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I love all sailing books. But this writer gives a new look at cruising. Not only because she is female but moreso because she expresses thoughts in a amazing and often fun way. This book reads simple because it is fun and interesting to see how things develop during the life journey. I look forward to the writers next books which i will for sure.
This is a smart, delightful read about newlyweds that decide to follow their wildest dreams, take a couple of years off from work and sail to foreign ports on their honeymoon. It's a moving memoir that reads like fiction. Although it's an adventure story about sailing, the heart of the story is about love and marriage; the passion as well as the doubts that live within any relationship. Janna Cawrse's writing style is clear and unhindered as she allows the reader a glimpse into her inner most thoughts, inspiring introspection and reflection, not just on relationships, but also on the cultural differences of the people they encounter along the way. The book has humorous moments and poignant ones as may be expected; this couple is living at sea, in close quarters, for an extended amount of time in a boat that is seaworthy but not entirely trustworthy, posing challenges of its own. In summary a excellent beach read; light and entertaining, but also amazing for anyone who longs to take an adventure like this. It's also amazing for anyone who enjoys reading about relationships as I think this was the real strength of this story.
This book appeared in my life at a very poignant time...I don't read a lot of fiction. Mostly non-fiction. I fell in love with "Eat, Pray, Love" two summers ago. It really resonated with me at the time. When I read Janna's book latest fall, it created me just as happy! It was like having a sister (which I never had). It created me laugh, and cry, and more importantly, created me feel like I'm not alone! So much fun to read about the doubts, courage, and humor, her story so skillfully portrays. And it was amazing fun, traveling across the Pacific Ocean, with Janna and her old boyfriend/new husband, on a little sail boat, from the comfort of my own home! I googled a lot of of their destinations, so could really connect with her experiences.I bought two more copies of this book, one of which I gave to my 19 yr old daughter, who is a sophomore in college, and one for another friend. If you read this book, you'll understand why my other mate and I text each other, when our beloved Penguins hockey squads loose tight games....SF!! (And that's not for San Francisco!)I did something with this book I've never done before...I started to re-read it, (which I have done before), and got half method through, then when I gave it to my friend, I started it again from the beginning, kinda like listening to melody at the same time with a friend, long distance...so, now, in effect, I'm re-re-reading the book, from two various places! I know, kinda crazy.I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys non-fiction that reads like fiction, that is humorous, insightful, somewhat self-deprecating (much of the humor!), and inspiring. Janna condenses 10+ years of her young adult life, into about 300 pages of non-stop, riveting, funny, yet touching experiences. Please take the time to check out this unbelievable book! I guarantee, you won't be disappointed!~MaryPittsburgh PA
Janna Cawrse Esarey writes an autobiographical tale about falling in and out of love, getting married, and going off on a two-year honeymoon sailing across the ocean on a very little sailboat with her fresh husband, who she had known for 10 years off and on before they wed. She writes with a lot of introspection and amazing humor. If you like sailing, or adventure, or marriage, or love, or just peeking into others' lives as they sail the ocean, sometimes blue (as is her language sometimes), you will like this story. There are lots of detail about sailing, and Pacific islands, and the intricacies of man-woman relationships, not to mention culture and differences and how to obtain along on a vessel the size of most people's bedroom.
This is either a sailing book with a relationship issue or a relationship book with a sailing problem. As a non-boat owning sailor and wannabe circumnavigator I found this book inspiring on a lot of levels. Unlike so a lot of sailing books that tell stories of monumental physical challenge, sailing alone around the world, braving typhoons, cannibalizing shipmates, heaving to in 40 foot seas, Janna Cawrse Esarey gives us a deeper and more realistic perspective on the emotional challenges of cruising life. If you've never done it, test spending a week or two with someone you care for deeply in a 10' by 20' zone that requires constant maintenance while surrounded by water. You learn very quickly who they are and who you are and what's really necessary in relationships, be they captain and squad or husband and wife or r the armchair sailor there's an engaging adventure here that the Cawrse Esareys create tantalizingly achievable. For the incurable romantic there's a love story that survives both the elements and the odds. For the relationship psychologist there's enough brutal honesty to create your own diagnosis. There's no shortage of practical tip on all fronts which is delivered with amazing humor. This book is highly recommended for anyone interested in exploring all of life's ups and downs on land or especially on the sea.
I ran across this book on beachreaders blog. It's another one of those books I would have missed left to my own is book is part travelogue and part the story of the beginnings of a marriage. I thought that the author had a tendency to nit pick her relationship with her husband to where I would have understood if he had thrown her overboard once or twice. But then I thought about it and gosh, living for 18 months on a 35 foot sail boat with no once else around for most of it, I mean what else was there to do other than over analyze things. I think she finally saved her life and her sanity by using her computer and journaling her thoughts and experiences.But annoying spots aside, this is the story of a very gutsy couple who had a dream and just went out there and DID IT! On a shoe string budget, storms, break downs, pirates and lack of begin ocean sailing experience - they always sucked it up and came through. If she got a tad bit whiny during the slow times, well IMO she earned the right.But I gotta say this one latest thing and that is that had I been her I would have demanded a better stove. Trying to cook on a pitching boat with the one she had is the items nightmares are created of.
I loved this book!!!! It was such a fun read and very well written. I really liked that it combined th struggles and overcoming of those struggles during both traveling on a boat and marriage.
I was pleasantly surprised by how unbelievable this book truly is. I would search myself laughing and tearing on a lot of of the pages as Janna reveals her tale with unflinching honesty. Real life sailing adventures are the majority of books I read and own. I found myself thinking that if an alien race came to earth and asked for one book that would describe human life best, I would hand them this book! I loved this book so much, I bought a copy each for my sister and mother but wouldn't surrender my own even under the condition that it later be returned. I simply didn't wish to part with it! Here is the truly surprising part, I search it comparable to Shakespeare! The wit, wisdom and insights in the human psyche with it's strengths, weaknesses, foibles and vulnerabilities are all to be found in Janna's perfect adventures. Highly recommended!!!
Finally, a excellent summer read! I would say I want I read this while lounging in the sand, but I admit, reading it in the winter was even better since every time I opened the book I was transported onto a little boat sailing the Pacific on a sunny day.While I don't have much interest in sailing, I soon realized that the heart of this book involves so much more than that. Sailing is essentially what happens in between the awesome islands Janna and her husband visit, the crazy and fun people they meet, and the author's hilarious take on even the most routine happenings. Not to mention, the relationship ups and downs that come with being stuck on a little boat with your significant other for an entire year...First, I loved this author's writing style. She has an awesome ability to describe conversations and people with such clarity you can picture them down to their accent and lingo, the clothes they wear or the wedgie they have (ha!), and other mannerisms that bring them to life. Janna intertwines her events on each island with research she did on their history. And she does this in such a conversational way, it only dawns on you later that you learned something educational. Her writing is simply beautiful. This reads like a novel, but the exacting info reminds you that it's a memoir.A refreshing one, at that. This is not a memoir of the rich, successful woman who has everything but still isn't happy, so she leaves it all to travel the globe on unlimited funds. Janna isn't running away from something, she's running toward it -- she and her husband are seeking to fulfill a long-held dream that one day ... some day, they'd sail the Pacific.And yet, Janna is no sailor. She wanted to sail the Pacific in the same method that people "want" to begin their own business one day and create millions. Sure, it would be amazing - but, often, the idea of doing something is better than the actual act of seeing it through (re: long hours and hard work). Prior to leaving, Janna was an English teacher with only a few HOURS of sailing under her belt. Her husband was much more educated on sailing, but he was also a corporate businessman who hit the water mostly on the weekends. In short, these were not hard-core sailing fanatics who, prior to this trip, had logged a hundred-thousand hours and created a couple dry runs. They were normal people interested in sailing who had a huge dream (BHAG!) that they took a large risk on seeing through. And that's what I liked can not support but love this woman. She's true and down to earth. She's a perfectionist, and yet she openly admits her faults, fears, and insecurities. She's brave, fun, and begin to grow. She's extremely witty, and she's a amazing writer.I hope you have fun this book as much as I did!
It was a very troubling read about choices when it comes to life, God's redemptive nature, generational curses and atonement for sin. It wasn't my favorite book, but it may lead some to freedom from their pasts and encourage others to avoid such paths. What would God most desire of us is a question that dips and weaves it's method throughout the story.
Awesome book by one of my favorite authors. It is about one issue, but the story and notice could be applied to a lot of problems one goes through. She has a special method of sharing God's love in a lot of ways. How to listen to God and allow Him tutorial you through whatever you are going through. Would highly recommend it to anyone.
There is one episode in the book that some people may consider violence, but because it is not graphically detailed, I do not consider that violence or content. This book really touched my heart, and I found myself thinking about & praying for women I know. At some points, I cried. I highly recommend this book! Francine Rivers has a method of sharing God's words and principles that create you wish to hang on!
The only thing I would have liked to have seen was more about Dynah and Joe from their actual relationship into their marriage. Maybe that can be another book. This book place some problems of my life in perspective. After several miscarriages, I had a hard time dealing with things but God brought me through and gave me one excellent daughter.
What if we have a look at religions with skeptical eyes? For example, the same “eyes” you would place on before buying a used car. Even better, Sagan is searching for evidence supporting the origin of religion and religion experience in a series of lectures (Gifford Lectures at University of Glasgow). He lists locations of our capitalist society where religion could provide a useful role. But this is largely a criticism to religion which thrives on the fact that it is much easier to believe than to search out amazing explanations that can be verified by experiments anywhere in the universe. The amazing news is there are amazing definitions of god out there and its is up to you to pick one.
