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"Hot" is a compromise between recency and thumbs-up votes.

Bleeding Edge presents the dotcom-bust scene of "Silicon Alley" in NYC in 2001, with fine-tuned conspiracy psychedelia. Like the author's other novels, it has evil forces of empire conspiring against the common good. Our plucky sleuth in this case is working mom and entrepreneur Maxine, a de-certified fraud examiner.

Despite Pynchon's policy of personal obscurity, this book seems to project some of his personal affections and anxieties. As a denizen of New York, Pynchon offers what must be his own nostalgia in recurring moments. And his presentation of a pernicious Internet expressing its DARPA genealogy was written at a time when he finally relented and allowed his earlier novels to be distributed in e-book format.

This is not one of Pynchon's highly digressive sprawls, like Gravity's Rainbow or Mason & Dixon; it definitely fits in and extends a series with Inherent Vice and Vineland, bringing that sense of subdued and elegiac outrage (with solid, but never-quite-sufficient comic relief) across the line into the twenty-first century. This one captures the peculiar manner in which our deeply-webbed, netted society has become more ... well, more like a Pynchon novel.
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3 vote paradoxosalpha | 37 other reviews | Jun 18, 2017 |
"Powerful people sometimes do things to help people like me without really understanding people like me."

"...social mobility isn't just about money and economics, it's about a lifestyle change. The wealthy and the powerful aren't just wealthy and powerful; they follow a different set of norms and mores. When you go from working-class to professional-class, almost everything about your old life becomes unfashionable at best or unhealthy at worst. At no time was this more obvious than the first (and last) time I took a Yale friend to Cracker Barrel. In my youth, it was the height of fine dining -- my grandma's and my favorite restaurant. With Yale friends, it was a greasy public health crisis."

I had not realized that this book, which has topped the reading lists of liberal intellectual circles for the past several months, was a memoir. I expected an academic treatise, a narrative nonfiction work of sociology. Instead, I got a very personal recounting of the life of a man born in southeast Kentucky and raised in Rust Belt Ohio by a poor and chaotic family. Vance is still in his early 30s so this is a memoir of youth. It is also an examination of the cultural dynamics of poor white "hillbillies," his own word for his extended family and their community.

One reason for the book's popularity is liberal intellectual Americans' desire to "understand" the results of the most recent election and the increasing divide between classes within our society. Vance does provide a glimpse into a culture steeped in loyalty and mistrust, deep patriotism and vilification of government, resentment of the rich and a reluctance to consider one's own contribution to stagnation. Vance explores these paradoxes with his own loyalty on his sleeve and this is one reason for the success of the work. He invites compassion and understanding, appreciation for the good in his people even as they abuse drugs or scream obscenities at one another, and an openness to solutions that focus less on schools, for example, and more on the family unit so crucial to a child's sense of security in the world.

It's not great literature, but it's a worthwhile read.
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3 vote EBT1002 | 94 other reviews | Jun 18, 2017 |
There are flashes of brilliance here, and as Kverneland is a good graphic artist and Edvard Munch is fascinating, you could certainly do worse than this graphic novel. I liked how the book was based primarily on passages from notes, diaries, newspaper articles, and correspondences from the time period, and how Kverneland tried to unravel Munch’s life through extensive research. You’ll see selected paintings from Munch as they evolved, rendered handsomely by Kverneland, and get a good understanding of at least some of the forces in his life and his approach to art.

However, I have to say, it was a little disappointing. One of the issues is that at several points, the author inserts himself and his buddy into the narrative. Is it interesting to see pictures from the places where Munch lived and painted? Absolutely. But the way it’s done is not all that classy. There are also some pretty sizeable gaps in Munch’s biography. I’m not sure if this is because Kverneland ran out of time, because in an early panel he shows that the book took him seven years. Regardless, missing are his relationship with Tulla Larsen, and her accidentally shooting the top two joints of one of his fingers off when they separated, his nervous breakdown at the age of 45 after being involved in several brawls, leading to confinement and shock therapy, the controversy for the competition for the Oslo University murals (‘The Sun’ is shown at the very end almost as an afterthought), his deep sympathy with socialism and worker’s rights in the 1910’s, and his life at the very end when the Nazis occupied Norway.

No book can be 100% complete, and part of the skill of those writing about history or people’s lives is to know what to include and what to leave out – but I just found the omissions to be too large, particularly when many pages were filled with the author and his friend, an over-emphasis on Munch’s bohemian days, and the life and relationships of his friend, August Strindberg. It seems the book was not well planned out, and the unevenness in the storytelling shows. This is not a bad book, to be sure, but if you’re serious about Munch, I would recommend finding Ragna Stang’s book, which is much more complete on his life and his art.
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2 vote gbill | 3 other reviews | Jun 20, 2017 |
If I had read James Morrow's first novel The Wine of Violence when it originally appeared, I probably would have found it much more bizarre than I did in my actual encounter with it, after having read much of his later fiction. Although it is quite unusual for a science fiction novel, it is actually the conventional space opera context that most sets it apart from his larger oeuvre, while it exhibits many themes and features common to his work as a whole. These include bereavement of central characters, materialization of ethical and metaphysical concepts, and moral inquiry verging on gentle didacticism.

The principal character of the story is Francis Lostwax, an exo-entomologist whom we encounter with the rest of the crew of the spaceship Darwin on return from a successful interplanetary expedition in the UW Canis Majoris system, to which humans had emigrated from Earth many generations previously. The scientists are forced to land on an unexpected planet, where they encounter a quasi-utopian society descended from a lost colony-ship sister to the one that brought their ancestors to New Earth ("Nearth"). These pacifist Quetzalians live behind fortifications which protect them from the rapacious, cannibalistic Neurovores.

In keeping with its title, the book poses several central questions about aggression and the capacity for violence. Are they intrinsic to humans? Would we be better without them? Despite the fact that the characters are in some measure ciphers for answers to these questions, I did care about them as a reader, and I would recommend the book as a fiction as well as philosophy.
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2 vote paradoxosalpha | 1 other review | Jun 18, 2017 |
the cover of this book states that it has changed the lives of millions. i cant say that it changed me, it was a good read and i enjoyed it. on some levels i read it and thought of it as “Hemmingway-lite”. the characters are well built and interesting. it is humorous at points and very poetic in its descriptions.

the story follows a Spanish shepherd who leaves the Andalusian plains to search for a treasure. he is prompted to do so after having a dream of seeing the? Egyptian pyramids and learning of a treasure that he would find there. as his journey progresses he learns of alchemy, but not in the lead to gold sense that all of our modern stories talk of, he learns it as life itself being lead, and all things being transmutable into something higher. the story was warm and worth reading, but i would suggest going into it with out any expectations, you will absorb more from it with an open and clean mind as opposed to a “this will change me” perspective.? i go into every book with the expectation of entertainment and walk away with what ever i walk away with. in this case, it was awe, respect, and a little bit of fear.

