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Member: pmackey

CollectionsOxford Pocket Classics (46), Everyman's Library (59), Your library (785), Audiobooks (29), Kindle (69), Favorites (30), Wishlist (17), Currently reading (3), To read (65), storage (7), All collections (829)

Reviews27 reviews

TagsPhilosophy (155), History (132), Literature (122), Fiction (86), American History (71), 19th Century (69), Everyman's Library (52), American Civil War (50), The World's Classics (48), Kindle (47) — see all tags

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About meNative Marylander, married for 27 years, three children, one Jack Russell, and a cat--all in a very small house. I enjoy philosophy, history, literature, religion, birds, poetry and baseball (go Orioles!!).

Spiritually, I'm a Christian (Episcopalian) influenced and blessed by Buddhism, Taoism, and Stoicism. I love the beauty of the liturgy and the centrality of the Eucharist. The tensions between faith and doubt, faith and reason, etc are very positive and enrich my understanding (as much as one can) of God. God is the greatest mystery in the Universe who has revealed himself through Jesus, God incarnate. The greatest, most exciting and challenging journey of my life is to seek to know God better.

Politically, I'm a moderate. I want to conserve what is good and move forward where it would be better to do so. My rule of political life is the U.S. Constitution. I believe the best government balances the greatest good for the country at the smallest practical size, while preserving civil liberties. (AND doesn't get deadlocked in partisan politics!!!!)

Essence of philosophy.
Always more questions!

Books Read in 2014
1. Grant. Jean Edward Smith, 4.5 stars
2. Roger Williams & the Creation of the American Soul. John Barry, 4.0 stars
3. The Course of Human Events. David McCullough, 4.5 stars
4. An Altar in the World. Barbara Brown Taylor, 4.0 stars
5. Watership Down. Richard Adams, 4.5 stars
6. House of Bathory. Linda Lafferty, 3.0 stars
7. White Horse. Alex Adams, 4.0 stars
8. Darwin: Portrait of a Genius. Paul Johnson, 3.5 stars
9. The Absent One. Jussi Adler-Olsen, 3.5 stars
10. The Greengage Summer. Rumer Godden, 4.0 stars
11. Skin Tight. Carl Hiaasen, 3.5 stars
12. The Truth of All Things. Kieran Shields, 3.0 stars
13. The Keeper of Lost Causes. Jussi Adler-Olsen, 3.5 stars
14. An Ancient Evil. Paul Doherty, 3.5 stars
15. The Harney & Sons Guide to Tea. Michael Harney, 4.0 stars
16. 19 Lessons on Tea. 4.0 stars
17. A Conspiracy of Faith. Jussi Adler-Olsen, 4.0 stars
18. The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Neil Gaiman, 4.5 stars
19. Far Afield. Susanna Kaysen, 4.0 stars
20. The Magician's Nephew. C.S. Lewis, 4.5 stars
21. The Purity of Vengeance. Jussi Adler-Olsen, 4.0 stars
22. A Tapestry of Murderer. Paul Doherty, 3.5 stars
23. The Book of Lost Things. John Connolly, 4.5 stars

Books Read in 2013
1. House of Crows. Paul C. Doherty, 3.5 stars
2. The Book Thief. Markus Zusak, 4.5 stars
3. Bringing Mulligan Home. Dale Maharidge, 4.0 stars
4. Caveat Emptor. Ruth Downie, 4.0 stars
5. Over the Edge of the World. Laurence Bergreen, 3.5 stars
6. 1356: A Novel. Bernard Cornwell, 3.5 stars
7. The Archer's Tale. Bernard Cornwell, 3.5 stars
8. Vagabond. Bernard Cornwell, 3.5 stars
9. Heretic. Bernard Cornwell, 3.5 stars
10. The Shadow of the Wind. Carlos Ruiz Zafon, 3.5 stars
11. The Dog Stars. Peter Heller, 3.5 stars
12. Semper Fidelis. Ruth Downie, 4.0 stars
13. The Last Policeman: a Novel. Ben Winters, 4.0 stars
14. The Snow Child: a Novel. Eowyn Ivey, 3.5 stars
15. The Age of Miracles. Karen Thompson Walker, 4.0 stars
16. Baseball as a Road to God: Seeing Beyond the Game. John Sexton, 4.0 stars
17. The Thirteenth Tale. Diane Setterfield, 4.0 stars
18. Replay. Ken Grimwood, 3.5 stars
19. God and the Philosophers. Edited by T. Morris, 4.5 stars
20. Folly. Laurie R. King, 4.5 stars
21. Garment of Shadows, Laurie R. King. 3.0 stars
22. Odd Thomas, Dean Koontz. 4.0 stars
23. Forever Odd, Dean Koontz. 4.0 stars
24. Brother Odd, Dean Koontz. 4.0 stars
25. Agincourt, Bernard Cornwell. 4.0 stars
26. Odd Hours, Dean Koontz. 4.0 stars.
27. Odd Apocalypse, Dean Koontz. 4.0 stars
28. Bad Monkey, Carl Hiaasen. 3.0 stars
29. In Pursuit: Of Happiness and Good Government, Charles Murray. 4.5 stars
30. Deeply Odd. Dean Koontz, 4.0 stars
31. The Crooked Timber of Humanity. Isaiah Berlin, 4.0 stars
32. The Bookman's Tale. Charlie Lovett, 3.5 stars
33. The Cuckoo's Calling. Robert Galbraith, 4.0 stars
34. Odd Interlude. Dean Koontz, 3.5 stars
35. Catching Fire. Suzanne Collins, 4.0 stars
36. Countdown City: The Last Policeman, Book II. Ben Winters, 4.5 stars
37. Under the Dome. Stephen King, 3.5 stars
38. How Much Is Enough. R Skidelsky, E Skidelsky. 3.5 stars
39. Murder as a Fine Art. David Morrell, 3.5 stars
40. Neverwhere. Neil Gaiman, 4.0 stars
41. Stardust. Neil Gaiman, 4.0 stars
42. American Gods. Neil Gaiman, 4.0 stars
43. The Graveyard Book. Neil Gaiman, 4.0 stars
44. The Stand. Stephan King, 3.5 stars
45. The Politics of Gratitude. Mark T. Mitchell, 4.5 stars
46. Bleak House. Charles Dickens, 4.0 stars
47. The Bones of Paris. Laurie R. King, 3.5 stars
48. Abraham Lincoln. James M. McPherson, 4.5 stars
49. The Strawmen. Paul Doherty, 3.5 stars
50. The Philosophy of Jesus. Peter Kreeft, 4.5 stars

