A concise, interesting description of the planets, including Pluto,the one which is no longer considered a planet except at Lowell Observatory, where...moreA concise, interesting description of the planets, including Pluto,the one which is no longer considered a planet except at Lowell Observatory, where it was discovered. The author takes each planet in turn and discusses the earliest beliefs and facts known about it. Her sources range from the book of Genesis to Galileo, poets, and the newest space rovers. I'm still don't understand a lot of what I've read about space, but she fills a lot of gaps.(less)
Jack Reacher does it again! He finds the bad guys with his own unique logic, then takes them out, big and small. You definitely want this guy on your...moreJack Reacher does it again! He finds the bad guys with his own unique logic, then takes them out, big and small. You definitely want this guy on your side when things go wrong.
What do you do when you see a man you killed 10 years ago coming out of a convert hall? If you're Jack Reacher, you try to make sure he's good and dead this time. Even if the job requires a fake kidnapping to get on a peninsula surrounded by the cold Atlantic and reachable only by a long, open causeway, you save the good guys and take out the bad ones, by arrest or other. This book is not as graphically harsh as some in the series.
I don't know how to describe the train of logic that Reacher follows except that he follows it to the very end, where most of us stop when we think we've reached a logical end. This is what always fascinates me, a big, tough smart guy who considers the smart to be more important than the tough.(less)
First, the author is a Christian, a believer. I occasionally had to remind myself of that, as I wondered where he was going in some chapters. Second,...moreFirst, the author is a Christian, a believer. I occasionally had to remind myself of that, as I wondered where he was going in some chapters. Second, nothing in this book makes it impossible to continue to believe in Jesus Christ. This is a study of what is known, and what can be inferred from that, about the life of a first-century peasant known as Jesus of Nazareth. If you believe implicitly in every word of the Bible you probably will not even think about reading this book. If, like me, you find some passages questionable and curious, probably written from oral legends, this book will be fascinating. I found it to be thought-provoking.
We are not taught in church about the impact of the total annihilation of the Temple and Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 CE. I did not even know that the Jews kicked the Romans out for a few years! Thus I didn't understand that the Jesus who was preached in Rome and elsewhere after that cataclysmic time was a gentle man who was very non-violent and had a 'kingdom that was not of this world.' The Christians made every effort to emphasize that they were not a threat in any way. So when the author explains that Jesus was killed by the Romans for the crime of sedition, or preaching against the Roman government, I was floored. The sign above his head was a statement of the crime for which he was crucified, as it was for the thousands who were crucufied by the Romans. 'King of the Jews' meant sedition, which was a continual problem with these difficult Jews. The Romans wanted everyone who saw this cross to remember what happened to those who opposed Rome. That being said, the author did not address why the Romans allowed Jesus' body to be taken down and buried. The gospels say that the Jews did not want it left up over the holiday, but there were always bodies strung up over holidays.
The gospels were written in Greek, 50 years and more after the crucifixion, by people who probably did not know Jesus. The author emphasizes that Jesus and his disciples would most likely have been illiterate and would have known only Aramaic, possibly some Hebrew. He tries to determine what parts of the gospels might be true and which parts possibly not. This is the first book in which I have read all of the notes, because he describes the scholarly disagreements on many points.
The Bible is a fascinating book. I don't pretend to know who wrote what, but the research is interesting and makes me think. Was the gospel of Luke written by a student of Paul who knew little about Jewish history and culture? Why does Matthew say that Herod killed all the children under two when no one else, gospel or historian, notes this? I do know that God uses the Bible, historically correct or not, to communicate with us. I tend to think that the discrepancies are designed to make us count on God for answers, not scholars. He's God, he can do things any way he wants.
Books like this one can make Jesus come more alive for us, to illustrate the man and the time he lived in. I recommend it.(less)
An amazing experience. I've read a lot of 'life after life' books, beginning with Raymond Moody's first in the 70's to 'Heaven is For Real'. Dr. Alexa...moreAn amazing experience. I've read a lot of 'life after life' books, beginning with Raymond Moody's first in the 70's to 'Heaven is For Real'. Dr. Alexander's experience is different from all of these, as he sees a rich place indescribable with ordinary language. His medical experience adds to his descriptions, as he attempts to make sense of what he saw and felt. I applaud his courage in publicizing his experience; many scientists will feel compelled to dismiss it. I thank him for sharing it with us. We need to be reminded that there are things and places we cannot imagine.(less)
To a river runner, the Colorado is like Mount Everest. Around the time of this story (but not that same year!), I bought a tape of the largest run at...moreTo a river runner, the Colorado is like Mount Everest. Around the time of this story (but not that same year!), I bought a tape of the largest run at that time through the Grand Canyon by open boaters. A group of eighteen canoeists from my old canoe club, Coastal Canoeists of Virginia, ran the Canyon. I bought that tape not because I wanted to see the rapids, but because many on the trip were my old paddling buddies. That trip opened extraordinary possibilities to me--if Bill and Gil could run the Grand Canyon, so could I! Never did, but now that I've seen it from the top, the river is all the more unique and amazing.
