I enjoyed this book. Once again Christie writes with a psychological understanding of the human psyche that was almost ahead of its time. It's a littlI enjoyed this book. Once again Christie writes with a psychological understanding of the human psyche that was almost ahead of its time. It's a little known story of hers, one I'd not heard of before, but well worth the read. There are a few phrases and attitudes that grate a little, to modern readers (attitudes towards women, persons of mixed race etc) but these are clearly the views of the characters rather than Christie herself, and are devices for moving the story along. My edition of the book has The Independent's quote, "more twists and turns than Hampton Court maze," which I thought was rather charming and also accurate. I kept going back and forth on who I thought "dunnit," which is always a good sign. If you look past a few repetitive phrases, usually employed by lesser authors than Christie, you have yourself 192 pages of indulgent armchair sleuthing! ...more
What a wonderful charity shop find! I'd - ashamedly - never heard of this poem, but had heard it quoted although didn't realise. It's a beautiful, touWhat a wonderful charity shop find! I'd - ashamedly - never heard of this poem, but had heard it quoted although didn't realise. It's a beautiful, touching, philosophical poem, even funny in places, asking the big questions in life and praising good wine! So ahead of its time. The Fitzgerald "paraphrase" is reminiscent of Harry Eyres translations of Horace - of their time but up to date to the time of the translation. ...more
This is by far one of the most well written, beautiful and helpful Christian books I've ever read. Often I find these sorts of books trite and just reThis is by far one of the most well written, beautiful and helpful Christian books I've ever read. Often I find these sorts of books trite and just regurgitating common sense, and rather over simplistic and condescending. Not so this one. The author Joanna Weaver puts herself firmly in the reader's shoes and you can easily identify with what she says. She identifies with you, and doesn't judge, even though she has a thoroughly important message. And, whilst the message is simple - based on the few verses that tell of the difference between Mary and Martha when Jesus visited them; one sitting at his feet in the living room listening and one busy in the kitchen, it shows how we - mainly women, though applicable and relevant to men too - need a "Living Room" experience of God. Familiar, friendly, intimate ... Which is what He desires.
Written conversationally, with humour and sensitivity, and with many personal anecdotes, Mrs Weaver, a busy Pastor's wife, church leader, wife, homemaker (as Americans say), mother, author etc etc doesn't make you feel inadequate, but takes the reader on her journey of discovery of these wonderful insights, which she shares, and cites many other well known authors as she does so, so it is written intelligently too. An easy fast read. Whilst written in an American style, it isn't too much for British (other) readers to enjoy/relate to, and is written cross-culturally. I especially like Mrs Weaver's observation about how much of the Old and New Testaments speak to anxiousness, stress, and depression etc ... We think of these as modern afflictions but clearly "worriers" are a universal and all-time phenomenon, and that is remarkably reassuring, given how many verses in the Bible speak to that and offer respite.
I challenge any Christian not to take something from this book, but it is especially written for women. In fact, I would go as far as to say something could be gleaned for ANY searching woman, no matter what faith, if they are open minded. I think Muslim ladies who follow the Koran's reverence of Jesus would be blessed by this book too, and Jewish ladies with Messianic curiosity would find much in these pages as whilst it focuses on a few verses of the New Testament, it is essentially about a woman's personal relationship with God (often overlooked in patriarchal religions) and I can't see why any monotheists wouldn't take something away, especially those of the Abrahamic Faiths.
This is a book that really spoke to my heart, and I'm rather cynical if I'm honest. I'd go so far as to say that this lady is firmly in her Living Room and this book is inspired, it certainly passed that inspiration on to me. A must-read for all Christian women, a book to keep around and re-read periodically! This book can also be studied in a group setting, but equally solo-study.
