Dawkins has written many books related to evolutionary biology and this is a great introduction/overview of his views on his work and how it relates to popular opinion on the subject. There is no doubting where he stands on the atheist-religious person spectrum (he lays that out in the beginning along with his definitions of the spectrum of belief systems in between.
He doesn't beat around the bush in saying that people who are religious are basically believing in nonsense so if you are very strong in your beliefs/faith, and associate more with outspoken christians, this book may get you riled up. But I think the book offers a lot to everyone else in terms of the religion's hold on society, including suggestions to explain the following:
Why do so many cultures believe there is a God if it's not true that one exists?
Where did the universe come from?
What is the history behind some of the stories in the bible?
Do these stories in the bible stand up to fact-checking and/or do they each contradict each other?
Where do I lay on the religious spectrum?
How does the theory of evolution by natural selection relate to religion?
How have political leaders through century of history spoken about and related to religion?
How has religion changed over the millenia and how will it continue to change?
The only criticism I have about the book is the performance. There are two voices, a male voice and a female voice who routinely switch back and forth in the narration - sometimes in the middle of a sentence. This is particularly distracting in the beginning when you're trying to get used to the narration itself. Also, the two voices are extremely different on the tonal spectrum so it's diffiult to switch hearing ears. It wasn't until close to the middle of the book that I got used to it.
maybe, it depends on the format of the book
one of the narrators was hard to understand due to dialect and some of the others were too monotone. story was hard to follow.
frustration. I couldn't keep up with how the characters were related. the various names were hard to remember one story to the next
Not really. I felt the story to be misguided and too contrite. Didn't find any creativity in it or suspense.
Probably not because the reviews I'm reading said that this is probably her best.
monotone, hard to follow which character (old or young characters during flashbacks) was speaking or being spoken of.
Note: I only listened to the first part (~6 hours!) because I just couldn't bear wasting any more time on this book.
As a scientist myself, I love stories that tell the history and life of a scientist. I picked up this book thinking it would be a great story of triumph and innovation and would be told as if Tesla was overcoming being overshadowed by the other greats of the day (Edison, etc.). But...it was told by a family member of Tesla and seemed like the family were whining about the lack of attention Tesla got during his time for the inventions and innovation he brought to modern society.
There is WAY too much detail and it was hard to follow and pay attention to it for long stretches. I was hoping for an "underdog" story after sensing the tone of the author from the beginning, but it just continued to drone on and the tone never seemed to change to the positive.
Wow. Just wow. Without giving too much away, the book tells a story as if you are reading from a woman's diary in a "post-apocolyptic" world where a social hierarchy is installed to help get the world back on track. Told from her perspective as a person of lower class in this society, you really get a sense of the heartache, sacrifice, and rebellious tendencies that she felt. The story is also relatable as she seemed like a middle class young mother before the transition to the new society.
The narration is right on cue. It was as if Clare Danes WAS the handmaiden. She got the tone of what I imagine this woman's feelings throughout the story would be just perfect.
I would read a sequel to this book in a second.
Contrary to what I I had expected after hearing reviews from other Viesturs books (that he's cocky, self-minded on the mountain, and negative towards other climbers), I did not get that sense from this book.
It was a very well written account of the history of climbing Annapurna and Viesturs definitely gives credit where credit is due and highlights his own successes. It is, afterall, meant to be a book about HIS successes on the mountain. He also touches a little bit on his quest for all fourteen 8,000'ers, since Annapurna was his final one in the challenge, but I'm sure his other books go into more detail on that.
The narrration is also good. Felt like I was there for many parts of it and for others, I felt as if I was reading directly from the climber's journal.
The narration in this book is some of the best I've heard. The story was full of intrigue and kept me guessing. Very well thought-out.
Absolutely lovely story that will touch the hearts of many women, particularly those brought up in female-only households. At times the story had me in shock and at other times it had me crying and at other times I was laughing at the sheer ridiculousness of the predicament of their lives!
The criticism I have is with the performance. The story is told by each of the three women, all different ages. Because the narrator's voice sounds so young, I would often forget that "Big" was telling her story during a section and have to rewind it to make sure I got the characters correct.
Cheryl's very personal story touched me with all the disappointments and misfortunes that she overcame in her life. The huge role that the outdoors played in her survival and recovery through these tough times was a very relatable situation.
I approached this book thinking it would be more technically focused on hiking the Pacific Crest Trail itself, but understood from a first few pages after her decision to hike the trail that it was merely a medium for her to be alone and reflect and this is why my review isn't higher. She talks about the amazing views and the challenge, and the amazing people she met during her time on the trail but didn't allude to how any of these things helped her make the realizations about her life that she clearly had as she summarized them at the end of the book. It would have been a better story if the personal triumphs were related to triumphs on the trail as they were happening instead of just at the end. During the main part of the story, the outdoors to her seemed more like a nuisance and full of trials and tribulations than a place for these realizations and freedoms and obtaining peace in her life.
If stories were grouped by some kind of theme.
Maybe, but I don't know if I would read anything by him.
Narration was just "fine". Nothing stood out for me.
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