i entered into the alchemist with a personal understanding of how the world works. an understanding that all things are connected and the world is a series of chain reactions and coincidences. following the chain and discounting the coincidences, you can move from one place to the next, constantly learning to disregard and embrace at a moments notice. to dwell on things that deserve contemplation and make informed decisions. under 200 pages later, i came out with a clear view of what the author is looking to show, and i can only see the life changing aspects occurring to people on the brink of change already, or who have not looked at the world enough to recognize the intricate ties that all things hold to one another.

this is not to say that change has not occurred, just that i have a hard time seeing said change in others. the person who gave me this book, says she was moved to change by it, i trust her in her interpretation of the reading as well as its use in her life. in reference to the book, she was transmuted, she followed the tale and came away something more than she was. following the book, this alteration shows in herself an alchemist, making alterations.

the story is a nice mesh of christian ideologies with eastern. mix in some folklore. mix in some faith in something more than religion. mix in some gummy bears.. welcome to Coldstone.

my largest concern after reading this book was definitely fear. not fear for myself but fear for others. most people i have talked to have no understanding of the world outside of Christianity. they? come away touched and full of perspective that is often times quelled inside them from the early years of being fed doctrine. others, the ones i really fear for are the ones who are not in that category, specifically the ones that are already teetering on the edge of reality. the ones who would embrace the book so fully that they quote it daily, absorb the ideas and phrases, use it in their personal religions. people need less dogma, not more. and to take something like this and make it a keystone in their world frightens me.. we already have enough dogma.. enjoy the book, take what you can from it, then let it alone.
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2 vote JasonBrownPDX | 736 other reviews | Jun 16, 2017 |
In a book of unprecedented scope--now available in a larger format—Iain McGilchrist presents a fascinating exploration of the differences between the brain’s left and right hemispheres, and how those differences have affected society, history, and culture. McGilchrist draws on a vast body of recent research in neuroscience and psychology to reveal that the difference is profound: the left hemisphere is detail oriented, while the right has greater breadth, flexibility, and generosity. McGilchrist then takes the reader on a journey through the history of Western culture, illustrating the tension between these two worlds as revealed in the thought and belief of thinkers and artists from Aeschylus to Magritte.
"A landmark new book. . . . It tells a story you need to hear, of where we live now."—Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times

"A very remarkable book. . . . McGilchrist, who is both an experienced psychiatrist and a shrewd philosopher, looks at the relation between our two brain-hemispheres in a new light, not just as an interesting neurological problem but as a crucial shaping factor in our culture . . . splendidly thought-provoking. . . . I couldn't put it down."—Mary Midgley, The Guardian

Named one of the best books of 2010 by The Guardian
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1 vote tony_sturges | 4 other reviews | Jun 22, 2017 |
Een boek als dit kan alleen maar ofwel uitbundig enthousiasme opwekken, of bittere teleurstelling. Het eerste kamp zal zich vermeien in de scherpzinnigheid en eruditie van de auteur, het tweede zal zich ergeren aan de kromme taal en vooral aan het gebrek aan pointe. Ik moet me tot het tweede kamp bekennen, vrees ik. De artikels in deze bundel zijn essays, dat is duidelijk, en ze gaan over heel interessante thema’s die allemaal met geschiedenis te maken hebben; niet zozeer met de geschiedwetenschap (al komt die er ook aan te pas), maar eerder met een existentiële kijk op de geschiedenis. Zo komen onder meer het vraagstuk van het relativisme aan bod, het dilemma individualisme versus collectivisme, het probleem van het kwaad en het vooruitgangsvraagstuk. Stuk voor stuk boeiende kwesties.
Von der Dunk snijdt ze met veel verve aan en etaleert daarbij zijn enorme belezenheid en zijn vertrouwdheid met de filosofische achtergronden van die kwesties; de inzichten buitelen over elkaar heen; met elke zin wordt weer een ander perspectief geboden, bepaalde paragrafen gaan een heel andere kant op, en dan eindigt het essay plots. Op het einde vraag je je vertwijfeld af wat je nu gelezen hebt, en dan moet ik helaas een minder diplomatisch recensent citeren: von der Dunk houdt het in dit boek op Cruijffiaanse antwoorden, “Elk voordeel heb s’n nadeel.” Dit boek is een virtuoos divertimento met licht exhibitionistische trekken.
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1 vote lamotm | Jun 22, 2017 |
I have never read anything before, fictional or not, about these murders though of course I have heard the rhyme. This is a very interesting take on the Borden family and the murders of the two elder Bordens. Emma, ten years older than Lizzie, a young woman who has had to take on the role as main confidante and caregiver of a younger Lizzie. She promised her mother on her deathbed and Lizzie took full advantage of this promise. Emma, though was not in the house during the times of the murders. Lizzie, in her thirties, acts and sounds like a young child. Stunted growth. The young, Irish servant Bridget is our main narrator.

Written in a strange almost dreamlike manner, the ominous tone and the forbading atmosphere of the house permeated throughout. So very strange some of the things going on, from the mutton soup which always seems to be on the stove, never refrigerated, eaten daily to Mrs. Bordens strange attempt to hold on to Bridget. Not a happy home, definitely not a happy family. Two others are introduced to this story, an uncle and a young boy for hire.

Not a book I can recommend to everyone, but I thought this was inventive and we'll written, albeit as I said, strange.

ARC by Netgalley.
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1 vote Beamis12 | 4 other reviews | Jun 21, 2017 |
Ian Fleming

Goldfinger

Signet, Paperback [1959].

12mo. 191 pp.

First published, 1959.
23rd printing, n.d. [1964?]

Contents

Part I. Happenstance

I. Reflections in a Double Bourbon
II. Living It Up
III. The Man with Agoraphobia
IV. Over the Barrel
V. Night Duty
VI. Talk of Gold
VII. Thoughts in a D.B. III
Part II. Coincidence
VIII. All to Play For
IX. The Cup and the Lip
X. Up at the Grange
XI. The Odd-Job Man
XII. Long Tail on a Ghost
XIII. ‘If You Touch Me There...’
XIV. Things that Go Thump in the Night
Part III. Enemy Action
XV. The Pressure Room
XVI. The Last and the Biggest
XVII. Hoods’ Congress
XVIII. Crime de la Crime
XIX. Secret Appendix
XX. Journey into Holocaust
XXI. The Richest Man in History
XXII. The Last Trick
XXIII. T.L.C. Treatment

========================================

James Bond, with two double bourbons inside him, sat in the final departure lounge of Miami Airport and thought about life and death.

It was part of his profession to kill people. He had never liked doing it and when he had to kill he did it as well as he knew how and forgot about it. As a secret agent who held the rare double-O prefix – the licence to kill in the Secret Service – it was his duty to be as cool about death as a surgeon. If it happened, it happened. Regret was unprofessional – worse, it was death-watch beetle in the soul.


This is not a bad beginning. Somewhat surprisingly, at least for this reader coming here after the film, this is not a bad novel either. Now, the movie gives the impression of a farce made by moderately intelligent ten-year-olds for the enjoyment of moderately stupid five-year-olds. It has Sean Connery at this most dashing, some great shooting on location in Switzerland – and nothing else. The novel, whatever faults of style and structure it may have, is for adults.

