Why Can’t I? Thursday, May 30 2013 

Hi Readers,

Any ideas as to what this post could possibly be about?

Oh, I don’t know. Let’s think about this…

I would love to post every single time I finish a book… but that is just not going to happen. For one reason or another I just can’t do it. Hell, I can’t post once a month. Maybe it isn’t “can’t…” I don’t know. Not a clue. Either way… you’re reading this post for some reason, and me? I am posting this out of some off sense of obligation. Without further ado, here is what I’ve read since January 1, 2013, (spoilers might be involved):

1-15-13: Blood Noir, Laurell K. Hamilton, 3/5, “Sometimes it’s not the light in a person you fall in love with, but the dark. Sometimes it’s not the optimist you need, but another pessimist to walk beside you and know, absolutely know, that the sound in the dark is a monster, and it really is as bad as you think. “

1-31-13: Skin Trade, Laurell K. Hamilton, 4/5, “I’m a Christian, but if God is truly a God of love, then why would he have a private torture chamber where he put people that he was suppose to love and forgive to punish forever? If you actually read the Bible, the idea of hell like in the  movies and  most books was invented by a writer. Dante’s Inferno was ripped off by the Church to give people something to ba afraid of…”

2-14-13: Flirt, Laurell K. Hamilton, 3/5, “I put power into the words, all the power I had, and willed it to work.” (149)

2-19-13: Bullet, Laurell K. Hamilton, 3/5, “I’d more likely be staring into a pair of my own dark brown, and I can see that everytime I look in a mirror. I’m not fond enough of my own eyes to want to see them in someone else’s face.” (356)

2-24-13: Lost in Time, Melissa de la Cruz, 4/5, “The battle was finished.” (328)

2-28-13: Gates of Paradise, Melissa de la Cruz, 4/5, “Sometimes love means letting go.” (332)

3-3-13: Last Sacrifice, Richelle Mead, 3/5, “‘Just because we want something doesn’t mean it’s right.'” (452)

3-12-13: Hit List, Laurell K. Hamilton, 5/5, “‘Tell that to the BTK killer,’ I said. ‘He was a churchgoer, raised two kids, married, and resisted the urge to kill for decades. He was a person, but he was a monster, too.'”

3-21-13: Kiss the Dead, Laurell K. Hamilton, 4/5, “I’m beginning to try and wrap my head around the thought that no one gets to hurt the people I love, not even another man that I love.” (359)

3-22-13: The Second Empress: A Novel of Napoleon’s Court, Michelle Moran, 4/5, “He smiles widely. ‘As accomplished as any Hapsburg archduchess should be.'” (12)

3-26-13: Cleopatra’s Daughter, Michelle Moran, 4/5, “He brushed his lips against my ear. ‘A brave young woman who has always fought for what was right, even when it was unpopular. A woman who can’t return to the land of her birth, but is welcome to cross the seas and rebuild Alexandria in mine. And a woman who has suffered enough in Rome and deserves happiness for a change. Will you come to Mauretania and be my queen?'”

4-8-13: Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life, Natalie Goldberg, 4/5, “Writing practice brings us back to the uniqueness of our own minds and an acceptance of it. We all have wild dreams, fantasies, and ordinary thoughts. Let us to feel the texture of them and not be afraid of them.Writing is still the wildest thing I know.”

4-9-13: The King’s Concubine: A Novel of Alice Perrers, Anne O’Brien, 4/5, “‘It is important for a woman to have the duplicity to make good use of whatever gifts she might have, however valueless they might seem… You have to have the inner strength to pursue your goal, and not care how many enemies you make along the road. It is not easy.'”

4-16-13: The Last Nude, Ellis Avery, 4/5, “She looked up at me then as if I were a dream she was having, and that’s when I thought it: I can do whatever I want to her.” (287)

4-18-13: Wintergirls, Laurie Halse Anderson, 5/5, “She wipes a snowflake off my cheek. ‘You’re not dead, but you’re not alive either. You’re a wintergirl, Lia-Lia, caught in between the worlds. You’re a ghost with a beating heart. Soon you’ll cross the border and be with me. I’m so stoked. I miss you wicked.'” (196)

4-25-13: Daddy Love, Joyce Carol Oates, 3/5, “Of every one hundred children perhaps one interested Daddy Love in the depths of his soul. Of every two hundred children perhaps one excited him.” (53)

5-2-13: The Vanishers, Heidi Julavits, 3/5, “Blame is the cord you can never sever, the viscous umbilical you can swipe at with you hands, but there it will be always ghostily hover, connecting you to monsters exactly as pitiful and needy and flawed as yourself.” (278)

5-23-13: God is Not One, Stephen R. Prothero, 5/5, Click here to read my review!

