Ironically, the answer to both questions is Ivan's conversion at the end of his life. The humanity of facing ones death is an inevitability for all and our vision of Ivan is a window into that psychology. For 99.99%+ of the population, we can only truly understand the death experience when we die. I only give nominal deference to those who have "experienced" being brain dead but have been revived. Even still, they did not die completely. Tolstoy's attempt is ambitious but it rings plausible enough for a honest rendering of my own end (several decades from now, I hope). What most disappointed me was the ending which described a conversion that was anything besides a factual existence. Ivan began his long path of terminal diagnosis in a state of disbelief. How could he be dying since he lived so well? But in the end, his pain goes away only when he accepted that he lived selfishly. This realization perpetuates the mythology that our sufferings are directly proportional to our "goodness". At one point, all the people around Ivan, including the doctors, accept the inevitable because Ivan's ailments are beyond their reach and understanding - why cannot man accept that the world in all of its glory and good things is made for their sole benefit? This ego-centrism is frustrating to witness first hand but perhaps can be somewhat forgiven as this was written in the 1886 when religion was still a principle source of scientific knowledge.
See question above.
I'm keeping my 2-star rating but it's probably unfair. I DID feel the performance was a bit mechanical but so was the writing. Still, I can not offer an alternate narrator.
No, this book is not open ended and nor should it be. This book is intended to efface self-reflection regarding death and I think it's sufficiently accomplished.
The Odyssey is famous for its survival from antiquity but also as one of the great original pieces of literature and poetry of humanity. Nothing is more astounding about the Odyssey than the fact that it exists and for that alone it is worth anyone's time to read or listen. Regardless of the story, its presentation provides a glimpse of Greek culture around 800 B.C. which also cannot be overvalued.
However, the story of Odysseus is not my favorite and requires a greater than novice-level appreciation for Greek mythology. Without this prerequisite, the character of the gods are largely untranslated to the reader. Even still, the inclusion of the gods (or some of them) is annoying since they seem so inconsistent and juvenile, not to mention categorically misogynistic - but that's a whole different debate. The whole time I read/listened to The Odyssey I was constantly wondering how many Greeks really bought into the story of the gods and how many of them just went through the motions due to social pressures. For me, this tenant of the poem was too much to get around.
The editing of this recording was simply atrocious. There are 24 books in the Odyssey and the audiobook from audible.com broke it up into 24 chapters which would seem to correlate. However, the majority of the books ended in the middle of the chapters, if you catch my meaning. Moreover, it felt as if the sound levels and quality were different from chapter to chapter (not from book to book). And finally, despite his immense popularity, I felt Sir Ian McKellen's performance was lacking in imagination. All-in-all, I felt the audiobook was rather disappointing and would recommend an inquiring listener to choose a different version.
It's the story of 6 survivors of the A-bomb at Hiroshima. It reflects on the atrocity of a "total war" strategy but also in the surprising paradigm of the Japanese. I was supposed to read it in middle school but I did not.
The book itself is pretty simple; a narrative that groups each subject "bomb affected person" in somewhat-defined chaptered spans of time. The descriptions are concise and laregly unembellished. Simply one fact or event to the next. The culmination of these pictures provides a dynamic portrait of the Japanese population both at the time of the attack and later in life.
I don't like to say I "like" books where the subject matter is so terrible, particularly a book of non-fiction, but it is interesting and I hope, for a variety of reasons, it stays on required reading lists.
No, I don't think I would. I didn't much appreciate the characterization of the young Nazi boy. I feel that some things require reverence and fictionalizing a piece of history in such a way that was presented here, in a way, diminishes the truth. I suppose there was some karmic value in the irony of the plot but I think it falls flat considering that fact is much more awful than fiction.
Yes, I have not discarded Mr. Boyne as an author even if I'm not want to recommend this title.
The performance was just fine and perhaps even provided some added value. The different portrayal of the young boys felt mostly genuine and in the spirit of the novel.
Yes, definitely....it may be already, I'm not sure. I don't know enough stars names to answer the second question.