Fleming is a good writer, if not a great one. He has an effective way of describing people and places. Goldfinger, for instance, has “the face of a thinker, perhaps a scientist, who was ruthless, sensual, stoical and tough. An odd combination.” Goldfinger’s disconcerting gaze, elaborately formal speech, supremely relaxed attitude, mad obsession with gold and highly theatrical megalomania are also conveyed in a chilling, powerful way. He cuts an impressive and sinister figure. On the whole, this is not a negligible piece of villainous characterisation, far superior to the cartoonish creature in the movie. Fleming’s atmospheric depiction of places is even better. Here is one example, a restaurant in a posh seaside resort:

Inside, the big room was decorated in white with pink muslin swags over the windows. There were pink lights on the tables. The restaurant was crowded with sunburned people in expensive tropical get-ups. Brilliant garish shirts, jangling gold bangles, dark glasses with jewelled rims, cute native straw hats. There was a confusion of scents. The wry smell of bodies that had been all day in the sun came through.

The faults of Fleming’s style are mostly his passion for games and sports. If you are not wildly enthusiastic about canasta and golf, you may find some parts of this novel very heavy-going. Superfluous detail about Bond’s dress, equipment and surroundings might also be tedious now and then. Fleming evidently didn’t think this novel would survive the test of time, or he would not have loaded it with topical references – anything from hotels and meals to drinks and purges – that make much less sense today than they did in the late 1950s.

As far as the plot goes, pace the usual improbabilities for which you have to make allowances in that kind of book, it unfolds at a relatively slow but steady pace, though much of the suspense is drown in Fleming’s verbosity. Those tiny details he is fond of, so evocative about people and places, are not very welcome when a golf game or a tail job has to be made the most of. But I admit I was kept on a leash from the first page to the last, several attention drops notwithstanding. Especially Part III, progressively outlandish as it is, proved to be rather a spellbinding read. The whole novel has a special atmosphere, a character, an aura, call it what you will, of sophisticated double-dealing and suppressed violence that was, alas, completely lost in the movie.

James Bond, much like Hercule Poirot, is an entertaining character without being conventionally likeable. He is not terribly intelligent and he is certainly full of silly prejudices, but he is a meticulous professional who lives in a “cocoon of danger” and, as made clear in the very opening and confirmed several times later, not devoid of some humanity. He is supposed to be British, even patriotically so, but he can be accused of some horribly un-British activities, like never drinking tea for instance. He loves women of course, but nowhere near as much as they love him. He even (mis)quotes poetry: “Some love is fire, some love is rust. But the finest, cleanest love is lust.” Sad to say, the women are not Fleming’s forte. Neither of the Masterton sisters has much personality or charm, and Pussy Galore has nothing at all except brash lesbianism (“‘Move over, Handsome. Us girls want to talk secrets. Don’t we, yummy?’”) and one immortal name. Bond doesn’t use them with the heartlessness that’s supposed to be typical of him, but he certainly overshadows them. The ominous tension along the Bond-Goldfinger axis steals the show:

‘Mr Bond, they have a saying in Chicago: “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action.” Miami, Sandwich and now Geneva. I propose to wring the truth out of you.’

The parallel with the famous Belgian sleuth is not incidental. The Bond novels, if this one is anything to go by, are much like the Poirot mysteries (of which I’ve read two, neither the most famous nor the most obscure). They are amusing enough for a single, quick and easy read, but not terribly memorable. I would love to read more when I’m in a suitable mood, but I’m not at all anxious to. I cannot help wondering what keeps them in print so many decades after the first publication. I suppose they appeared at the right historical time, explored the vogue for sleuths and spies to the utmost, and have been sentimentally regarded as seminal examples of the Golden Age of Fantastic Realism ever since.

Perhaps the movies also helped, especially in the case of the mammoth Bond franchise. Well, the 1964 Connery flick certainly did a poor adaptation job, turning Bond from a smart and cynical yet complex and compassionate human being into a cheap, goofy, gadget-obsessed, sorry excuse for a humorist. The Golden Rule of Divided Loyalties applies here. When in doubt, read the book.… (more)
1 vote Waldstein | 44 other reviews | Jun 21, 2017 |
This book made me so angry, incredibly sad, appalled and disgusted with our legal system and federal government in their agregious treatment of the mentally ill. This is supposed to be one of the most advanced countries on our planet but our health care for the mentally ill has declined steadily ever since Reagan's mandates and his emptying of the institutions put in place to handle these cases. Leaving many with few options but life on the street.

The author Dr. Elizabeth Ford spent many years working with the forensic patients in Bellevue. Patients deemed too mentally ill to exist in the regular prison population at Rikers. She has worked in different positions eventually becoming director and her struggles to have these mentally ill patient/prisoners treated with a modicum of dignity and kindness, resonated deeply. Their stories are often heartbreaking, but there are a few successes and one in particular made me teary eyed. Do you know that in our so called enlightened legal system there is a law that says a person must be declared sane before he can enter a plea of insanity? Seriously. This will be the conundrum faced by one of the schitzophrenic prisoners in this book.

These are people with few resources, many have no families and many are seriously mentally ill and our country's answer is to lock them away, hide them and forget about them. Out of 5000 prisoners at Rikers, 1000 are considered to be suffering with various degrees of mental illness. Appalling. These prisoners are the ones most often beat up, generally will serve longer sentences than their so called normal counterparts. The men and women who work with these prisoners should be applauded, they are doing their understaffed, underfunded best, with little reward. When will this country take mental illness out of the dark ages, and yes I know some will just decide to quit taking their medications, but when and if they are released where can they go. Surely there can be better solutions than just considering them numbers in a budget, to be managed and thrown into a prison population that can do little but make them worse.

As you can see this book had a huge impact on me, read it and see how you feel when you are done. Eye opening at the least.
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1 vote Beamis12 | Jun 21, 2017 |
Simply Excellent.

There.

That's my review.

All my life I've wished there was an instruction guide for myself as well as others on how to deal with and understand me because I couldn't verbalize it myself. This book is it, truly. I listened to the last small portion of this while walking along a stretch of my neighborhood that borders an undeveloped area with tears rolling down my face. Everyone that passed probably thought I was crazy (or they never noticed, which is more likely and I'm okay with that too). I rehearsed what I would say just in case anyone asked me what was wrong. Luckily I didn't have to explain. I was crying because finally I felt understood. Wholly and complete understood. Not just by someone else but also by myself. So many of the ways in my life I've felt like a failure or weird are not that at all they are just part of who I am, just like 1/3 to 1/2 of the rest of the population.

