Look, it's no secret to anyone who knows me in the slightest: I love this man. He is my inspiration and my hero, I love his attitude to life, his sensLook, it's no secret to anyone who knows me in the slightest: I love this man. He is my inspiration and my hero, I love his attitude to life, his sense of humour and unflinching ability to stand up and speak out for what he believes in.
He here tells a brutally honest account of his growing up and how he first came to realise that he was gay. He takes the reader through his days in a boarding school where he struggled to fit in and constantly rebelled against, without knowing quite why. He tells of his troubled mind and how it led him to spend time in prison prior to completing his education at Cambridge, he also speaks of his first love and questions his own thoughts and feelings. Fry attempts to analyse his own behaviour, struggling himself to understand why he grew up the way he did when he was treated no differently to his brother.
It is honest, it is funny, poignant and sometimes sad. It is nearly always curious and often confused. But it is never apologetic. Good for you, Stephen....more
Loved it. Short but useful descriptions on every book and the recommendations at the side kept me in reading material for the past few years. PossiblyLoved it. Short but useful descriptions on every book and the recommendations at the side kept me in reading material for the past few years. Possibly the best book guide ever, at the very least the best one I've ever come across (and I've come across quite a few). Such a beautiful array of titles from all genres and to suit all ages, I loved scouring this book for hours to decide what I should read next. A teen must-have....more
I hate the ideas in this book. This is a dangerous and ridiculous idea that teaches girls that they are only as important as their hymen. Why isn't thI hate the ideas in this book. This is a dangerous and ridiculous idea that teaches girls that they are only as important as their hymen. Why isn't this book about the groom? Why must a woman remain sexually abstinent but not a man? It's an outrage that this kind of crap can be published and I only hope young people will see sense and reject this backward nonsense. It must be bad times when I find myself hoping that girls will look to shows like Gossip Girl as an inspiration, but compared to harmful books like this, that would be a relief.
We should be teaching our girls and young women the importance of enjoying life, practicing safe sex and that they are of much greater worth than a film of skin between their legs. I'm just disappointed that I couldn't give this minus stars.
2014 edit: I read this book and wrote this review in February 2011. People still keep commenting and I'm no longer in a position to talk about it. I understand that my little review was quite aggressive and inflammatory... probably deserved, but maybe not. So please keep this in mind before getting pissed and ranting in the comments. Thank you....more
My re-reading of this for my university course has led me to the same conclusions I found when I first read it a couple of years back, except this timMy re-reading of this for my university course has led me to the same conclusions I found when I first read it a couple of years back, except this time I am fortunate enough to have understood it better than last time. My conclusions being that Plato, and through him Socrates, was very intelligent, believed he was more intelligent than everyone else (no matter how many times he declared himself unwise) and very much loved to talk. Socrates, in particular, must have been very fond of the sound of his own voice.
You can't give a book that revolutionised philosophy any less than 3 stars, even if about 70% of it features many generalisations, jumping to bizarre conclusions, and claims without good reason. And yes, Plato and Socrates had some brilliant ideas - all the more brilliant because they came up with them first - but they don't measure up to today's version of "rational thinking". Good, but outdated. I suppose the best thing about their ideas was that they laid the foundations for the next 2000 years of Western philosophy and politics.
And, though hardly feminists, Socrates and Plato were some of the first to publicly suggest that education should be equal to both genders (apart from military training) and that women should have as large a political role as men, seeing as they make up half of society. Go early Greek gender equality!! Though I suppose the line "whining and crying as if they were but women" (or something to that effect) kind of pisses on that feminist bonfire. Oh well...
So here's some of the reasons why The Republic fails. Firstly, Socrates (the character) assumes that because one example demonstrates a certain type of relationship, then this idea can be applied to all. When he is arguing with Thrasymachus about justice, Thrasymachus says that justice is whatever the rulers decide it to be and that they use this power for their own good and the weaker (i.e. the subjects) get screwed over. Socrates then uses the example of a physician who is stronger than his patients but his agenda is only to help them. Well:
1) Even if a physician selflessly helps his patients, this does not prove that rulers have the best interests of their citizens in mind. There is not a naturally occurring relationship between the two.
2) As Thrasymachus goes on to point out, the physician is doing it for his own benefit because he is paid to do the job.
Stupidity & Contradictions
So then Socrates starts with the bullshit that doesn't get refuted because the author is on his side, of course. He says that the physician is divided into two roles: that of physician and that of moneymaker (yep). So, basically the two are separate and have nothing to do with each other... um, I beg to differ. You see? Some of the arguments are ridiculous. He also goes on to contradict himself later by stating that rulers do get a reward for ruling: money! If he had maintained his previous argument, then they should have done it anyway for the simple benefit of their subjects and moneymaking should be a separate thing entirely.
Agent vs. Act Virtue
Plato and Socrates talked a great deal about justice being an agent virtue and not just an act virtue. They believed that it wasn't good enough to act justly, you had to have a good soul as well. Makes sense until you get to where you judge people based on them having a good soul or not - and just how do you do that?
And they have a very warped view of what makes a person good/just. "A just man values wisdom above all else"... does he? I imagine a person who likes to make friends with the super-smart individuals and disregard the rest to be a bit of an ass. Don't you?...more
1) Islam is a real religion. 2) Muhammed was a prophet of God. 3) God and Islam view everyone equally regardless oIt failed to even slightly prove that:
1) Islam is a real religion. 2) Muhammed was a prophet of God. 3) God and Islam view everyone equally regardless of race, age or gender.
