It is so much fun to read a book where there's a fairly routine need to stop and look up a word. Cahill's approach to history is so lively and intellectual (at least for this old brain) that I feel entirely enlivened just realizing I read the book. To highlight several illustrious historic figures (Francis of Assisi, Hildegard of Bingen, and Dante Alighieri--to name a few)instead of using a linear way of covering the same ground is brilliant, not to mention fresh and stimulating, both.
But the most startlingly moving section of the book for me was his short Postlude, "Love in the Ruins" in which he describes in a heartbreaking way, how the Catholic church has so hideously betrayed its mission by its current wave of scandal. Although it might seem odd to find such a treatise on the way the Church has 'handled' the pedophilia crisis in a book about Medieval times, it is incredibly fitting--because if it were not for the Church, Cahill points out, Western Civilization as we know it would not exist.
A great sci-fi story told in the "frame story" format. (Like Canterbury Tales.) Seven very different people are on a pilgrimage together to Hyperion and each of their back-stories unfolds the plot.
What I liked best about this story is that in addition to being a great story and setting, (common in good sci-fi/fantasy) the author happens to be a great writer (not so common even in good sci-fi/fantasy). You can tell that the author has a love of science and futurism but also a love of language and poetry. (References to Keats abound.)
Warning: When I started this book I thought it was a stand-alone novel. However, it ends abruptly and I'm told that the Fall of Hyperion finishes the story.
Great science fiction. Gripping action, the reader is plunged into the mystery from the very first pages and is immediately taken in by the story. The story is apocalyptic and is given from the perspective of a number of key characters. It revolves around ancient artefacts created by an unknown race and the technology of wormholes used by humanity in the present time of the book.
All in all, an average read.
Such a great series of lectures about dinosaurs. Very comprehensive. Gives a history of paleontology and goes into the evolution of dinosaurs throughout the Mesozoic era. Also discusses the role of dinosaurs in pop culture and details all the things they got wrong/got right in Jurassic Park (among others). Very entertaining lecturer. Recommended to anyone interested in dinosaurs.
1 - Totally didn't expect to like a "zombie" book but this author had a great take on that genre.
2 - I appreciated the detail and research that went into presenting this book from many different cultural and diverse locations
3 - Interesting style to present the "story" as a series of interviews - not an easy medium to do well but I liked the way this occured.
A few things rung "untrue" for me - like the guy during an exodus carrying a PC desktop monitor. A small nit to be sure but really took me to that place of "unbelievability"
Boy, did I learn a lot from this one! Professor Kaler tends to rush through some of the details from time to time but, overall, this was a primer on astronomy that will get me looking to the skies more frequently and with a lot more comprehension of what's up there. Excellent for wanna-be stargazers and parents of inquiring kids. Do you know why the moon comes up at different times of day? Why one side of the moon always faces us? Why Pluto is considered a planet by some and not others? You will know all these and much, much more after listening..
Phil Plait, the "Bad Astronomer" does a fantastic job of explaining some common misconceptions in the field of astronomy. A must read if you're interested at all in astronomy.
This is a thorough, up-to-date look at the history of the Earth and the science that has been used to discover it. As I was finishing it, I found that Nat Geo TV have computer generated special telling pretty much the same story in overview. Now I know more than I used to about the world we live on.
Quick and entertaining, especially for a science book. Only hits a few subjects & with no new revelations, but Ben Miller's wit (whom I'm a fan of from his British comedy work) definitely makes it a worthwhile and enjoyable read.
The way the author tells the story powerfully expresses what it must have felt like when, during those same times, they watched their mighty pagan traditions of honor and bravery set out to sea forever, then to be replaced by the new culture of Christianity.
If you read it, make sure you also read J.R.R. Tolkein's "The Monsters and The Critics." The whole essay brings new insights to the story; my particular favorite part was his metaphorical statement that Beowulf is a story of youth and old age, the rising and setting of life, and the embracing of the dragon that comes for us all.
Ignoring the umm's and uh's that occur in every sentence there is some pretty good knowledge in here, like most of the modern scholar books it's very insightful, and interesting. I recommend this.
Unless that is you cant stand people saying umm... Uhh... every other word
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