I am not going to say this was a life changing book for me though I think it could could be for some. I've known for a long time that I was an introvert and that many aspects of my personality point to this. I wish I had had this book in my teen and young adult years, it might have changed the way I viewed myself and helped to instill self-esteem and confidence I didn't really have. I think everyone, whether parent, manager, friend, spouse, teacher or anyone would benefit from reading this. It could vastly help so many relationships of every type. I think this could be a healing and supportive work for introverts to help them understand themselves and to reassure them that they are okay. Not just okay but necessary and valuable just as they are. Introversion is not a sickness or condition that needs to be cured, it just needs to be understood and appreciated. Introverts and Extroverts need and enjoy each other, but have needs outside of each other as well.

I cannot do this book justice, it is just too powerful and well done for my abilities to relay. If you have an introvert in your life read it. If you ARE an introvert, read it. If you deal with a range of different people or have decision making powers over a group of people from children to adults, read it. At worst you will have spent some time on an interesting topic. At best, you may be able to bring forth energy, ideas and collaboration that you never could have imagined and gain a new understanding and appreciation of the people in your life that you just thought were quiet or anti-social.

Thank you Susan Cain. Thank you.
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1 vote shaunesay | 333 other reviews | Jun 21, 2017 |
It's not possible to read Harlan Ellison's stories without thinking about Harlan Ellison the personality. Even if you go into his collections unaware of the stereotype Ellison's crafted for himself, that stereotype will be on your mind by the end of the first story's introduction.

I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream is exclusively remembered for its title story, which is pretty entertaining and the best of the lot. He wrote it, reportedly, in a frenzied single night, and the final published version featured few edits. This is often a condescending brag, but the story's -- and most of the stories in this collection, which Ellison frequently notes as featuring few edits from his original vision -- prose comes off as clunky and rough around the edges. Clumsy patterns repeat repeat repeat themselves without end, showing off nice ideas but making each voice bleed together. I often appreciated the intent, but not the execution or the pompousness.

*** I HAVE NO MOUTH AND I MUST SCREAM ***

So "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream," alone in the collection, might be worth reading before the roll of time deems it too dated. After the death of humanity, five survivors are trapped inside an AI a la HAL-9000, and, tortured year after year by the hateful AI named AM (as in cogito ergo sum). The survivors all represent gross aspects of humanity -- stereotypes, whether naturally or shaped by AM is up for debate -- like the prostitute, the idealist, the messiah, etc. (I've also seen them and the AI painted as the deadly sins.)

Humanity's woes 109 years after the end of civilization are painted as grossly as their embodied human attributes. You don't care for any of them -- and you shouldn't. The male survivors, including the narrator, are particularly fixated on the woman, who herself is a bag of sexist tropes. Humanity is gross, and the nastiness of these people and this AI are forgivable, I think, within the context of the story.

That doesn't make the story great, though. A dangerous AI with this much loathing as written by an author ignorant of computers in 1967 all date this story. The logic of AM's torture methods and the artificial world humanity's last survivors are stuck in defies itself constantly every few pages with a contradiction.

*** BIG SAM WAS MY FRIEND ****

"Big Sam was My Friend" is perhaps the most dated story in the collection, envisioning alien civilizations through 1950s Americana. It's about a teleporting performer -- Big Sam -- looking for his long-lost love while escaping to a space circus.

Being set in a space circus, being driven by a boring, boy's love story full of machismo, and being centered around gobbledygook painted as sci-fi make this forgettable as hell.

*** EYES OF DUST ***

"Eyes of Dust" reminded me of Chuck Palahniuk. Ellison lauds his social satire of our cultural obsession with manufactured beauty, and then beats that message into every word and every page of this story. It's a shallow look at 1950s consumerism via two 'normal' (i.e., plain-looking) lovers. I had to look the story up a day after finishing it because I couldn't remember it.

*** WORLD OF THE MYTH ***

"World of the Myth" is fairly enjoyable for its ideas, but it lacks development in its characters, and the story is stream-of-consciousness. The relationships between two men and a female scientist dips into casual misogyny and rape, two things painted as both horrible and deserved. On the other side of the spectrum, the ant-like species our heroes study is fascinating, even if descriptions of its hivemind are ripped straight from Theodore Sturgeon's More Than Human.

*** LONELYACHE ***

Up until this story, I was still trying to enjoy Ellison's writing. There were good ideas under there, and the bad was *almost* excusable by year of writing. "Lonelyache" is disgusting, and it doesn't help that Ellison introduces it as perhaps the best thing he's ever written. He describes it as autobiographical, inspired by his second divorce. While this could lead to some soul-searching for our hero, it doesn't. He stews in hatred and loathing of everyone. He -- and the story itself -- blame his ex-wife for divorcing him, for being thoughtless and not thinking of how divorce would hurt him emotionally. Now he floats, woman to woman, abusing and discarding them like meat.

He lays blame on his ex-wife -- his ex-wife who divorced him for cheating. The narrator argues that cheating is nothing, no big deal, and his wife is a bitch who over-reacted and hurt his feelings, and now it's her fault he's preying on other women.

This story is nowhere near the best thing Ellison's ever written. It's a throwaway fit of dated misogyny, lazily-written with its moral messages being obnoxious bullshit from a hateful, stupid person who's completely stuck up their own ass to understand people.

*** DELUSIONS FOR A DRAGON SLAYER ***

"Delusion for a Dragon Slayer" is the dying fantasies of a man crushed in a freak accident. His vision of heaven is built on whatever he dreams, as long as he can maintain the dream. He turns himself into a fantasy hero chasing beautiful women. The prose and the story is fragmented and cut to ribbons, perhaps meant to imitate his dying mind. This story is hard to follow, and not interesting. This is an idea that wasn't fleshed out beyond its concept.

*** PRETTY MAGGIE MONEYEYES ***

The final story in this collection is fairly entertaining. A broke gambler and ne'er-do-well connects with a haunted slot machine. He and only he sees the spirit of a young woman in the slot machine, a young woman who dropped dead weeks earlier in front of that very machine. She professes her love for him, and he continues to rack up winnings from the machine until the clever-but-necessary twist ending.

I wish I connected with these stories more; I wish I could look past the shallow pretentiousness of Ellison's ideas, or his execrable view of women in every story. The very hate he paints his characters with too often leads plots forward, and I could never connect with that. We should never have to rationalize against sexist portrayals, but the easy argument is it's lazy, that it's a sign of bad writing. I want to read about real people, connect with real characters, not be bored by abusive fantasies written by and for little boys of generations past. That this was the standout response to Harlan Ellison's stories is telling: Ellison's prime was all about ideas, but his writing, to me, feels rushed and drowned by poor characterization, by selfishness and bitter emotions.

I recommend the title story -- at this point, at least; it's wearing its age more and more -- but the rest of this collection has dated itself far too much, and is far too forgettable.
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1 vote alaskayo | 21 other reviews | Jun 21, 2017 |
I love Paula Poundstone. I have seen her in person (at the Aladding theater in Portland, Oregon), I love listening to her on NPR's Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me show, and I really enjoyed reading this book!

