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About meI’m very cultured, but deep down, I’m superficial.

There are shallow waters down there, below the ice….

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“…. O hush the noise and cease your strife and hear the angels sing.”

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“I’d be sad…. but I understand the world does what it does.”

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If we really knew that God is God, we wouldn’t be anxious for ourselves or try to hurt our fellows.

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Most people don’t really live out their beliefs, especially if their beliefs have more than a mouse’s ambition. For myself, for all of my beliefs, in my passion, internally, I want to treat the wretches just as they have treated me and my friends, and I have another weakness or two, as well.

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God makes people innocent so he can let them off, and we try to make people guilty so we can punish them.

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“…. I am one of those gentle ones that will use the devil himself with courtesy.”

The Clown, Twelfth Night

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I was reading Claudio de Castro, who writes a lot of, Dios te ama, stuff, and I know that He loves me, but I don’t usually think about it. It’s a little abstract. And I’m not the most vengeful person, but I usually don’t see the Love side of it, either. Usually I see an evil world, and I think, How permissible that in a world like this we should all share in the things it offers, including me, so I deal.

But I was just out walking, doing my mantra, Bless the Lord; Bless the Lord; Bless the Lord—and I kinda got that when he says, Bless and do not curse, it matters to him that we do right, not only in the wise even handed way, but that he really loves our blessing; he loves our doing right.

And everything is possible. In the world you see things only distorted, to one degree or another, but in itself, everything good is possible.

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He does not desire that any should perish, although he doesn’t demand that he always get his way.

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I tend to think until my feet leave the ground.

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I’m basically left-brained, verbal, like my dad, although the ideas I think go through a filter that is in some ways more like my mom (the sitcom mom Buddhist), than dad (the aristocrat of the Bible study). Rejecting dad has always been more of a specter for me, since I’m a little girl as surely as I’m a goose, I’m an anima….

But I’m a Christian as surely as I’m a liberal; as afraid as I am of cracker theocracy, and as much as I see gems scattered unevenly through other faiths and traditions, I wouldn’t want to live in a world that had never been transformed by the gospel….

The great thing is to show love to all the world. (& to feel yourself being held by Somebody bigger than you and me).

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One of the reasons I believe in hell is that the crackers (if you like…. quite a descriptive word though) would only be offended by being told that they aren’t going to hell only because no one is, so it seems that the procedure would be rather vain, and not a mercy…. Some people just don’t want to have things the other way.

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I know that there are some Republicans who aren’t Trump people; you don’t get that as much from the Internet or whatever, stereotypically, but I know someone like that. Liberals believe things too, and I guess at times it must seem like a lot to believe.

It’s not my own thing, but I guess that people are entitled to angle on their career and then go home and watch TV, instead of solving racism. There is still a certain amount of overlap of opinions with people who are more easily troubled by injustice. Maybe some people just find it easier to sleep at night and go through life calmly. Like I say somewhere, I may look calm on the outside to many people, but I often can’t even read a book without losing my peace. I went through a period of my life where I wished that I was different, which was very vain.

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The sad thing about the Republican Party is that many people who voted for the Bushes also voted for Trump; the less sad thing is that there are people who are more likes Bushes than Trumps, however they vote, and presidential elections aren’t the only thing that determines whether or in what way a country is unjust. Many people are not really gremlins, you know, although some people more than others are resting in little grooves inside their minds, and some grooves are better than others. Some people are limited in the opposite way; it’s just as a rule in the USA of the 2020s the right is more afraid of compromise than the left as a rule. But that doesn’t make everyone with a taller shadow a gremlin, you know. And, pace the literalists, some people really don’t mean all of what they say. Of course, just because you’re not a gremlin doesn’t mean that you won’t go to hell if you’re too indifferent to good. I don’t want to smother you with toleration.

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We all have our predilections; I’ve always favored the humanities over the sciences, sometimes too narrowly, but really I am interested in what is true. My special province is religion, but that is merely to say, ‘Everything’.

[Or: the purification of Motive.]

