An interesting look at what some scholars think are important Christian works--the usual suspects are there, i.e. C.S. Lewis and St. Augustine, "The PAn interesting look at what some scholars think are important Christian works--the usual suspects are there, i.e. C.S. Lewis and St. Augustine, "The Pilgrim's Progress," St. Benedict, and Merton. I was pleasantly surprised to see Dante and Dostoevsky on the list, too, and there's a good mix of Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox titles. I was also intrigued to see each contributing editor's personal "top 5" list, as there were some unexpected titles and authors mentioned--Madeleine L'Engle, Steinbeck, Tolkien, Plato, and Flannery O'Conner, who are not usually associated with Christian writing and literature.
I mostly picked up this book to see what the 25 books were, and to see how many I'd read (or even heard of...). I can honestly say I've read part of 2 (Confessions and The Divine Comedy) and all of a third (Mere Christianity). This certainly isn't what I'd consider my top 25 list to be, but this book does a good job serving as a primer to these texts, by giving an overview of the text, providing an excerpt, justifying its presence in the compilation, and giving study questions, and for someone like me, I need a basic, simplified look at these titles. Some I am interested in reading more, so I suppose this book was successful in piquing my interest....more
Not the best book ever written. Christian Grey repeatedly tells the readers that Ana, the protagonist, is "strong," "confident," and other self-assureNot the best book ever written. Christian Grey repeatedly tells the readers that Ana, the protagonist, is "strong," "confident," and other self-assured adjectives, but Ana is klutzy, painfully shy, virginal, and reserved--there's nothing to indicate that Ana is the things Christian says she is. Christian is gorgeous, rich, and powerful, but controlling to the point of obsessive--he follows her to her mother's home in Georgia, attempts to tell her how much, what, and when to eat, and buys her a car, computer, Blackberry, and clothes.
I'm getting tired of these Bella Swan-type "heroines," who are spineless and easily succumb to the prowess and powers of rich, attractive men while completely forfeiting their personalities, hobbies, talents, and lives to these men who treat them badly. I suppose this is what porn is--lots of sex with some dialogue and "plot" thrown in so it can be called a "novel," but I wasn't overly impressed with this book. It was okay until 2/3 of the way through, but when I got to the end and Ana "loses everything" because the relationship has ended, I was completely disgusted with her--she was hired at her dream job, living in an amazing Pike Place apartment with her best friend, Kate, is thin and gorgeous, and has great friends and family. But her life is defined by one brief relationship with this man who she convinced herself she loves? Please.
Give me a novel about Kate, a much better "heroine" than Ana....more
Finally, a John Green book I can say I love. What makes David Levithan (and probably John Green) so amazing as writers is they really capture what itFinally, a John Green book I can say I love. What makes David Levithan (and probably John Green) so amazing as writers is they really capture what it means to be a teen--they hit on the angst, the feelings, the anxiety-ridden fears, the overall measure of what it means to be a teenager. What makes them brilliant is that they also manage to write in a way that transcends age--I found myself relating to quite a few sections as this book went along. Their combined powers of wit and wordplay created a really wonderful look at teen life but, more importantly, the importance of friends and family (and, perhaps, the consequences when those things are absent in our lives)....more
This was really interesting--part fashion history, part American history, and part pop-culture, this book was a really fascinating look at the statemeThis was really interesting--part fashion history, part American history, and part pop-culture, this book was a really fascinating look at the statement dresses make and how dresses are bigger than the model/actress/ingenue/star wearing it, with a few exceptions: Sarah Jessica Parker, Cate Blanchett, Audrey Hepburn, and Grace Kelly are the actresses singled out for their haute couture fashion and style; for the most part, the person wearing the dress is not even mentioned. The major designers are represented--Calvin Klein, Tom Ford, Versace (Gianni and Donatella), Cassini, Chanel, Donna Karan, Diane von Furstenburg, Valentino, Prada, Gucci, Vivienne Westwood, Carolina Herrera, Jason Wu, Oscar de la Renta, Edith Head--and the people wearing the dresses are often well-known--Princess Diana, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jackie Kennedy, Bette Davis, Kate Moss, Linda Evangelista, and Victoria Beckham. But many of the designers have faded into oblivion or were a one-hit wonder. Rubenstein does an excellent job of including the whimsy--Carol Burnett's "Curtain" spoof dress is included--and includes actresses from movies long-forgotten. He also shows--subtly--how fashion, like everything, is cyclical, how the truly classic fashions and icons never go out of style, and how a dress can transcend a person, despite their fame or beauty. Many of the dresses I was familiar with, but I was really interested in the "behind the scenes" look at the dresses--for example, the designer of Carolyn Bessette's wedding dress gave her everything related to the dress--scraps of the fabric, the designs, etc--so no one else would have her dress. Diane von Furstenburg was a recently separated woman (divorcing a prince!) who needed to survive on her own during the ever-changing fashions of the '70s. Diana bought a dress in 1991 and didn't wear it until 1994, as "revenge" on the day Charles announced he had been carrying on an affair with Camilla. Renee Zellweger's white Herrera dress, worn when she won her Oscar for "Cold Mountain," inspired countless wedding dresses. Fascinating look at how fashion--usually dismissed as frivolous or meaningless--has truly impacted the way Americans have dressed, lived, and been influenced....more
I liked this book. I like all Carl Hiaasen's books...they are lighthearted and funny, and overlay the menacing Everglades with the stupidity of peopleI liked this book. I like all Carl Hiaasen's books...they are lighthearted and funny, and overlay the menacing Everglades with the stupidity of people who think they can control it and the animals there, usually to hilarious effect. I haven't read any of his YA books before, but there's not a lot that's different between the adult and YA novels....more
After all the buzz about this book, I was prepared to really like it...Westerns aren't really a genre I read, but that isn't what bothered me. I justAfter all the buzz about this book, I was prepared to really like it...Westerns aren't really a genre I read, but that isn't what bothered me. I just kept looking for a deeper subtext, and was having a hard time finding it....more
I've read 11 of these titles, and was familiar with most of the other titles or authors. Foster was persuasive, analytical, and witty in his observatiI've read 11 of these titles, and was familiar with most of the other titles or authors. Foster was persuasive, analytical, and witty in his observations--so much so, that I would be willing to reread "The Scarlet Letter." The only title I had a slight issue was "Song of Solomon" (which I admittedly have not read)--the Morrison book I believe has shaped America is "Beloved," which exposed to the world the horrors of slavery in a new way. Overall, an interesting read....more
This was a really great collection of short stories. They were connected by the theme of Judaism--what it means to be Jewish in America, Jewish in IsrThis was a really great collection of short stories. They were connected by the theme of Judaism--what it means to be Jewish in America, Jewish in Israel, a Holocaust survivor, the legacy of the Holocaust, the fascination non-Jews have with the Holocaust, and so on. Some of the stories were amusing, but most were unsettling--they bring up uncomfortable issues and show how people respond to that discomfort. Overall, a really fascinating view of issues old and contemporary such as identity, religion, society, and persecution, and how they intersect....more