In it, she describes various things she does to try to find happiness. She tries to get fit. She tries backpacking with her daughter. She tries getting connected on the computer. She tries driving a fancy car. She tries volunteering. I really appreciate how honest she was. Many of things did not provide much happiness at all, and other things provide a lot of happiness. Some of the things provided momentary happiness, and other things gave her longer lasting happiness.

One of my favorite things is how she uses her cats to describe the amounts of happiness she finds or doesn't find - heps and balous. I'm going to pay attention to how many heps and balous of happiness I find in my own life.
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1 vote lisalangford | 15 other reviews | Jun 21, 2017 |
This abridged audio book is my first encounter with this popular author. At 3 hrs, the abridged audio version is less than 1/3rd of the 11 hr original. Nevertheless, there are no noticeable gaps in the plot or storyline, and I found the story to be intriguing.

TV reporter Meghan Collins is covering a story at a local hospital when a young stabbing victim is rushed in on a stretcher. To her shock, the dead woman looks strikingly similar to Meghan herself. What's more, the victim seems to be linked to Meghan's father (Edward), who months earlier, apparently had been lost in a tragic accident. Edward had taken out the cash on his life insurance policy, and since his body was never found, it's not clear whether he had died or engineered his own disappearance. As Meghan investigates, she uncovers family secrets -- her father had a second family-- as well as a complex web of fraud and theft, involving a fertilization clinic and the sale of embryos produced via in vitro fertilization. Meanwhile, Meghan is being followed by an obsessed stalker with a video camera.

I found the story to be well-crafted and captivating, with red herrings that kept me from figuring out the assorted mysteries until the end. Narrator Ellen Parker does a decent job with the different character's voices. Overall, a worthwhile and entertaining listening experience.
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1 vote danielx | 9 other reviews | Jun 20, 2017 |
Michelle Paver does a lot of adventurous travel and clearly pays very close attention when she does. The astounding detail is one of the things I appreciate about her children's series, Chronicles of Ancient Darkness, and I appreciate it even more in the two "grown-up" books of hers that I've read. She has a keen eye and is adept not only at putting her observations into words, but also in weaving them into an interesting story.

In Thin Air, as in her previous novel, Dark Matter, the darkness, cold, and confusion come through clearly, and in this one Paver adds the breathlessness of altitude sickness, which had me taking deep breaths as I was reading, just to prove that I could. And like with Dark Matter, this novel had me afraid to look over my shoulder after dark.

Both are quite good novels, but even though Thin Air is the more recent novel, it has the feel of a warm-up for the tighter and scarier Dark Matter. Both novels are set in the 1930s and peopled with British men intent upon proving something to the world and, even more, to themselves. The characters are distinct, but Paver could almost have put a collection of character traits on separate strips of paper, put them in a hat, and pulled them out, matching them up to names and putting them in both novels in different configurations ("Okay, in this one, one guy will be afraid of dogs, and in the other one, a dog will be afraid of the guy. Now let's draw to see what happens to the medic."). I don't mind that, though. It gives me a chance to see her process as a writer and to feel like I know a little more about how her mind works (I don't really think she draws character traits out of a hat except in the sense that one wears a hat on one's head and I assume she draws the character traits from her head).

Even though this one's not my favorite of the two novels, it's still an enjoyable, spooky read. I wish her grown-up books were more easily obtained in the United States...and that there were more of them.
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1 vote ImperfectCJ | 2 other reviews | Jun 20, 2017 |
"The Agony and the Ecstasy" - what a wonderful title for this novel that tells the story of Michelangelo based on all the facts and details of his real life. Blessed to be born in Tuscany during the height of the Italian Renaissance, he dedicated his life to the arts. At the age of 10 he was already digging in the marble quarries learning the proper technique of mining for good marble slabs to use for sculpture.

By the age of 13, when the story begins, his raw talent is recognized by the best sculpting studio in Italy which eventually leads to a job working for the ruling family of Florence - the Medicis. Lorenzo de Medici welcomes Michelangelo into the royal palace as employee, friend, and confidant. As his fame grows he is summoned by the Pope to work on projects at the Vatican.

In many ways Michelangelo had a wonderful life - lived to an old age of 89 surviving under the reign of 10 Popes, several wars, and two outbreaks of the plague. He created some of the most beautiful art of the Renaissance including the Statue of David and painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican.

Michelangelo’s ecstasy was being able to create original works of art. He was a perfectionist and dedicated to his life to creating work that has inspired people throughout the ages. Michelangelo was a simple man - his needs were few. Just give him a good block of marble and a chisel and he was ecstatic.

The agony was in the details of of his daily life. He loved three women but never married. He was married to his work. His health suffered from twelve hour days of sculpting in freezing temperatures in open courtyards and years of lying on his back on scaffolding in the cold barren Sistine Chapel painting the ceiling. Often his work was unappreciated, and depending on which Pope was in charge he was lucky if he got paid.

Irving Stone dedicates 8 pages to listing the references and sources of information used in writing "The Agony and the Ecstasy": biographies and autobiographies, history books - books on art, costumes, architecture, painting and sculpting including journals and encyclopedias. Even though The Agony and the Ecstasy takes place over 500 years ago Stone creates an authentic story of Michelangelo’s personal life.

Stone schools the reader on minute details of sculpting and painting - provides colorful descriptions of every day life in Florence and Rome. He provides descriptions of Michelangelo’s family home with stories interwoven of his 4 brothers and father. He tells of the bitter rivalry between Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo. And he takes the reader into the ruling families palace for social events and politics, and into the Vatican for outrageous behavior of the popes (gluttony, corruption and illegitimate children).

A quote from one of Michelangelo’s friends, “From my reading, Michelangelo I have been able to follow the rise, fulfillment, decay and disappearance of many religions. That is what is happening to our religion today. Christianity has had fifteen hundred years to prove itself, and has ended in.... what? Borgia murders, greed, incest, perversion of every tenet of our faith. Rome is more evil today than Sodom and Gomorrah when they were destroyed by fire.”

As I was reading "The Agony and the Ecstasy" I also read "Michelangelo - Artist’s Life" - an illustrated coffee table book I purchased while visiting Florence. It gives a brief biography and photographs of all Michelangelo’s greatest works which was a huge help in visualizing many of Irving Stones elaborate artistic descriptions. And it also confirmed that Stone truly based this fictional novel on Michelangelo’s real life.
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1 vote LadyLo | 56 other reviews | Jun 20, 2017 |
A lot is made of Laxness telling this tale in the style and language of the medieval Icelandic sagas, and whether the translation into English did him justice. I can’t really speak to those things, but I don’t think they’re the main point anyway. With the exception of an occasional change of tense you really wouldn’t notice it – the book simply reads as the tale of two “sworn brothers” (Þorgeir Hávarsson and Þormóður Bessason, who have sworn lifelong oaths to one another) living in Iceland about 1,000 years ago, and the historical context of politics, religion, and warfare in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, France, and England. That may sound dry, but it’s not. This is a fantastic piece of historical fiction, and aside from everything else, I learned quite a bit.

