Who was Jesus and what did he preach? Does it match the gopsels message? How did Christianity become so popular? These are amongst the questions that Reza Aslan answers in this book that attempts to find the most plausible history to Jesus and the story of Christianity.
Most of those interested in this book know how it turns out so no spoilers to worry about, and so I will give you the short answers proposed....
Jesus was an itenerant preacher-healer that took over John the Baptist's mission upon John's death. This mission challenged the Jewish leadership and Roman rule. Jesus preached of a new world order that would come in his lifetime. He preached this message to the unsophisticated and poor and found a good following. His mission climaxed when he entered the temple at Jerusalem and kicked over tables and unleashed animals. At this point he became a criminal wanted for sedition, and for his sedition he was ultimately executed.
His message was not of peace and love to everyone rather it was about how the Jewish world was corrupt and needed clensing. It was a message to Jews for Jews. In the years after his death much of what he taught was changed to make it more palitable for new converts and to smooth over relations with the ruling class. Early church leaders like Paul completed hi-jacked Jesus's message and changed it so that he was God not man and so that gentiles were the primary evangelical target.
I have read a lot of religious material both from a faith perspective and from the historical perspecitive. Nothing I have ever read in this subject area has been as gripping as this narrative was to me. I really appreciate the context that was drawn around Jesus's life and the answers given to many of the inconsistencies in the new testament. I realize that there are other answers out there but this book took the simplest approach and most plausible I have ever read to explaining Jesus. The only downside was that the author would often jump around in history by many years which was a little confusing at first. I also wish he had devoted more time to the resurrection. That said I like the pacing and the length which helped this from becoming boring like so many other books on the subject.
Tim Conway is about the luckiest guy in the world and he knows it. "What's so Funny" is comprised of vignettes of Conway's life woven together to form a life story.
The stories were all very positive and overall had such strong tones of irrepressible optimism that at times this book felt more like a performance and less like honest sharing. Tim Conway is not shy with the praise of others and at times this too seemed heavy handed.
In total, this is a fairly tepid memoir that will offend absolutely nobody. This can be good or bad depending on what you are looking for. I found this book to be "laugh out loud" once but mostly it just mildly amused me.
I am a little too young to have appreciated most of the characters and the stories here. I would say that this book would be most loved by folks that were middle aged in the 60s and 70s.
This is a wonderful book. 1776 was an amazing year and the author captures the events and action with so much detail that its like he was there. I learned a lot about the revolutionary war - things I would have never learned in school. One thing that I found particularly interesting was how there were so many coincidences leading to wins or gains for the continental army. It was amazing how many times things looked like they were just about done for Washington's army only to see them turn around (sometimes overnight). I think that 1776 surprised everyone - including Washington himself. It was a great lesson in never giving up! Great read and I highly recommend for anyone - not just history buffs.
Seems like people love the Dave Robicheaux mysteries but I don't see it.
This book had all the get-up-and-go of a Mississippi barge during a drought. Sure, there was action but it all seemed gratuitous. To me the mystery almost seemed secondary to this story. I didn't feel like there was a plot force driving all the characters towards a conclusion. It was just Dave and his pal Clete meandering around and beating up bad guys. Speaking of "bad", the class-hate (rich=bad) is so cliche these days that it often drives all mystery right out of mysteries.
I did like the descriptions of Louisiana and the people. I also loved the narration. Having said this, the novel was too long for me and not much fun. I only recommend it to Robicheaux fans. For me...it was my first and last of Monsieur Robicheaux. To you sir, I must say adieu.
Gorky Park is a detective novel set in the former Soviet Union. It is a dense book with many characters and a plot that seems to plod along - never boring but also never truly exciting. What made this story good, however, was the author's imagery. So many times I thought, "Wow that is a great description!" Also, the author's knowledge and understanding of the Soviet Union seemed very deep. I only hope that the bleakness described has been been lifted since the story was written. It was a fascinating novel if for no other reason than to get a glimpse of this.