5-23-13: Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn, 5/5, “Each clue was hidden in a spot where I’d cheated on Amy. She’d used the treasure hunt to take me on a tour of all my infidelities.” (226)

5-26-13: Frost Burned, Patricia Briggs, 4/5, “I was going to have to come up with a rank for myself besides Alpha’s mate. In the pack, I was just Mercy- but if ten more people called me the Alpha’s mate, I was going to hit someone. It sounded like a chess move.” (316)

I love Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series. Damn near addictive. Michelle Moran is truly fantastic! The authors that I keep returning to… they know their stuff. Wintergirls broke my heart. The quotes at the end are my favorite lines–just fyi.

Daddy Love and Wintergirls… they were difficult to read. That is probably the point, but after reading them, I felt angry. And I’m not going to lie… a part of me still isn’t over it.

In other news, I feel like a majority of 2011’s Reading List is going to be… cancelled? Yes, cancelled. I’m just not into the titles now like I was when I first found them. That being said, I am finished with 2010’s Reading List–even God is Not One by Stephen R. Prothero. I’ve been reading it since January–it is fairly intensive on some portions, so I decided to take it slow.

So, it is the end of May… and this entry has been five months in the making. Here’s to attempting another entry similar to this in June. Or maybe we’ll all wait until December…

Always,
Nolaleigh

God is Not One Thursday, May 23 2013 

Hi Readers,

I think I’m going to change up how and what I blog. My goal, at present, is to post once a month. I’m not entirely sure how it is going to work yet, but I guess that is the beauty of figuring things out. Which is where I bring you to this book, God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World–and Why Their Differences Matter by Stephen Prothero.

God is Not One was incredibly informative and gave me a better insight into religion than my Religious Studies professor did when I was in college–but I guess he had to “guide” us in the direction of Christianity because that’s what he believes–ANYWAY. At times, Prothero was obviously giving his opinion about a certain topic, but for the most part, I felt he was able to stay impartial.

He introduces each religion as the “Way of…” This method, without having to read further, immediately tells the reader that all religions are different. Who knew? Prothero titles them:

Islam: The Way of Submission
Christianity: The Way of Salvation
Confucianism: The Way of Propriety
Hinduism: The Way of Devotion
Buddhism: The Way of Awakening
Yoruba Religion: The Way of Connection
Judaism: The Way of Exile and Return
Daoism: The Way of Flourishing
Atheism: The Way of Reason

While incredibly simplistic, his “four part approach” for each religion states:

a problem;
a solution to this problem, which also serves as the religious goal;
a technique (or techniques) for moving from this problem to this solution; and
an exemplar (or exemplars) who chart this path from problem to solution (14).

He uses Christianity and Buddhism as his examples.

I really enjoyed reading this book. It took nearly six months to finish… but what can I say, life happens. If you want to get a basic understanding of “the world’s major religions” this is the book to read. Also, he acknowledges he doesn’t discuss religions such as: “Shinto, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Wicca, Baha’i, Rastafarianism, Scientology, and Sikhism,” simply because he was ranking the mass of the religion by number of followers. Overall, I am giving God is Not One a 5/5. Some parts were dry, but Prothero has a way of writing that helps people understand what exactly it is that they’re reading.

Favorite quotations:

“The ideal of religious tolerance has morphed into the straitjacket of religious agreement” (4).

“Unfortunately, we live in a world where religion seems as likely to detonate a bomb as to defuse one. So while we need idealism, we need realism even more. We need to understand religious people as they are–not just at their best but also at their worst. We need to look  at not only their awe-inspiring architecture and gentle mystics but also their bigots and suicide bombers” (7).

“You don’t have to believe in God to want to understand how beliefs in God have transformed individuals and societies from ancient Israel to contemporary China” (15).

“After 9/11 and the Holocaust, we need to see the world’s religions as they really are–in all their gore and glory. This includes seeing where they agree and disagree, and not turning a blind eye to their failings” (17).

“Religious Studies scholars are rarely honest enough to admit this in person, much less in print, but we all know there are things that each of the world’s religions do well, and things they do poorly” (20).

“…just as hitting home runs is the monopoly of one sport, salvation is the monopoly of one religion” (22).

If you read this, I hope you enjoy it.

Always,
Nolaleigh