Unbelievable and humbling book: it starts by framing the human scientific experience within the cosmos, and our current (privileged) status within history and within the known universe. Then moves on to discussing what is meant and what it means to have a religious experience, and to discussing the definition of God and the (attempted) proofs of his existence. What I particularly have fun with Carl Sagan, is that he always makes points that are easy and crystal-clear. In addition, he does not have any pre-conceived idea; sometimes I feel like we are discussing at a table and honestly trying to figure things out. For example, his discussion of the believer's approach, is always respectful and kind, almost filled with tenderness. This book should be read in schools; it brings a new prespective on several aspects of this world. From the book: To him [Carl] we were "starstuff pondering the stars; organized assemblages of 10 billion billion billion atoms considering the evolution of atoms; tracing the long journey by which, here at least, consciousness arose."
I'm well into this book, and I really love how a brilliant man like the late Carl Sagan could write so clearly to a layman's level. Never brash or arrogant, Sagan just makes his case plainly and simply in a method that can't be ignored. As I read it, I can almost hear the voice of the original "Cosmos" series poetically stating the facts. If you search Dawkins too arrogant or Hitchens too intellectual, test this book.
If you are searching for a method to balance scientific reality and the natural spiritualism of humankind, this is the book for you. It certainly was for e book is a compilation of a series of lectures (the Gifford Lectures) Dr. Sagan gave to an educated assembly in Scotland in the late 1980's, which have been edited by his thoughtful and smart widow, Ann cidentally, you should not skip the attractive forwards.Another hint might be to read the Q&A section at the end following the completion of each chapter. The continuity is better that way, I think.Anyway, Carl's genius cuts through all the BS and gets right to the heart of why we cling to unreliable and disproven ideas about our put in the universe and our future as a species.He puts into words all that I have felt intuitively for a lot of years. Raised in a typical WASP family in the 50's and 60's, I was trained in the traditional Christian dogma. I never really believed what I was told, and my never-ending find for truth led me into the reality that science demands. Still, I could never obtain the emotional side of my human being to shut up and go away. Now I know that both can peacefully l Sagan speaks to me from beyond the grave. And I don't need a medium or a seance to create it happen. Read the words. Maybe he will speak to you e book is wonderful. I miss him too, Kurt.
20 years after his death, Carl Sagan published his recent book. Varieties of Scientific Experience is a series of lectures in which Sagan gave his views on the existence of god and the meaning of life. Sagan's views are mostly in line with those of the Fresh Atheists (Dawkins, [email protected]#$%!&chens, Dennett), but his scientific background gives him a special and valuable perspective. The first lecture begins with Sagan describing how little the earth is in comparison to the rest of the universe, and how little a role humans have played, even in the history of the earth. He then asks: Does it create sense that an all-powerful and all knowing god made the universe as a home for us? Are we really the center of the universe?Despite his background as a scientist, Sagan has a unbelievable method with words. These lectures are very readable, and it is hard not to come away both liking and respecting Sagan. He may have been gone for over 20 years now, but Carl Sagan is still a valuable voice with a amazing to teach us.
What Sagan here is nothing short of an epistemology for the Enlightenment. While not as philosophical as other authors discussing theories of knowledge, Sagan writes in an accessible (and extremely affable) style begin to all who are willing to listen. With representatives of both the secular and religious community shouting over problems of knowledge and the cosmos, Sagan a calm voice that carefully presents the best arguments available to him (though his widow has edited the book to reflect fresh discoveries in the thirty some-odd years since these lectures were first given).
What a unbelievable book. It would have been a special experience to be show during these lectures at the University of Glasgow. The method Sagan with difficult and controversial problems is special and enriching, but more than anything logical. Sagan at its best!
Thorough review of history of cosmology. Discusses both ancient and modern theory of the nature and origin of the universe. Extensive discussion of relativity and quantum mechanics, limits to human knowledge. Aimed at educated lay audience. A amazing read for anyone interested in science. Or philosophy and religion, too.
Providing an overall reflective survey of mankind's incremental probing and discernment of physical reality, this book is remarkably readable for motivated non-scientists. It is generally well composed, and the text and ideas both flow smoothly and plausibly. Moreover, this book engenders a sustained if not escalating sense of awe regarding the evolved state of knowledge of the physical sciences, together with an appreciation of the enormity of its enabling garding the book's title, the expanding island/shoreline metaphor is apt and well elaborated. Here the zone of the island associates with the body of extant knowledge, and the shoreline with the accumulation of unanswered questions. From the shoreline, the waters loom as the unknown, and even some of the unknowable, versus the horizon of the marginally knowable. Beyond the horizon lies the strictly unknowable, as proscribed via physical constraints. Notably, the island of knowledge is not composed solely of scientific knowledge, as the author admits other ways of knowing (which lie outside the scope of the book). Plato's Allegory of the Cave is also invoked to characterize human limitations in discerning reality. As an interesting twist, the cave wall, onto which human access to reality is projected, affords enhanced perceptual resolution concomitant with the increase in extant e book is divided into three complementary parts: the cosmos, matter, and cognitive faculties. I found the first two parts to be perfect and most insightful, but the third part seemed rather weak and not well integrated into the foregoing parts. Seemingly, the book's treatment of cognitive faculties is directed at limitations regarding human prospects for dealing with the potentially knowable. Here, binding limitations associate with intellectual tools like mathematics, and constraints like those imposed by Godel's Proof. Thus, some cognitive limitations apply to scientific inquiry in general. Aside from these absolute limitations, each individual investigator has private perceptual horizons that tend to occlude or distort the apprehension of what precisely is known, what is potentially knowable, and what questions are in consequence entailed or answerable. Apart from inherent limitations on what is knowable per considerations of physics then, there are cognitive limitations of either an essential nature or an incidental one.Furthermore, these three parts of the book do not reflect a "shifting scientific worldview" (p. xiv), at least in my construal; rather, these foci have been more or less contemporaneous since antiquity. Instead, the distinguishing shifts largely associate with the progression of four understandings of the phenomenon of gravity: Aristotelian, Newtonian, Einsteinian, and that of quantum gravity. This progression is quite well developed in the first two parts of the book. Moreover, this progression now yields to the prospect of a pending "new physics (that) needs to explain how...the physics of the very huge meets the physics of the very small. This is the realm of `quantum gravity', the marriage of the general theory of relativity with quantum physics" (p. 72).What especially held my interest in the first two parts was the well integrated and highly readable exposition of the key controversies and discoveries in the physical sciences. The text read well and the ideas flowed smoothly. This coverage was augmented by relevant notes on shifting worldviews, contributions/speculations of principal figures, and the author's remarks/insights. Regarding worldview transitions, the current protracted puzzlement and dissensus with respect to the interpretation and full assimilation of quantum theory keep insightful treatment, albeit one necessarily with a less than satisfying closure. Basically, the radical yet demonstrated aspects of quantum physics of action-at-a-distance and quantum interference are deeply disquieting and obdurately problematic for a lot of in the physical sciences research community. This demonstration is nicely described in Chapter 26, wherein the author undertakes to "discuss Bell's theorem and how its experimental implementation shows that reality is stranger than fiction." Here, the `extraordinary' prevails in several experimental cases, which present the violation of Bell's inequality in consonance with the quantum cordingly, a still emerging worldview will somehow have to rationalize and accept "how nature behaves at the shortest distances", i.e., action nonlocality and measurement nondeterminism. In consequence, there is now major research emphasis on the foundations of quantum physics, as in the phenomena of pair entanglement and superluminal interactions. Meanwhile, derivative technologies like semiconductor devices and quantum computing are nonetheless exploiting quantum effects, if only on an as yet exploratory ong the interesting sidelights regarding the actual research pursuits of quite a few historically prominent figures are their somewhat prevalent investigations into alchemy or the occult. Newton, for example, was considerably involved in alchemy, and J. J. Thompson in occult endeavors. Alchemy, moreover, is seen as sort of a precursor to modern science, although it eventually discarded such topic matters. With the demonstration of quantum weirdness or the `extraordinary', however, it would seem that such discarding may not be altogether warranted, at least a non-specialist in its topic areas, I nonetheless really enjoyed this book. Its content was very illuminating, largely in that it clearly explained and integrated matters with which I had been somewhat familiar but inadequately informed. Despite certain of my reservations, like one cited above, I believe this book to be a solid Five-Star selection. Further, Professor Gleiser's writing would suggest that he is an agile, spellbinding, and compelling lecturer.
Like the author, I celebrate our ignorance and the incompleteness of knowledge. Not because I am a believer of a "God-in-the-gaps" or anything related (although I love the idea of an unfathomable abyss of mystery, just because of the vertigo rush), but because I am a strict, analytical thinker. If you really think things through you may end in a regression ad infinitum, in a ver of solipsism, Pyrrhonism, Madhyamika (Nagarjuna), etc., and be left empty-handed and confused, but why wouldn't we go all the way? Why should we fear confusion or our limitations?We have to create certain foundational assumptions (axioms), we have to work with conceptual distinctions that perhaps have no correlate in reality (if there is any reality, and if the apparent multiplicity is not one), we have to work with a certain logic and theory of causality, we have sensory limitations, technological limitations, etc. This book explains a lot of instances of these limitations and where they come from (quantum randomness, uncertainty principle, first moments of the huge bang and pre-big bang, etc.), and addresses very honestly and thoroughly the emotional implications of choosing to believe we are about to close the circle of excellent knowledge or, alternatively, that we will never close the circle. In the end, it is an emotional, dogmatic decision. There are no grounds for choosing either, and there are no stats or probabilistic analysis to say it is more likely that we will be able to understand it all--in the first place, because making such a claim assumes/presupposes a working knowledge of the "all" (of totality).This book is amazing. I strongly dislike the pretentious claims of scientists such as Lawrence Krauss or Hawking: the subtext is always "we are almost there, we are very close to figuring it all out!" and, thus, "we are closer to the truth than you are if you don't agree with us". Sounds a bit like dogma to me... like teenagers overwhelmed by the excitement of first discoveries/accomplishments of reason. Anyway, this is why this book is so refreshing and attractive and is very readable, dynamic, clear, fun. The author talks about his own hidden assumptions, his "prejudices", etc. A real scientist and a real critical thinker is aware of this because it is the only method to strengthen his/her views and the only method to have a possibility at counteracting them. I hope Marcelo keeps working hard, exploring, thinking, and sharing with us.