What a story--and it's all true! Kevin Fedarko tells the story of a landmark run through the Grand Canyon by three men in a small wooden dory during a flood, and weaves throughout the stories of man and the Colorado, of the history of dams on the Colorado, of wooden dories and the men who love them. It was a bit slow at first, like many rivers, but moved faster and faster as we got closer to the run itself. A masterful book told by a man who loves rivers and particularly the Colorado. I'd give it 7 or 8 stars if I could.
This spring we drove through Dutch John, Utah, a village on Flaming Gorge Reservoir where many fishing guides live. We expected to see motor boats, johnboats and bigger, but to our surprise, almost every house and trailer had a dory parked out front. The Flaming Gorge Visitor Center hostess told us that she and her husband took their dory down the Green River below the dam every day off. I wasn't quite so surprised to learn of the fascination with dories on the Colorado. The book's descriptions reminded me of maneuvering an open canoe through rapids, except that you can't fit 3 paying customers in a canoe!
This is not just a love letter to the Colorado, although it is that. It's a history of the western struggle between using every drop of water they can get their hands on and the glory of a free-flowing river. The author describes the Glen Canyon Dam, a main character in the story, as one of the major engineering feats in America's history. The engineers who run the dam were heroes who saved the dam and thus everyone and everything downstream during the massive flood of 1983. If you love rivers, this book is a must-read. If you like history or just enjoy a good story, read this book.(less)
A novel about Ruth and her true story, as discovered by her great-grandson 's wife, who loved to research old scrolls. Who also happened to be Samuel'...moreA novel about Ruth and her true story, as discovered by her great-grandson 's wife, who loved to research old scrolls. Who also happened to be Samuel's niece, and David's first love. Fiction, of course, but the book answers some of the questions I always had about the Bible story. This was interesting enough that I'll be reading her books on Hannah (Samuel's mother) and Deborah, the judge. This author's Israeli women are strong and capable, much like many of the modern Israelis.(less)
I gave it 4 stars because I figured part of it out early in the book. However, given the twists of this story I was probably meant to figure out that...moreI gave it 4 stars because I figured part of it out early in the book. However, given the twists of this story I was probably meant to figure out that part and it deserves a 5. Part of the fascination is because the story is told in alternating chapters that do NOT run concurrently, from the viewpoint of the husband and the wife. I expect you've read enough about this book to know that a woman disappears on her 5th and probably last wedding anniversary. Her husband soon appears to be the obvious suspect, but there are plenty of things that don't add up. The poor joker is hit with clue after clue that make him look stupid at the least and guilty at the worst. Fascinating book! If this is her first effort, I definitely want to read more from this author. But not about these people!(less)
Wonderful! Really couldn't put it down. Olivia, the older sister by several years, is a Hollywood producer trying to make a movie about Don Quixote. H...moreWonderful! Really couldn't put it down. Olivia, the older sister by several years, is a Hollywood producer trying to make a movie about Don Quixote. Her younger sister Maddie is married to Bobby and still lives in the small town in Ohio where they grew up. When Maddie is suddenly diagnosed with leukemia, Olivia is determined to keep her alive. She writes letters, faxes, emails to everyone, to her best friend from high school, her director, former boss at Universal Studios, Robin Williams, the boyfriend she isn't over yet, every doctor she believes to treat her sister badly or well.... The book consists of these letters, in which she pours out her heart but always ends with a laugh.
One of the best books I have ever read. Hands down. This was my second reading and it will not be the last. A cloistered nun develops severe headaches,...moreOne of the best books I have ever read. Hands down. This was my second reading and it will not be the last. A cloistered nun develops severe headaches, diagnosed as migraines. They bring with them visions and a clear sense of God's presence.
Then a second doctor discovers that she has epilepsy, triggered by a tumor on her brain just above her ear, easily removed. She struggles with the fear that she will no longer feel specially chosen by God.
The book depicts the struggle faced by each nun to always put God's will first, the needs of other people second and their individual needs last. Many of the facets of communal life are strange, even unnatural, to me. I am amazed that a writer, especially a male, did such an outstanding job of describing the life of a sequestered nun.(less)
Bruce Feiler excels at understanding cultures, whether a circus, another country, or religions. In this book, he explores the impact of the Moses stor...moreBruce Feiler excels at understanding cultures, whether a circus, another country, or religions. In this book, he explores the impact of the Moses story on the U.S., from Washington to King. I stopped reading at one point, bored, but when I picked the book up again I was fascinated and couldn't imagine why I had thought it slow.
In each chapter he evaluates books, speeches, newspapers: everything history could provide to shed light on the comparisons with Moses of a particular person or time. He discovers that we were all very familiar with the Bible, picking up references to obscure passages at other times in our country's history. Feiler shows us our culture, what we thought and cared about as a people, as he tries to understand why Moses is so important to us. Another thoughtful, illuminating read from Bruce Feiler.(less)