That being said, I put my atheist beliefs aside and attempted to read the book with an open mind. And I learned some new things. I didn't know much about the five pillars of Islam and my only exposure to the story of Muhammed was through a children's picture book in primary school, so I actually came away from this with more information than I get from most. That was a bonus.
But it still didn't prove anything and I haven't been converted. The example quotes from the Qu'ran were frequently repeated and often irrelevent... apparently a woman being punished for starving a cat has something to do with human rights - well, this is news to me!
At only 70-something pages, though, I read it in no time and, like I said, I now have a slightly greater knowledge of Islam than I did an hour ago....more
My whole life, I've never had a problem finding books to read and love. Of all kinds. Of all genres. I have never had a problem finding books to read.
My whole life, I've never had a problem finding books to read and love. Of all kinds. Of all genres. I would seek them out, one way or another; they couldn't hide from me. From the Goosebumps books I found lying around on the shared shelves in the classrooms of my first school, to my pretentious swanning around my local library in search of those books called "classics" which meant you were totally smart if you read them (oh yes, I was a real delight as a child). I remember being about seven years old and asking my mum to get me a library card - I checked out the maximum of twelve each time, even though I could only read about one and a half back then before it was time to return them. Once, I even came to my mum in floods of tears because I'd let my books become overdue and thought I was going to prison.
I would even find the books which people had gone to great lengths to hide from me. It's an odd memory that I doubt I'll ever forget. I must have been about eight or nine years old and my family were staying with friends in Holland. The house was beautiful. Huge. And most likely hiding a door that would lead me straight into another world if only I could find it. I stumbled through unused rooms on the third floor like a kid discovering Narnia until I found a box of books. I gravitated towards them. I can't quite tell you why, but goodreads is the sort of place where I might have a chance of finding someone who understands. I've just always read. I honestly can't remember a time before reading, when books weren't in my life. I don't know if I read as an escape or because of an interest in learning about other people or just to say I could and did. I read everything I could get my hands on. Including the books in this box, which were, shall we say, enlightening. I was appalled - appalled, I tell you! - at the things people are willing to put in their mouths. Needless to say, I read all of the book in question and instinctively never mentioned it to my parents. I'm sure some would like to think of me as a poor wee cherub whose innocence was stolen by evil books - maybe so, but I would put my money on Stine's chicken people being the real culprit rather than a bit of fellatio.
No, I have never had a problem finding books to read.
But I have had a problem finding people who understand what it's like to really LOVE reading. Maybe even need it. People who associate periods of their life with the kinds of things they were reading then, whether in school or in dusty old rooms of a house in Holland. The kind of people who take personal journeys into books and write responses that are part review, part stories in themselves. This is what goodreads has always given me. It's given me people who've loved a book so much that they've had to tell a story about a specific part of their life - that was the only way they could express the strength of their feeling. It's given me people who write poems for reviews or just post pictures because words aren't enough for what they want to say. A lot of these "reviews" don't help me decide whether I'll like a book or not. Many could be considered off-topic, not really about the book in question. And it amuses me how little the Goodreads moderators/managers/whoever actually understand: the books don't really matter.
What Goodreads doesn't seem to understand is that the vast majority of their inactive members who created accounts, rated Lord of the Flies, and then quickly left - they came here because they like books. The others, the minority, who provide thousands of reviews, check the site religiously for friend updates, and are under direct attack by the new policies - they came here for the community. For the friends. For the memes. For the poems. For the rants. For the pointlessness. For the off-topic stories. For the ability to express themselves freely.
Goodreads has done a truly fantastic job of not getting it. Of not getting why this site is successful. Goodreads thinks people come to this site for the books; they think they've reinvented the art of finding your next read. Oh, who are they kidding? There are a thousand other books like this and services and unused rooms in Holland that have been helping people find something to read for years. Most of them are quicker and more reliable, and all of them have fewer trolls. No. Goodreads is a long-forgotten URL in the internet history of millions of people but it means something important to only a few. I came to a site called "Goodreads" because I like books, but it was the people, the wonderful, off-topic people that gave me a reason to stay. You know why I'm still here after all this time? It's not the fucking books. It's the heartfelt expressions of utter delight and rage in the "reviews" of the friends I've made. Or it's the funny memes they post and the pictures of their cats. Or it's that teenage girl who emailed me after reading my pretty damn off-topic review of This Song Will Save Your Life and said she was going through the same thing but my review gave her encouragement to make it through each day.
Goodreads, I don't need your help finding books to read.
I can feel this site losing its value bit by bit. With every creative, talented and interesting person that leaves, goodreads loses more of my interest. I can honestly feel my interest waning each day. I used to keep goodreads open in a permanent tab that I would refresh a ridiculous number of times so I didn't miss anything. Now? I'm bored. This site now has more books than ever before and I'm bored. Because it was everything off-topic about Goodreads that gave the site its worth. I can find books elsewhere. Easily. Without issue. I've been doing it my whole life.
This is not a protest review. For one thing, that would imply that I expect or hope it to have some kind of effect - I don't. This is not a review at all, actually. This is just a post of my thoughts for people to take as they wish. As I've always done on Goodreads and as I will continue to do. I'd say I don't care if someone deletes this, but that would be a lie. Because every deleted "review" is another piece of something I love being chipped away.
The problem with the Chicken Soup collection is that after the first one or two, they start to all seem the same. The quotes dispersed between stories The problem with the Chicken Soup collection is that after the first one or two, they start to all seem the same. The quotes dispersed between stories/poems/whatever are repeated in nearly every book. Now, as a lover of a good quote, I find myself eager for some variation. Also, with the exception of Chicken Soup For The Pet Lover's Soul, the stories become very similar, it's just basically a hundred different variations of the same book.
None of them are bad, but one or two is sufficient.