The Symposium (or Dinner/Drinking Party) was a fast, informative, absorbing read. I have not read Plato before nor much of Ancient Greek literature (eThe Symposium (or Dinner/Drinking Party) was a fast, informative, absorbing read. I have not read Plato before nor much of Ancient Greek literature (except the Iliad and Odyssey) so this was an interesting, easy, first step. Socrates of course is well known as a historical figure (even so far as being in popular culture ie Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure!) but it was great insight into his life and philosophies to read of him in this. Plato's story - or rather recitation of an event (be that fiction or non-fiction) - is built around, leading up to Socrates' statements on the subject of Love, and his genius is clear.
The book takes the form of a table of friends, and a dinner party, and instead of the usual carousing and entertainments, on account of hangovers from the previous night's revels, the "master of ceremonies" proposes that each man praises Love - in panegyric - each to his own inclination.
As well as taking advantage of the notes at the back of the book, it is important for the reader to put aside modern, "moral" and personal viewpoints, as the Love that is spoken of most is that of homosexual love, and by that it doesn't necessarily mean physical sexual love. Sexual attraction, yes, admiration of beauty, yes, but not "being gay" as we would know it today, Platonic love, if you will. In The Symposium, the highest form of Love is that of wisdom, and procreation; and by procreation that doesn't mean of one's genetic material but procreation of creativity itself... ideas, thoughts, poetry, art etc. Love that manifests these things, as well as meetings of souls and wise minds for the purpose of spiritual growth is the highest form of love and this - again - is homosexual ie between two men and non-sexual, where sexual desire is noted but not acted upon, or actually superseded and evolved past, and women were not capable of such. Apparently, according to the informative Introduction (that I read secondly), Plato himself, whilst admiring handsome young men, was - at least by later writings - anti physical aspects of homosexual Love and one of the orators around the table stated that love of "little boys", something that many critics of homosexuality and Ancient Greek/Athenian culture focus on - should be against the law and again taking advantage of weaker/younger minds or a man entering into a sexual relationship for money, status or anything other than the expanding of his mind and for lofty and high philosophical reasons was also seemingly frowned upon. Women make little wave in this book, despite Plato being an advocate of equality, and are seen only as vessels of procreation (not contributors to) and not even as companions of man. Perhaps this was Plato's opinion or just a snapshot of Athenian Society at the time, or even just a fiction. Never-the-less this book hailed as philosophy on Love is better aptly titled philosophy on Homosexual Platonic Love - or the Desire of Beauty and Wisdom.
Fascinating as an insight into Athenian life, philosophy and remarkably gripping, relevant and poignant to read approximately 2500 years on. This translation by W.Hamilton was clear and understandable (the Introduction noted this was Plato's least technically worded work), and a pleasant read. (C)1951 it is noteworthy that the work nor the introduction has aged in terms of cultural perception on homosexuality at that time - the 1950s - and it was sympathetically explained. I would be surprised if more modern translations could do any better....more
I love William Gibson's work. I love how he draws word pictures, writes strong women and his narrative is detailed and intelligent. I don't understandI love William Gibson's work. I love how he draws word pictures, writes strong women and his narrative is detailed and intelligent. I don't understand all his cultural references, sometimes I have to look stuff up; but I get what he's saying. His writing style is quite original, pleasantly disjointed and so conversational or following a train of thought, he doesn't waste words. Blue Ant No. 1 - Pattern Recognition - is about marketing and trend in the modern world, the heroine is allergic to certain brands and aware of what trends will sell and how they be marketed. It shows brand and status with brand realistically as all pervasive and society is addicted to it. There are similarities to Neuromancer, and the feel is sci-fi in the future but it's actually set now (a little in the past). The footage is an good analogy of how internet images, stories and memes take on existences of their own and followers are obsessed with the sound of their online voice or misguidedly think their opinion is important and what they think is hyper world is actually not even real. Gibson highlights the cult of internet identity, online fiction and the shadowy real world underbelly that manipulates everything we see and do. Whilst we use the web for social media platform, this, it is also infiltrated to watch, record and market. I'm sure that reviewers more intelligent or well read than me will be able to comment on economic-first-third world differential in marketing or the philosophical nature of image identity and a need to make sense of what seems trivial, the need to finish a quest, obsession etc but I just liked the pace, interest and yarn of this story and am intrigued to read books two and three, I have NO idea where this story is going....more
I really wanted to read this as I've often thought about writing a comical expose of my job, which is also supposed to be rather serious and people miI really wanted to read this as I've often thought about writing a comical expose of my job, which is also supposed to be rather serious and people might not immediately think there's much room for giggles, so thought this might be good inspiration.