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Black Lives Matter
Girls just want to have fundamental human rights
Immigrants make America great
Love is love
Science is real
Kindness is everything
And even if you don’t,
God loves the poor

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I am a re-writer. This page is written in draft-form, so it gets re-written. Reviews get pre-rewritten, like publications, so they stay. (Usually. There is inevitably opinion drift no matter how much thought I put into things.) I catalog books upon completion.

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Occasionally I have a few hard words, but I try not to post mostly critical reviews, especially about authors that I don’t respect or have enough commonality with—people I don’t overlap with sufficiently don’t say much about me in that sense, so it doesn’t matter so much what I think of them.

A good example is George Sheehan. I found his writing (mostly) pretentious and unhelpful, and I must have written a thousand now-deleted words to that effect, until I realized—I stopped running, so maybe one running book is enough, the Bill Rodgers one I actually felt I got something out of?

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“Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?”

Ruth 2:10b (@‘)

~ me to every non-Aryan teacher who has influenced me lol (and I was born on 2/10)

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IF YOUR HEART IS HARD, YOU WON’T UNDERSTAND.

If your heart is stony, you’ll be fickle.
If your heart is thorny, you’ll be worried by the world and deceived by money.

If your heart is soft—good and fertile—you’ll understand.

~ Pepe Gonzalez on the “Parable of the Sower” (paraphrase/translation)

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(@‘) Though of course you make people angry if you’re a sniveling weakling who likes to apologize. The callous will in no way serve as someone’s excuse. It’s not good to forget who you are, and people have a dignity wrapped up in them…. After all, if Black people were sniveling weaklings we’d make them apologize for their black skin. This world would make a body apologize for his religion, his virtues, his good deeds.

…. Humility, false humility—pairs of opposites.

Oh well.

“I can sell you a book that will explain to you the difference between humility and false humility,” said the Sly Fox. “The better that you might deceive yourself.”

“Really?” asked the Sniveling Weakling.

“Sure,” said the Sly Fox. “That and a bag of chips.”

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But oh the struggle to be kind, is cruel....

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I used to get these automatic negative thought processes where I’d imagine my father cornering me and forcing me to defend my beliefs about God, you know. I used to tread water by imagining it distorted and comical like in some sort of artsy musical, but now I see that I can just close that door inside my mind. Such an unequal debate could never be allowed to take place. How completely stupid it would be of me to be so crazy as to take this imagined challenge to unequal debate as a serious face value description of reality. “Let’s fight! Or are ya scared?” “Terrified.” And it’s the least I can do, not to further increase his sin, as I did increase his sin as a teenager when we really did have these scrapes about what I then believed, back in my days of passionate ambivalence. And anyway, usually they just talk about taxes and the price of milk—not that impermissible opinions about taxes and the price of milk can be tolerated by sanctimonious man. How then can I speak to him about the four last things (as he would not call it)? How could I justify that? Why even imagine it? Even to imagine it—that’s not right.

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A bright flash of intuition, guided by hours spread across days of mental leg-work.

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‘Late have I loved you….’

Oft have I lost you,
Tears have I shed,
You were loving me,
Late have I loved you.

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Naturally, after being disobedient one desires to obey God’s law so as to achieve better results. Supernaturally, it is given to one to understand at some point that it is really God obeying his own law through us, when we let him, and the natural results are not important.

Cf ‘*his* (God’s) own righteousness’, not our own, commentary on phrase ‘but to seek first the things of God and his righteousness’, “Catena Aurea, Volume I, Matthew”, edited by Thomas Aquinas.

…. This is a very Christian way of speaking. Of course, in Buddhism or some allied system we might surrender to God or what is holy through meditation; the temptation, which is similar to what you might encounter in Christianity and which so enraged Luther & friends, is when you make such a damn bloody point of surrendering to God, because you’re so good at it.

We’re none of us good at it.

About my library“Superior things are self-evidently better than inferior. But with a sounder judgment I held all things taken together are better than superior things by themselves.” Augustine

Douglas Adams: The fuck does that mean.
Charles Dickens: He’s saying we’re ok.
Douglas Adams: We? We!
Jonathan Safran Foer: All of us!
Malcolm X: All us crackers, we're in it together!
Augustine’s Mom: That’s right…. Ah….

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“The dreams are one.”

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A good catalog is like a good book.

