This book is cool if you're caught up on Robert Caro's biography of Lyndon Johnson but want to go ahead and spoil yourself on how the sixties end anywThis book is cool if you're caught up on Robert Caro's biography of Lyndon Johnson but want to go ahead and spoil yourself on how the sixties end anyway. Good book but it commits the sin of having an epilogue and an afterword, which is insane and horrible. I can't imagine why anyone thought that was a good idea....more
It's dumb, dumb, way past dumb to say that Crime and Punishment is "weirder" than I thought it would be, but guess what, it is! The first time throughIt's dumb, dumb, way past dumb to say that Crime and Punishment is "weirder" than I thought it would be, but guess what, it is! The first time through it to see what happens, the second time through'll be like visiting a shitty friend. In the meantime this book is going to lie on my shelf in case I need a drunk friend from the 1800s who won't shut up about philosophy and never finishes his sentences with just one period......more
I'm swamped with work and I don't have time for a real deal review but I finished this book and it's awful and if I didn't pop in to say that right noI'm swamped with work and I don't have time for a real deal review but I finished this book and it's awful and if I didn't pop in to say that right now I could go to the grave with unfinished business and come back as a terrible ghost. I'm tossing an extra star on this review because this book did do what I wanted it to--it was a quick and accessible book about running that is IN SOME WAYS HELPFUL if you're looking to start jogging but you're in terrible shape. Otherwise, though, it's terrible--overwritten (food is never "eaten", but instead "chomped", "wolfed", or "gulped", over and over again), dishonest (McDougall glazes over facts like they were donuts, and he uses similes like that which are just the worst), and even though it's non-fiction none of the characters scan like real people. Gross gross gross. It's almost a shame I was able to get anything about of this book. It's like if there were only one bread recipe in the world but it was at the end of Uncle Tom's Cabin and if you didn't read the whole thing first it didn't make sense.
I guess what I'm saying here is if anyone has any better books about running I am ALL EARS because I want to FORGET THIS ONE...more
'Some people think this is a Jewish conspiracy, some think it's a Catholic conspiracy, some people think it's a Masonic conspiracy But I know what it'Some people think this is a Jewish conspiracy, some think it's a Catholic conspiracy, some people think it's a Masonic conspiracy But I know what it really is.' 'What is it?' I asked. 'It is a satanic globalist conspiracy,' said Jack.
When I got to use the upper-school library when I was ten years old I started a cycle that I kept up until I left for high school. Every week I would check out one of two books: Ghosts: Fact or Fiction and UFOs: Fact or Fiction. The gimmick to these books was great, each one was divided into two sections, one based on fact and the other on fiction. Each side of the book was the front cover for one of the two halves, so if you picked up the book and started reading from one side it would be "fact", and if you flipped it over and started reading from the other it would be "fiction." The two sides met up in the middle, and if you tried to look at one side after you had started from the other the text would be upside down. I checked out one of these two books every week (sometimes both), reading the same bits over and over, always in the fact sections. Men In Black, poltergeists, the four categories of UFO encounters (at level four they take you away forever), every week. I rarely looked at the fiction sections. When I tried to read the ghost fiction it started off cool with the story of a haunting in Amityville, New York, but at the end of the chapter they revealed the family had made it all up for money so I stopped reading. In the UFO book the first chapter told me to imagine aliens from Planet X, but they didn't tell me where Planet X was or what these aliens looked like or if they'd ever even been seen before so I quit out of frustration. I didn't read these books to get jerked around. I came in for facts. The high school library didn't have many books on paranormal theories, which was probably for the best. My interest waned, I got really into puberty, the most I got into now was watching "True Life: Alien Abduction" documentaries on A&E. I miss those books about ghosts and aliens, but now I'm a little glad, to be honest, because every time I look those things up now I find more and more stories like the ones Jon Ronson reports on in his book. Them is a weary but not dismissive look into the world of conspiracy theorists and extremists. Ronson embedded himself for years with islamic extremists in London, American militiamen, Ku Klux Klan members, and anti-reptillian prophets, among others. Ghosts and aliens aren't the focus here, but I felt drawn to this book in the same way I felt drawn to the fact or fiction series: I wanted to learn secrets. More specifically, I wanted to learn about these guys who wanted to learn secrets. I wanted to know what I would be like if I had never given up. A lot of reviews on here focus on Ronson's relationship to his own jewishness (for extreme lack of a better word), but in writing this book he had to be careful. Almost everyone