I wasn't disappointed with the laughs in the book, there were laughs a plenty, but after a while the humour got a little samey and shallow, and predictable and didn't really go anywhere; sometimes the stories didn't actually conclude, which was a little frustrating. I'd also heard some of the jokes/stories before from elsewhere so wondered whether they were all genuine or at least original. That said, it didn't distract from the easy-reading of the book, and I liked how Donoghue was quite honest about his thoughts and feelings and what was going through his mind, internal monologues are usually rather amusing especially about serious stuff where you aren't supposed to find it funny. It also highlighted some of the difficulties faced by Police, which was eye-opening.
It wasn't the most literary genius book, or particularly well written, but I liked the conversational style and the "but I digress" comical interludes. Enjoyable and distracting. A fast read. ...more
My first dip into the zombie genre-pool (I lean the vampire-genre way) and a great introduction recommended by a few friends. A truly original book, wMy first dip into the zombie genre-pool (I lean the vampire-genre way) and a great introduction recommended by a few friends. A truly original book, written in the style of interviews and an oral report of the Zombie Apocalypse which actually describes what happened in such a real, arresting and affecting way, it haunts your mind long after you put the book down. Written in many voices, you have first hand accounts of a fictional event, with details thrown in such as footnotes to explain terms, and even "name withheld for legal reasons" as if it were genuine. Genius writing.
The story, woven through the interviews, takes the reader from "patient x" the first zombie through to the clean up and it is not like the film. I had started reading this before seeing the film, and I can say that only in name are the two really connected so if you have seen it, the book will be a different experience, but the two work well in partnership. Thankfully, the zombies in Brooks' book world are "proper" slow zombies - none of this running around and a human to zombie turn-around of 12 seconds silliness (but wow that made the film scary) which despite being a hell of a premise for a CGI-fest-film would actually have been logically daft, but never-the-less the book is a tense read. The film is brilliant too if anyone cares to watch Brad Pitt do a fine job. I don't think his character is even in the book though.
Brooks creates (knows) lots of technical details and information, using real or imagined histories including music and film references that we can relate to which make the idea of this being a future event and we are reading about it afterwards very believable and absorbing. He creates a world we know, and it seems like he has done research rather than make it all up. Like books such as The Historian, that uses historical documents that you aren't 100% aren't out there somewhere, or Dangerous Liaisons and Bram Stoker's Dracula that uses letters and diaries it gives you a front and centre view of the action, puts you right there, intimately with the characters and as such stays with you. By the end of World War Z you are thinking, "come the apocalypse, where would I go? What would I do? How would I get supplies? Should I take helicopter lessons?" An excellent book choice for Sci-fi fans, older young-adults and up, and the must-have go-to reader for any zombie genre fan....more
Agatha Christie was a literary genius, ahead of her time and clearly a mastermind. This story was one I'd not seen before televised and not one that MAgatha Christie was a literary genius, ahead of her time and clearly a mastermind. This story was one I'd not seen before televised and not one that Miss Marple crops up in until more or less the end. The story isn't written from her point of view, but a new-boy coming into a village with his sister. Jerry and Joanna are the focus of the story. The plot hinges around a small village in which poison-pen letters are going around and everyone is talking about. Then death visits.