What makes the book so powerful is its debunking of Icelandic and Norse legends, the tales told by “skalds” and historians, which glorified their heroes and kings. In a simple, elegant way, Laxness shows us that those searching for glory and those seeking to rule were most often murderers and butchers, men whose crazy bloodlust and will to power led to countless acts of horrifying barbarism. The men who would go down in history and made saints, such as Olaf II of Norway, are shown for what they really were. He does this with all of the right touches, with moments of irony, humor, and occasional reflection from the present. He also does not hold back on Christianity, which was far from Christ-like in its desire for riches and power, and its complicity in the violence. How interesting is it that the Vikings encountered a race of nonviolent people in the extremities of the north, the ancestors to today’s Inuits, who lived in peace and shared the land, and often butchered them. The Inuits would call the Norsemen “pale mankillers” as a result, and it’s hard not to see in this a parallel to Native American encounters with Europeans.

I have read criticism of the book that the sworn brothers’ tale starts to get lost in the historical movements they are swept up in, and which Laxness describes. (Even in this review, I notice that I’m not describing at length the sworn brothers’ memorable adventures, such as Þorgeir hanging from a branch on a cliff face but because of honor, not crying out for help, or Þormóður, much to his brother’s disdain, pursuing women.) I suppose this is part of Laxness’s point, for aren’t most people simply swallowed up by history? The men seek glory and follow their own twisted version of honor, and while you might expect a dramatic comeuppance or a tidy ending, instead they find worse, irrelevance. Laxness is making a point here about man’s fate, in addition to man’s inhumanity to man.

At age 50 when he wrote the book, Laxness was at the height of his powers, and was truly deserving of his Nobel Prize three years later. I found it telling that it was written after WWII and during the cold war, and poignant that the behavior and cycle of violence has never ended. If you’re intimidated by the length and complexity of the Icelandic names of people and geography in the first couple of chapters, as Laxness throws them at you fast and furious, don’t worry. You may want to take a couple of notes, but it’s not an issue as you continue along, and the book is well worth it.
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1 vote gbill | 4 other reviews | Jun 20, 2017 |
What a fantastic thing Joseph Bédier did here, reconstructing this story in 1900 from ancient French poems and other sources. The tale is of the brave young knight Tristan, and the fair lady with the ‘hair of gold’ Iseult, and it’s complete with honor and romance, battles with dragons, magic philters, court intrigues, and daring escapes. Tristan is bearing Iseult across the sea to wed his King, when the two inadvertently drink a love potion that binds them forever, and leads them into adultery. Bédier’s language is enchanting, and adds to his storytelling. What a beautiful image Tristan conjures of a crystal chamber, between the clouds and heaven, filled with roses and the morning, where he would like to take Iseult. How well he describes everyone seeing the “Love terrible, that rode them”, as they simply can’t be apart. There are moments that are far from PG, such as Iseult’s loyal maid pretending to be her and slipping into the King’s bed to sacrifice her ‘purity’ to him, in order to conceal Iseult having lost hers to Tristan, as well as Iseult being turned over to a mob of lepers who want to “have her in common”, but in general the story is told with great restraint, despite a plot containing such passion and violence. If you’re looking for a classic medieval tale, this one’s for you.… (more)
1 vote gbill | 14 other reviews | Jun 20, 2017 |
​If you are expecting instruction on how to do yoga poses - this book is not that. It is filled with one-page personal stories, accompanied by photos of people in different yoga poses, beautiful vignettes of individual relationships with yoga, some more intimate than others, but all totally sincere as to the immensely positive impact that yoga has had on their lives. I have been doing yoga for more than 40 years, and this book reaffirmed my commitment to it in a very special way - as I related to the core feelings about yoga in the people that journalist Lauren Lipton interviewed. Herself a devotee of yoga, she gathered compelling accounts from people of all races, nationalities and creeds - all united in one: yoga in their lives. I applaud her idea for this book and her effort.… (more)
1 vote Clara53 | 1 other review | Jun 20, 2017 |
After having fought for the Whites in the Russian Civil War, Gaito Gazdanov fled for Paris in 1920, and after a few years of miscellaneous factory work and hard labor, he took a job as a late night taxi driver, which he would do for about 25 years. About midway through, before WWII, he would write a non-fiction account of this life in ‘Night Roads’. It’s pretty bleak, as he came into contact with all sorts of derelicts, drunks, and prostitutes in the wee hours of the night, and over the years, in contrast to the romantic Victor Hugo, formed a very negative impression of “les misérables”. Highly intellectual, he was also bitter for having to drive a cab in the first place, and it shows in his writing.

Gazdanov is at times philosophical and at times lyrical, and I do enjoy the sophistication in his writing, but in this book he too often resorts to negative conclusions about humanity and his own state of mind, too often ‘telling’ instead of ‘showing’. It’s not that there aren’t any characters or events; we meet an alcoholic and an aging prostitute who was once a society woman, among a few others. There is a pathos to their stories and their outlooks on life, but they are so banal that it’s very hard to connect with them. This may be a perfect snapshot of Gazdanov’s life in 1939-41, and it’s all the more remarkable that he would write such great fiction while a cabbie given what he was going through. If you’re a big Gazdanov fan I would recommend the book for the autobiography it provides, otherwise, I would suggest skipping it.
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1 vote gbill | Jun 20, 2017 |
This ‘lost novel’ of Walt Whitman’s was published anonymously in serialized form in the New York Sunday Dispatch, so it’s a minor miracle it was recently discovered by Zachary Turpin. It’s a bit of a cross between a Charles Dickens coming of age tale and the American colloquialism and humor of Mark Twain, though critics would (probably rightfully) point out it’s a pretty thin version of both. And yet, how nice to read prose from Whitman, and see in it his humanity and optimism. The villain of the story is a lawyer, whose treatment of a carpenter mirrored what was done to Whitman’s own father. Chapter 19, when the protagonist wanders around the Trinity Church Cemetery, musing over life and death and noting the (real) tombstone inscription for Alexander Hamilton is fantastic, although it seemed a little out of place to the rest of the novel. Had Whitman become a novelist instead of a poet, I could see him fleshing all this out, and adding more of this kind of writing. As a story on its own, it’s pretty average, and includes the usual sorts of coincidences that one so often finds in 19th century fiction. As a window into Whitman in 1852, just three years before he would first publish his masterpiece, ‘Leaves of Grass’, it’s fascinating.… (more)
1 vote gbill | Jun 20, 2017 |
‘The Hearing Trumpet’ reads like wild, feminist, apocalyptic fiction, or a surreal painting of another kind by artist Leonora Carrington. It starts off easily enough, as a very old woman with a hearing problem is marginalized by her son and his family, and then put away into a nursing home. The voice of this narrator is excellent, with little touches of wit and the perspective of someone whose mind is alive and well, and yet is misunderstood by everyone except her friend. The lady enters the home and finds others with various outlooks and intrigues, as well as an old painting of a mischievous looking nun, which Carrington then uses to create a ‘story within a story’ midway through the book. The nun puts up a good impression of being devout, but is in reality a believer in a fusion of all sorts of ancient mythologies and fantasies. As the book returns to the original, outer story, it becomes increasingly fantastical and ends in a crescendo of trippy, creative imagining.