This book is ostensibly about the inherent limits of scientific knowledge, but actually provides an perfect summary of what is known (at least in physics) and traces its development from the Greeks onward, in the process of identifying these limits. One limit arises from the cosmic horizon of 13.8 billion years, before which the universe was opaque to radiation, implying that we can never keep info about regions further away than 13.8 billion light-years. Uncertainity at the sub-microsopic scale is due to the quantum weirdness of knowing only the probability of a particles's zone until it is measured, the inherent uncertainty of that measurement and the entanglement (action at a distance) between particles Early Western philosophers looked for a unified theory of the nature of matter. Thales (600 BCE) thought "all stuffs of the globe were but various manifestations of a primal stuff, the embodiment of a reality always in flux". Parmenides, somewhat later, wrote "that what is can not change, for it then becomes what it is not". According to Lucretius (50 BCE), Leucippus and Democritus thought that all things were created of unchanging atoms moving in a void under different forces, assuming various shapes and forms under various forces by the reordering of numerous atoms. Aristotle posited a bottom-up natural arrangement of his four primary substances--earth, water, air and fire--to explain why a body moved up or down when displaced from its natural place. As the author notes, scientific inquiry is an ongoing process, implying an ever-changing perception of reality. Aristotle's ver of physical reality dominated western thought until Galileo, Kepler and Newton in the 17th century turned to measurement of physical phenomena and the construction of natural laws to explain those measurements, thereby constructing a fresh ver of physical reality which was embellished over the next two centuries, notably by Maxwell's introduction of the electromagnetic field. Then, early in the 20th century this classical ver of physical reality was shattered by Einstein's replacement of Newton's force-at-a-distance concept of gravity by the warping of space, and the quantum theory of Heisenberg and Schrodinger raised problems of how to understand the fundamental laws that govern physical reality. The author provides an enlightening discussion of the a lot of fascinating aspects of 20th century physics, from which he concludes that there may be inherent limits to what science (physics) can say about physical reality, and these limits are more than just limitations in technology. A lot of physicists, myself included, would stop short of this conclusion, noting the author's earlier statement that scientific inquiry is an ongoing process, implying an ever-changing perception of reality.
The author gives us an honest view of why our knowledge is limited and will remain so. He feels us that our find for understanding will expand our view of reality, but we cannot pitch our tent on the conquered location because we are nomads in perennial find of fresh lands.I liked this book because it tells a credible story of what is possible for us. Understanding our limitations is the first step to understanding our rcelo Gleiser is a trustworthy tutorial to travel in uncharted lands.
Prof Geisler has the ability to create cutting edge aspects of Physics clear and understandable in a very accessible and readable style. He also updates on progress with well known (but small understood) concepts such as string theory and multiverses and puts their credibility in clear perspective. This is a major contribution to the Metaphysics in Science debate.
I found this book to be challenging, thought provoking, difficult, and rewarding. The most difficult part was the middle portion where the author surveys quantum physics. While the concepts or ideas in this section are difficult to grasp, I think the reader who stays with it gets a better grasp about science's limitations. I liked the author's allegory of knowledge as an island, and how the island's shore grows and shrinks depending on what science reveals. The more we learn, the more we don't know. In the author's words, "The goal of science is to clarify, to be best of our ability, the method Nature works. Science is not supposed to respond all questions. In fact, this kind of expectation is meaningless, especially when confronted with the nature of knowledge as we have addressed it in this book: ever-exploratory, ever-changing, reflecting so clearly how we approach the world, the kinds of questions we ask and can ask at a given time. The knowledge that we have defines the knowledge that we can have. . . . As knowledge shifts, we ask fresh kinds of questions that couldn't have been anticipated." The author's brief history of science brings the reader to the point that there is a limitation to what we can learn, and what remains a mystery (until resolved) is where myths are/may be made because we seek order, we wish answers, we wish to understand reality, yet reality may not be as firm as we think. As the author states it, "The very nature of scientific inquiry, always ongoing and always under revision, necessarily implies the notion of a changing understanding of reality."
Gleiser's book is a kind of antidote to Tegmark's book on the Mathematical Universe. Reality is not a mathematical structure that can be known and defined completely. Part of reality can be effectively described by mathematics but it is not mathematical. And there is no mystery about why mathematics so effectively describes reality. We just choose among a plethora of mathematical structures that we invented, the ones that fit best our current is an endless, non-linear process of knowledge accumulation. The more we know, the more we realize how small we know. The more we respond questions, the more we ask fresh ones. Even after billions of years of scientific research, we (if we are still around) will still be asking more fresh questions about reality. If we could measure over time the proportion of questions relative to the total number of written sentences, we will message an accelerating increasing trend, not a decreasing one. There is no final state of complete knowledge of knowable things, not to mention unknowable ones. As the "Island of Knowledge" increases in size, the Shoreline of Ignorance automatically expands! We will always know more about reality but we will never know it all!
A very accessible "state of the union"(or disunion) in Physics. Like a lot of my math skills are embarrassingly weak but I do have fun a amazing physics read. This book doesn't hit you with a ton of formulas, the analogies used to describe things such as Quantum Mechanics, Superposition, Entanglements, &c. were very well done making these oftentimes difficult to understand concepts understandable. If you are looking for a page turner that attempts to bring you up to speed with the current effort to unify the laws of the very huge and the very little you will be happy with this book. Anyone reading at a high school level will search this book simple to understand and fascinating.
Dr. Gleiser covers a wealth of material in regards to humanity's journey from limited scientific knowledge to our current age of info and beyond. He looks at what is known and what remains to be discovered, as well as the limitations to what can be known. It is an enjoyable discussion that covers the technical and yet is simple enough to follow if you don't have an advanced degree in physics.
BEGINNINGAfter reading several books about astrobiology finally I started to read 'The 5th Miracle' from Paul Davies. In the past the words 'The Miracle' have been very deceptive for me, because these words somehow hided the true content ' The Find for the Origin and Meaning of Life'. But luckily I got around these words and could dig into the MMARYI will not talk about all the rich content of this book here, but only about my private resume at the end of the ILL VERY INTRIGUINGAlthough the scientific discussions have clarified some of the info in chemistry, biochemistry etc. during the years, the 'bigger picture' which Davies the reader is still breathtaking and somehow unique. Beyond the a lot of info in the field of astrobiology Davies introduces a lot of theoretic concepts like 'information', 'self-organization', 'autocatalysis', 'complexity theory', 'algorithmic computability', 'quantum theory', 'gravity theory', 'thermodynamic' (and more), which on their own are not really fresh but in this context of the emergence of life they shed some fresh light on the whole scene. You see some fresh possibilities how to look at the phenomena but at the same time Davies stays critical and points to the still begin TO PROCEED FURTHER?Davies himself is unclear at the end of the book how to proceed further. The final impression is, that there are several necessary concepts in the air which altogether are true, but what is missing is the 'key' to create them 'interacting' in the right way. This is intriguing, challenging. Personally I think that the observation of Davies, that the emerging structures beyond the parts reveal a logical structure, a kind of information, is fundamental. Additionally we have the fact that the info stored in DNA/ RNA molecules has the format of a 'random' structure although it works 'against' randomness. Both things have to be brought together. This leads to the assumption, that the structure of matter has to be re-thinked. Something we probably have 'overseen'. As I see, Davies has published meanwhile two more books with exactly these themes. Perhaps there we can search some more answers which will produce further questions. I have not yet read tem.
I gave this book a 5 star rating because I have read other books on this topic and though every one of them was amazing in their own method coming to the same conclusion , this particular read was the easiest one for me as I was always under the belief of chapter 2 of Genesis . I recommend this ver to all those who are not sure that we have a creator.