The low part of this book, which lead to the title of this review, was the narration. The narrator was more a reader and less a performer. He needed better timing, better intonation, and better character voices for this story to work as an audio book. I felt lost sometimes in scene transitions and in dialogue.
This is a clever book in so many ways and it attempts to confront so many social and philosophical questions - questions all the way up to the meaning of life.
I read this story in high school and remember it being pretty good, so I decided to read it again. What I found was a much different book. Now I know why there were rumors about it being provocative. I must have read the cleaned up version, with none of the main character's sexual hang-ups. This book is tragic, sad, and thought provoking. I recommend it for a book club.
Pretty good story that celebrates doing the right thing when nobody is watching and when it would be easy to not do anything instead. The story concerns a simple man that is comfortable with his life as a machine model maker until a tragedy forces him into an adventure of a lifetime.
This is a sweet story and the hero is very likable. My only problem was with the story climax - it wasn't very climatic. Still I found this book very enjoyable. It made me long for simpler times when the world was a much bigger place.
Tell no lies is not bad - much better than other thrillers I've read (even by much more well known authors).
I almost put this book down early on, however, because I felt that it was sanctimonious. There seemed to be a hostile tone towards wealthy people that was hypocritical based on the actions of some of the characters. While this tone was very strong at first, it was moderated somewhat later on. I am not sure what the author was trying to say here (if anything) so I tended to ignore it.
The mystery was very good except for a few surprising clues that emerged towards the end that immediately ruled out suspects and made others fit. Also, I found the endings of the side story lines trite and saccharine. Overall though, the plot was well crafted and MOST characters were believable. I feel like this novel is worth reading if you have the time.You'll especially like this novel if you know details of San Francisco geography. Hurwitz has peaked my interest as an author.
I must admit that I've had Defending Jacob on my media player for a long time. I started this book several times. I found it slow and centered on suburban life with kids (something I don't know much about), and I just couldn't get into it. I am so glad that I gave this book one more chance. It was excellent.
The story starts with the murder of a middle school child. The asst. district attorney takes the case only to realize that his son may be involved. The story follows the trial of the son and raises some interesting questions, such as, "how far would you go to protect your child", "can violence be inherited and are we doomed to commit the sins of our fathers."
This book becomes a real page turner, and I could not put it down, which is rare for me. The book will keep you guessing until the very last moment. If you're like me, you won't see the ending coming. The story is told in retrospect and is mysterious in certain ways (perhaps a little too mysterious in some aspects).
I liked this book and I will be reading more of Landay soon. The style reminded me of Scott Turow. The narration was excellent and the narrator's style was well suited to court room dialogue, which was a large part of this book.
Shipkiller is an action novel that tells the story of a man who, upon being run over by a giant tanker named "Leviathan," loses his wife and almost his life. This event sets him on a quest to sink the giant ship.
The hero's quest is leads him to link up with a woman who's character is largely there to reveal things about the hero and so is drawn in pretty 1-dimensional terms. The hero also links up with the Mossad, which I still don't completely understand as to why. This linkage brings him in conflict with entire countries and allows for some political intrigue that I felt was a little out of step with the rest of the story. I wish that the author had stayed closer to a modern version of Moby Dick and played on the idea that obsession consumes. Instead this is more of a James Bond story where the hero has a mission that brings him in peril and political intrigue (and in love with a woman).
I think that this was a pretty fun story and the first two chapters cannot be beat as examples of how to start an action novel. The narration was good but very slow. I wish that the narrator would have talked faster and paused less often.
When I look back on the Harry Potter books it seems obvious to me now that Rowling (Galbraith) would move into mystery writing. The Potter books were all, at their heart, mystery novels.
This 2nd installment of the Cormoran Strike mystery series is even better than the first (which I also ranked as 5stars). The recurring characters continue to develop and become more complex and the scenes/imagery are rich and easy to become immersed in. I found this book difficult to put down.
I think that Galbraith (Rowling) is a great writer. Her characters come to life and in that way she reminds me of Charles Dickens.
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