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There’s always more in the book than I can put in a review or even understand, so I’m the unlikely event that you were inordinately interested in me you’d have to read these books; my reviews are additions of my own, but they are not shortcuts or substitutions. Few people are terribly interested in what I write though, and that is perfectly alright.

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One time I almost had a full-on panic attack because of what I read in a book; the guy was saying the right thing for the wrong reason, and I was like…. I don’t know, No! You’re hurting us! ~ Words matter that much to me.

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I draft most of my reviews on the iPhone notes app which means I have to read everything over again once it’s done.

Me: It’s their right.

iPhone: Its they are blue goose right.

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There’s the classification of books, and then there’s the classification of topics.... I classify topics essentially as to whether they are technical or non-technical, not whether they are science, which is not exactly the same thing. Science is a method, but not a topic. I say this not because science is some bad thing—this is Halloween! Red and black! Spider green!.... hmm, are spiders green, then. Anyway, it’s not that science is a bad method, certainly a difficult one, but one that produces results; but I don’t like it as a classification tool for topics. A sociology book is more akin to a diversity memoir than a book about a doctor telling you what to eat. Whether or not it is science just isn’t good classification for me.

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It is entrusted to those of us who read and write to represent those who do not write, or even read; sometimes I think we do not take this seriously.

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All their resentment and all their fear is united (for at least nine months, for at least one night) on this point, We must be privileged. Whatever happens to Them, it must not happen to Mine.

…. And what’s Mine is Me, or, rather, it is Mine, so paws off! What’s Mine is not open to debate, discussion, or reason. If you’re waiting for me to read a book about Mine, you’ll be waiting until you piss yourself buddy this is Policelandia, (formerly known as America).

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And remember: Jesus was Normal. C’mon, say it with me, Hey Zeus era Nor Mall. And the more normal you are, the better Jesus likes you. But who is this Jesus. This Jesus is a powerful demon that can defeat your foes, and give you ice cream. And he runs prisons for chickens and cows. Whenever you accept cruelty because other people do, you worship this god.

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‘But having food and raiment let us be therewith content.’ Now of course Americans generally have more than a bowl of pasta and a shirt on their back, unless maybe they’re trying to raise children on the minimum wage, (*) which isn’t me, but we all tend to want things that we can’t have, which can include books. There’s always another book. It’s not the worst luxury by far, but unlike food which spoils there’s technically little limit on the amount of books you can store, even though any form of wealth can be deceptive.

Now I realize the obvious, that pastoral religion, devotions, are restrictive—a whore here a whore there, everywhere a whore whore, and it’s not like I encourage bitter paranoia. I don’t. But the thing about a really bad whore is that there can never be enough; there’s always another dollar bill, because there’s always some other whore, and there can never be a sufficient margin of superiority that she can have over her. And yes, there’s always another slice of cake, until eventually you die of a heart attack.

And always another book about another.... and then another one about how you can stop that from....

Really the best thing is to be ignored, if like me you labor under the impression that people have to care about your book of cake recipes, really the best thing that can happen for you is if no one does.

(*) Callous thoughts: maybe low-wage/minimum wage workers just should decide not to have children. Hollywood lies aside, children screaming for money you don’t have doesn’t make you happy. And if enough people did it, there would eventually be a labor shortage, until low wage workers finally got paid what they’re worth.

It’s also obviously not the children’s fault, and parents obviously have very little control over media and many things like that, but it’s unfortunate how children are raised. Told you’re going to be rich (kingly adventure), taught how to be poor (slacking off or possibly even doing well at school), until like everyone else you are ‘acquiescent yet discontent’ or ‘discontent yet acquiescent’ (William Temple).

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It’s ok to have a small number of very bad books about which something can be said. We must understand our neighbors. But I am making a real effort to, get rid of, the moderately bad books about which little can be said.... Of course part of me wants to keep them because the ink has dried on the paper in interesting patterns, like in abstract art.

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To all the theologians whose books I read and deleted because I said nasty things about them because they’re not like Betsie ten Boom, I apologize, but only because she would want me to.

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Reviews reflect my opinion at that date.

Opinion drift is inevitable, but if I feel like I really did get something wrong, then I delete it.

