I guess I expected more from this book after hearing about it for years, and hearing Oliver Sacks in various interviews. It was very interesting to seI guess I expected more from this book after hearing about it for years, and hearing Oliver Sacks in various interviews. It was very interesting to see how the brain can change and be altered in so many ways, and the unintended consequences and the mysteries that can result. But a lot of the language was geared toward neurologists. The stories themselves were followable and interesting, but the details and the whys and sometimes even the conditions were tossed out with just a technical term with no deeper understanding for lay people. Still, an interesting read....more
I had put off reading this book for a long time because I knew it would get my panties in a knot and it certainly didn't disappoint!
I have limited timI had put off reading this book for a long time because I knew it would get my panties in a knot and it certainly didn't disappoint!
I have limited time to write this review, but I will say the closing of the book sums it up nicely: our low-wage laborers sacrifice their lives, their families and their health so the rest of America can comfortably have all of the above, and we don't offer them any thanks or recognition for this....more
A.J. Jacobs tries to live one year by following as many biblical laws and mores as he can--literally. This leads to profound insights and hilarious moA.J. Jacobs tries to live one year by following as many biblical laws and mores as he can--literally. This leads to profound insights and hilarious moments, such as stoning an adulterer in Central Park, or being unable to touch women for the year because of the fear that they might be "unclean." His wife had a wonderful solution to that--she sat on every seat in the house when on her period, forcing him to buy a safety stool he carried with him everywhere. You go, girl!...more
As a novel, this book was a failure. As a philosophical textbook at the introductory level, it was passable.
The book, written by a philosophy teacher,As a novel, this book was a failure. As a philosophical textbook at the introductory level, it was passable.
The book, written by a philosophy teacher, seems to have been intended more as a philosophy text for younger-level readers or perhaps in a broad introduction to philosophy kind of course. The main "action" consists of letters to Sophie, or conversations between her and her teacher Alberto as he leads her through the history of philosophy, from a very Euro-centric point of view. Only in the last part of the book is there any real action, but it is still interspersed between other philosophical discussions and lessons. The lack of action left me wanting. The review of various philosophical schools of thought left me longing for my days as a philosophy minor at uni. I do miss the discussion we had back in the day.
Anyway, this was written in a style that reminded me a good deal of my grandfather's utopian novel, in which one character serves as the all-knowing benevolent teacher, and the other is there merely so the teacher isn't just talking to himself. Sophie's role was to listen and say "yes, please" or "can you give an example?"
And I can go my whole life without ever again hearing the phrase "a mere bagatelle."
As part of an overview of philosophy, in addition to texts including philosophy from other continents, it does provide an easy-to-grasp presentation of what could very well seem impossibly dense subjects as they are presented in more traditional texts. As Sunday afternoon reading, fuggedaboudit.
This was a beautiful book about a woman living in NYC, living a humdrum life as an attorney who suddenly finds herself inhabited by the spirit of SchuThis was a beautiful book about a woman living in NYC, living a humdrum life as an attorney who suddenly finds herself inhabited by the spirit of Schubert. As the book unfolds, she learns to cope with the fact that she shares her body and her life with a male from a different century, and discovers a new sense of passion in and for life. I couldn't have handled it that well. Beautifully written and very intriguing....more
I was hoping for a ghost story. Not that I was disappointed. It was just different than I expected. It took me a little while to get past the author'sI was hoping for a ghost story. Not that I was disappointed. It was just different than I expected. It took me a little while to get past the author's voice and into the story, but after the first few chapters, I was flying along and very intrigued. The story kept me guessing for most part, but when Margaret came to her conclusion, I was coming around to it as well. The little crumbs left along the way were just enough to leave doubt in your mind for quite some time as to what really caused the "change" in Adeline.
I was a bit annoyed that I couldn't tell what era this took place in. It wasn't specified, and I kept jumping all over the place, trying to make things fit, in a larger historical perspective. But overall, it was a good read that I could get into and wander around in when I needed a break from life....more
Let me start by saying I read this after finishing The Flanders Panel and so had high hopes. I don't know that I was let down per se, but it wasn't wLet me start by saying I read this after finishing The Flanders Panel and so had high hopes. I don't know that I was let down per se, but it wasn't what I was hoping or expecting, either.
Like The Flanders Panel, this focused on a purveyor of fine things, though in this case, it is a man who hunts down rare editions of antique books rather than a women who restores antique artwork. In both cases, however, the protagonists are chain-smoking, hard-drinking characters who do so without regard to their proximity to the antiques in their care at the time.
The Club Dumas has our hero simultaneously hunting down the provenance of a chapter from the Three Musketeers and attempting to authenticate a copy of an old devil worshipping manual, with instructions to obtain all other existing copies by bargain or force as needed if they turn out to have authenticity. Our hero assumes these plots are interwoven, which causes some confusion along the way. I did not guess at who was behind the Dumas manuscript, but I figured what was going on behind the devil-worshipping bit. I had thought the two threads would tie in together eventually, as our hero assumed, but I was not necessarily disappointed to see the book veer into a different direction in the last 50 pages. Though at that point, I knew where we were headed, which I won't give away here.
What I will give away is that the girl accompanying our hero as his protector unveiled herself at the end has having a supernatural origin, and it left me feeling confused and adulterated. I appreciate the love story it introduced into the text, because god knows that man needed a good, passionnate lay, but I just wasn't expecting or wanting the book to take such a supernatural turn. I had thought it would be based in the real-world, though with more of a fictional bent than The Flanders Panel, since the book followed the course of The Three Muskateers, as though the characters were pawns in someone else's novel.
I have never read The Three Muskateers, and feel like I was probably missing something here, because I lacked the character knowledge essential to the archetypes of the characters in The Club Dumas. But apart from skimming a few passages, I didn't feel it interfered with the story that much. I feel now I should read it, but I've never been one for swashbuckling tales....more
This book is pure genius. Based in an imaginary island nation called Nollop, named for the man who wrote the sentence "the quick brown fox jumped overThis book is pure genius. Based in an imaginary island nation called Nollop, named for the man who wrote the sentence "the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" (which contains all 26 letters), this is a novel in and of letters. As letters fall from the statue commemorating Nollop and his sentence, they disappear from the islander's vocabulary and writing. The inventiveness of the language used as the book progresses is mind-boggling, impressive, and inspiring. I love word games. But I am glad I have 26 letters with which to play....more
A peek inside cloistered life at the turn of the 20th century, where women live gathered together devoted to Christ, while trying not to be devoted toA peek inside cloistered life at the turn of the 20th century, where women live gathered together devoted to Christ, while trying not to be devoted to each other. Exclusive friendships are forbidden, and yet everyone finds themselves fawning over or envious of the newest of their members, who enters their world as a young pious woman. She experiences stigmata, which further complicates relationships and events, leading to her dismissal from the convent. The book leaves the veracity of the experience up to the reader to judge, which normally annoys me to no end, but here was the only way to go. It is a question of the reader's faith as to what they chose to believe occurred....more