Michael Palmer writes thrillers that make my skin crawl delightfully with horror. Oath of Office was chilling, suspenseful and topical. Spoiler Alert:...moreMichael Palmer writes thrillers that make my skin crawl delightfully with horror. Oath of Office was chilling, suspenseful and topical. Spoiler Alert: I'm never eating corn again.(less)
Seeking Spirits disappointed me. I expected more from the co-founders of TAPS who come across on their T.V. show, at least, as being rational debunker...moreSeeking Spirits disappointed me. I expected more from the co-founders of TAPS who come across on their T.V. show, at least, as being rational debunkers. To the credit of this ghost hunting duo they believe that most supernatural experiences are rare. Their cases are filled with rather prosaic solutions such as unshielded electrical wiring or loose plumbing. The reader can be forgiven their expectation of a more scientific approach, even if the subject matter eludes use of the scientific methods and easily replicated tests.
However, that doesn’t represent the majority of the cases presented in this book. The book exposes a side that you don’t see often on their SyFy television series. This book relies less on EMF detectors and infrared cameras and more on folk demonology and EVP, which can be quite convincing if you witness it for yourself. My hearing is so bad that I can never make it out. I don’t hear any words until I’m told what to expect. Then I hear it just fine. As anybody with a middle school education in science will tell you that makes my “witness” not only unreliable, but it has to be dismissed.
The easily debunked cases are included, but so are many that defy reason and strain the boundaries of credulity. Stories of pre-teen girls conjuring up angry spirits with Ouija boards and demonic possessions and such, which is the nonsense I would expect from Lorraine Warren and her late husband Ed.
Many of the cases shared in this compendium involve a priest or religious expert who uses the technique of religious provocation to incite the angry spirits to leave a location. None of the stories report a full on ritual of exorcism and should the TAPS team ever encounter such a situation the reader hopes a psychiatric consult is the result.
The book is written at the sixth grade level in a folksy, hanging out around the camp fire demeanor that makes it entertaining in places. Additionally, for the beginning paranormal investigator they provide tips and techniques in between some of the cases as well as a glossary of paranormal tips. Final summation: disappointing, but at least fun enough to stick with. You can browse through it in an afternoon or by campfire if you prefer. (less)
Douglas Coupland cuts through the metaphysical nonsense of the post modern confessional with “Life after God.” This collection of odd short stories re...moreDouglas Coupland cuts through the metaphysical nonsense of the post modern confessional with “Life after God.” This collection of odd short stories read almost like a novel in a way. This is probably due to the first person narration that remains comfortingly steady as he relates the terror and anxiety between dreams and reality. The terror the reader will feel is softened by the humane sadness and deft humor that soothes throughout the pages.
Coupland writes very well. His words are strong evocations of emotion. I felt sad, lonely, despair, humor, utter disgust and hope as his words crashed around my subconscious dislodging my own memories that I’ve repressed for fear of learning. With each page I nodded my head knowingly in agreement as I was swept farther out in an ocean of poignancy. Coupland is such an artist that his thoughts will seem like your thoughts; you will believe you’ve thought the very same things yourself.
Take this sentence for example:
As suburban children we floated at night in swimming pools the temperature of blood; pools the color of Earth as seen from outer space (1,000 Years – Life after God, P271).
The only shortcoming is on my part. This book was published in 1994 and I’m just now reading it. This is the first work by Douglas Coupland I’ve read. At the time this book was published he was already receiving critical praise of his earlier work. Life After God should be read by anyone who is fed up with the all is filled with sunshine and happiness garbage that is being shoved down the intelligent reader’s throats. (less)
Barbara Ehrenreich takes on the flimsy and almost always unscientific approach to positive thinking in her polemic, Bright Sided: How the Relentless P...moreBarbara Ehrenreich takes on the flimsy and almost always unscientific approach to positive thinking in her polemic, Bright Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermind America. The book is sharp witted and always factual whether she’s taking on the prosperity gospel preachers like Joel Osteen or Martin Seligman the founder of the so-called school of Positive Psychology. Despite this being a polemical work in nature the author never resorts to ad hominem attacks and is always fair in her conclusions. The book is filled with excellent citations that support the author’s positions.
The premise throughout the book is that there is no real hard science with results that can be duplicated supporting the assumptions of the cult of positivity to the extreme its being sold. One of the chief problems is that in cultivating such an extreme optimism we set up ourselves for failure because we fail to face reality, which can be unpleasant at times, in favor of a magical thinking that lets us believe we can always have what we want. (less)
The critical acclaim this novel has received surprises me. There is even a comparison to Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird, which is unfounded. Lee's...moreThe critical acclaim this novel has received surprises me. There is even a comparison to Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird, which is unfounded. Lee's novel is superbly better than this novel.
A Land More Kind Than Home is a rather dry and boring narrative. The action is muted if not all but lost in the shifting reminiscence of the individual narrators.
The shifting between 3 central first person narrators was a little irritating at time with Jess Hall's, the younger brother of the victim, Christopher "Stump" Hall, to be near tedious at points. So much for the 1.99 Kindle special of the day. (less)