Independent human spirit.
Zhu Xiao-Mei's story is highly interesting and sad. She lived through the Cultural Revolution as a music conservatory student. Her conservatory was shut down by the Maoist regime, first by burning all of the music scores, then by humiliation and violence toward the professors and students (and using the conservatory as a mass grave to store bodies), then by sending the students to labor camps to "reeducate" them. The fact that music wasn't allowed in China yet she still managed to become a concert pianist in France and the United States is inspiring. Besides her background, I most enjoyed her musical philosophizing wherein she recounted things her professors had taught her, what she learned from personal practice, and what it was like having a passion for music and not being allowed to play it. This is definitely a book a musician can pick up and be VERY inspired (comes with a jargon warning label for the non-musician, though).
No—at least not one that contains musical jargon or recounts stories death and oppression. She would be a good reader of children's books, but sometimes read very dark parts in the book with a giddy excitement that confused me. Some musical words she mispronounced were Bach, opus (she said "op" instead of "opus"!), scherzo, Mozart, pianist (!!!) (I know that one's debatable, but musicians I think only pronounce it one way: pi-AN-ist), and about 3 or 4 others. Because these are everyday words for me, I found her chronic musical mispronunciations so annoying that I began reading the book on Kindle instead. And as I mentioned, she read the scenes about the devastation the Cultural Revolution caused under communist dictator Mao Zedong as if she were reading "Pippi Longstocking" to a child, so that was annoying too. Her biggest plus was her Chinese pronunciation, which was very helpful to me because I know nothing about it and would have otherwise been lost.
Although it did not make me cry, it inspired me to think more about music's role in being an expression of the independent human spirit. When a regime attacks music, art, and literature, there's something about those things that they want to prevent. People bent on control know that in order to have people wrapped around their fingers, they need to eliminate expression. It's part of their attempt to kill the soul. Passion for these things, however, can't die. That makes musicians, artists and writers (even if they're just little kids) dangerous to despots.
Highly recommended book!
I liked some of the devotional entries (and they were by numerous authors) but not others. Overall I think the beginning was good, but they got a bit clichéd and even offensive near the end to people who have dealt with real tragedies and not just daily "inconveniences."
Favorite devotional chapter: "Seeing the Possibilities" on imagination's role in spirituality.
Least favorite devotional chapter: The "enduring suffering in the name of Christ" chapter where the author's plane ticket didn't get upgraded to first class and she didn't even get a window seat in economy. I'm not even kidding.
The narrator was good. However, I will not be reading anything more from "Women of Faith." Some of the devotional chapters were stories that didn't even mention God or quote Scripture at all, and many of them struck me as cushy and privileged. Overall, I was unimpressed.
Work of fiction about a violin soloist living in Chicago. Beautifully written, but explicit in many places. Psychologically heavy. Like "The Great Gatsby" meets "A Child Called 'It'" meets "Deliverance." A true work of art despite the difficult subject matter, but it comes with a warning to unsuspecting readers: be prepared for just about anything.
I had heard that this book would change my life, but I didn't believe it until I read it. Goff's stories encourage the reader to live on whims without social restrictions on love and humanity.
This book is narrated by the exuberant author who probably talks with his hands, so there were a handful of times I had to listen twice, but otherwise the narration is also good.
Piper begins by writing an anti-anti-intellectual manifesto and then spends the second half of the book wanting not to offend the evangelical Christians that are his target audience.
I did enjoy this book, especially the discussion about the meaning of the passage in 1 Corinthians 1:18-29 ("Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?") His main argument is that the problem is not the intellect (that which God gave us) but man's arrogance, and that God intended us to use both our hearts and our heads to understand him.
Piper's book is theologically sound, well-rounded, fair, and does a decent job of saying what we were all thinking, but I do wish he would have gone deeper into addressing the hurt and harm that anti-intellectualism has caused people in the church.
Musical examples were included in the audio, which made it very engaging and helped me understand the context of Tchaikovsky's compositions.
As a Tchaikovsky biography, this one is rather short. Others are much longer and go more in depth, especially into musical analysis. This one is succinct enough for the average reader and sufficiently whets the appetite of someone wishing to study further.
The British gentleman who narrated did so clearly and as though he was talking to a friend, not reading a biography.
Yes. In fact, it's so short I listened to it in just a few sittings.
Entertaining. Interesting. Fun.
The behind-the-scenes look at the Star Trek episodes, the stories having to do with the actors and others battling it out with NBC, and the whole process.
Well, William Shatner was there! That made it cool that he narrated it, even if I thought he talked too fast and muffled in some areas.
This is a bad question considering it's a book about the movies and TV episodes.
Very entertaining and enlightening. I actually did a class project on Nichelle Nichols' contribution to civil rights and used Shatner's book as a reference. I even came in costume! I really feel like a big Star Trek nerd now that I've read this book. There was some overlap from Nimoy's "I Am Spock," but not much.
I thought about it, but I know that when it comes right down to it, reading a book about time management is just counterproductive unless it's just going to be a few inspirational tidbits to get you going.
Probably not. I mean, I liked it, but it wasn't earth-shattering. It didn't offer any new or original ideas. The gist of it is just that many successful CEOs get up early to exercise or do things that are important to them in solitude.
Someone who didn't read as breathy.
Her point that the morning hours are when you get to focus on things without distraction and the afternoon hours should be spent corresponding with people and having meetings (i.e., dealing with other people) was poignant and helpful.
It was short. It was okay. I liked it. But it needs more expansion, otherwise I could have read all of it in a blog post.
Fascinating. Inspiring. Tragic.
There were many things to like. I loved Metaxas's skillful and engaging writing. That coupled with the compelling story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the awesome narration made this the most captivating book I've read all year. It wasn't just interesting on a biographical and historical level; it also engaged the reader on philosophical, theological, and ethical questions. How could it not when it's about a Christian man who was involved in a plot to assassinate Hitler and deeply believes he is doing God's will? The book was just amazing on every level. Highly recommended.
I really enjoyed hearing his voice and I thought his performance was awesome. The German pronunciations were seamless and helpful, and when quotes from letters were read, he used different voices, which made it clear whether you were listening to Metaxas or someone else. He also was animated with his tone of voice (e.g., joyful, mournful, cynical) which helped me follow the book while I was driving and made sure that I never, ever lost interest. My ears were absolutely glued to it the entire time.
Well, it's 22 hours long, but I think I would have if I could have!
You have to hear this man's story! If you read no other biography this year, let this one be it!
I was able to read it in 3 weeks during my 9-hour/week commutes (an hour and a half each way 3x/week), so if you listened less than an hour each weekday (say you have a 30 min commute) you could finish it in a month.
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