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Reading is obviously partly about gathering information, but is is also about making decisions.

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Religion/atheism: My thinking about this has changed over the years; I used to be a little credulous, but now I think that doubting all the right things is the other side of the coin to believing all the right things. And you have to be a little sensitive or merciful for people’s problems. If you live in Belfast, then maybe local history propels you towards the fuck you style of atheism. Maybe it’s even better—less bad, anyway. After all, no matter which horn of the dilemma you take in this troubled world, I don’t think you can get all the answers right unless you’re an angel or something. So why not a little mercy for earthly fools? Certainly if you’re going to be very bad you’d best not be religious.... But despite all the social factors and personal choices, I think that part of it is due to inborn styles of thinking and preferred affective styles. How God takes all this into account on the Great Day I don’t know, though of course I imagine he does. Reading Twain or somebody like that, the cutting skepticism, the habitual disbelief—completely apart from whether it’s good or bad I usually do not tend that way. There are some sins we can never indulge in, when they are sins, I mean, because we are too busy with the other girl, so to speak, on the other side of the room.... I can sorta train myself to be more skeptical and less credulous, or I can try, when I find it to be a good or to the extent that I find it to be a good, but it will never be where I rest easy. Though of course there are terrible things about religion. It’s not perfect because it’s mine, partly. Hair-splitting theologians can be infuriating.

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You can only read so much, and you shouldn’t try to give up everything else; no matter what you do you can only read so much—not everything, not all of even one field (and you shouldn’t try, shouldn’t turn yourself into a monoculture), not much compared to your average local library. But you can read a lot in a meaningful sense; you can read a lot, more than enough to change several times.

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Paul: Work out your own salvation in fear and trembling.
George: And think for yourself, because I won’t be there with you.
*they chill for a minute about how well this gels*
Regina: And throw away those ankle socks! All of them!
John: Why? What’s this now?
Regina: *mad* Don’t argue as though this were fucking philosophy class! *happy again* Going to work love you bye! *slams*
John: Yo this shit here is severe.
Paul: Just throw away the ankle socks, John. No one can possibly explain every little thing to you, no matter who it is.
George: But maybe he’ll write you another letter if he gets time.

These are the thoughts my mind thinks when I can’t quite get that extra thing done....

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Dr. Jung: *throws hands off wide as an admission/concession* Although you should keep in mind, it can be difficult to differentiate between an intuition and a prejudice.
Young Student: *starts coughing violently as a spontaneous expression of extreme discomfort*

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Music: One album is not a book. You cannot read a book worthy of the name in one sitting. So I create these semi-imaginary, reified bundles of albums and call them a book. Granted that these bundles have more re-read value than a TV series or a novel.

As to content, I’ll allow that I like pop, as it’s pleasant, and I like fancy old white churchman classical music, as it’s.... godly, unless it’s a clever devil indeed, and that itself would be quite a show. I don’t hate white people or their gushing; their gushing is my gushing. That said, Black music is really at least as worth listening to, at least. I’m interested in everything, but Black people really make the music scene, culturally, although in the real world it’s a coin flip at best whether they get anything good for their skill and soul. It’s a lot to struggle against, even when they have half a shot. I don’t say all this to be a ‘music critic’, to make little teenage girls who don’t have anything either feel bad because of what they didn’t ask to inherit. A lot of guys do get off on putting girls down, and it isn’t right, as unreal as pop can be and as good as classical music and Black music can be. But the tears of white women can be a terrible thing for all of us, a prison for them, and a poison in the soup for everyone else—well, for me, a poison in the soup, and burning dragon’s bane blood for the blacks. (Don’t tell me prose poetry alliteration is all bad or I'd better say that all you do is alligator butchery instead of amazing bread. *sunglasses* Music critic, everybody! Straight from Wall Street, move over, Old Man Christgau, O Thou Great Letter-Grader of Poetry Power and Promises!)

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TV/films: A lot of TV is slop, but I don’t want to turn that into some vain rule. The only rule I have is that I buy the things and then watch them twenty or thirty minutes at a time, regardless of how long it is—three hours, doesn’t matter, I’ll be seeing it in 20-30 minute chunks. TV is far too immersive and that can be a problem. But a TV season can be a bit like a genre novel in a series, a trio (a little rule I have) of movies by the same director like a collection of short stories.

