I have been a fan of Ehrman's, but this book has really let me down. He is talking about Christian mythology here without making that clear. Christians, it is true, do not want to admit they have a mythology, but the New Testament is just that--with a little historical material mixed into it.
The writers of the New Testament were not interested in historical accuracy, the idea was foreign to them. They were used to the Jewish tradition of religious writing, which became the Christian tradition too. In this tradition the desired result is a story with maximum impact and appeal--which then becomes accepted as the truth, the logic being that if it feels right, it must be right.
Ehrman seems intent on creating new stories about Peter, Paul, and Mary (Magdalen), working over the informal oral source material in the Bible--but ignoring the fact that this kind of material is inconsistent by its very nature. No matter, he will make it consistent anyway, and pretend it is history. This might be acceptable for a run-of-the mill religious writer. But it is inexcusable for a scholar of his standing.
He tells a story that is entertaining and uplifting, suitable for a Christian TV series or a church school. His analogy to the folks singers Peter, Paul and Mary is deliberate and glib.
As he aged, Charles Dickens sharped his skill as a satirist. In his last book, Our Mutual Friend, he displays a skill that will probably never be surpassed in the English language. He skewers Victorian hypocrisy mercilessly—and being Dickens, gets away with it. Anyone else would have ended up in The Tower.
The British have always excelled at making fools of themselves, and the book’s characters have done this brilliantly. The narrator for the audio book, Robert Whitfield, is also brilliant; he knows how to speak the English Language.
The Victorians loved to make fun of themselves in a light-hearted manner, such as in the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. This was one of their finer virtues. We Americans, by contrast, are an inferior lot. We never make fun of ourselves in a light-hearted way, but prefer self-righteousness. We take ourselves much too seriously.
Come to think of it Mencken might be an exception, or even the economist John Kenneth Galbraith; but I can’t think of any contemporary examples. We have lost our sense of humor—and that is a dark matter indeed.
I found the parts about his time in the States interesting. But the parts about Afghanistan didn't make any sense, and I ended up frustrated.
I got the clear impression that it is a violent and chaotic place, but not much else. Why he would want to go back there, I cannot imagine. Was he trying to be another martyr?
When I first downloaded this I has a player that only supported a format 2 download, which is entirely inadequate for playing music. With format 4, the sound is excellent.
Women interest me, but listening to the smalltalk of two young women, and nothing else, was boring.
From Wikipedia: Babbitt, first published in 1922, is a novel by Sinclair Lewis. Largely a satire of American culture, society, and behavior, its main theme focuses on the power of conformity, and the vacuity of middle-class American life.
As you can imagine, Sinclair Lewis was not America's favorite writer -- but, on the other hand he was certainly well-known. Lots of Americans enjoyed poking fun at America. It has been one of our favorite sports -- and this has been one of our strong points -- and we are still at it. In Latin American, by contrast, it is illegal to for the media to criticize the government.
This cannot be classified as a profound novel, but it is well done, and gives one a feel for the <Real America> of the Twenties -- which in many ways has not changed that much. Sinclair Lewis has come back into style, now that we realize just how stupid we can be.
I have only one criticism: I tired of hearing the credits repeated 29 times. It was originally a serial radio program and they neglected to remove these when they published the whole thing. Of course you can also read the book.
Victor Hugo at his best is amazing, but he frequently wanders all over the place. Try an abridged version.
Dickens can be hard to understand, because there is a huge culture gap between his time and ours. His verbosity, convoluted syntax, and strange vocabulary can make reading difficult and listening even more difficult--to say nothing of his excessive sentimentality and over-dramatization.
According to Wikipedia, Bleak House has 18 main characters and 36 minor characters. Evidently, this did not tax his readers, but it is a bit much for me. I needed a short explanation sometimes, to remind me who some of these people were.
I had little trouble understanding the male narrator, but I could hardly understand the female narrator, she read so quickly. She seemed to think she was reading to a Victorian audience, not someone in the American colonies.
When its bad its only mediocre.
The recreation of her first date with Arthur Miller, for example, is a high point. Her attempts to create great literature don't always work, for example, the opening scene with the messenger boy delivering death.
This book will change your brain, whether it is male or female. The author, Louann Brizendine, reads herself, and her wry sense of humor comes through—especially when talking about sex, one of her favorite subjects.
She reminds us the testosterone is an aggression and sexual arousal hormone in both sexes. Which is fine, except males have more of it—much more of it. Some of my women friends have remarked that males are more prone to violence, but, being a relatively passive male, I didn’t believe them. She has made a believer of me—and given me insight into my adolescent sex-driven behavior, something I certainly didn’t understand at the time—to say nothing of my parents.
Her description of the emotional problems of adolescent girls made me glad I wasn’t one of them. Here again, the problems of being a woman would overwhelm any man. For example, I have never understood how a woman can manage a career and a family at the same time. As she says, it ain’t easy, and everybody suffers because of it.
The author makes it clear that hormones are what run our life, organize our brains, and make us men and women. (There are some differences here that might surprise you.) There is a lot of talk now about gene therapy, but hormone therapy is much easier—especially for women whose hormones tend to get out of line and drive them (and everyone else) crazy.
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