Hamlet: This is, in my opinion, the best piece of literature ever written in the English language.
Macbeth: I never read this play in school, or anythiHamlet: This is, in my opinion, the best piece of literature ever written in the English language.
Macbeth: I never read this play in school, or anything, which is weird because I was an English major in college and took a Shakespeare class. I just read it though, in anticipation of seeing the play performed. I wanted to understand what I was seeing better. There are some really great themes in this play -- trust, betrayal, the influence a corrupt leader has on his people -- and there are some great passages -- Macbeth's ruminations on the brevity and meaninglessness of life is powerful. Overall, it didn't wow me, but I think I need to read it a few more times so that I can really sink my teeth in it.
Othello: I love this play because Shakespeare does such a great job of showing how the characters do not do what they say they do. Othello says that he trusts his wife, but at the mere mention of her being unfaithful he loses it and ends up killing her. Trust means believing someone even when you have reason not to, not just when everything is fine....more
This is the kind of book I think everyone should read. Or, every Latter-day Saint, anyway. Since the church doesn't take support any political party oThis is the kind of book I think everyone should read. Or, every Latter-day Saint, anyway. Since the church doesn't take support any political party or candidate, sometimes we think that it doesn't matter what political stance we take. But God has set forth some guidelines for us to follow as we discern who we will support and what we will accept from our government. This book does a great job to point those guidelines out, and how far our government is from them. This book was written back in the sixties, and it is even more pertinent today....more
I've always been uncomfortable when people justify their belief in the Book of Mormon by saying that Joseph Smith couldn't have written it himself becI've always been uncomfortable when people justify their belief in the Book of Mormon by saying that Joseph Smith couldn't have written it himself because of his lack of education. To be clear, I believe that the Book of Mormon is what it claims to be -- a book of ancient scripture written by prophets on the American continent -- but I also recognize that there is no telling what someone with a superior genius is capable of. Could someone of sufficient genius have produced the Book of Mormon from scratch? Did Joseph Smith posses such genius? Since I couldn't answer those questions, I avoided the issue entirely.
After reading Sorenson's magnum opus, Mormon's Codex, I can confidently answer that it would not be possible for anyone living in Joseph Smith's time, or at the present time for that matter, to produce a work comparable to the Book of Mormon. In Mormon's Codex, Sorenson details the "correspondences" that he has found between the Book of Mormon record and ancient Mesoamerican archaeology, which he has spent a lifetime studying. His case is very convincing. The only explanation for the amount of detail in the Book of Mormon, most of which was unknown in the early nineteenth century, is that the book was written by an ancient American scribe.
I recommend this book to anyone how has any interest in the Book of Mormon. Whether you are a devout Mormon looking to increase your faith in and understanding of it, or you are a curious student of it, or if you simply can't believe that it can be what it claims to be, you will gain much by reading Mormon's Codex....more
The greatest thing about this book is that it asks unusual questions, questions that most others wouldn't bother to ask, such as "why do drug dealersThe greatest thing about this book is that it asks unusual questions, questions that most others wouldn't bother to ask, such as "why do drug dealers live with their moms?" and "why do teachers and sumo wrestlers cheat?" As Levitt argues in the book, people respond to incentives and sometimes those incentives are set up in a way that encourages bad behavior. I have one beef with the book, which is the definition of morality that it uses a few times. I won't bore the casual reader with my argument here, but if you want to read it, you can find it on my blog here. As an opponent of abortion, I still must say that Levitt's arguments about the effects of abortion are compelling, but still don't make the practice right. In conclusion, this is a great, quick read that I think is changing the way I look at the world....more
This is another one of those books that I wish everyone would read. Hazlitt makes basic economics so clear that anyone can comprehend them after readiThis is another one of those books that I wish everyone would read. Hazlitt makes basic economics so clear that anyone can comprehend them after reading this. So many Keynesians try to use trickery to prove their points. Hazlitt cuts through the tricks here. YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK....more
C.S. Lewis is one of the greatest moral and religious thinkers of all time. This book, along with his other masterpieces, should be required reading fC.S. Lewis is one of the greatest moral and religious thinkers of all time. This book, along with his other masterpieces, should be required reading for anyone who wants to be a good, moral person. So, it should be required reading for everyone. I can't think of any higher praise....more
This is one of the great books of literature. A brilliant illustration of how the beast inside all of us doesn't need much of an excuse to come out. GThis is one of the great books of literature. A brilliant illustration of how the beast inside all of us doesn't need much of an excuse to come out. Golding captures human interaction so well that sometimes I forgot that I was reading a book. The dynamics of the tribes that these boys develop to divide themselves is spot on. It shows how sometimes, the mob will forget its own best interests for momentary gratification. And while the scenario of this book is very outlandish -- how often are British school boys going to be stranded on a deserted island? -- it teaches us a lesson we should all be aware of. How does our beast manifest itself? Probably not in rolling rocks of cliffs onto little fat kids, but maybe in spreading rumors about our neighbor, or in slighting a onetime friend for a perceived offense. This book asks us to look at ourselves and guard against that beast....more
Every American should read this book. The main question it raises is this: should our government continue growing as it is? Should our government be tEvery American should read this book. The main question it raises is this: should our government continue growing as it is? Should our government be the policemen of the world and the babysitters for its citizens? Should our government continue to disregard its founding document--the Consitution? Ron Paul says no. Unfortunatly, just about all of the popular media and both polical parties say yes. What Ron Paul offers to the reader is the freedom that our Founding Fathers envisioned for this country. It is very apparent that we have strayed very far from that, but how do we get back? Ron Paul has some ideas, and I want to live in the America that those ideas will take us to....more
This was easily the most exciting book I've read in years. I absolutely loved it. I could have done with a little less snarkyness from Watney, but itThis was easily the most exciting book I've read in years. I absolutely loved it. I could have done with a little less snarkyness from Watney, but it wasn't bad enough to dampen my overall opinion. Of course, the suspense wasn't driven by whether Watney would live or die (you can't have a survival story if the character doesn't survive), but by how he would overcome all of the challenges and setbacks that were thrown at him. This was a book I couldn't put down.