I usually have an idea of the murderer before the end but this one had be transfixed and guessing right up until the few last pages. I found this one a little confusing as many of the characters had similar names but that was probably me just half asleep, and all of the characters were really well drawn. I like that Christie writes about issues and characters that are recognisable today and isn't prissy about sex, sexuality, religious antipathy, infidelity, avarice, lust or any other modern recognisable storylines; it could be a soap opera set in a small village in the country. I like that about her writing, despite being set and written nearly one hundred years ago, well the 1940s so a bit less than that, is still relevant and relatable today. You can imagine the characters so clearly and it's a genuinely gripping book. I enjoyed it and got through it in a few hours....more
Having had the great pleasure of meeting Mr Eyres at a reading/lecture promoting this book recently, I was able to tell him that I was new to Horace aHaving had the great pleasure of meeting Mr Eyres at a reading/lecture promoting this book recently, I was able to tell him that I was new to Horace and that this book re-awakened in me a desire to learn more Latin. He was pleased, and I said I would read more of Horace's poetry. I doubt however that I could get a better overview than this book. Part biography, part poetry, part philosophical commentary, it is warmly written and easily grasped and accessible. Eyres' style of writing is conversational, intelligent, friendly and is best enjoyed with a glass of wine - truly Horatian.
Known to most for his column in the Financial Times (UK), Eyres in this writes about his rekindled relationship with the ancient bard, and how Horace has informed his life choices and his life was parallel in many ways. Born relatively humbly, striving for beauty in literature, learning, language and epicurean delights, and bucking the establishment in many respects, Eyres and Horace appear to have much in common - Eyres is also a writer of books on wine, somewhat an expert, Horace was a vineyard owner at his small Sabine farm and a connoisseur.
The translations that Eyres proffers in this book are bang up to date - mentioning tsunamis, the Taliban and current events - and I am sure are good modern tellings of Horace's poems.
I couldn't put this book down and know I will read it more than once, and now that it is signed as well I'm sure it will continue to be a treasure, opening up new literary vistas to me. I highly recommend it for lovers of classics, literature, gentle humour, language and philosophy....more
I wanted to read this because I'd loved the film and I wanted to know more about the story and the characters. The film turned out to be almost verbatI wanted to read this because I'd loved the film and I wanted to know more about the story and the characters. The film turned out to be almost verbatim of the dialogue in the book, which meant the book was incredibly tied into the film.
This is Sci-Fi, a dystopian view of a future New York, and a day in the life of self-made mega-millionaire where he tail-spins and falls into a decline as his business unravels while he takes a limo trip across town to get a haircut and craziness ensues.
DeLillo's style of writing is informal and clipped, but he uses beautiful language and adjectives to describe mundane items, experiences and feelings, and it is sometimes almost poetic. His descriptors are insightful and the pictures he paints, albeit succinctly and pithily, are vivid and memorable.
Whether DeLillo's story is simply the narration of events, simply told, or whether it is laced with metaphor as seems more likely/obvious in the film. To me the book is a study in depression and the disillusion with capitalism and modern rich lifestyles where there is no striving in life because everything is easily bought. My take on the story is that the characters are almost archetypes and aspects of Eric Packer's own psyche as well as characters who act on him. I read it as metaphor and story and as such I think it is superb. I look forward to reading more of DeLillo's work and this book will sit alongside the likes of William Gibson and Philip K Dick on my bookshelf. ...more
Thoroughly enjoying this book. Interesting, written engagingly and humourously, it has mass appeal. The anecdotes about the elements are often fascinaThoroughly enjoying this book. Interesting, written engagingly and humourously, it has mass appeal. The anecdotes about the elements are often fascinating and the book isn't dry at all. It's not evenly, with some of the elements clearly having more exciting "lives" than others, but I skipped through the book quickly and hopefully took a lot in. The illustrations are oftentimes a little off-beat and not really helpful, but the text doesn't really need them.
