of knowledge that Western Evanglicalism desperately needs if its every going to face its own golden calves....more
I had to work hard to get through The Magicians, the predecessor to this book. But there was enough there and such positive outside reviews to get meI had to work hard to get through The Magicians, the predecessor to this book. But there was enough there and such positive outside reviews to get me to give Mr. Grossman another chance. I'm still convinced that a career in literary criticism does not make one a writer, much less a great story-teller. But what I will say is that Grossman, who steals liberally from writers and ideas better than him (Rowling, Lewis, Tolkein among others), his homage to the story structure of the Godfather II in this book was wildly satisfying.
Knowing the whole time that we are on a collision course between the future and the past that made the future possible made this quite the page turner. Hoping that The Magician's Land completes the trilogy in ways that are satisfying and original....more
What to say of Mrs. Dalloway? It is strange to have read it after being so familiar with the modern reworking of it in "The Hours." I kept seeing theWhat to say of Mrs. Dalloway? It is strange to have read it after being so familiar with the modern reworking of it in "The Hours." I kept seeing the ties between them everywhere, which I can only expect pulled me distractedly from Ms. Woolf's infamous languid and wandering prose. I can see that this book was revolutionary for its time. Existentialist in it's tone, anti-establishment yet rich in cultural appreciation and metaphor. It is an Anglophile's book, all while being hypercritical of the Empire all the same. Mrs. Dalloway touches of the edges of hyper-controversial issues of her day: divorce, class war, suicide and even dawdling on the edge of lesbianism. It's no wonder she is the bastion of feminism that she is to this day. Clarissa is--in her own way--a sad figure of her times, a product of the makings around her, and yet she flirts with the possibility of feminine power in way that would have been impossible to imagine in her time. Her story begins with it, of course. When Mrs. Dalloway, overflowing with self-actualization decides to buy the flowers herself....more
Started off really interesting and then Bourdain's notorious ego takes over. You get story after story after story of him wizarding in the kitchen andStarted off really interesting and then Bourdain's notorious ego takes over. You get story after story after story of him wizarding in the kitchen and all his cool-kid slang to show that he's rough around the edges. It got tiresome... needless to say. All that mentioned, I will say this: I will never eat seafood on a brunch menu again. Thank you, Anthony, for that....more
10 years ago I read Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City in one sitting. I couldn't put it down and for me he defined a genre of fiction-like his10 years ago I read Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City in one sitting. I couldn't put it down and for me he defined a genre of fiction-like historical non-fiction. For this reason (among others) I was excited about Larson's story of the sinking of the Lusitania. In general the book was good - it got a little bogged down in detail and slow at the end, but Larson's extensive research and ability to turn facts into story is nearly without peer. If you like this kind of genre, this one is a good one to pick up....more
Books like An Organized Mind are such a struggle to review. On one hand there were sections of this book that were so rich and so valuable that I eithBooks like An Organized Mind are such a struggle to review. On one hand there were sections of this book that were so rich and so valuable that I either went and implemented the changes suggested or spent hours thinking through how the issues Levitin raises have broad and sometimes unintended consequences. And yet, I find it difficult to rate this book more than 3 stars. It was dense, and not in a good way. There were long sections of under-edited rambling. The author was over-indulgent with his own ideas and lacked the discipline to edit what should be included and shouldn't be included in this valuable popular examination of human neurology and behavior. Herein lies the irony. How is it that book shouting about the importance of the organization, satisficing and de-cluttering in the age of over-information be so cluttered by... over-information? It is a quandary I myself don't have the proximity to the author to address. All I can offer is the warning to those who would wish to find a clear path to their own mental organization from Levitin's book--you won't find it here. What you will find are moments of uncommon brilliance that I can't imagine have missed by avoiding this book. And along side those moments are stretches of common ramblings that a skilled writer and ideator like Levitin should have been able to avoid. ...more