I felt the story to be compelling and served a good purpose. Bruno never accepted his father's viewpoint that the people in striped pajamas weren't human. In fact, Bruno saw his friend Shmuel as his best human contact in this terrible new home even though he couldn't touch or play with him. And from this perspective, perhaps the character of Bruno had to be so behind-the-curve naive.
There are some critics who challenge that the story is not honest about the cruel conditions of Nazi concentration camps and I think that is certainly valid. Any descriptions are censored by Bruno's untainted child's mind - a technique that I thought was cute in the first few weeks at Auschwitz but felt needed to be undraped as Bruno who surely have experienced. Bruno was there for over a year with a bedroom 50 feet from the fence where men would fall to the ground suddenly and need soldiers to carry them away. Even so, I don't think the purpose of the book was to bring the audience into Auschwitz, but for the audience to accept that there are fences, however small, that separate us from one another, and are we looking at the people on the other side of the fence with the same humanism that Bruno did with Shmuel? I suppose that's my greatest criticism of this book. The purpose is great, but to use a place like Auschwitz as the vehicle for the message doesn't feel particularly right to me.
Real - As a Christian, my beliefs incorporate the subjects of CS Lewis's masterpiece and while I honestly haven't given "that side" much thought, I couldn't help but be impressed by the feeling of realness it gave me. When I first began reading I felt it a bit silly, but as I continued some of the letters really resonated with my life and the gravity of its implications grew very heavy.
Frightening - This was my first word as I was indeed frightened by the whole thought of it.
Surprising - I came into this book almost completely ignorant to the subject matter. My only clue was that it was CS Lewis and that it likely had some religious undertones.....and that turned out to be an underestimation.
At first I wanted to say no book is comparable but then I thought of Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan. Both books describe the journey in life when walking in the faith of Christ.
He played one actor, Screwtape, and he was masterful.
Again, there was only Screwtape, a bureaucrat in Hell's Collection Department, and I simply would rather not think too long at his character. Evil has a new name, and its name is Screwtape.
This is a must read for any Christian. An open mind is necessary but that is also essential to be Christian.
It's a John Green book so yes, yes, I do recommend Paper Towns.
But I will say that I was disappointed with
Yes. Because it's John Green.
I first met John Green like most people meet John Green, through YouTube. He doesn't know me but I certainly feel like he's a friend of mine. In truth, he's the only "celebrity" I would even consider meeting on purpose, but I digress. When I watched John and his brother Hank on their YouTube channel, vlogbrothers, I was compelled to love them by their awesomeness. It sounds cliche but these guys are awesome and they are filled with awesomeness. When I found out John was an author I knew I was going to read him and I knew I was going to like him. And I do.
But seriously, prior to this book I read Looking for Alaska and An Abundance of Katherine's and both, despite their similar characters which is further mirrored in Paper Towns, I liked quite a bit. After reading Paper Towns, I've read Will Grayson, Will Grayson which was really good. Now, I'm looking forward to reading the acclaimed The Fault In Our Stars. So, yes, I think I'm very willing to get John Green another shot even if I find Paper Towns my least favorite.
Can I get another question?
Nope, I've said my peace.
Well-spent? Probably not. I have come to appreciate Edith Wharton but I am not a fan of the Novels of Manners.
Yes. I very much liked Ethan Frome and, despite it being a Novel of Manners, the Age of Innocence. Wharton knows what she's doing and I would not give up on her based on my ho-hum take on House of Mirth.
I don't mean this maliciously, but not much. Messenger did a great job with her performance and I liked her portrayals very much. But the narrator, in my opinion, has little ability to improve the book experience but has a lot of power to diminish it. Ms. Messenger delivers a wholly adequate and enjoyable experience.
None at this time.
No...but this is a silly question, IMHO.
Again, no.....it's not a story.
He did just fine.
It has given me many things to think about should I ever have a boy. I don't think Sax is off base with its conclusions and its an increasingly disturbing issue today.
