Father of Lies opens with a letter from a psychoanalyst, Dr. Feshtig, to the Director of the Zion Foundation Institute of Psychoanalysis, Ballard KennFather of Lies opens with a letter from a psychoanalyst, Dr. Feshtig, to the Director of the Zion Foundation Institute of Psychoanalysis, Ballard Kennedy. Feshtig works for this Foundation and is a part of its religion, but he argues for client-patient confidentiality and reminds the Director that he was promised his work would "operate independently of the sponsoring religion". He refuses to share the requested information about his patient and calls into question the fact that the Director is asking for it at the request of an apostolic elder.
We learn that Feshtig's patient is a church leader, Provost Eldon Fochs. Fochs comes to Feshtig for analysis at the behest of his wife who is disturbed by his increasingly violent dreams. At first pass, Feshtig attributes the disturbing dreams to Fochs' ambivalence toward his recent appointment as church leader and a general, low self-worth since childhood. After Fochs stops attending his appointments, Feshtig begins to believe that Fochs' recountings of dream events may not have been dreams at all. And that Fochs had been deceptive and even manipulative during the sessions.
Fochs dreams of pederasty. He dreams of violently raping boys under his leadership and of killing a young girl and violating her body. A Bloody Headed Man appears to him and is, at times, a part of him. The Bloody Headed Man tells him that nothing he does is wrong because he, and therefore all his actions, are sanctioned by God.
When the mother of two boys come forward with charges against Fochs, the elders use the circular logic that Fochs is a church elder, therefore inspired by God, and so can't have committed the atrocities of which they've accused him. When the mothers don't back down, they are brought before a panel for excommunication and the ultimate vote is left to Fochs himself.
This book is a disturbing and well thought out psychological horror. It's all the more frightening because of the well-written glimpses into the insulated and isolated atmosphere of this religious sect. ...more
This is one of those books. And by that, I mean one that you want to press into people's hands and urge, "Read this."
I have a soft spot for curmudgeonThis is one of those books. And by that, I mean one that you want to press into people's hands and urge, "Read this."
I have a soft spot for curmudgeons. This is the story of a man called Ove and he is a very lovable curmudgeon. The love of his life, Sonja, has passed away. She's taken her spontaneous, joyful, laughing nature with her and left him alone, uninspired to go on despite his routines. Ove plans to take matters into his own hands and join his wife on the other side. New neighbors arrive, however, set his schedule on its ear, and somehow manage to make it impossible for him to get the job done properly. And then there's the 'Cat Annoyance' that has presented itself, too. What's a man to do when he's harrassed and annoyed at every turn but find a reason to live?
I started this book about an hour before bed the evening before I was called for jury duty. I sat the whole next day waiting to be assigned a case, but that never happened. Instead, I gulped this delicious book.
There were so many parts that stuck with me, but here are a few that made me jot them down:
Now, when it's gone quarter to six and Ove has got up, the cat is sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor. It sports a disgruntled expression, as if Ove owes it money. Ove stares back at it with a suspicion normally reserved for a cat that has run his doorbell with a Bible in its paws, like a Jehovah's Witness.
"Loving someone is like moving into a house," Sonja used to say. "At first you fall in love with all the new things, amazed every morning that all this belongs to you, as if fearing that someone would suddenly come rushing in through the door to explain that a terrible mistake had been made, you weren't actually supposed to live in a wonderful place like this. Then over the years the walls become weathered, the wood splinters here and there, and you start to love that house no so much because of all it perfection, but rather for its imperfections. You get to know all the nooks and crannies. How to avoid getting the key caught in the lock when it's cold outside. Which of the floorboards flex slightly when one steps on them or exactly how to open the wardrobe doors without them creaking. These are the little secrets that make it your home."
Ove, of course, suspected that he represented the wardrobe door in the example.
Before the seven-year-old[neighbor child] goes to bed she presses a paper into Ove's hand, on which is written "Birthday Party Invitation." Ove reads through it as if it were a legal transfer or rights for a leasehold agreement.
And this bit that had me openly weeping in the jury waiting room:
Death is a strange thing. People live their whole lives as if it does not exist, and yet it's often one of the great motivations for living. Some of us, in time, become so conscious of it that we live harder, more obstinately, with more fury. Some need its constant presence to even be aware of its antithesis. Others become so preoccupied with it that they go into the waiting room long before it has announced its arrival. We fear it, yet most of us fear more than anything that it may take someone other than ourselves. For the greatest fear of death is always that it will pass us by. And leave us there alone.
All you need is Ove. Consider this me, pressing the book into your hands. Read it. You won't be sorry.
I requested this book from the library after reading an exerpt in an online article (Huffington Post, maybe?). I'm interested in psychology and sociolI requested this book from the library after reading an exerpt in an online article (Huffington Post, maybe?). I'm interested in psychology and sociology, but prefer less academic books on the subject. This was a perfect melding of informational and engaging to the average reader.
In Wired to Create, Kaufman and Gregoire give insight into what makes creative people different. Citing a wealth of books and articles on the neuroscience and psychology of creativity, they've have broken down, by chapter, all the different components.
Apparently, creative people have 'messy' minds as well as 'messy' emotions. There also seems to be a correlation between creativity and mental health problems. Oddly enough, they also show a greater depth of joy and a higher degree of savoring life.
Some of what I read came as no surprise. Creative people engage in imaginative play more often than those less creative. They daydream, enjoy solitude, and depend strongly on their intuition. They tend to have a higher degree of sensitivity, are open to new experiences, diversity of thought and expression, and have a tendency of 'thinking differently' than the average person. In short, creative people are united by their unwillingness to abide by conventional ways of thinking and doing things. The common strand in all the answers was the idea that creative people reject popular, conventional ways of thinking and instead support new and fresh ideas.