Davies, in THE FIFTH MIRACLE, intelligently criticizes the material-reductionist model of the origin of life. According to the current (secular) notion of the origin of life, by pure possibility a conglomeration of molecules capable of duplicating got grouped together in conditions capable of supplying energy and raw materials for duplication. Somehow these molecules became so complex that they created the leap from merely being duplicated by proper external conditions to being able to encode the important info to make organs able to find for and imbibe energy and raw materials for themselves, and then the extra leap of manufacturing molecules able to repair errors in their replicating processes, to develop sense organs able to avoid danger and search something sexy to friend with, and to make works or art, literature, music, and science. All of this happened as a consequence of random errors in the replicating process, even though the overwhelming majority of those errors were detrimental or more likely fatal. These replicating errors were so successful that now zygotes, too little to be seen with a naked eye, can code sufficient info to develop into everything from frogs, dogs, humans, orchids, and redwoods. This is held to be real despite the fact that the complexity of the proteins and DNA molecules in the zygote is such that the probability that they could have formed by possibility within the lifetime of the universe is essentially zero. Anybody who doubts that this is real will be snubbed by the mainstream scientific community as simply not bright enough to understand evolutionary theory. (Of course, the famous alternative explanation, Smart Design, is even harder to believe, and no evidence whatsoever). Davies summarizes all of the current notions about how molecules might have started replicating, but emphasizes that the ability to replicate is still a far cry from the ability to encode complex information, analogous to the difference between a plastic disc and the program recorded on the disc. He does not believe that the laws of nature as we presently comprehend them can acc for this transition from hardware to ientists typically obtain @#$%ed off when people claim that evolution is an accidental process. It is not accidental because the molecules that developed into life and formed all of the dozens of existing organism did so according to chemical laws. Ian Stewart, for example, says life is no more accidental than the growth of a crystal; both form by the operation of fundamental chemical laws. Life is therefore deterministic and will form in any environment supplying the important energy and raw materials. This explanation ignores the mind-boggling improbability that chemical laws would just happen to have the deterministic ability to develop into life. The very laws of physics seem to have been fine-tuned to create life possible. If life is not intrinsic to existence, then the existence of these laws is necessarily accidental. But if they are not accidental, then what is the alternative? Davies asks, "Might purpose might be a genuine property of nature right down to the subcellular level (p. 122)." Although biological processes appear to be purposeful, they are cannot be because purpose is impossible in the material-reductionist model of reality (which cannot possibly be wrong).Chemical laws can rearrange info as dictated by genomes; they cannot make the info of the genomes. "Life works its magic not by bowing to the directionality of chemistry, but by circumventing what is chemically and thermodynamically `natural (p. 255).'" Davies suggests complexity theory as a radical solution to how nature manages this. His proposal is that "information is a genuine physical quantity that can be traded by `informational forces,'" and that complexity is a physical variable with causal efficacy. This proposal is certainly abstract, and seems, like Ilya Prigogine's notion of out of chaos, to be more of an observation than an explanation. It is also not a testable "theory," and therefore hardly a theory at all. Of course, the proposal that life arose by possibility is equally untestable, and therefore hardly a theory at all, though this is typically ignored. On the other hand, given the "astronomical improbability" of life forming by possibility -- even if one supposes that there is a multiverse to play around in -- Davies' proposal is far more plausible. Davies also speculates, from the observation that the dual wave-particle nature of the quantum corresponds to a hardware-software duality, that some sort of quantum-organizing process might be what is required to explain the origin of informational macromolecules. This sounds possible, and even very probable to those of use who do not possibility with miraculous prowess, but untestable.Davies does not delve much into the actual meaning of life, but he does imply that if it arose by possibility it can have no meaning. Human intelligence can have no significance beyond its survival value, and the cockroach has far more survival potential than humanity. One consequence that emerges from the notion that life has intrinsic existence is that Darwin was wrong (my observation, not Davies's): The driving force of evolution is not "survival of the fittest," but the development of greater complexity, with the definite goal of eventually achieving a level of complexity capable of self-reflective intelligence. The proud boast that we understand nature so well that we know ourselves to be not quite as amazing as cockroaches is puerile arrogance disguising itself as modesty.Davies introduces no tip of anything spiritual or even noncorporeal in THE FIFTH MIRACLE. Possibly this is his own inclination, but if he had, the book would certainly have been blasted by mainstream scientists. It does follow, however, that if life has intrinsic existence, then consciousness existed in some sort of primordial form from the very beginning. It is even plausible that consciousness and matter are two aspects of the same thing. If this is real then it would hardly be surprising the universe is fine-tuned for create life possible.
I really liked this the very best out of the series so far. I'm also very likely prejudiced because, Magnus! Silver fox, never realized he was bisexual, 41 year old virgin! Yay, my favorite! I liked that it did take some time for Dante to drop his juvenile innuendos and defensive behavior. He finally allow his skills and his empathy present and allowed Magnus to see his real worth. Magnus also wasn't able and wouldn't admit his feelings to himself for awhile either, so it seemed more natural when they came together. Magnus did seem to search his method around man-sex a small too easily but he embraced bottoming so well, who cares!I also appreciated that the drama of the story didn't involve a breakup and run away from each other scene. They were beautiful solid once they got together and all the crises and angst came from other situations. They did share their secrets and problems with each other fairly easily, albeit reluctantly. It didn't take some dramatic episode, only the limited time they'd had to build trust. I really enjoyed their dynamic and felt their connection. It was also a small less sex-heavy, which benefitted the storyline. Not that there was a shortage either! There were some info that were a small sketchy about Dante's history before coming to work for Ronan, and Aleks progress seemed rather fast. I also enjoyed that there weren't quite so a lot of Barretti's and additional characters in this one. It was more cohesive than some of the books have been. This is a unbelievable addition to the Protectors series.
I am a HUGE FAN of Sloane Kennedy because she writes some of the most awesome stories I've ever read but....This..This is a freaking masterpiece!! This book struck a chord so deep within me...I was left floundering... Utterly speechless. Every book in this series just continues to obtain better and I'm left shattered, absolutely shattered when they end and I'm left waiting for the next one.Dante..my sweet, stubborn, sarcastic Dante...We are all a bit broken, but Magnus was the excellent freaking glue to repair your wounds. The chemistry was off the charts and I may have had to fan myself a small bit, what can I say it was Hot!Dante and Magnus were beautifully written...I honestly don't think I have enough words to describe how Amazingly Attractive and absolutely gripping this story is! Sloane just knocks it out of the park EVERY. SINGLE. TIME!!!I will absolutely recommend this, so what are you waiting for...ONE CLICK IT!!!!
This is a book about the origin of life. Paul Davies is a physicist but his interests are wide and one of those interests happens to be the question of life's beginning.Dr. Davies begins by noting that the probability of the self-assembly, by sheer random accident, of even the most primitive life found on Earth today (what biologists now call Archaea) is vanishingly small. So how did life begin? He explores the chance of life originating on other worlds and being carried to Earth in meteorites. He notes that Mars was probably much more Earth-like some billions of years ago, and we also know that Martian rocks have fallen to Earth. Some of those rocks even have fossil like structures within them, but that they are actually fossils is debatable. He also looks into speculation that there may be other mechanisms by which life might physically distribute itself about the galaxy, a hypothesis called 'Panspermia'. But while these possibilities remain begin questions Davies notes that they don't respond the fundamental question. Even if life came from somewhere else, how did the original life obtain going?So he next explores the chance of some "life friendly" forces being built into physics. That is, what look (to us) like purely contingent (random) happenings throughout the history of the universe are, by some as yet undetected mechanism, not entirely random, but are rather pushed toward life assembly whereever physical conditions (presumably contingent) condusive to it appear in the universe. He leaves this chance begin while admitting that nothing in physics or cosmology today suggests that this sort of pressure, distorting contingency towards life, has ever been found in physics. Besides, such a notion entails some teleology (purpose) in physical mechanisms, something strongly resisted (right or wrong) by today's scientists.He ends his review with a middle-of-the-road possibility. First that chaotic physical systems, quantum phenomena, or both together might have intrinsic properties that raise the likelihood of life's self assembly. Second, that the first self-assembled life might have been considerably simpler than even the primitive Archaea on Earth today. The upshot, in combination, might have resulted in the self-assembly of such ultra-primitive life that the vanishingly little probably of self-assembly becomes a small less improbable.What is left out of the acc is what such ultra-primitive life might look like? Neither biology or philosophy has determined how easy something can be and yet be alive and therefore topic to Darwinian selection. Although I understand this it leaves the author's speculation at just that. Both the nature of such ultra-primitive life or the likelihood of its self-assembly are we are left there, a nice review of the possibilities, but small on evaluating them.
Paul Davies is a theoretical physicist and a professor at Arizona State University. He is also a popular-science writer and in The Fifth Miracle, he writes about the origin of life. The book is accessible, but it left me with more questions than answers. Francis Crick won a Nobel for his work on DNA and for discovering the genetic code. Crick once claimed that the origin of life was “one of the amazing unsolved mysteries of science.” Every so often I read an article claiming that this puzzle has been solved but this book confirms that there is still much we do not know. Davies speculates on how life was made but lacks evidence for the options he discusses.We know that once life has been established, Darwinian evolution can take over. Unfortunately, before Darwinian evolution can start, a certain minimum level of complexity is required. But how was this achieved? Darwin did not explain how the first living thing came to exist. A letter to a mate indicated that Darwin believed that life was made on Earth in some sort of primordial soup or "warm small pond." This is the official ver that still appears in school textbooks, but it appears to be ler and Urey tried to make a primordial soup in a lab in 1952. They showed that amino acids could be easily produced by sending electric sparks through a mixture of methane, hydrogen, and ammonia, which was supposed to be like the atmosphere of the early earth. At the time this was thought to be an necessary advance in understanding how life began, but it appears to have been a dead end. The soup did not evolve into a cell, microbe, or anything resembling life. Just creating the primary building blocks of life does not explain how life was created. Being able to create a brick does not explain how the Empire State Building was built. However, I recently watched a PBS documentary where the makers seemed to imply that Miller had made life in a try tube. Davies is skeptical that purely biochemical forces could spark the leap from nonlife to life. Davies suggests that “something funny” must have also occurred. We seem to be missing a step in the process. However, Davies is careful not to invoke God, so it remains a mystery what that missing something e complexity of the living cell is immense, it has been compared to a factory in the degree of its elaborate activity. Each molecule has a specified function and a designated put in the overall scheme so that the correct objects are manufactured. Molecules are dumb and cannot think, so what is guiding them? Scientists have not been able to make a cell from scratch in a laboratory. The genetic code, with a few recently discovered minor variations, is common to all known forms of life on Earth. This suggests it was used by the common ancestor of all life and is robust enough to have survived through billions of years of evolution. The code is also incredibly complex, the human genome includes about 6 billion letters and 700 megabytes of data. Bill Gates has described DNA as the most complex computer program ever ick suggested that life may be too complex to have been made in such a random way. Crick said that life was so unlikely, it was almost a miracle. If DNA is like a computer program, then programs usually have a programmer to provide the instructions. It is hard to believe that DNA was a lucky accident. The human genome has 6 billion characters, while the complete works of Shakespeare have about 900,000 words. There is an urban legend that if you have enough time and enough monkeys they would eventually reproduce the complete works of Shakespeare. Mathematicians have concluded that this is impossible. However, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins employed the typing monkey idea in his book 'The Blind Watchmaker' to claim that natural selection can produce biological complexity out of random mutations. There seems to be something wrong with Dawkins’s math.Davies points out that when he was a student in the 1960s the common belief was that we were all alone in the universe and life on Earth was a bizarre fluke. In the 1970s, Crick hypothesized that life may have originated elsewhere in the universe and arrived on Earth from space, this is called panspermia. The science fiction writers on Star Trek, as well as Ridley Scott in his movie Prometheus, have used this as a plot device. The issue is that we have not discovered life elsewhere in the universe and there is no evidence of smart life anywhere other than on Earth. Davies is hopeful that smart life exists elsewhere, and therefore believes panspermia is a plausible theory.Davies believes that the discovery of rock-eating, volcanic microbes’ living deep within the earth’s geothermal vents, their temperatures rising well over boiling point, points to life existing in inhospitable environments. He believes that life probably started in a related environment somehow. Replicating this environment in the lab did seem to produce some of the chemicals important for life, but it did not produce microbes. Davies believes that meteorites found in Antarctica suggest that life could have traveled to Earth via Martian asteroids. Three and a half billion years ago, Mars resembled earth. It was warm and wet and could have supported primitive organisms. If life on Earth started on Mars, what made life on Mars? If the Martian genetic code is the same as that on Earth could that mean that there is a universal genetic code? if so, who or what made it? The laws of physics are assumed to be the same throughout the universe if so, does all life in the universe use the same genetic code? Again, we do not know.Davies ponders whether life inevitably evolves to eventually become smart life. Do microbes eventually evolve into something that achieves consciousness? Davies argues that we have two conflicting views "the nihilistic philosophy of the pointless universe" as per Richard Dawkins, while on the other hand, we have "an alternative view, … a universe in which the emergence of thinking beings is a fundamental and integral part of the overall scheme of things. A universe in which we are not alone." In other words, our scientists do not know how or why smart life evolves. Why did we suddenly become very intelligent about 40,000 years ago? Why do humans have a language gene and monkeys do not?At the end of the day, we still do not seem to know much more than Darwin about the origin of life. We still seem to be stumbling around in the dark. The media tends to over-hype how far we have come. Today's origin of life scientists need funding for research and have come to resemble used vehicle salesmen, they sound more authoritative than they are entitled to be. I recently listened to a talk where a scientist was confident he could make life in a laboratory if he was given enough money. The more we learn about the complexity of cells and DNA the more limited our knowledge seems. For obvious reasons, our scientists seem reluctant to admit that humans may not be sufficiently evolved or even intelligent enough to work out the origin of e Fifth Miracle was written in 1999. Davies published 'The Demon in the Machine' in 2019, this brings his thinking on the topic up to date. It might be a better starting point.