It seems to me Carrington’s point is first and foremost feminist. Confining the old woman to the rigid boundaries and idiotic rules of the nursing home, seems to symbolize women being ‘put in their place’, and indeed, Carrington was not a fan of being shut in and contained throughout her life. Carrington also makes the point that men have dominated, making war on each other and inventing the atomic bomb. About Christianity, she asks “why was Eve blamed for everything?” and wonders “how their angry and vicious God became so popular”. In the apocalypse that mysteriously happens, she seems to be pointing out a need to return to more ancient, maternal ways, those connected with the natural Earth and universe.

I liked the book, but the combination of blending and warping mythological references, most of which were over my head, and the almost fairy tale like elements towards the end were just a bit too much for me to give it a higher rating.
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1 vote gbill | 16 other reviews | Jun 20, 2017 |
Na Thomas Piketty’s analyse ”Kapitaal in de 21ste eeuw” is hier dan de studie over mondiale inkomensverdeling. Hoewel het meten en vergelijken van inkomensstromen aanzienlijk moeilijker is dan het inventariseren van vermogens, is dit boek minder omvangrijk dan dat van Piketty. Milanovic maakt veelvuldig gebruik van statistische voorstellingen (cijfers in plaats van woorden) en analyses. Dat neemt overigens niet weg dat aan dit boek een “helse” hoeveelheid onderzoek ten grondslag moet liggen. Door de steeds verdergaande (financiële) globalisering zijn geldstromen echter steeds moeilijker met nationale activiteit in verband te brengen. Arbeid stroomt naar alle kanten en de beloningen en winsten volgen vaak totaal andere richtingen. Kortom, het zou in de nabije toekomst vrijwel onmogelijk kunnen worden om op mondiaal (maar ook op nationaal) niveau onderzoek te doen naar inkomensverschillen.

Het boek geeft inzicht in deze lastige materie maar laat toch ook een zekere leegte achter. Veel onderzoekresultaten -althans de meeste daarvan- bieden nauwelijks een sturingsmechanisme om zaken bij te stellen. Binnen de geglobaliseerde wereld zijn geen instanties die daadwerkelijk kunnen ingrijpen en nationale staten zijn daar inmiddels slechts gedeeltelijk of helemaal niet meer toe in staat.
En met deze conclusie resteert niet veel meer dan het perspectief van “the winner-takes-it-all”.
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1 vote deklerk | Jun 20, 2017 |
Interplanetary war breaks out in Woking, Surrey England. Newsreaders even less sure where that is than countries in the Middle East.

The War of the Worlds is about Martians invading Earth using advanced technology, like 21 metre tall tripod machines, heat rays, and toxic smogs. One man is able to recount his experience of living through the invasion from the first landing to the start of the rebuilding of southern England.

It is hard to comment on such a classic novel. The War of the Worlds has gone on to influence culture in many ways. The obvious influences are in books and movies, most notably the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels and the entire alien invasion genre. But it also had an impact on science, such Freeman Dyson's search for extraterrestrial life and Robert Goddard's rocket development. Not many books can claim that (seriously, check the Wiki article out for a brief overview https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_War_of_the_Worlds). Makes it very hard to comment...

While I enjoyed this book I came away from it underwhelmed. Much of the novel is interesting, not least of which is the understated setting - because now you would be considered mad to set an alien invasion story anywhere without a prominent monument that can be destroyed. The characters the narrator meets are also interesting, particularly the artilleryman who has big dreams about leading the resistance movement. But this is all told in a memoir style that lacks immediacy, tension, and excitement. Southern England has just been invaded by aliens with death rays, yet the narrator could just as well be relating the time he watched a cricket match in Surrey.

Worth reading as a classic, especially if you forgive the narrative style.
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1 vote TysonAdams | 214 other reviews | Jun 20, 2017 |
I loved this book when I was young. Now that I'm much older I not only loved this book, but actually thought it was better than when I originally read it. Douglas Adams launches all sorts of scathing attacks on the silly stuff in society as ably as he creates a weird and wacky story.

A true legend of literature and this novel was a great example of his status as such.
1 vote TysonAdams | 161 other reviews | Jun 20, 2017 |

Recent Firsts

"First" are first reviews for previously-unreviewed works.

In this revised and expanded edition of Elements of Biblical Exegesis: A Basic Guide for Students and Ministers, Michael J. Gorman presents a straightforward approach to the complex task of biblical exegesis.

Designed for students, teachers, and ministers, this hands-on guide breaks the task down into seven distinct elements. For each of these, Gorman supplies a clear explanation, practical hints, and suggested exercises to help the reader develop exegetical proficiency. The new edition addresses more fully the meaning of theological interpretation and provides updated print and internet resources for those who want to pursue further study in any aspect of exegesis. Appendixes offer three sample exegesis papers and practical guidelines for writing a research exegesis paper.… (more)
  tony_sturges | Jun 21, 2017 |
"Dos versos de Teócrito à série de TV 'Queer as Folk', dos berdaches norteamericanos aos rapazes-esposa da Austrália Aborígene, este livro ilustra simultaneamente o que há de comum [na história e na geografia, entre raças e sexos] no amor e na luxúria, e de que formas tais desejos foram concebidos e construídos ao longo dos séculos."

Um coletânea de artigos organizada por Robert Aldrich que, pela sua erudição, conhecimento, perspetiva distanciada e independente, mas simultaneamente de "insider", é provavelmente um dos melhores livros sobre a história e cultura "gay".… (more)
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  jmx | Jun 20, 2017 |
marley, the dog, tries to play baseball but ends up messing up a few things. the baseball teams learns to adore marley and help her
1 book
  TUCC | Jun 22, 2017 |
I'm not sure I'd have finished this book if it wasn't an audiobook and I had many miles to drive. But the stories told about life in the army and those at home waiting for them was interesting and painfully honest.
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  TysonAdams | Jun 20, 2017 |
Finally read it. Very informative. Sweet.

Good starting point for anyone interested.
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  Shahnareads | Jun 21, 2017 |
I love this!
I need the rest sooo baaad.
It's so pretty!
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  Shahnareads | Jun 21, 2017 |
It's okay. Trail Guides of the Human Body is much better.
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  shadowdancer | Jun 22, 2017 |
With the help of in-depth essays from some of the world's leading philosophers, The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology explores the nature and existence of God through human reason and evidence from the natural world.
Provides in-depth and cutting-edge treatment of natural theology's main arguments
Includes contributions from first-rate philosophers well known for their work on the relevant topics
Updates relevant arguments in light of the most current, state-of-the-art philosophical and scientific discussions
Stands in useful contrast and opposition to the arguments of the 'new atheists'
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  tony_sturges | Jun 22, 2017 |
I bought this graphic novel on a whim. It popped up in my recommendations, the artwork caught my eye, it was on sale; you know, the usual impulse buy. But this French story is very interesting and engaging, much more than an impulse, a great read.

