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Steve P RSS Feed (Adelaide, South Australia)

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The Fault in Our Pants: A Parody of "The Fault in Our Stars"
The Fault in Our Pants: A Parody of "The Fault in Our Stars"
Price: $0.99

1.0 out of 5 stars The fault is with the author, February 28, 2015
The fault with THE FAULT IN OUR PANTS is the author who has written what I consider to be a very weak parody of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green - at least, that is what I thought after reading about 30% of the book and giving up on it. I like a good parody. The best parodies are of those that are about things that, in reality, are pretty awful. The problem, of course, is that I liked the book THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. So parodying something that is good just doesn't work for me. Maybe if the parodying was clever it might have worked. But what I read of the FAULT IN OUR PANTS is quite pathetic humour which essentially follows the storyline of the book and inserts what might be called schoolboy jokes every few lines. Not worth reading.


The Martian
The Martian

4.0 out of 5 stars A fresh thriller, February 28, 2015
This review is from: The Martian (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoyed this novel set in the present day (mostly) on Mars. The writing has a feel of authenticity and I learned a lot about space survival! It's a fresh plot that moves along at a surprising pace (I didn't think there was so much that one could do on Mars!) with some good unexpected twists and turns. The author has created a great thriller that I could easily read again. A thoroughly good read.


Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God
Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God
Price: $2.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A timely discussion for secular people, February 7, 2015
Despite the title, there is a good deal of talk about God in this book! One of the issues I have with a lot of atheist books is that they seem to continually define their perspective contra theism. So while there are quite a few interesting (and comforting, depending on who you are) thoughts about death in this book, too much of it is arguing against theistic ideas or criticising the way theists may communicate with atheists about death and grieving. What I'd like to see is a book that makes no reference to religion but provides a discussion about death, grieving and journeying through toward and/or through these experiences that is comforting. Having said that, the book is worth reading to get a sense of what options there may be for approaching death and grieving from a secular perspective. Christina rights with sensitivity and warmth and it is timely that a calm conversation begins amongst secularists about one of the great certainties of life -- death.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 8, 2015 11:12 AM PST


Psychoanalysis and Zen Buddhism
Psychoanalysis and Zen Buddhism
Price: $9.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Unnecessarily complicated, January 31, 2015
The essential point of this book is Fromm's opinion that psychoanalysis and Zen Buddhism subscribe to the same aim. For the author, 'The aim of Zen is enlightenment: the immediate, unreflected grasp of reality, without affective contamination and intellectualization, the realization of the relation of myself to the Universe.' For Fromm, this is precisely what psychoanalysis aims to do.

I'm not completely convinced of the 1:1 relationship between the two systems of thought and practice. However, I am not an expert in either field. The book is brief and does not include any in-depth discussion of critiques of the ideas Fromm presents. The language of the author is often unnecessarily complex making it difficult to read at times.

If you have some knowledge of psychoanalysis or Zen Buddhism, you will probably find this book of interest. It's probably not a good place to start before a basic introduction to each.


A Brief Eternity
A Brief Eternity
Price: $9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wickedly incisive, January 18, 2015
This review is from: A Brief Eternity (Kindle Edition)
Because of my lifetime conditioning in relation to the Christian Jesus there were times when I felt very uncomfortable, particularly when the author had him swearing using very coarse language - but then the point of the book is to make the reader uncomfortable! This novel is wickedly incisive in its satirical critique of Christian fundamentalist, literalistic readings of the Hebrew and Christian bibles on salvation, heaven, hell and other related matters. Parts of it are laugh-out-loud funny and Beaumont presents genuine surprises in the plot. The writing is mature and easy to read - I couldn’t put it down. The ending of the book is brilliant! For those willing to read with an open mind and not easily offended, there is much to think about.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 5, 2015 2:36 PM PST


Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them)
Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them)
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $11.61