I found the whole book very interesting, but it was the last chapter that really struck me. In it, the authors touch on the societal contradiction of hailing creativity as important while, at the same time, discouraging it. Even in the field of science where the norm is open-mindedness, it is suggested that scientific peer-review systems are designed in a way to discourage innovation and instead rewards research that reinforces existing paradigms.
In short, it's not always applauded or pleasant to be a creative individual, but the rewards can be vast if you're wired that way. More interesting still, Kaufman and Gregoire say there is hope for those who weren't born that way. It is possible to re-wire yourself to cultivate creativity using mindful exercises. All that's needed is to work on the mind's flexibility and create as often as possible. Even the greatest artists an (Beethoven, Edison) show a body of mediocre creativity with peaks of greatness.
I love Augusten Burroughs' writing. I first read Running with Scissors, then gulped everything he wrote before and since. His life has been messy, darI love Augusten Burroughs' writing. I first read Running with Scissors, then gulped everything he wrote before and since. His life has been messy, dark, and difficult. Somehow he's managed to write about all that in a way that leaves the reader laughing and/or uplifted and hopeful. It was wonderful to read, in Lust & Wonder, Burroughs finally found true happiness with his husband (and editor), Christopher.
Having said that, I found this book the least enjoyable of all his work. It felt uninspired. Fractured and lacking cohesion. Like he had signed on to write another memoir, but he'd lost momentum and was phoning in large portions. Burroughs mentions in this book that he'd written some fiction, but had decided to write another memoir at the urging of friends and his own inclination. I think he should turn his attention to fiction for a while. As a fan, I'm happy he's happy, but happy complacence in a memoir -- at least in Burroughs' case -- just doesn't make for interesting reading.
Pipsie and her helpful sidekick, Alfred Z. Turtle, are back with more science-based sleuthing in this second installment of the Pipsie, Nature DetectiPipsie and her helpful sidekick, Alfred Z. Turtle, are back with more science-based sleuthing in this second installment of the Pipsie, Nature Detective series.
What's more fun and challenging than a scavenger hunt? A mystery to solve along the way! Someone (or something) has filched Pipsie & Alfred's lunch when their backs were turned. Now, while on a scavenger hunt, they're also on the look out for clues to deduce who their Lunchnapper might be. With growling stomachs and focused sleuthing, Pipsie and Alfred are determined to make this new mystery history!
Unlike some educational children's books that lose their charm to dry, boring information-packed pages, Pipsie & Alfred keep the story fresh, fun, and exciting. This newest, outdoor adventure will continue to intrigue children with the wonders of science and nature surrounding them.
Pipsie is a fantastic role model. I want to buy a purple pith helmet and join her and Alfred on ALL their adventures!...more
This is a glimpse into the working side of Longbourn, the house in which Jane Austen's Bennett family reside in the novel Pride & Prejudice. It foThis is a glimpse into the working side of Longbourn, the house in which Jane Austen's Bennett family reside in the novel Pride & Prejudice. It follows the lives of two servants: Sarah, an orphan adopted at age six into service by Longbourn's housekeeper, Mrs. Hall, and James, the footman mentioned briefly in P&P (and who we learn has a very interesting relationship to the family).
Longbourn touches on the Bennett family life, mirroring the timeline and events that take place in P&P, but it focuses on the servant's world and their difficult, often exhausting life. While at times plodding and focused on minutiae of ordinary, daily life, Longbourn gives us a grittier, more realistic insight into life in the late nineteenth century. It also fleshes out many of Austen's more two-dimensional characters as seen through the eyes of those serving them. I was especially intrigued and moved by the housekeeper's insight into her mistress' flighty, complaining character.
This is not a tidy book. It is not a ribbons, fans, and flirtatious intrigues book. It is raw and real and often messy. This is a must read for anyone who has read and loved Pride & Prejudice and is left hungry to know more about the period from all aspects....more
It's hard not to love Jenny Lawson. She's humble and funny. She's sharp and quirky. She's also apparently a possum magnet. She's my kind of human - brIt's hard not to love Jenny Lawson. She's humble and funny. She's sharp and quirky. She's also apparently a possum magnet. She's my kind of human - broken, real, and brave enough to show us those broken parts so we don't feel so alone in this weird, glorious world. I like that in a writer - which is why I wasn't surprised to find that some of my other favorite essayists, Allie Brosh, Augusten Burroughs, and David Sedaris, gave her glowing reviews on the back cover. She also cusses a lot and that's always a good thing, IMO.
If you suffer from depression, this is a must read. Furiously Happy isn't just a title, it's a suggested tool to getting through the darkest, meanest parts of the trek through this world via our shitty psyche.
I love Rainbow Rowell's books. I was surprised that I couldn't get into this, but that sometimes happens. The book is currently loaned to a young frieI love Rainbow Rowell's books. I was surprised that I couldn't get into this, but that sometimes happens. The book is currently loaned to a young friend. If she gives it back and says, "No, don't give up on it, you'll love it" I'll give it another try....more
This is a story of a family who've gotten themselves into the kind of debt a person would have nightmares about.
I only read a quarter of the way in tThis is a story of a family who've gotten themselves into the kind of debt a person would have nightmares about.
I only read a quarter of the way in to this novel because it was both frustrating and depressing me. It wasn't that it was poorly written or the characters not being developed, but that I couldn't stand them and wanted to knock their heads together. Couple all that with the fact I've been in a bit of a reading slump, I felt it best not to waste time on books that didn't capture my imagination right away.