According to the book of Genesis, God's fifth act of creation was to make life on earth. Modern science has a various myth. In the beginning, there was a easy soup of inorganic chemicals: water, ammonia and methane. And into this soup came a bolt of lightning that brought into being the amino acids that gradually assembled themselves into peptides and proteins, and the nucleotides from which came RNA and DNA. And the DNA learned the art of becoming self-replicating and so began the ascent of this well-reasoned book, the distinguished physicist Paul Davies suggests that believing the scientific myth demands an act of faith and credulity as amazing as believing in the literal truth of the Biblical story. He is one of a lot of scientists who have calculated the seemingly impossible odds of all this event by chance. This is not some back door into smart design, but instead an exploration of some profoundly necessary ideas in biology that create us realize that there are some gaping holes in our current ul Davies starts with some questions: is life a random chemical accident, a meaningless fluke in an accidental universe? Or is the universe somehow "friendly" to biology? Are the laws of nature such that they demand the eventual appearance of life, not just on earth, but also throughout the universe? The book does not come up with a definitive answer, but it explores some very interesting ideas, including the well-known concepts of the late Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe that life may have arrived from space. It is a puzzle how life seems to have appeared so soon after the earth became a stable globe, and the remarkable adaptability of living organisms to the most astonishingly inhospitable organic processes tend to run down and become disorganized over time: they present entropy. By contrast living processes become progressively more organized, a process that requires heavy amounts of information. It is not difficult to calculate that the amount of info needed for even the simplest organism far out strips the biochemical processes of an organism. Thus the implication that life requires a fresh fundamental law of nature that is yet to be ul Davies does not shy away from discussing the consequences of these ideas or an undiscovered law or laws that would create the appearance of life inevitable. And would also imply a progressive march toward greater and greater complexity, that would eventually lead to is book does not provide any final answers, but is an perfect introduction to an exceedingly necessary topic.
A good, engrossing read. A thorough examination of the the alternative ideas & their histories explaining the origin of life prevalant at the date of the book's publication. My one complaint is that the book was published in 1999. Since than the field has advanced so I would like to see the authors revisit & modernize this text.
Wow. What a charming book. Barnes covers the mechanics of flight and feathers, myth- and symbol-making, human language and birdsongs, migration, extinction and conservation, evolution and more. I learned quite a bit about birds and have been talked into buying a nice pair of binoculars.
Simon Barnes was the much-loved sports writer and editor of Times, London. He was also an avid bird-watcher. It is therefore not surprising that this will prove to be a much-loved book on birds. ‘Flight has immense meaning for us humans because we can’t do it’ he begins. From the mechanics of bird flight, he continues into interesting aspects such as the speed acquired by – and needed of – peregrine falcons. We learn too that feathers have nothing to do with flying. SB tells us that the bird and its environment are inseparable in that woodpeckers are found where there is wood that they like to peck; and eagles are found in the mountains. ‘Birds sum up a location’, yet because they have wings and are highly mobile, they are where they are by choice. Of the 10,000 species of birds, the chicken has a unique put in SB’s heart; he tells us quite a bit of it, including its lifespan: ‘A chicken can live for five to ten years; industrial chickens live for six weeks from egg to table’. He writes about the symbolism of birds from the time of the Romans and the significance of the dove which ‘were religious birds long before Christianity’, linked with Aphrodite, Ishtar, and Astarte. SB also dives into the great, well, once great, debate about evolution vs creation, referring to Darwin’s own admission that he scarcely had fossil evidence to back his theory of transition. Then two years after his death, the missing piece of fossil – that of the Archaeopteryx was found. ‘It was’, he writes, ‘as if God had decided to land a hand. As if God had decided to bestow his blessing on Darwin and all his works. As if God was pointing out the path to atheism’. He concludes with a discussion over the question whether the birds of Britain are half destroyed or half saved. In this latest lovely part of serious reflections on vanishing wild and birdlife, SB talks about the rhinoceros hornbill, the white-tailed eagle, the barn owl, the marsh harrier, and several other endangered birds as well as birds brought back from the brink of extinction. ‘Birds need people’ he writes – ‘But here’s another fact. People need birds’.
I really like Mira's premise that there are ten reasons that every traumatic "I don't obtain it- why me?" happening happens. One that I started to skip over, thinking that it did not apply to me, drew me in. It reminded me that this was the huge why of a certain string of happenings and that I still have some work to do in this area. This book is very "readable" and I think that anyone who is looking for reasons will search them in this book.
One of the most useless books I’ve ever read! I ordered it by mistake and plowed through half of it just to punish myself, but eventually I could take no more. Boring, trite, and without an ounce of useful so, the premise, as explained is total BS. I work on a suicide and crisis line and if I applied the “principles” of this book to the calls I take, people would hang up on me!
So I downloaded this book as soon as I saw it was available and binge read it in one evening. All I can say is "OMG". I think this is one of my top Sloane Kennedy books. Sloane Kennedy is an immediate for me and I will drop what I'm doing to read her books. I loved the dialogue between Magnus and Dante, and I especially liked reading the internal mutterings of these two. Knowing what they were both going through and feeling my stomach flutter when there was damage between the two, especially when one realized they had unintentionally damage the other. Magnus was loving, romantic and very sensual considering this is his first time in a M/M relationship. But I think his maturity helped him come to terms with the fact he had it poor for another man, and Dante was that man. And Dante.....poor, broken Dante. Both of these men so heartbroken due to past situations and when they begin realizing that they need each other - it was attractive to read. Both men feeling horrible guilt and trying to work through their problems while at the same time, wanting closeness with the other. This was a unbelievable addition to the Protector series, which is one of my top 5 series ever. Sloane Kennedy has a magical method of spinning a story and each story keeps getting better and better. She is amazing at writing characters that are emotional, intelligent, broken with a determination to not be, and amazing, steamy scenes. She is one of the best M/M and M/M/M writers out there. The only thing I have to complain about is that the books aren't written quick enough because after reading a Sloane Kennedy book, I immediately wish the next one! But, just like all the others who love Sloane Kennedy like I do, I wait patiently. Thanks for another wonderful, emotionally charged and sexy book.
This book was busy. There are times when I like a slow burn and times when I like insta-love. This book was a slow burn and came at a time when I required it. I am a BIG fan of "mid-life questioning" if it's done right and this was. It took a about half-way through the book for Magnus to accept the fact that he was attracted to Dante and wanted to pursue those feelings.Another well written story in this amazing series! Although there wasn't much "protecting" in this story, we obtain to read about some of the series' past MCs. While it was hinted at throughout the book, I was a small surprised about the 'event' that happens at about 63% and was a small disappointed that the 'action' stage wasn't a small longer (I like 'alpha action'). Warning, this book ends at 88% with previews of upcoming books at the end.****POV... multi-first personStandalone or series... sixth in a series but can be read as a standaloneDid it give me a hangover... slightWould I recommend it... yesWould I read it again... yes
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I had some things happen in my life that were unpleasant and unexpected, but this book really helped me to see the blessing in disguise in each of those situations. Each chapter was full of amazing tip and I was able to reflect on what was said in my journal. There are also rhetorical questions in each chapter that I used as journaling prompts to support me work through some things that happened. I truly believe everything happens for a reason, but this book not only solidified that belief but also helped me think "outside" the box, and gave me insight. Amazing book, especially if something negative happens and you're struggling with how to with it. I even gave it as a Christmas bonus for a few people.