Books Read in 2012
1. The Templar. Paul C. Doherty, 3.5 stars
2. General Braxton Bragg, CSA. Samual J. Martin, 4 stars
3. A Morbid Taste for Bones. Ellis Peters, 3.0 stars
4. Perfect Phrases for Setting Performance Goals. Robert Bacal, 3.5 stars
5. One Corpse Too Many. Ellis Peters, 3.0 stars
6. Cleopatra: A Life. Stacy Schiff, 3.5 stars
7. Admiral Nimitz: The Commander of the Pacific Ocean Theater. Brayton Harris, 4.0 stars
8. Fear of Knowledge: Against Relativism and Constructivism. Paul Boghossian, 4.5 stars
9. The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris. 4.0 stars
10. Grant's Final Victory: Ulysses S. Grant's Heroic Last Year. Charles Bracelen Flood. 4.0 stars
11. How We Decide. Jonah Lehrer. 5.0 stars
12. The Hunger Games. Suzanne Collins. 4.0 stars
13. The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians. Peter Heather. 3.5 stars
14. The Princess and the Goblin. George MacDonald. 3.5 stars
15. Hypatia: Her Life and Times. Faith L. Justice. 4.0 stars
16. Catching Fire. Suzanne Collins, 4.0 stars
17. A History of Sumer and Akkad. Leonard W. King. Kindle version, 2.0 stars.
18. Mockingjay. Suzanne Collins, 4.0 stars.
19. Great Ideas of Philosophy. Daniel N. Robinson, 4.0 stars
20. The Mysterium. P.C. Doherty, 4.0 stars.
21. Lethal Warriors. David Phillips, 4.0 stars.
22. The Clerkenwell Tales. Peter Ackroyd, 3.5 stars.
23. V for Vendetta. Alan More & David Lloyd, 4.5 stars.
24. American Ideals: Founding a "Republic of Virtue". Daniel Robinson, 4 stars.
25. Doctor Who and Philosophy: Bigger on the Inside. 4 stars.
26. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. Douglas Adams. 4 stars.
27. Philosophy as a Guide to Living. Stephen A. Erickson. 4 stars.
28. Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning. David Zarefsky. 4.5 stars.
29. The Art Detective: Fakes, Frauds, and Finds and the Search for Lost Treasures. Philip Mould. 3.5 stars.
30. Chasing Venus. Andrew Wulf. 3.0 stars.
31. Fragments from Iraq: Diary of a Navy Trauma Surgeon. Zsolt Stokinger. 4 stars
32. The Historian. Elizabeth Kostovo. 4 stars.
33. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. Robin Sloan. 4.5 stars.

About my libraryMy rating system:
- Five stars: Books that have profoundly influenced my life (such as the Bible, Teachings of Buddha, Tao Te Ching, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius).
- Four stars: Excellent books that are well-written, enjoyable and I’m likely to read again and again (think Lord of the Rings, David Copperfield, Harry Potter series) or history that I’ve really enjoyed reading and learned something new (such as Six Frigates or Mayflower).
- Three stars: Good reads that I enjoyed that I might or might not read again.
- Two stars: Poorly or derivatively written, or low production values. A miracle if I finish.
- One star: You won’t see these in my library because I’d be ashamed to list them and I wouldn’t keep them anyway.