The writer obviously has passion for his subject and that boyhood sort of fascination comes across really nicely. I think that Aldersey-Williams has struck the right balance between geeky-factoid-fanzine, academic-reference and popular-science-for-the-masses-text. It's approachable, relatable, not too science-high-brow and ultimately really very readable....more
This is more a booklet than a book, and consequently I got through this in one sitting very quickly. It's 101 small pages, and large font make it an eThis is more a booklet than a book, and consequently I got through this in one sitting very quickly. It's 101 small pages, and large font make it an easy read. It is interesting but like many "proof" books covering a lot of topics it only skims and might be suited to someone without a scientific background.
There are some really amazing paragraphs where the author cites Bible verses that highlight principals that were not accepted scientific thought for, in some cases, over 2,000 years since writing. Of course hindsight is 20:20 but some of the below are compelling. For example, paragraph one: Job 26:7 (written c1500BC when contempories believed the world was on the back of an animal/giant and carried through space) says that God "hangs the earth upon nothing." That Earth is free-floating in space was not "discovered" until 1650... and more of the same:
The earth is round not flat Matter is built up of atoms The Water cycle Radiowaves Entropy and the second Law of Thermodynamics The Earth's rotation on it's axis causing day and night Hygiene Laws and bacteria Nuclear winter/weaponry The stars are too numerous to count The universe is expanding The sun isn't stationary etc ...
Of course there is a large portion of the book given to Creation vs Evolution and here his arguments are not as clear cut, a little sweeping, although still thought provoking if you have an open mind although he's clutching at straws and I'm no expert but can see some of his statements are misleading at best. Much ink is given to the inacuracies of carbon dating (old news) and he mentions an experiment where a living seashell was dated as 27,000 years old, worrying to be sure, and of course the good old Piltdown man was dredged up again, and the other well-known and documented fakes/hoax skeletons in Darwin's closet! I've just finished reading The Origin of the Species and Darwin often states - when you can get him off the topic of his blasted pigeons - how his theory could be disproved or how it is just a theory, and an unlikely one; he never claimed it to be 100% fact. He was rather reasonable about it, in fact. Comfort's book states that there are categorically NO "intermediate" species on the planet (lungfish - good candidate surely?) and like many Creationists has got a skewed vision of what Darwin proposed. There are quite a few progressive eyes, for example, from rudimentary light sensors all the way through to the masterpiece that is the human eye. Argumemts in this book are those given by people who have a Noah's Ark Toy view of the rich fauna of the world; cat, dog, giraffe, cow, pig, monkey, fish, lizard, bird etc. There are some really weird creatures out there which could easily be fitted into a branching progression of creatures showing evolution of species - macro-evolution. I half expected him to say "and why aren't some babies born with tails as throwback if we evolved from monkeys?" They ARE sometimes born with vestigial tails, dear, but the surgeons remove them before they get seen by the rset of the family, and in the past they would have been killed a birth!
There are few sciemtific references in this book and that always annoys me. And no index. One citation from a dictionary definition used as proof that creation was true and evolution was a theory was a little laughable.
A middle portion of the book is given to famous people (mainly Americans) quoted as saying things that show they believe in God. If so and so believes, it must be true sort of thing. Lots of very unreliable people believe in God and the Bible too... it's not proof in an of itself, but the portion on the great scientific minds who believe is significant: Newton, Kepler, Farraday, Galileo, Pasteur, Kelvin, Da Vinci, Bacon, Joule, Compton, Einstein, Pascal and even our great Hawking is quoted in there (not as someone who believes the Bible per se but someone who doesn't see disproof of the Bible/God).
Overall, a good little book to have around to refer to at more length and look into the arguments further, a conversation starter or debate opener. Taken on it's own, written in an easy evangelical style, it is too limited to be entirely convincing but opened my eyes to a few things I didn't know in scientific principals in the Bible ahead of their "discovery" and whilst I don't see eye to eye to him on Evolution/Creation there was much that was new to my understanding....more