The first book I got in this series was book 11, and it was so god, I got book 12 and that was so amazing I decided to obtain the whole Protectors Series. The author is really great. The characters are well developed and the intricacies in the stories themselves and between the characters in them are well thought out and detailed. The suspense, intrigue, action and adventure are what really create these stories so fun to read!The books are also thick and massive and filled with amazing stories so you're definitely getting your money's worth! Plus, I'm succor for stories that have the feeling of true love and romance developing during the story, and of satisfied endings feeling that love ended up conquering all. Although I can't say I enjoyed the books in the series that focused on 3 method relationships. I found those to be unconvincing and unrealistic to a degree. But I'm biased, as I only search the love of one guy for one guy to be the nom for EVER, as much as I loved the stories of the books in this series, the authors penchant for writing in scenes that were method too pornographically descriptive and that were almost constant and continual, sometimes going on for not one but two chapters. I've got nothing versus porn, but if I'd wanted to read porn, I would have bought actual porn!!! I ended up having to skip and skim through those parts of the books to obtain back to the story! In fact, the amount of almost, and in some cases did, detract from the enjoyment of the stores themselves.I know a lot of male authors do the same thing, but it seems to me... and I'm not being sexist here... that a lot of female authors of romance must seem to think that to guys, love and romance means constant and continual and thinking about 24x7. I mean I'm a guy, and yeah, I think about a lot, but come on... it gets a small ridiculous in some of these books that are supposed to be about romance and finding love!Anyway, as amazing as these books are, and this author is, I'm only giving these books 3 stars! Without all the scenes I would definitely have given them all 5 stars. And as much as I like this authors writing ability, because of the fucus on descriptive sex, I'll think twice before buying any more books by her.
In Atonement, we obtain the story of Magnus, Matty’s not-so-old grandfather and Dante, the cocky bodyguard that was protecting Matty during Retribution. Magnus has only had relationships with a woman, that’s it. He’s never even thought about men in anyway sexual, until he meets Matty’s cocky bodyguard Dante. There is just something about the younger man that pulls Magnus. But, on multiple occasions, Magnus is witness to Dante’s cocky, care-free lifestyle and he knows that’s not for him. That’s not what he’s looking for in a relationship. So he resorts to indifference. When dealing with Dante’s attitude, he feigns indifference when forced to interact with him. Which turns out to be quite frequently as Dante is now assigned to be Magnus’s bodyguard for an upcoming very high profile case that he is the key witness for!The tension between these two is off the charts! Dante wants Magnus and Magnus wants Dante. But Dante believes that he never has a possibility with the older man. But boy is he wrong!But will secrets hold them apart? Or will they cause their budding love for each other to collapse? Dante doesn’t do relationships because he believes he doesn’t deserve that kind of commitment, that he doesn’t deserve that kind of love. But Magnus doesn’t do flings. He wants forever. And he believes that his forever is Dante. Can Magnus break through the walls that Dante has built? He’s definitely willing to give it a try. Dante’s largest secret is Aleks. Can Magnus still wish to be with Dante after he learns the truth about Aleks? Can Dante forgive himself? These are all amazingly poignant questions that these two face in Atonement.Once again, Sloane delivers and off the charts must have book for me. If you are a fan of Sloan, and you haven’t already purchased a copy of Atonement, I highly recommend you one-click this book right away. If you are fresh to Sloane, I definitely recommend you read Atonement, but you would probably wish to begin with Absolution, book one in The Protectors series. Absolution is M/M/M between Cole, Jonas, and Mace. You do not need to read the entire series in to read Atonement, but the characters from previous books are in the following books. They are a continuing storyline where each book focuses on a particular couple or trio. Definitely obtain hooked on Sloane’s stories soon!
A return to the adventures of the Protectors, as they go underground hunting down abusers, kid molesters, rapists, and pimps for those who cannot seek justice for themselves! What chilling, dark, and risky mission awaits us, here? ...Matty's grandfather is returning to Texas to sort out his affects and testify in a trial. And Dante is with him as a bodyguard. ...yay...Alright, that's an unfair summary of the book, but related to Forsaken and Vengeance, I was very underwhelmed by this book. A amazing of that was because of the lack of balance between the plot and the hero development and the chemistry building in the relationship. Even the first two elements, I wasn't too unhappy with -- in the truly amazing books in the Protectors series, the plot is more or less a car to hold the pages turning, and a backdrop to bring the characters closer together, and as a result, you intellectually follow the mysteries or the suspense of the plot, while you obtain emotionally invested in the characters growing as people and falling in love. And the plot here was actually fairly decent for the first two points -- the idea of moving Magnus back to Texas to package his belongings, his house, and testify in a was perfect for showing and developing the hero we were already accustomed to from his introduction in Retribution. You feel his grief, as he remembers his daughter and the pain he felt with her going missing and finally being proclaimed dead (and, as a bonus, it adds to the never seen hero who mothered Matty, rather than leaving her as a nameless, faceless junkie) And getting Dante out of his comfort location and into the very conservative, even hostile environment of rural Texas is a amazing method to present exactly who is hiding under the puerile, crass, brazen e largest issue came with their romance. That, unfortunately, was the largest sticking point. Maybe it was the age-gap. Maybe it was their characters were so well established as antagonizing each other. Whatever it was, I just couldn't the chemistry between them -- like all of the Protectors novels and all of Sloane Kennedy's other works, it wasn't for lack of trying. I could definitely see Dante falling for someone with a lot of Magnus' qualities, and they spent enough time working together and talking... I just couldn't feel the spark. Even the additional mile place in towards the end, with the revelation of Dante's brother being found and a rescue mission being mounted -- while it was a amazing logical move, convincing Dante and the audience that Magnus was in for the long haul, it more had the result of Magnus being a generic, amazing supportive boyfriend, rather than being the end, this fell through for me, just due to a subjective issue -- the lack of the X-factor, if you will -- and not because of a lack of effort or skill on the author's behalf. What is amazing in this story is very, very good. And what is poor is just 'meh'. I still knew I would be back for more, and sure enough, the next book was there.
I found this to be one of the most useless books I’ve ever attempted to read. It’s a collection of moments from the lives of clients she has served. I felt as if I was reading in circles and getting nowhere. I looked for the app to life, but the more I read, the more frustrated I became. I couldn’t follow where Kirshenbaum was headed. I really did test to search this readable by returning to the book to persevere through each sentence. I can’t recommend and won’t pass it on to a friend.
Trigger Warning: kid abuse, slaveThis book was very intense with the secret past of Dante as well as his feelings of self -loathing. Magnus having guilt for having a lot of failures in life. I have been waiting Magnus/Dante story since book 4 and was excited in their story to search love and light with each other and overcoming the darkness of their past. There is conflict between since their personalities react differently to situations and they perceive things differently but they have a few things in common, when it comes to their work they are the best but in the private lives they have created mistakes. The more they spend time the more they begin up to each other and learn more, and neither can no longer deny the intense attraction between them. They form a squad and each helps the other when things become to intense. At the end of the book we got a sneak peek to the Protectors #7 and Finding #5. Furthermore we met a few fresh characters who may be getting their own story late.
At the outset, if you are agnostic or atheist, there are a lot of God references. If you are a believer, you may disagree with her ver of ere is a reason you ought never to say to someone who has endured a loss that "everything happens for a reason." Often it doesn't, at least not for any reason similar to the victim. It is not amazing to personalize every poor happening in our lives, and this is exactly what the author would lead the reader to positing that all misfortunes are brought to us by some "cosmic kindergarten" to teach us one of only 10 possible lessons, we are being told a simplified and twisted story. Not to say that we cannot ultimately make meaning out of our losses, which is what the author intends to say. But with courage, hope, the will not to give in to the bad, and with some guidance, there are a lot of possible lessons we can obtain from a loss, there is no limit of stly, the book completely omits discussing the all-important grieving phase essential to process and successfully with loss.I very much wanted to like the book, and I certainly think the author means well, but after reading it I cannot enthusiastically recommend it.I found these books helpful:Transcending Loss, PrendNecessary Losses, ViorstWhen Poor Things Happen to Amazing People, Kushner
An awesome memoir about a young woman who beats the odds and so much adversity to search her method through wonderful challenges and pain. I had to take some time to digest all that she went through after I was done reading it, and then all that she did to work on herself in the latter part. It’s really quite admirable, and I’m glad she had family to support at times. I just flew through this book like a person starved for text, it was so readable to me and kept pulling me along. I was hooked, and had to know what came next. It's truly a story that will create you wonder how much a person can take, yet shows you how some can hold going on in the face of harsh adversity. This is one tough lady with dozens of determination. I recommend for those who like to read about people with high adrenaline lives.
I haven't read all of the books in this series, previous to this one I read book two. Though the author have a method of writing which makes you wish to continue on to the next story and the lives of the others.I read this to have a background for book twelve and the story of Dante is an emotional one, so broken and lost, only leaning on pleasure to hold him gnus the protective and calm, torn begin by the death of his daughter, who is definitely not gay, and especially not attracted to the walking innuendo that is gnus is Dante's complete opposite and it makes this book for me. The tug of battle the two have going between them, the attraction that simmers under the surface, with both too raw to actually act upon e story is good, there is affection and plenty of guilt, innuendoes and so much chemistry.
4.5 starsI'll be honest that the previous book of this series (not including the Christmas book) "Vengeance" I felt was the weakest of the series, but Ms Kennedy has well and truely bounced back and smashed this one right out off the park. Atonement is by far the best book of this series, if not the best book she has written to date. Magnus and Dante are right up there with Logan and Dom and Zane and Connor as my favourite couples.I felt for both Magus and Dante. They were both scarred by their pasts and they both chose to with with their scars by hiding their true selves. I understood both of their problems and truely believe if the same things happened to me, I would have the same scars and issues.I liked that we got to see behind the masks they both wear, and I liked Magnus and his calm personality. I really liked that once he had started to see the true Dante he looked back over previous behaviours and realised how he had damage Dante and tried to fix it. With his own past, he really place himself out there and trusted heart broke for Dante in the second half of this book, but I liked that there was no simple fixes. The work was being place in.I spent a lot of this book alternating between rushing to see what happened and trying to slow it down to savour it and I am already looking forward to re reading
Epic Solitude is a lot like Strayed's Wild. Katherine Keith had a lot of personal,issues and drifted around. She hiked the Pacific Crest Trail searching for relief and redemption before moving to Alaska. She found love again, only to have most of her family torn away from her in less than two years. Still, she persevered and embarked on a lot of adventures. I did wonder how she managed financially after the end of her second marriage with no visible means of support. It's a fast read and uplifting to readers who face their own challenges. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the advance copy.
