This book is too long and detailed to be a campaign speech, but it is clearly meant to set the record straight and demonstrate Clinton's credentials f...moreThis book is too long and detailed to be a campaign speech, but it is clearly meant to set the record straight and demonstrate Clinton's credentials for high office. It shows Clinton to be both intellectually and emotionally intelligent. She comes across as someone with strong principles without being blinded by ideology. This memoir of her time as Secretary of State leaves me with the impression that she is politically astute, with a strong pragmatic streak. It's not a page-turner aimed at the mass market, but it is a book to which she can refer to, and draw upon, in order to answer the arguments and ad hominem attacks of her often less able and ideologically driven political detractors. (less)
I heard John Green interviewed on NPR this week. I wasn't surprised to hear he had worked in a children's hospital and started training to be an Episc...moreI heard John Green interviewed on NPR this week. I wasn't surprised to hear he had worked in a children's hospital and started training to be an Episcopalian vicar. He gave it up to become an author and blogger. Most of us are touched by cancer in our lives, and many of us are totally unprepared when we are. I know I was, when my mam discovered she was ill in the 1990s. This book is a wonderful preparation for love, life, and death. It's written for 'young' adults, but most 'old' adults will find something for them here too. I hope the forthcoming Hollywood film isn't too glossy.(less)
I listened to this audio book while jogging. It's read by Alan Sklar who has a rich, deep, American accent. It was a bit surreal listening to him read...moreI listened to this audio book while jogging. It's read by Alan Sklar who has a rich, deep, American accent. It was a bit surreal listening to him read a book about religion when I previously listened to him read science books on primatology and The Enlightenment. But actually, Spong's "Jesus for the Non-Religious" is not inconsistent with these other books.
Like Thomas Jefferson before him the retired Episcopalian Bishop, John Shelby Spong, attempts to remove the supernatural additions from the palimpsest of the gospels and claims to reveal the original underlying humanist message. The first two thirds of the book is essentially a debunking of the supernatural elements in the gospels which, as a skeptic myself, I found unnecessary and at times a little tedious. Spong reminds us that the historical narrative should be viewed in the context of the contemporary culture and religion of Judea. For me, the book got most interesting in the final third when Spong tries to rebuild a progressive approach to Christianity that sees divinity as the best of humanity, and doesn't require a suspension of critical and rational thought.
Following Dawkins' reactionary polemic there appears to be several authors, coming from theist (e.g. Karen Armstrong, originally Catholic) and atheist (e.g. Alain de Botton, originally secular Jewish) backgrounds, disillusioned with both philosophically naive supernaturalism and purely materialistic consumer values, who see a positive role for some kind of reformed religious institutions. It will be interesting to see if this develops into a popular movement. (less)
Appropriately, I fell asleep listening to Goldilocks last night! However, this version is not a fairy tale, it's the science of Earth's climate: The G...moreAppropriately, I fell asleep listening to Goldilocks last night! However, this version is not a fairy tale, it's the science of Earth's climate: The Goldilocks Planet. As a geoscientist with some familiarity of this subject I could visualize the classic maps and graphs referred to by the narrator of this audiobook, but for the general reader the hard copy/ebook versions would likely be preferable. The book covers all of the major concepts of palaeoclimate science that I would expect in upper level college class. While for me, Earth's history provides a fascinating narrative in itself, some readers may prefer more artistic license and literary imagination in illustrating past environments. The book treads a thin line between popular science and text book, with a smidgen of advocacy. For the purpose of predicting future climate change scenarios, the only data we have to corroborate our models comes from the past. The past is therefore the best place to begin for those looking to really understand the scientific context of modern climate change issues. I strongly recommend this book.(less)
I found this an interesting book. Lots of conjecture, but also lots of food for thought. It fits well with where I am at the moment...bored with argum...moreI found this an interesting book. Lots of conjecture, but also lots of food for thought. It fits well with where I am at the moment...bored with arguments about supernatural belief, but interested in the collective wisdom of how to bring constructive meaning to our lives. This was a good follow on from Karen Armstrong's The Case for God. I'm not sure how practical De Botton's ideas are of a non-theistic religion, but then again the Unitarian Universalists seem to be practicing many of his ideas already, not to mention the many closet atheists in the C of E.(less)