he interviews in the book is a believer in the jewish new world order to one degree or another. At the end of the first chapter his islamic radical contact, Omar Bakri, gives Ronson a dressing-down and exposes him as a Jew in front of a group of islamic militants. "I am not offended that you are a Jew... but what offends me is that you hide it. You assimilate... That is the worst thing of all. Be a Jew!" I really wish I could think of something besides anti-semitism in this book but it comes up so often. My favorite chapter focused on David Icke, the British sports broadcaster who left his old career behind to give lectures on the thirteen kinds of reptoid aliens from outer space that secretly rule the world. Ronson doesn't give his theories a second thought, and focuses instead on the backlash to Icke's speaking tour in London by a group of local anti-racism activists. Their problem is that they can't tell if Icke's speaking in code, substituting "reptoid" for "Jew". There's a lot of arguing, TV interviews. No one can tell if he's anti-semitic, crazy, or both. By the end they're almost all convinced that this man is not an anti-semite--he only hates literal reptile people. If Ronson is dismissive of the reptile people, he's accepting of the ideas of the Bilderberg group and the Bohemian Grove, two separate (but intermingled) groups of super-powerful men who meet once a year and determine the world's events. Conspiracy theorists blame everything on these groups, and as Ronson reports on the theorists, he starts to believe the theory as well. Something always swerves him at the last second, though. While investigating the Bilderberg group, he learns that the man he's investigating with, Jim Tucker, is also the publisher of The Spotlight, one of America's largest anti-semitic newspapers. While investigating the Bohemian Grove, Ronson is unimpressed with his findings, while his co-investigator, Alex Jones, finds evidence of satanism and human sacrifice in the same set of facts. Meanwhile, Ronson is consistently unimpressed by Alex Jones. Them is more than a Sedaris-style piece of character assassination, though (with all due love to David Sedaris). To his credit, Ronson doesn't set out to discredit all of his interview subjects simply because they decided to show up. Aside from the interviews, Them is also useful as an introductory guide to the general conspiracies of the day. It's hard to research David Icke or the New World Order, because anything interesting is always buried down under a million pounds of crazy. David Icke in particular likes to give speeches that go on for something like ten hours, and in that time he's good at spreading his information very thin. I'm grateful to Jon Ronson for writing this. Through much of the book he comes off as weary, just tired of the whole thing, and I can't blame him. Dude wrote a book while standing six feet deep in a pile of shit, you know?...more
I'd never read anything by Dave Eggers before (besides his introduction to Infinite Jest) so I didn't really know what to expect from this. If I'm beiI'd never read anything by Dave Eggers before (besides his introduction to Infinite Jest) so I didn't really know what to expect from this. If I'm being honest what I really expected was something twee and annoying, a little too cute. I'm not proud of that but it's out there now! Blah! I'd put this dude off for a long time. I'd seen this book around for a while and I'd always assumed it was Dave Eggers on the cover, somehow flown in from SoCal to canoe around and tut-tut at all the terrible things happening in post-Katrina New Orleans. I was wrong, I was wrong! If anyone is reading this review and agreed with me up to this sentence, turn back, read this book! I was wrong! To put this in my best pitch terms (because I'm sleepy), I'd call this a cross between In Cold Blood (super in-depth nonfiction reporting with no mention of the author's hand) and the last quarter of Catch-22, when the jokes fall away and people start dying. It's the true story of Abdulrahman Zeitoun and his wife, Kathy, and the terrible things that happened to them in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. I'm not going to give a word of the plot away because that's stupid. Eggers moves through the chain of events day by day, incorporating flashbacks and exposition in a logical way. You learn about Zeitoun's childhood in Syria because that's what was on his mind during the flood. You don't learn about Kathy's family and their problems with her conversion to Islam until she goes up and meets them--it's nothing she dwelt on until she had to be confronted with it. The book starts off with a bit of showy prose, compared to everything that comes next, but after that point it's beat-for-beat reporting, no funny stuff. It's all straightforward except for one formal trick that's both devastating and totally earned. Anyway the moral of the story is sometimes you have terrible dumb biases against authors you've never read and they form for no reason (or maybe a mouthy review of A Heartbreaking Work that lodged in the back of your mind in your formative years) and you should get over them, read everything. I'm avoiding the content of this book because there's nothing I can add to it right now. Just go read it, we'll grab a drink later and talk about how awful the world is.
And whatever you do, don't google "Zeitoun aftermath" unless you want to ruin your whole damn day....more