This was a very worthwhile book; I would give it 4.5 stars if I could. My only complaint is the lack of balance on some of the issues, exacerbated by the incredulous-sounding narrator. I know it was not, nor supposed to be unbiased science, but there was a tinge of exaggeration in both style and substance that, as a scientist, made me uneasy.
That being said, this deserves to be read by everyone who buys processed food. It helps to distinguish between what should be occasional, non-nutritious treats and those foods that are so artificial that they are hardly food. I often hear "everything in moderation" as an excuse to eat lots of processed foods - what is the harm in some Cheese Whiz now and then or a soda every day? - and this really puts these foods in an appropriate context for a healthy diet.
Wow, that was not at all like I though it would be. Funny moments, but written in a story with a main character that is both an over the top caricature and a brutally real a**hole. I found the main character's accent very distracting - so heavy that it drags - and this could have interfered with my ability to bond with him. The other characters had excellent narration, and some of these people could have been very interesting and funny, but there were so many missed opportunities to give them more depth.
In the end, this was the story of the almost redemption of a hitman. Like the main character, the story just falls short in the end. The hitman is deep but unlikeable, the likeable characters shallow. It's too harsh to be light, and too funny to be bleak.
I've thought about the book since I finished it, talked about it with several other people, it was well written, not at all a throw away mystery or a nordic copycat. I just didn't enjoy it.
This book reminded me of the plot of an opera. It takes place in a huge city, but there are only 20 people who live there - they keep meeting each other, dressing up in disguises, and trying to kill or seduce each other. The rhyming names, heavy handed exposition, and general silliness was just over the top for me. Obviously this is a light-hearted mystery series that is supposed to deliver the reader some mild entertainment, but I found its popularity totally baffling. It was neither funny nor had a compelling story line - without either one, it was just silly.
There were many things about this book that initially appealed to me. But the narrative - told from the viewpoint of a woman who doubts her sanity, as we do - was so loose that the plot threads just got lost. It takes a brilliant writer to hold one's attention while the characters ramble, and while this author's style, knowledge of various subjects and vivid sex scenes may have enough appeal to overcome this for some readers, it left me waiting for the end.
A troubled narrator makes some things inherently difficult, but I didn't think that she ever found her voice. The obsessions, water and animal imagery, gender issues, etc., were heavy handed and obscured the relationships that could have been a major strength of the book. In the end, I never really cared about any of the characters enough to want to untangle the story.
This had much less global appeal than I had hoped - I am not a fan of this type of book, and found the School of Magic premise not my thing. But, the story arc was good, characters interesting and well developed, and nicely written overall. I listened to the end and enjoyed it. It had a melancholic sweetness that I appreciated.
There is good information in this book - how habits form independently of conscious memory - but it is also full of ridiculous anecdotes that have nothing to do with habit, in fact don't support the premise of the book in any way. The Montgomery bus boycott? I don't think prejudice is a bad habit. Medical error? That was the antithesis of a habit problem - a written procedure needed to be developed and followed. This read like a high school paper, with an inexperienced writer trying to fit references to the central thesis.
The book needed way more neuroscience and way less filler. You just can't learn much about forming, following, and breaking habits by giving these random examples.
The book is about interacting warmly with others, but includes other self-help topics about controlling yourseful in difficult situations. I don't plan to follow the author's step by step plan, but the book really made me think about several things I can change about myself. I plan to reread it more thoroughly and do some of the exercises.
The only negative I have is that it is a little padded with information and exercises that are found in most self-help books, but there is enough on-topic to think about to make this a recommended listen.
Where to start... First of all, it was an hour of audio slowed to an hour and a half (It only sounded normal by playing it at 1.5 speed), followed by other material. The drag was so bad that I felt it was a blatant attempt to bloat it. Then it was only one nugget of research in a mountain of bible verses, anecdotes, and personal views. This was ok if you want christian-based inspiration, such as what Mike Huckabee does on the weekend, junk if you want real advice. I'm sorry I bought it, a fool for finishing it, and a chump for spending a good credit on a veeeerrry slowly read magazine article.
Great job, thorough research. I was captivated with the bizarre Scientology history, which is so interesting, but also now feel like I have a much better synthesis of this cult. Wonderful read.
Since starting these meditations, I've can really feel a difference. I've bookmarked the meditation starts and look forward to repeating the most effective ones.
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