This book should be required reading for anyone who is even thinking about putting words down on paper (or on a screen--this is especially pertinent iThis book should be required reading for anyone who is even thinking about putting words down on paper (or on a screen--this is especially pertinent in our age of instant and easy publishing in the form of blogging). It is concise, insightful, and surprisingly readable for a book on grammar and style. If you are only going to read one book on writing, this one has to be it (all other writing books bow in humble acquiescence to this masterpiece). Read it carefully and read it often....more
I've always wanted to be a writer and lately I've tried to come up with a way that I could use this talent to help others. I thought that I would findI've always wanted to be a writer and lately I've tried to come up with a way that I could use this talent to help others. I thought that I would find people who needed help around the world and write their stories, not like a reporter would, but like a novelist would. I thought my idea was original and innovative. Then, I read this book, which is exactly what I wanted to do, and is far better than anything I could ever dream of doing. Eggers's subject, Valentino Achek Deng, experienced as much hardship and adversity as almost anyone I've ever heard of. His village in Sudan is attacked, he walks across the country multiple times, he witnesses death at every turn, and just when it looks like something might be going well for him, everything comes crashing down, whether that be in the form of a car accident that takes the life of his friend, or an enraged ex that takes the life of his girlfriend. Through all of this, Achek has to analyze his faith in God and the very notion of hope. Eggers fills this story with beauty and eloquence and a lot of questions with only the smallest hope that they will be answered. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is not familiar with the situation in Sudan and anyone who is familiar with the facts, but not the faces....more
This short book provides one of the most succinct explanations of what the relationship between law and freedom should be that I have found so far. ItThis short book provides one of the most succinct explanations of what the relationship between law and freedom should be that I have found so far. It is a must read of anyone who values their freedom, which should be you. Here are some gems:
"It is not because men have made laws, that personality, liberty, and property exist. On the contrary, it is because personality, liberty, and property exist beforehand, that men make laws."
"Hence come an infinite multitude of plans for organization; teriffs, protection, perquisites, gratuities, encouragements, progressive taxation, free public education, right to work, right to profit, right to wages, right to assistance, right to instruments of labor, gratuity of credit, etc., etc. And it is all these plans, taken as a whole, with what they have in common, legal plunder, that takes the name socialism."
"It is not enough [for socialists] that law should be just, it must be philanthropic. It is not sufficient that it should guarantee to every citizen the free and inoffensive exercise of his faculties, applied to his physical, intellectual, and moral development; it is required to extend well-being, instruction, and morality, directly over the nation. This is the fascinating side of socialism."
"Socialism...confounds Government and society. And so, every time we object to a thing being done by Government, it concludes that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of education by the State--then we are against education altogether. We object to a State religion--then we would have no religion at all. We object to an equality which is brought about by the State then we are against equality, etc., etc. They might as well accuse us of wishing men not to eat, because we object to the cultivation of corn by the State."...more
Terryl and Fiona Givens are very honest in this books introduction that there are reasons to believe in God and reasons to doubt. Whether we have faitTerryl and Fiona Givens are very honest in this books introduction that there are reasons to believe in God and reasons to doubt. Whether we have faith or not is largely a choice. This book makes a great case for faith in articulating five of the most beautiful doctrines espoused by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While this is a Mormon book and these doctrines are almost exclusively Mormon, the authors quote from many sources outside of Latter-day Saints ranging from modern philosophers to ancient theologians to make their case. The reasoning is sound and logical and tears down many of the arguments raised against religion in our modern world. A solid book for understanding what makes faith so appealing, and the restored gospel the best refuge for that faith....more