In general, Dr. Sax makes several valid points and packages it into a neat pentagon shaped box. I would recommend any parent of a son to read Boys Adrift. I am surprised that there was very little mention regarding homosexuality but perhaps he put that discussion in with his book Gender Matters....he'll only tell you about it a dozen times throughout your read. That also bothers me. Still, I'd recommend Boys Adrift.
I liked that the Story of Earth is interesting.....if also boring. It's easy to be intrigued by the (many) things I didn't know about the history of our planet but it's also just as easy to back away from. There was certainly a limit to the amount of detailed knowledge I was willing to quickly accept at a given sitting.
Depends. At times I was on board with Hazen but others I got lost in details. I think this has a lot to do with the numbers of it all. Throughout the book, Hazen describes geological facts in terms of a timeline. For me, it became increasingly difficult to keep that timeline straight. In the first place, it's a massive timeline on a scale which the entirety of human history is but a tiny speck at the end, indistinguishable and unimportant. Secondly, 530 millions years ago sounds and feels just as remote as 350 million years ago. The numbers are just so large and the pace of reading so fast that it is no small task to process the wheres and whens of all the different ideas Hazen discusses. On that note, Hazen tends to jump to other eons and for a complete novice like me, this become confusing quickly. I effectively disregarded the detail of age and concentrated on the overall issue Hazen was attempting to explain. In this way, the book became easier to read and easier to process while maintaining the essence of Hazen's narration. I'm sure I missed some details on the way, but my sanity is still intact.
Also, for a listen, I was probably even more handicapped. A visual representation of a number has a different value than a heard number.
Mother Earth :)
I have rated this 3-stars principally because the subject didn't hold my interest enough. This is just an issue of personal preference. There were definite moments where I was presented ideas that I never heard prior and concepts that were utterly foreign to my preconceptions to the subject. But these moments of surprise, intrigue, and awe were not the majority but were enough to fuel the engine to continue the book until the end. I imagine those more interested in geology, the Earth, or other life/earth science would be more connected to The Story of Earth. As for me, I'm glad I read it but I'm equally glad it's over.
Honestly, noone. The concept is too simplistic and, quite frankly, it's too obvious. It is clear from the testimonials and other reviewers that I'm not 100% correct. Dweck has clearly reached people and I am sincerely glad that she's helped others but I remain stubbornly optimistic that most adults would find this book unhelpful.
I perfectly accept Dweck major idea but I am also thoroughly disappointed that she offered nothing else. For 276 pages....or the audiobook time equivalent...Dweck drones on applying the one concept to specific scenarios. She telling her readers how to be emotional mature, a concept that only emotionally mature people will really get.
Her only contribution, if any, is the explanation that mindsets need not be fixed.
Ms. Gavin did a fine job. I have no comments for her.
I would edit the tone of the presentation. To me, the book read as a direct criticism, which is comically ironic because only people of fixed mindsets are apt to judge, according to Dweck. Her tone expressed that those imploring a fixed mindset are wasting their lives, unlike the wonderfully creative, productive, successful, exemplary persons that take HER advice of using a growth mindset.
The reader also gets the sense that she OWNS this idea, like it's something so novel. "If I use the Dweck Thereom, I'll have a growth mindset and be perfect!"...said noone ever.
If I may be so arrogant - and I'm admitting as such - I can boil this whole book down to one paragraph:
In a nutshell, Dr. Dweck believes that all people fall into one of two categories: ones with a growth mindset and ones with a fixed mindset. Those with a growth mindset do not see obstacles as barriers but as challenges to overcome that ultimately make them better. Conversely, those of a fixed mindset walk away from these obstacles either content with the status quo or afraid of the failure. Although the idea can be used in a general sense, the mindsets can also be used for specific situations. How do I approach sports? How do I approach relationships? How do I approach politics? We will inevitable find we are a mosaic of mindsets fixed in certain areas and open in others. What's important is the knowledge that we can change our mindset toward anything if we want to.
The ONLY reason I am giving this 2-stars is because I believe her major idea is something that should be discussed and talked about. A person's mindset, I believer, is a major contributor to success, but certainly not the only one and, unlike Dweck, I am not eager to suggest that it is the principal driver for success.
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