Monday, July 24, 2017

Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos, #1) by Dan Simmons

4 of 5 stars  ****

Hyperion is a world in a universe that houses a golem-like creature, the Shrike, which can alter the fabric of creation, itself, summoning apocalyptic change. The author, Dan Simmons, writes beautifully. He holds the reader's attention using eloquent descriptions of characters and their milieu. Hyperion is a mature, intelligent science fiction that satisfies the dreams and imagination of unbound minds. The story's complexities do not confuse or stray from its focus; they support the converging pilgrimages of those seeking Hyperion for its intricacies.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Sybil: The Classic True Story of a Woman Possessed by Sixteen Personalities by Flora Rheta Schreiber

5 of 5 stars  *****

A most disturbing novel because the story is true. The intrigue builds with the discovery of each psychological coping mechanism used by Sybil during her horrifying child abuse by her mother. It shocks to the core of every moral and just fiber in one's being. That extent of fear creates deep scars on the psyche, repression, which leads to blackouts and the development of sixteen distinct personalities. This book also reveals that abuse by humans capable of treating an innocent child so tragically perverse may cause resiliency in an otherwise broken mind to bury the damage, pick up the pieces, and create a totally different being, dysfunctional as it may be.

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Last Sin Eater by Francine Rivers

5 of 5 stars  *****

Francine Rivers is a marvelous story-teller and proves it with this masterful work, The Last Sin Eater. This story engages the reader early on with the introduction of family characters who are immigrants from Great Britain. They settle in a beautiful Smokey Mountain region in eastern United States. Through the eyes of Cadi Forbes, a little girl who experiences old customs when her beloved grandmother dies and the group gathers for her funeral, The Last Sin Eater becomes known.

Rivers develops the tension in this story around the Forbes family's loss. Cadi's little sister falls to her death off a fallen tree that bridges a deep gorge over a rapid river . The younger child follows Cadi to that fatal spot; so Cadi is guilt-ridden when her mother's remorse expresses harsh feelings toward the older girl. Unable to bear the burden of guilt for a lifetime, Cadi seeks out the "scapegoat" character, the Sin Eater, so he may absolve her of her sin. When that proves to be ineffective, she meets a missionary who tells her about the original Sin Eater, the only one who can truly forgive her sins, Jesus Christ. The story evolves into an adventure that thrills, saddens, and heartens the reader before expertly crafted pages demonstrate moments of courage and sacrifice that uplift spirits and change behaviors toward Truth and abandon ancient fears which allow superstition and lies to prevail.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Left Behind (Left Behind, #1) by Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins

3 out of 5 stars  ***

A shocking account of how the biblical Rapture may unfold one day when no one suspects such an event to happen. Tim LaHaye describes what is written in Revelation and earlier prophecies; then scholarly discussion with other noted academia ensues about its interpretation along with Tribulation.

This piques the interest of those interested in the future, possibly in this lifetime. Theologians wonder about these early writings as the Left Behind series displays a possible scenario based on the in-depth study of prophecy fulfilled and yet to come.

So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

4 of 5 stars  ****

An interesting update on the way people publicly shame and the ramifications that result from such shaming. Ronson uses personal experiences with friends and colleagues to make his point and adeptly follows through with causes and outcomes from this ancient teacher of behavior. Today's shaming is immediate with a large population of judges who can be ruthless in their commentary. 

The example from the internet is Twitter and the causes range from moments of anger to attempts at humor. Exposed plagiarism, unintended or not, can shame the most talented into hiding. Once the jury weighs in on a politically incorrect choice of words, shaming begins on a wide public scale that destroys livelihoods, permanently stains reputations, and evokes hopelessness and helplessness. 

Examples of public shaming in the past, such as: stocks, whipping posts, tar and feathering and being ridden out of town on a rail are outlawed today because of the excess cruelty. The author still claims that the shaming today cuts deep enough to scar one for life. 

Ronson also enlightens the reader about another consequence of shaming. Retribution that may lead to forgiveness; or, as he describes a better public response, nothing at all. This implies that people forget the incident that would otherwise embed itself in the mind of public opinion. 

So You've Been Publicly Shamed alerts one to the responsibility of expressing a thought, idea, or instruction in today's world. Reactionary impulses can have lifelong repercussions if communicated from the safety of one's PC or smartphone. It is easily done with the singular press of a key, Enter or Send. A mindless thought to a sensitive audience awaits judgment and conviction in one vindicating moment. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Clean House: Exposing Our Government's Secrets and Lies by Tom Fitton

5 of 5 stars  *****

Tom Fitton writes a most revealing book about the corruption that exists in high places; namely, the offices of the US State Department and the Presidency. He uses the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and suits brought by Judicial Watch, a government watchdog group consisting of top-notch judges and lawyers. This book is about the Obama administration years which include Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State and her post cabinet status as Democratic candidate for President of the United States.

This American reviewer remembers when the events in this book take place. Fitton fills in the details about questions that arise from that administration's behavior. The subjects are those that make headlines and engage most Americans in the world of politics. They are: Hillary's email cover-up, leaks and hacks exposing national vulnerabilities and confidential information weakening America's security, government secrets and lies, fraud, Obamacare exemptions to get the bill passed, bullying of Conservative and Tea Party groups before elections by the IRS and its cover-up, refusing to prosecute those apparently guilty of lying to the American people, refusing to enforce the immigration laws and allowing illegal aliens convenient passage into America with safety in Sanctuary Cities, and downplaying terrorism in America that arises as a result of slackened Federal policies and Islamophobia.

The subjects also include the main stream media's response to these circumstances which pit Liberal against Conservative, political correctness, which deems certain words as unacceptable or insensitive, against political incorrectness, which claims that Liberals use political correctness to demonize their opponents.

Clean House: Exposing Our Government's Secrets and Lies explains why and how the great divide in America exists. The outcome of the last election displays -much to the chagrin of the Left socialists - that Americans do not trust their government nor do they trust the main stream media, anymore. The divide is not going away until the people are shown that government puts their security and opportunity for prosperity first instead of using political power to build selfish kingdoms for those who occupy the seats of power in these United States of America.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

A People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present by Howard Zinn, Jeff Zinn (Reading)

4 of 5 stars  ****

This comprehensive rendition of American history is well written and narrated. This reader is very aware of the leading way the narrator uses voice inflection and calculated pauses to imply whether an event is good or bad. Having said that, this history account is rather negative about the way those in power carve out the United States of America; even though true, there is no counter rationale for all that negativity. One almost wants to apologize for being an American. If our last president is of a like mind, this would explain his apology tour around the world and his seemingly un-American attitude about the military and domestic issues. In summation, I would simply say that A People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present leans more Left/Liberal than Right/Conservative, more Democrat than Republican. This is most apparent in the later chapters when events are contemporaneous to this man's lifetime.