Lloyd James is a compelling narrator as he seems to understand the material and reads the more academic sections in understandable prose. He is by far my favourite non-fiction narrator.
I think that Mr Douthat gives huge food for thought, especially to a non-American trying to understand the political landscape. Although, I do not necessarily agree with all his conclusions he certainly made me think about how I view the institutional Catholic Church, the Pentecostal movement as it is working itself through Africa and the new religion of "self". I would have liked more systematic theological depth as I thought that this could have strengthened some of his arguments. I also would have liked him to make more connections between the history of Church development in the US with the political situation now. However this is my particular bias as Church history in general and the historical development of systematic theology is a bit of a passion.
All in all a compelling "read" and I will definitely be following his views throughout the election period. Not necessarily in agreement but as an interesting point of clarification for my own thoughts.
Food justice and access to nutritious food is one of my interests. This book did not disappoint as it traced the increasingly industrial process of bringing our food to market and how the processes strips our food of nutrition. It also clearly shows how food production is no longer a quest to feed people but to improve both market share and Wall Street performance.
A challenging read and, I hope, just one more nail in the coffin of big, industrial food production. If this does not challenge us to grow our own gardens and support local food producers I do not know what will. Even more importantly it clearly shows that good, nutritious food is becoming the preserve of the rich and those on limited and no incomes are not able to access the food their bodies need.
Loosing our lunch in its processed pre-packaged form is not only a health issue, it is a social justice issue and I hope that we can all add our voices to the increasing need to transform our food economy.
Fr Kung is currently one of the Catholic Church's most interesting and talented systematic theologians. Although this work follows the history of the Catholic Church, one is able to experience the powerful and loving intellect behind the ideas.
Fr Kung is recognised as a reformer, and for not following Catholic teaching is such matters as Women's Ordination and Gay Rights to name but a few of the current issues. He is no longer able to teach under Catholic Authority. Despite this, this book still reflects his love for the people of God and his realisation that the Catholic Church, through its institutions, can be a powerful voice for the voiceless. He clearly articulates that the platforms that current conservatives take for granted as they rest their arguments on tradition, may be false. He challenges both Catholics and non-Catholics alike to embrace reform based on continued dialogue between history and the current tensions of the present age. Throughout the book he refers to the dictates of Christ as a guide not only for personal faith but for institutional faith.
Interesting, clearly articulated and a challenge to the new Papacy of Francis. If nothing else, this book has helped me think of different ways to embrace the reality of the conservative Church that looks to a tradition that is not as stable as is generally articulated and a new possibility for renewal and growth.
This book requires some thought so I found myself having to mull over some of the ideas. Thus, I did not find it a book that could be digested in one sitting.
I am not an American so, when I had the opportunity to visit the States earlier this year I thought I would read some American Literature. I came upon Faulkner quite by chance, so I bought the book to listen to on the plane. What an absolute joy. I must admit I started it thinking, "I do not like this at all", but, with the skilful weaving of the stories and the intimate, unhurried development of the characters the story and the writing began to grip me.
The story itself is bleak and reminds me of the tone and landscape of the writings of JM Coetzee. However, the characters within the stories are so finely drawn that they become clearly and uniquely defined within the bleakness. They are not bleak, they are tragic and fascinating, they drew me into the story and they seem to have become real people rather than the characters of a novel.
The wider themes of racism, sexism and poverty are so clearly traced that they almost seem like unique characters within the novel. What I think Faulkner does particularly well is to breathe these external cultural and economic elements into his characters so it is clear how embedded they are in their culture. The question I found myself asking was always "if it had been different, what then, how would the inner worlds of the characters and their behaviours been different if their lives had, somehow, been gentler, calmer, less stark?". I think that this is Faulkner's key strength. He insists that his reader asks these questions but leaves no opportunity for a kinder, gentler world for his characters. Poverty, lack of opportunity and narrow minded bigotry always limit choices in this novel, and these conditions are never absent.
On a final note, the narration is superb. Once again, being a non-American, has made accessing the various elements of the book a lot easier.
I have both read and listened to the White Tiger and must admit the the audio book really helped in terms of the pronunciation of Indian words. It also gave a better sense of what the author was describing. I appreciated this small slice of Indian life as previous books I have read on India have been on a more epic scale. I was disturbed by the underlying violence that is portrayed as part of the life of the Indian working class. Furthermore, the "selling" of people into what appears to be a lifetime of indentured labour is truly frightening. Adiga, by only giving a small taste of the caste system, brings home the fact that it remains an integral part of Indian life - something about which a Westerner is not really aware. The endemic nature of the corruption and how it impacts on the very vulnerable is so beautifully portrayed that the reader is emotionally drawn into the horror of the consequences.This book is beautifully and accessibly written. Adiga has expertly put his characters in the calm centre of a storm without neglecting the impact that the storm is having on the individuals. His anger is restrained but comes through clearly in the simmering anger of his main character. As far as I am concerned this is a masterful work and I look forward to more of his writing in the future.
We have both the dramatised and undramatised version of this book and this one is far our favourite. My small son (5 years) loves Winnie bumping down the stairs and has taken to saying "oh bother" whenever something does not go his way. He loves listening to it before bed at night and we spend some time chatting about the stories. Although I have read all these stories to him through the years this narration is really making AA Milne part of his childhood memory and, I hope, will be passed on to his children when the time comes.
My little boy (4) giggled and giggled all through the book. I thought that for a small boy this would be a fun story. It is not too long so he is able to concentrate for the whole time and it is a nice bedtime read when I am not around. Unfortunately he has now taken to
The author really knows his subject and interweaves his own experience of reading Austen, his life and choice quotes from her wonderful books. His depth of knowledge of the author, her books and other writings gave me a great deal to think about. Although, I do not necessarily agree with all his conclusions it was great to
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