Ken Follett is my favorite author, I have read every book written by him and can't wait for the prequel to The Pillars of the Earth. I loved his explanations of Notre-Dame, why it is important. It was also so amazing to see how he tied Pillars into it and amazing to see his thought process for Pillars. I love that he is giving the proceeds to rebuilding the cathedral of Notre-Dame.
This is a short but sweet history of the heavy undertaking of the building of the Notre-Dame Cathedral. It is written in a casual tone and includes Ken Follett's experience of viewing the burning of Notre-Dame on television. Contained in the book are amazing photos of necessary people involved in the building of the cathedral, as well as of the cathedral itself. I thought the photo of Viollet-le-Duc's drawing of a gargoyle feature that Ken Follett owns was especially interesting. A section of the book covers the influence of author, Victor Hugo (known for "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame" and "Les Miserables") on the rebuilding of Notre-Dame after the French Revolution vandalism. Fascinating small book and the proceeds from the book will go to the charity for rebuilding Notre-Dame.
Ken Follett’s recent book is a long essay he wrote during the week after the Notre Dame fire in 2019. A prospective reader would assume from the title that this was an intellectual essay about cathedrals in general and Notre Dame in particular. The prospective reader would be wrong. This is more of an essay loosely held together by Notre Dame. Subjects discussed range widely – from a very short biography of Victor Hugo and his book “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” to the 1844 renovation of Notre Dame to Charles DeGaulle preempting the Allies in taking over the 1944 win celebration after the end of WWII that concluded with a mass in Notre Dame amidst sniper fire. The only chapter that truly discusses the meaning of cathedrals is the latest and even then it is interspersed by Follett blowing his own horn about how much he knows about cathedrals because he wrote a bestselling novel that centered on the building of a fictional tting all the above aside, this is a quick read full of dozens of historical trivia about Notre Dame and the people who had a hand in making it the stunning edifice it was until the fire in April 2019.If you are at all interested in history and love the cathedrals of Europe, then this is the book for you. An added is that if you this book, Follett will donate his proceeds from the book to the charity La Fondation du Patrimoine, a non-profit organization collecting donations for the restoration of Notre anks to Viking and Edelweiss for an eARC.
This is easily read in one sitting. It's attractive comments about Notre Dame and the passing of a magnificent icon of the ages latest April when it almost disappeared from the fire of 2019. Mr. Follet has composed a attractive description of the meaning and the horror of that fabled cathedral's demise that hopefully will be short lived to be rebuilt. I'm grateful to have read it!
Very disappointing. I am a amazing fan of Follett's work but this one was obviously place together piecemeal and has maybe 30 pages of decent content. Of the listed 80 pages of content, most are pulled together from other sources including a number of drawings and art work that is obviously added to "bulk up" the book. The small content that is original is interesting and informative but there is a dearth of it making this book feel like a rip-off.I tried to obtain a but apparently, that's not possible with e-books. I now the proceeds go to rebuilding the Cathedral. Having been a lot of times I am all for helping but I resist getting cheated.
Notre Dame is a unique put is the globe as well as in Paris. People of the globe wept as we watched the cathedral burn. This book is a tribute to that attractive place. Ken Follett gives us a brief history of this amazing cathedral as we anxiously await the prequel to Pillars of the Earth in 2020.
“KIds ask the most profound, difficult, amusing, and sometimes annoying questions. They wish to know why there are stars in the sky, why there are dogs, why we breathe, why people have to die. They ask the huge questions about how the globe was made, where we came from, and why we’re here. Through the years, my own kids have asked: Where do all the people come from? What’s the meaning of life, anyway? Who named everything? Who were the parents of the first people?’’These are questions (answers) that define our identity. Various answers make various identities. All ideas, all conclusions, all beliefs are not made equal. Amazing ideas - amazing results; poor ideas - poor . . .“It’s not just children who are asking these questions, of course. Why are we here? is the most fundamental human question. We ask it when we’re alone reading a book or amid thousands of fans cheering at a football game. We ask it beneath starry skies and as we walk our children to school and while seated on airplanes thirty thousand feet above the earth. We ask it when a woman gives birth, when someone we love dies.’’‘Why is there air?’ Or as asked since ancient days - why does existence exist?“Even as science expands what we know about the physical world, the question of why we’re here in the first put is the one question that remains unanswerable by pure observation, the one remaining mystery.’’Ozment grasps deep truth - ‘observation can’t explain why’! Makes this work special.What else does she wonder about?“We were bringing up our three kids without any connection to the kinds of spiritual traditions, beliefs, and community with which we had been raised. But we had allow our religious practices and beliefs fall away without ever considering the costs. Did our kids need the kind of spiritual ritual and tribe my son and I had observed outside our window? What were the ramifications of our choice to raise them without any faith and accompanying traditions? It seemed irresponsible of us not to know.’’Keen insight.Why so a lot of abandoning organized religion?“This braiding of religion and politics was off-putting to a lot of who believed strongly that the two realms should remain separate, and it is one of the leading causes place forth by social scientists like Putnam to explain the rise of the Nones.’’Yep, political ideas everywhere.“Before the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic Church had the most power. Protestants reacted by saying that authority doesn’t come from the pope; authority comes from the word. “That turns everything loose,” Robinson said, “because the word can be born in a dozens of places, inspire people in various ways, and mean so a lot of things.” No longer is the institution the only source of knowledge and interpretation; individuals play a greater role, creating their own models. Emergent churches have been known to replace what we think of as the traditional Sunday program with sacred jazz services, elaborate light shows, or begin mic nights. Whether such alternatives will work to hold Protestant churches vibrant is still a question.’’Religion is not, and cannot ever be logue “We’re Nothing”LOSING ITChapter 1 Losing My ReligionChapter 2 How Did We Obtain Here?Chapter 3 Religion Tries to Stay RelevantGOOD-BYE TO ALL THATChapter 4 The Huge PictureChapter 5 Moral AuthorityChapter 6 Religious LiteracyChapter 7 A Sense of BelongingTHE PATH FORWARDChapter 8 Morality Without a MapChapter 9 Do-It-Yourself Religion Chapter10 Almost Church Chapter11 Ritual Without ReligionChapter 12 Facing the Huge UnknownChapter 13 The Wonder of the Natural WorldChapter 14 The God of Here and NowMake Your Own SundayEpilogueA Letter to My Children“According to scientists, the supernatural beliefs espoused by religion and taken on faith feed a biological hunger for hidden agents and a coalescing narrative that we all share. There’s some science behind the notion that all of us, and kids in particular, have an inherent interest in finding explanations for the mysterious. And traditionally, it’s been religious beliefs that give us the answers we are wired to seek.’’Well . . . why humans ‘wired’ for this? What or Who did this?“Deb Kelemen, a professor of psychology at Boston University, looks at how kids develop what she calls teleological thinking—the belief that things happen for a reason, or that objects or behaviors exist for a purpose. Kelemen was born in England and describes herself as an atheist. One day she and her son were playing outside when he noticed some flowers and asked her where they’d come from. She and her husband were raising their son to have a clear grasp of science, so she was intrigued to see that he was so attracted to finding a teleological respond to his questions. “He certainly hasn’t been going to church or anything like that,” she said. “And he gets these physical explanations from me and my husband for why things are as they are. So I was like, ‘Oh, they come from the seeds. They obtain germinated when the rain falls.’ And he said, ‘But who created the seeds?’”Right!What else?“Morality begins with a statement of values; story reaffirms those values and helps create them manifest. To grow up Jewish or Catholic or Baptist can give a person a sense of how she is expected to behave and what values she is expected to hold—because that’s what her people have done through time. A Quaker, Jesuit, or Buddhist can tap a rich tradition of teachings and history around problems such as peace and war, service and compassion, or just getting through the little struggles of each day. Religions give people not just an individual set of rules to abide by, that moral framework with absolute laws, but the strong group identity that comes from being part of a long history, passed down through generations via story.’’Ozment really presents this challenge clearly and vividly (am active Christian, and reminded of the treasure).She continues . . .“Outside the safety of trusted mates and family, our bodies go into alert mode, exhibiting a series of negative changes: Our arteries tighten, raising our blood pressure; our levels of cortisol and epinephrine, hormonal signals of stress, go up; and inflammation diminishes our immune function. Loneliness and isolation create people sick. When we interact with others, immunity levels, hormones, and blood pressure answer positively. Our bodies possess a biological system of punishment and reward to ensure that we socialize. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the difference between a life of isolation and one of community can be the difference between life and death.’’‘Scientific, medical evidence’.What’s needed?“One essential factor in religious groups’ longevity and stickiness is trust, which is also cultivated through the use of ritual. The practice of any religion requires commitment, and the higher the cost of that commitment—unconventional dress, significant time allocation, or painful ritual—the greater the trust it establishes among members. Those who don’t demonstrate commitment are allow go; you can’t belong if you don’t fall in line. This cutting out of the “free riders,” as social scientists call those who seek to reap the benefits of group membership without doing any of the work, makes religious groups stronger.’’Ozment (atheist/agnostic) really nails the contrast between religious/sacred and secular/scientific. Impressive.“ Sosis found that the religious communities that enforced the strictest rules lasted the longest. But that wasn’t real of secular communities, which disbanded despite costly rituals and behaviors. He concluded that real binding needed an extra reinforcement: The rules had to be sanctified by God, created holy in the name of some force larger than the group members themselves. Sanctification allowed the group to experience collective transcendence, a sense of operating on another plane of existence, out beyond the typical concerns of the day. Once religious groups come together around whatever it is they call sacred, self-interest diminishes and the group experiences an elevated sense of collective purpose.’’Ozment opens up her heart in this work. Clear, persuasive, vivid, touching. After analysis of religious life in the first half, she explains how she has developed a substitute ‘humanism’ with rituals, holy days, etc., etc..h secular readers and religious can search o-hundred fifty-four notes (not linked)Detailed index (not linked)Resources for readers(How to make your own secular religion)
I loved this book! It's a gorgeously written, deeply reported look at a barely appreciated phenomenon that is transforming the Western world. As so a lot of people, like me, give up on organized religion, we are left with lots of questions about how to plug the gaps that once were filled by churches and synagogues. Ozment frames these problems beautifully and illustrates them by profiling an awesome cast of characters, who are pioneers in this fresh world. This book speaks directly to people, like me, who have turned away from the dogmas of the past, but are less clear about the method forward.