Some of my all time favorites:

- Benson, Ophelia & Stangroom, Jeremy; Why Truth Matters
- Neiman, Susan; Moral Clarity
- Comte-Sponville, Andre; A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues: The Uses of Philosophy in Everyday Life
- Marnell, William; Man-Made Morals: Four Philosophies that Shaped America
- Epictetus; Discourses and Selected Writings
- Boethius; The Consolation of Philosophy
- Aurelius, Marcus; Meditations
- Seneca; Letters from a Stoic
- Lehrer, Jonah; How We Decide

Faith and Religion
- The Bible
- Tao Te Ching
- The Teachings of Buddha

- Austen, Jane; everything she wrote
- Dickens, Charles; David Copperfield and Great Expectations
- Downie, Ruth; Medicus series
- King, Laurie R.; everything but particularly Folly and the Mary Russell series.
- Rowling, J.K.; Harry Potter series
- Tolkien, J.R.R.; The Hobbit and LOTR
- Trollope, Anthony; The Barchester series

Groups50-Something Library Thingers, American Civil War, Ancient History, Birds, Birding & Books, Book Care and Repair, Christianity, Faith and Reason, Historical Fiction, History at 30,000 feet: The Big Picture, Maryland Librarythingersshow all groups

Favorite authorsJane Austen, Charles Dickens, Plato, J. R. R. Tolkien, Anthony Trollope (Shared favorites)

VenuesFavorites | Visited

Favorite bookstores2nd & Charles #2108, A Likely Story, Barnes & Noble Booksellers - Francis Scott Key Mall, Barnes & Noble Booksellers - Power Plant, Books With a Past, Booksavers (of Maryland), Crescent City Books, Four Seasons Books, Normals, Second Story Books - Rockville, MD, The Book Thing of Baltimore, Inc., The Ivy Bookshop, Wonder Book and Video - Dual Highway

Favorite librariesWashington County Free Library

Also onFacebook

Membership LibraryThing Early Reviewers/Member Giveaway

Real namePaul Mackey

LocationHagerstown, MD

Account typepublic, lifetime

URLs (profile) (library)

Member sinceOct 20, 2006

Currently readingDesires, Right & Wrong: The Ethics of Enough by Mortimer Jerome Adler
Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War by Robert M Gates
Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters by N. T. Wright

Leave a comment


Thanks (re: library comments). I don't know what I'd do if most of our library had to live stored away, and I don't like to get rid of a book of quality, even if I've read it. I've gotten quite used to being able to grab a book off the shelf because it was referenced in whatever I'm reading at the moment, because it has background or related information to what I'm reading, or simply to refresh my memory of what I'd read before.

I'm now in the category of the long-term unemployed, and, if something doesn't break in the next 2-4 months, we may have to sell our house and downsize. Unlikely to move into a rental house or apartment that would allow for more than half of our library, so I may have to learn to get along without them all readily at hand. Might be a good lesson, though, in what is enough. There have been many of those over the past year, and it's been mostly a positive experience.

Your comment in the "Why believe in God" thread was right on, brother. Thanks for posting.
That show terrified and captivated me when I was very young. And then to realize it was actually a documentary....! ;)
Hey, you're welcome.

Just to be clear, I didn't really mean he was preaching. Just that I had trouble with the conceit in the book that he was convincing skeptical students. There was little he said that struck me as controversial, so if he was preaching, it was in the sense of "preaching to the choir". Or maybe it's just that I already agreed with him.
As I, having taped it, am about to do. I am sorry you must getup so early. I never sleep. :)
Well, maybe, but I too am interested in spirituality, comparative religion, and baseball. I loved the anecdotes Sexton brought - he's clearly done his baseball home work. I just thought Giamatti was excellent, and the sport benefits from an articulate spokesman. Few could put the sport in the elevated context that Ol' Bart could. Not that everyone would have the patience for his philosophical exposition. I doubt it leads to "You should watch more baseball, Honey."

Also, despite the anecdotes (and I love baseball too -- the most intellectual of sports, and the sustained tension of a playoff game is exquisite!), with the Sexton, I felt more like "Now I've given you some baseball, so sit still during the sermon"!
Hey there -- I see we share the two Early Reviewer baseball/sports books. It looks like you haven't yet reviewed Baseball as a Road to God? Which did you prefer, Sexton's or Giamatti's?
Hi Paul!

So glad to find another Hypatia fan and thanks for the kind words on the ebook. I feel Hypatia was remarkable in her own right and doesn't need embellishment. She was a woman of her time and I don't think we have to apologize for that. It is what it is.

I also have Heather's book and read it a few years ago. Have you checked out "Stilicho: The Vandal Who Saved Rome" by Ian Hughes? Academic but thorough. I'm looking forward to his new book on Aetius which I hope will give me more insight into his conflict with Galla Placidia. This time period is filled with fascinating and powerful women. Gall Placidia's niece Pulcheria is another fascinating study. There's not much on GP; the best being an older book: "Galla Placidia Augusta: A Biographical Essay" by Stewart Irvin Oost. There's a new one out by Hagith Sivan, but I found it very shallow.

Happy reading!
Faith (aka MarysGirl)

Hi Paul,

Thanks so much for picking up "Hypatia" and rating it so highly! As I said in my introduction, it was a labor of love and a gift to Hypatia fans. Hope you enjoy "Selene" as much. I have another novel about Galla Placidia with an agent. Who knows when something will break on that? In any case, happy reading!

All the best,

Faith (aka MarysGirl)
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