The premise is pretty standard: contract killer is hung out to dry on that last job. I'm sure there is a book of cliches out there for writers, if someone could send me the title so I could buy it, I'd much appreciate it. Anyway, it is Matz' take on the character and story that works wonders. It is also Luc Jacamon's artwork, capturing the details and inner workings of the protagonist.

Volume 2 builds on from this edition nicely. It evolves, it progresses to a higher level that belies its first pages in Volume 1. I don't want to spoil things, I mean, who didn't figure out that Bruce Willis was actually a ghost, aside from the entire theater who threw everything bar the chairs at me? By not spoiling things I won't be mentioning the protagonist's growth from being a loner hitman to having friends.

If you like noir graphic novels, then this series is worth a read.
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  TysonAdams | Jun 20, 2017 |
Self photos
  SHCG | Jun 20, 2017 |
I just can't get enough of this series. Each one is similar yet very different, and I love that the characters interweave across all the stories.
Gobbled up this book and I'm on to the next one to see what the next brother will cook up.
This is a great series for those who are fans of Outlander and Highlander romance novels.
Enjoy and happy reading.
( )
  AmyJ71 | Jun 20, 2017 |
So many things!
I love things!
OooOooOooOooOooooo

I love this book.
( )
  Shahnareads | Jun 21, 2017 |
This was a good trilogy, it started kind of slow, but was a good story!
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  shaunesay | Jun 21, 2017 |
Great series that I felt was more consistent than Irredeemable, which had a lot of plot lines.
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  TysonAdams | Jun 20, 2017 |
read for #boutofbooks and the seriously seris challenge. Fast and fun, looking forward the second full book!
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  shaunesay | Jun 21, 2017 |
Either this was a fairly short book or I read through it rather quickly. Either way this was an enjoyable story. This is a "what if" treatment of the story of Peter Pan and Neverland. What if after Wendy, John and Michael returned, no one believed their story of their trip to Neverland? What if instead they believed the children had been kidnapped and abused, and their stories merely a defense mechanism?

Peter Pan had pledged that he would not return to Neverland until he had found homes for all the Lost Boys and they were happy in their new lives. That was five years ago, and now a teenage Peter is bewildered why he still cannot return home. With Tinkerbell's help Peter finds out Wendy is the final 'Lost Boy' who is unhappy. But his attempt to rescue her accidentally throws her and her brothers into the clutches of Captain James Hook and crew. But Captain Hook may not be as evil as Wendy has always assumed...

Like I stated previously this was an enjoyable story, if not a great one. The only thing that really bothered me is that the story takes place in recent time, not really five years after the original story. I understand there is a sequel in the works, which I may want to read.
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  dorie.craig | Jun 22, 2017 |
What a silly premise for a story. Jeeze.

A man you never met before just barges into your house because he likes your bathtub.... then you sleep with him? That's weird bro.
( )
  Shahnareads | Jun 21, 2017 |
a great story of a boy spending time with his father, paul cezanne, the famous painter
1 book
  TUCC | Jun 20, 2017 |
After having fought for the Whites in the Russian Civil War, Gaito Gazdanov fled for Paris in 1920, and after a few years of miscellaneous factory work and hard labor, he took a job as a late night taxi driver, which he would do for about 25 years. About midway through, before WWII, he would write a non-fiction account of this life in ‘Night Roads’. It’s pretty bleak, as he came into contact with all sorts of derelicts, drunks, and prostitutes in the wee hours of the night, and over the years, in contrast to the romantic Victor Hugo, formed a very negative impression of “les misérables”. Highly intellectual, he was also bitter for having to drive a cab in the first place, and it shows in his writing.

Gazdanov is at times philosophical and at times lyrical, and I do enjoy the sophistication in his writing, but in this book he too often resorts to negative conclusions about humanity and his own state of mind, too often ‘telling’ instead of ‘showing’. It’s not that there aren’t any characters or events; we meet an alcoholic and an aging prostitute who was once a society woman, among a few others. There is a pathos to their stories and their outlooks on life, but they are so banal that it’s very hard to connect with them. This may be a perfect snapshot of Gazdanov’s life in 1939-41, and it’s all the more remarkable that he would write such great fiction while a cabbie given what he was going through. If you’re a big Gazdanov fan I would recommend the book for the autobiography it provides, otherwise, I would suggest skipping it.
… (more)
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1 vote gbill | Jun 20, 2017 |
I read this back in 2011 when I was on a Punisher binge. Without any context from the rest of the Civil War series I rated this 3 stars. With that context, having read Civil War and some of the post Civil War comics now, I'm still left with this as a 3 star story.

The most important parts of The Punisher's story don't happen in this volume, they happen over in Civil War. That makes this more than just a side story, it makes it feel a little pointless. Nothing more exemplifies this than the section set in the bar: B and C grade villains at a wake.

But it is The Punisher and he does kick ass.
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  TysonAdams | Jun 20, 2017 |
Ennis never fails to entertain. I'd previously read A Man Called Kev and some Grifter comics (via Ed Brubaker's brilliant Sleeper and Point Blank series) and this brings the trademark Ennis humour and ultraviolent antihero. Sits nicely alongside The Boys, in my opinion.
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  TysonAdams | Jun 20, 2017 |
Great book for giving you another perspective with which to see the deliverance ministry. Has a Catholic perspective. Need to get his other book now... Unbound.
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  kephradyx | Jun 20, 2017 |
I love reading little added bits.

Makes me want to read the series again.
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  Shahnareads | Jun 21, 2017 |
fascinating, well written, well researched. I did not want to reform it to the library.
this book needs to be reprinted!
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  shadowdancer | Jun 22, 2017 |
A gift from my mother.
It used to be hers.
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  Shahnareads | Jun 21, 2017 |
While I have enjoyed Professor Greenberg's "How to Listen to and Understand Great Music," and appreciated his expertise, nothing quite prepared me for the depth of knowledge he displays about the music of the Baroque, and about Bach in particular. I have long loved the music of J. S. Bach, but Greenberg's love for his subject is so infectious and his explanations so clear and concise that I found myself listening with new comprehension. I really recommend this course which is available through Audible as well as The Great Courses.… (more)
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  HarlotRusse | Jun 20, 2017 |
Review pending.

Read for the "book set in my home town" bit of the Popsugar challenge. Was pleasantly surprised to find that there was one!
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  kephradyx | Jun 20, 2017 |
Little silly. Little weird.
Thats why I took it.

I think it would have been better to elaborate on one story instead of having multiple stories. They seemed cut too short. I wanted more stuff! But it was still fun.

Good times.
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  Shahnareads | Jun 21, 2017 |
There is a lot to like about this superhero story. The idea of a retirement aged superhero who is staring down mortality, wanting to finish his work before dying, wanting to make his family safe and correct his wrongs, is interesting and fun. The final chapter is especially good: what happens when the reaper comes for a superhero?!
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  TysonAdams | Jun 20, 2017 |
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