It’s sometimes hard for atheists to admit that the lack of religion in their lives leaves a hole that needs to be filled. In “Grace Without God: Meaning, Purpose and Belonging in a Secular Age” author Katherine Ozment squarely faces the challenges of living and raising kids without the benefits of a religious e book begins with her son’s easy question, after seeing religious ceremonies being played out. “So what are we?” he asks. Her muddled response, “We’re nothing,” unsettles her, and the effect is this book.While a firm atheist, the first part of Ozment’s book acknowledges what a lot of secularists too often ignore - the true benefits that religion brings to living one’s life; specifically, a sense of purpose reinforced by others, a social community, and a general, scheduled time of reflection on one’s life in a larger context. There’s also a realization of the comforts of well accepted ritual, especially at times of crisis and death. Part of religion’s strength in the past, and its continuing vitality, is due to these practical benefits that religion brings to living. However Ozment never backs away from the fact that religion’s value is undercut by its theistic construct.But without this theistic structure, a lot of of these benefits can be hard to establish in one’s own life, especially when raising kids. And yet, in our non-theistic globe that is what we must be doing, Ozment argues. The major part of her book is her find for appropriate substitutes for religion, without the theistic basis. Some are easily filled through already existing communities (think Meet-Up, reading, music, art, dance and sports groups among others). But while helpful on the surface level, most of these groups do not have the gravitas and sense of real community that most search in a Ozment searches for those groups that are trying to fill this void. And by looking hard, she does begin to search them, whether it be in the Unitarian Universalist Church, different Humanist societies (which all come off very positively in this book) and Eastern religions and practices, such as yoga. These are starting to fill the societal need for what she terms “contemplative community rituals” a nice description for what religion has provided for years, but which are still lacking in our secular globe a more basic, family level she also starts to fill in with easy introduction of more regular, secular rituals (here think Sunday family dinners) and a more conscious connection with family and family history. Also there is a conscious effort to spend more time in nature and taking trips to see nature’s beauty as a method of creating a sense of wonder and awe at the beauty to be found in the e book is told in the first person, private narrative, and this style serves Ozment well. She is a graceful and thoughtful writer, and her private insights strike a larger, more common chord with the general reader, or at least similarly situated secular ones. It squarely addresses a issue that a lot of in the secular globe choose to ignore, acknowledging that there is much amazing in religion, but recognizing that it needs to be sifted through and reshaped so that it fits into a secular worldview.
Grace without God is packed with unbelievable insights for those of us interested in finding connection and meaning without the formal structure of religion. Ozment's research was extensive, but it was her private stories woven throughout that were the highlight. Her writing is beautiful. The Epilogue (a letter to her children) is especially touching. As a mother raising children without formal religion, I found her words deeply resonant.
I have love every book by Ken Follett, up until now. I realize this book was for charity also. But some of these reviews had more meat in them than the book. It read like he just threw in his notes from his Kingsbridge series with his thoughts of the day on the Notre-Dame fire. Save a tree and chop down on your carbon footprint and just send in $20 to the Notre-Dame restoration fund.
This is a moving response to the horrific happenings around the (near) destruction of Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral. The private impact on the author - a man known for his devotion to and grasp of the culture of the world's cathedrals - is clear and palpable to the reader. In a short essay, he is able to convey the meaning and importance of the cathedral (this one and, indeed, all such constructions) on the human mind and ing very familiar with his longer, saga length books on the history of cathedral-building, I was somewhat taken aback by the brevity of this one (just hoping for more, I guess). The addition of the artworks and the knowledge that the proceeds are to be donated to the rebuilding effort almost makes up for the disappointment.
For most people with an interest in the topic this book will be deeply satisfying. Ozment takes us on a journey of learning and discovery as she explores the emerging landscape of secular community in America. She deftly weaves insights from social science in with vivid stories of those she met on the method and her own experience grappling with the longings that the absence of religion has left in her life and that of her ere is a loose structure to the book. First, she reviews a lot of of the things that religion to serve the needs of religious people. These are listed as “identity and belonging, rituals, shared stories, moral authority, and belief in God and the afterlife.” To this list she could have added a sense of meaning and purpose and religious awe because she addresses these as well. She investigates how the non-religious search identity and belonging in different communities that are popping up across the country. She looks at non-religious rituals such as a humanist Easter service, a secular solstice celebration, and a Zen coming-of-age ceremony. She visits a group in Ashland, Oregon that gathers around the sacred act of sharing their stories with one another. She perceives sources of moral authority in the method that secular parents teach their values to their children. Discussing death as part of a “Death Café” event, she finds this fearful subject somewhat defused. Meaning and purpose come with being part of a larger whole and serving the greater good. Religious awe can be replaced with scientific e thing about this book that I search so helpful is the method it reiterated to me the sense that we who are non-religious are not alone. Throughout the country individuals, families, and communities are finding ways to fill the void left by religion. Ozment has done us a service by surveying a broad sample of what’s out there and expressing herself lucidly in the earnest voice of a “curious seeker”.
This is a thoughtful book into what approach one should follow to support kids develop into caring members of society outside the bounds of organized religion. The review of the historical development of societal relationships helps bring perspective and answers to those who believe that the only path to morality is through the Judaeo-Christian perspective.
I too felt enormous pain as Noted Same burned, and as a fan of Follett, I looked forward to his essay. How disappointed I was to read a rehashing of what I already knew. Missing from this time was any Fresh perspective, nor any discussion of the current efforts and arguments regarding its current reconstruction.
This book is a clear and concise history of cathedrals. The info about Notre Dame is fascinating and informative. Having visited Notre Dame while on a business trip to Paris, it was an outstanding collection of info about the history and info Of the cathedral. Loved it! Hoping it can recover from the fire.
I really liked this book. The author place in a lot of time researching the subject of secular means of replacing some of the rituals and communities associated with traditional religion. I was particularly intrigued by what she discovered concerning the value of sharing private stories in a group setting, which seems to support bond together communities wherein the members have a shared philosophy (e.g. secularism, Christian, etc.). A lot of secular groups seem to have "drop-in" sorts of meetings, where people obtain together for a program, and then leave. Genuine community-building requires more of a commitment to one another. Ozment adds some valuable meal for thought about how that commitment might be fostered.
As a journalistic text, this book is fascinating. But it is also sad. Poor theology has so dominated the globe that most people don't even realize that there is such a thing as amazing theology (good from a naturalistic standpoint). Theology is contested location and religion is not defined by poor theology. People who are atheists are not logically excluded from religion. They have to contribute to the construction of religion so that religion will be relevant into the future. True, some religions might resist actual reasonableness in their theology but that is not real of all the major religions and most American denominations. In fact, in mainstream Christianity and Judaism there is every reason to believe that as a lot of as half of the people sitting in the pews do not believe in a traditional ver of God. This approach seems alien to Ozmet, and that is the sad part. Like a lot of she seems to have just given religion over to the backwards people who think they can believe texts literally (an absurdity by definition as the texts were not written to be read literally). Theology is and needs to be contested and atheists can write theology too. OK, so what is theology? It is the examination of a religion's symbols, with the basic symbol being the word "God." God is a word that points to a feeling people have (I maintain) and just what that means is a question that every generation has to respond for itself. With "for itself" being the vital bit. Religion becomes unhelpful when reasonable people leave it to unreasonable people. Don't do that -- read and write theology yourself!
I’ve read Brian Greene’s previous books and enjoyed them all. Part of the fun is struggling through concepts that feel alien to the human mind; even when the ideas don’t feel intuitive, attempting to wrap your mind around it opens up fresh lines of thinking. This fresh book by Mr. Greene is of a various sort. It takes a step back from the minutiae of quantum mechanics and casts a much longer arc—indeed, about as long as human comprehension allows. If you come at this journey with an begin mind you will be rewarded with some of the finest prose from one of the world’s most gifted thinkers. If, however, you are a Fb PhD, all but certain you already understand the mystery of life, the universe and everything, you may do better to choose a book that does not seek to challenge your preconceived beliefs.
I gave five stars to “Grace Without God” because I couldn’t place the book down. I felt I was with Katherine Ozment every step along the method in her spiritual journey, and I thoroughly enjoyed the trip. Yet, something is rhaps I should place what's missing in the form of a question: What/who can make a dream and in the dream photo “hirself” (himself, herself, itself) as one’s loving, wise and joyful creator--and inducing love in return? (What/who can thereby create life a deeply meaningful, joyful, adventure?)Perhaps Ozment will eventually discover depth psychology (I’m thinking of Jungian psychoanalysis in particular) in depth. If she does and writes a book about it, I will be first in line to the book. I REALLY like the method she writes—and thinks.