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Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris

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Member: Daniel.Estes

CollectionsConsidering (47), Currently reading (5), Reviewing (14), 5 stars (51), 4½ stars (137), Archived (598), All collections (664)

Reviews610 reviews

TagsActual Paper Book (328), Audiobook (184), 4½ stars (136), How-To (95), Meh (84), LibraryThing Early Reviewers (76), Did Not Finish (69), 5 stars (51), American History (47), Classics (41) — see all tags

MediaBook (664), Paper Book (514), Audiobook (115), Ebook (35)

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About meI grew up at time when reading was encouraged through all sorts of faux incentives: rewards, prizes, points, etc. So naturally I avoided it whenever possible. I may have been young but I still didn't like being deceived, even by something as innocent as a gold star intended to spur action. It's a shame though because I love to learn and always have. My teachers meant well, but they made reading feel so... obligatory. Fortunately all was not lost and I starting reading more for pleasure in middle school. And once the assigned readings ceased altogether after college, I adopted reading as a regular daily habit. In a recent interview, author Nick Hornby said this of the cultural expectation that reading is like eating your vegetables: "Every time we pick up a book for a sense of duty and we find that we're struggling to get through it, we're reinforcing the notion that reading is something you should do but TV is something you want to do. It shouldn't be like that. Novels should be like TV. It shouldn't be hard work and we should do ourselves a favor." I agree with this sentiment 100%.

Our household now consists of two young, endlessly energetic boys so finding any extra time to read is challenging, but I consider it a priority so I squeeze it in when I can. You'd be surprised what you can make time for if it's important enough. My wife, a librarian, is also on LibraryThing. You can find her over at StefanieGeeks.

I'm currently reading...



My Recent 5-Star Ratings



My Recent 4½-Star Ratings

About my library★★★★★
I intend this rating to be thoughtfully given and deliberately rare. Good books are a treat but great books are hypnotic and seductive. You can't turn away from them. As my wife would say, "When I'm reading something this good, I don't want to do anything else." These are the stories of laughter, tears and wonder. These books will change your life.

Furthermore, sometimes a book's brilliance isn't apparent right away. On more than one occasion I've concluded a great read on a frustrating note only to later realize its brilliance after returning to it again and again in my mind. When this happens, I upgrade the rating.

★★★★½
Books given this exceptional rating have moments approaching the sublime, and contain only minor problem areas if any. All in all, their worth outshines any shortcomings, leaving you with an experience that inspires for months and years to come.

★★★★
This is a nebulous category for the majority of everything I read. It's a ratings equivalent of saying, "I liked it." A good read.

★★★½ or ★★★
Books earning one of these two ratings are usually worth finishing, but often have structural problems such as being somewhat incoherent, disjointed or dreadfully boring. The most common fault in my experience is a serious lack of brevity.

★★½ and less
Sometimes I start a book that just isn't up to quality. Or maybe it doesn't gel with me personally. Author and literary critic Jorge Luis Borges would have said a book such as this was "not written for me." These ratings vary between "good try" to "ho-hum" to "should not have been published." My time on this earth is short and there are too many other good books out there waiting to be discovered.

GroupsNon-Fiction Readers

Favorite authorsJosh Bazell, David Brooks, Allie Brosh, Orson Scott Card, Agatha Christie, Ernest Cline, Peter Allen David, Stephen J. Dubner, Charles Duhigg, Jonathan Franzen, Malcolm Gladwell, Seth Godin, Sam Harris, Stephen King, Jon Krakauer, Steven D. Levitt, Michael Lewis, Charles Murray, Patrick Rothfuss, J. K. Rowling, Mary Doria Russell, Carl Sagan, Hampton Sides, Craig Thompson, Kurt Vonnegut (Shared favorites)

MembershipER. LibraryThing Early Reviewers/Member Giveaway

Real nameDaniel Estes

LocationPrairie Village, KS

Account typepublic, lifetime

URLs /profile/Daniel.Estes (profile)
/catalog/Daniel.Estes (library)

Member sinceJul 13, 2010

Currently readingInto the Woods: A Five-Act Journey Into Story by John Yorke
Any Damned Fool Can Be Uncomfortable by Spencer Bruskin
Vita Nostra by Sergey and Marina Dyachenko
The Power of Negative Thinking: An Unconventional Approach to Achieving Positive Results by Bob Knight
100 Side Hustles: Unexpected Ideas for Making Extra Money Without Quitting Your Day Job by Chris Guillebeau

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