Thumbs up for Daemon Voices: On Stories and Storytelling by Philip Pullman.
Pullman writes with such clarity of both thought and prose, he is simply a pleasure to read. As with any book of essays, inevitably, certain sections will strike each reader with greater importance. If you are a storyteller of any bent, or perhaps an armchair philosopher, you will find a gem or two of wisdom that speaks to you.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Why Be Catholic?: Understanding Our Experience and Tradition by Richard Rohr and Joseph Martos. Religion.
Read for character research. I don’t usually read research books cover to cover, and therefore don’t review them, but this one was slim. I don’t think the authors present a convincing case for answering the title question in the positive; they are too fair-minded and honest, never discussing an ideal without also talking about its failures of execution.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson. Psychology.
This review will be slightly censored as it has to pass email spam filters. This offends both my bookseller side and my linguist side, but you can’t win ’em all. Which is, come to think of it, exactly the point of the book: pick your battles carefully and with reference to your underlying values.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning by Chris Hedges. Philosophy.
A beautifully-written book about a horrible subject, by someone who has seen it from a very short distance indeed. Hedges explores what war does to humanity (both in the sense of the human race, and our humane-ness), using stories from his own experience to provide context and structure for his philosophy.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Kinds of Power: A Guide to its Intelligent Uses by James Hillman. Nonfiction/philosophy.
I enjoyed this book, though I don’t think I understood most of it. Sometimes I will chalk that up to a failure of my own discernment, but in this case I was not entirely sure that Hillman understood what he was getting at, either. I consulted with my dad, on the (correct) guess that he had probably read some Hillman at some point.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for The Stranger by Albert Camus, translated by Matthew Ward. Literature.
I liked this better than I thought I would; which is to say, I did not hate it. One thing I will say is that I think English speakers have been done an injustice by the title being translated as “The Stranger” rather than “The Estranged.” There are no strangers here; if you know upfront that Camus is painting Meursault as a man estranged from common humanity, the theme instantly makes more sense.… >> Read more
for Gift from the Sea
by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Philosophy.
A small, lovingly-written meditation on simplicity, the necessity of having times for being alone, and the alteration of relationships throughout life. Oh, and shells and beaches. Pretty and intelligent, but a passing familiarity with Taoist philopsophy will cover the same ground. While I found nothing new here, I nevertheless enjoyed the prose and do not resent the hour I spent reading.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for The Greek Way by Edith Hamilton. History.
Sometimes it’s next to impossible to write a review, even a positive review, of a book that moves you. The difference between like and love is chemistry, and I don’t want to mislead you. I had expected a basic history of the Ancient Greeks, maybe with the addition of some information on their daily lives.… >> Read more