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Novels: I need a certain amount of fiction to keep me grounded; people sleep and wake up and eat, and people talk to each other; people live and sky is blue and trees can be rather tall, right. Munching on too much abstraction isn’t good for you; it’s not all of you, not even all of your mind.

Although of course the simplest mind candy part of stories, plot—first it didn’t happen, but, then it did—isn’t all. But it can be difficult to investigate the themes and what the story tells us about societies and ourselves, without simply mining it for factoids. A spark of inspiration is required, and one cannot get it by grasping at it. (I read all of “Childhood/Boyhood/Youth”, and I like Tolstoy, but all I consciously got out of several hundred pages was, you know, How terrible everything is. “This Just In: Things Terrible”. Not a good theme, not worth telling anybody, as no half-baked thesis is.)

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Digital/paper: Digital is preferable, because of space requirements. I also plan on replacing all the Top40 books I got at the brick and Noble stores back when I did that, with digital. I also plan on using KindleUnlimited—slightly more generous than just going to the library, lol, but they have stuff there not available digitally elsewhere, but if something is good I’ll probably buy a paper copy to give away.

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Sometimes I wonder what the traditional Romanophobe Protestant, laboring under the impression that everybody had better be Victorian, does with, “.... And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.”

(reads Ephesians 2:17, above) *closes Bible* And that’s why we can’t read novels. Goodnight, children.

But Daddy, it said the opposite!

Children, it’s in the Bible, so it must be Victorian. *blows out the light*

.... They do similar things with Shakespeare, of course. With the populars (not the classics) you are dealing with things farther off, but perchance God comes to them FIRST.

…. …. But people just don’t believe what they believe.

[Cf I MYSELF will not accuse you; MOSES will accuse you.]

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Cookbooks: I’ve decided that cookbooks (and food guides with recipes) can be considered read, and therefore cataloged, if I have read and thought about each recipe, even if I haven’t actually made each one (especially as written, since many are too complicated). The other way would be too demanding a standard, like saying you have to transcribe a talk before you’ve allowed that you’ve heard it. I think if I read the recipe and at least consider making it or something like it with similar ingredients, then I can consider the book read after I’ve done that for the whole book, since eventually it will influence the way I eat.

Which is important, since there’s more to life, even to religion, than Greek philosophy, and I no longer understand the deep wisdom in accepting the McDonald’s/McMansion default in clothes & cleaning and especially food, just because it’s not linguistic, or sufficiently teenager-y. It savors too much of punishing the non-literary, and, ¿Quién soy yo, para juzgar? Who am I to judge?

Although someone else will probably judge you eventually if you never think about the basic activities of your life because you’re too busy pretending that you’re Pontius Pilate, deluding yourself. It’s the same as if you’re in captivity to the convenient, because in a way you are, just for a different reason, maybe, than some, so—not recommended.

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Although it’s an interesting comment on what we do, how little impact a book can have on habits, in this case the ingrained societal ideas that we literally incorporate into our bodies....

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Although, more seriously, I got in the habit of viciously purging and giving or throwing away books I wasn’t going to read or didn’t see the value of when I was given a nasty attic’s clutter full of books, relatively early in youth, and I’ve come to think that getting rid of books I’m not going to read (once or again) and don’t see the value of, even if it’s not important from a storage point of view, (although in some cases it could be, obviously), has a beautifully clarifying effect, focusing my thinking and stopping me from wasting time. You can always repurchase a book that has merit and wins the prize after all, but if you never cull you essentially can’t organize and are paying to have a mess on your hands. And usually I don’t have second thoughts, really. Good books are worth paying for and bad books are worth less than empty notebooks from the dollar store, really.

Also, after in my vain youth thinking that *everything* that I wrote was interesting, I gradually came to realize that *much* of what I wrote was defective either in whole or in part; I have now finally realized that *essentially all* of my first drafts stand in need of substantial revision.

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I read more than one book at a time. Many more. I find it easier.

Groups75 Books Challenge for 2021

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