5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone interested in the Christian Bible, January 11, 2015
An excellent, plain language survey of critical scholarship on the nature and development of the New Testament documents of the Christian bible. As the author points out, scholars have known the information presented in this book for many, many decades - it’s just that the person in the street is not told about it. The information will be a bombshell for those who are not aware of this information - and a brilliant summary and discussion for those who already do. The author is an agnostic and is often asked why he continues to study the Bible. His answer, provided near the end of this book, is that ‘The Bible is the most important book in the history of Western civilization. It is the most widely purchased, the most thoroughly studied, the most highly revered, and the most completely misunderstood book—ever! Why wouldn’t I want to study it?’ Bart Ehrman is clearly an expert in his field. But he has the ability to make his area simple to understand without dumbing down the material. For anyone interested in the Bible - atheist, agnostic, or believer - this is a must read.


The Agony of the Gods: Softly Falls the Snow
The Agony of the Gods: Softly Falls the Snow
Price: $7.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Eventually intriguing, January 7, 2015
A fascinating, though difficult, read. I got about a third of the way through and found I was really struggling to find the motivation to continue. It seemed slow and lacked tension - except for the relationship between the enforcer and the apprentice. But after reading all the glowing reviews of the book, I decided to push on - and am glad I did. THE AGONY OF THE GODS is a very different read to the usual fare - and so achieves the purpose of the publishers of the book to produce books that different. The story is actually pretty intriguing and delves into all sorts of issues in a very subtle way. The investigation of who is killing the “Gods” almost recedes into the background at times and focuses more on each of the worlds that the enforcer and apprentice visits and the issues going on there. Once I shifted my focus within the narrative, the book actually became quite enjoyable and I started wondering just where the author was going to take me. I don’t think this book will be for everyone. But if you are looking for something more sophisticated and “literary”, but with a tinge of mystery, then this might be for you. I’m looking forward, now, to the next book this author gifts us with.


Confessions of a Conjuror
Confessions of a Conjuror

4.0 out of 5 stars Magical, November 25, 2014
CONFESSIONS OF A CONJUROR

I'm a big fan of Derren Brown's TV shows. I understand quite a bit of the theory behind what he does having studied NLP back in the 80s along with other psychological theories. He's a very sophisticated performer and constantly surprises and entertains. I have always wondered how he arrived where he is today. While CONFESSIONS OF A CONJUROR is not a typical autobiography, it does provide some insight into how he thinks and the way he approaches the world. The book is a fascinating read. Using a description of one card trick as the "backbone" of the book, Derren takes us down numerous sidetracks and back alleys that reveal exquisite powers of observation of the "mundane" CONFESSIONS of life and human behaviour. There is an openness about himself, including his flaws and foibles, which is endearing. And his use of language is evocative and shot through with wit and wisdom. I've never read a book quite like this one - the style is wonderfully unique. My only criticism is that occasionally - and only occasional - the writing felt a bit bogged down. After reading his book, Derren Brown is one person I'd love to meet for a chat. If you are familiar with Derren Brown's work, check out this book. It won't be everyone's cup of tea. But after a few pages you'll know whether you want to drink the whole cup.


DarkNet
DarkNet
by John R. Little
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.93
25 used & new from $8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Unsophisticated but great read!, November 15, 2014
This review is from: DarkNet (Paperback)
I am reviewing a pre-release digital version of the book and cannot review it on Amazon yet. So am writing my review here.

A short, punchy, fast-paced, sometimes shocking story that draws on contemporary anxieties related to the internet. Unsophisticated but a good read. Had me unwilling to put it down until I had finished. Good escapist entertainment.


Cain
Cain

4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and provocative, November 14, 2014
This review is from: Cain (Kindle Edition)
Absolutely fascinating and very, very controversial - especially would be for fundamentalist Christians and, maybe, moderate Christians. Offers some very biting critique of a literalistic reading of some Old Testament stories. Didn't like the writing style, which was essentially grammar and punctuation free. I assume this was because it reflects the nature of Hebrew text. Got used to it after awhile. Very thought-provoking and, sometimes, confronting. Highly recommend for anyone with an open mind.


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