Archive for books

100 books somebody thinks everybody should read.

Posted in Life in general with tags , , on Wednesday 18 February 2009 by amanda

Apparently the BBC claims most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books listed here. Gotta love how incredibly white and euro-centric the list is. just like human civilization began with the greeks, right? oh well…i’m still interested in perusing what’s listed…so I’ve read 51 of the books herein listed, and there are SEVERAL that I will never ever read again – they are just dumb.  Most of the rest of the list I just have no interest in reading at all…after all, just because it’s a “classic” doesn’t mean I have to be interested, like it, or generally think it’s worth my time in the SLIGHTEST.  I’ve also posted scathing commentary on Sarah’s profile on FB, since I got the list from her…I’m just feeling feisty and contrary today, though.  Actually, I’m going to start a list of 100 books I think everybody should read right now.  If I ever finish it, I’ll put it up.

Instructions:

1) Look at the list and put an ‘x’ after those you have read. 2) Tally your total at the bottom. 2) Put in a note with your total in the subject

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen – X

2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien – X

3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte – X

4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling X

5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee x

6 The Bible – X (when I was little, I’m pretty sure that I have read the whole thing at SOME point…)

7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte – X

8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell – X

9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens – X Continue reading

interestingly enough (related to below post)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on Saturday 8 September 2007 by amanda

i happened to find this article in the NYTimes tonight, very ironic since I finished “Under the Banner of Heaven” this afternoon and wrote a blog post about it…anyway, it’s an article about boys that leave some of these polygamous sects. Fascinating stuff.

full text here:

Boys Cast Out by Polygamists Find Help
By ERIK ECKHOLM

ST. GEORGE, Utah — Woodrow Johnson was 15, and by the rules of the polygamous sect in which his family lived, he had a vice that could condemn them to hell: He liked to watch movies.

When his parents discovered his secret stash of DVDs, including the “Die Hard” series and comedies, they burned them and gave him an ultimatum. Stop watching movies, they said, or leave the family and church for good.

With television and the Internet also banned as wicked, along with short-sleeve shirts — a sign of immodesty — and staring at girls, let alone dating them, Woodrow made the wrenching decision to go. And so 10 months ago, with only a seventh-grade education and a suitcase of clothes, he was thrown into an unfamiliar world he had been taught to fear.

Over the last six years, hundreds of teenage boys have been expelled or felt compelled to leave the polygamous settlement that straddles Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah.

Disobedience is usually the reason given for expulsion, but former sect members and state legal officials say the exodus of males — the expulsion of girls is rarer — also remedies a huge imbalance in the marriage market. Members of the sect believe that to reach eternal salvation, men are supposed to have at least three wives.

State officials say efforts to help them with shelter, foster care or other services have been frustrated by the boys’ distrust of government and fear of getting their parents into trouble.

But help for the teenagers is improving. In St. George, a nearby city where many of them wind up, two private groups, with state aid, have opened the first residence and center for banished boys. It will offer psychological counseling and advice on things they never learned, like how to write a check or ask a girl out politely, as well as a transitional home for eight who will attend school and work part time.
Continue reading

under the banner of heaven – leaving me disgusted with religion

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on Saturday 8 September 2007 by amanda

i just finished reading Jon Krackauer’s book, “Under the Banner of Heaven”. I wanted to read this one after reading “Into Thin Air”, which was amazing. “Under the Banner of Heaven” jump-starts with the murder of a young mother and her daughter. They were killed by the mother’s brothers-in-law, who believed that god had told them to kill her and her baby. The book is two-fold in my mind – it is a history of Mormonism (and I might add that it’s noted at the end of the book that the Mormon church (LDS) highly disapproves of this book and has disputed many of the points contained in it), but also a look at FLDS, which is fundamentalist Mormons, that have been excommunicated from the church or never belonged to LDS proper in the first place, and how they developed, what they believe, and where their particular beliefs come from.
I think that a major reason that Mormonism comes off in a less-than-shiny light in this book is that I think that the author feels the need to explicitly explain where these fundamentalists broke away from the main – for example, on the topic of plural marriage, celestial marriage, polygamy (whatever you want to call it) he attempts to trace back the practice to Joseph Smith, and points out the although the LDS church has renounced polygamy, the revelation to Joseph Smith in which god told him to engage in polygamy is still part of the accepted doctrine of the church. It’s been out of accepted mainline LDS church practice for a very long time, and I think many Mormons would prefer that everybody just let it freakin’ go (and who can blame them?) but it’s still an important part of history in examining the rising of these fundamentalist groups.
That said, it’s a very stark portrait of the development of the Mormon church. Other than a PBS special about the history and development, this book is the only major source of information that I have on the subject. I find it very interesting…it’s a portrayal of a people less than 200 years ago, that were trying to forge out their new faith, and were being strongly persecuted for it. The author posits this as a bit of a chicken-and-egg scenario – he asserts that the early Mormon community had little to no regard for laws outside of the ones they set for themselves, and formed insular communities, isolating themselves from the outside world. I feel that it’s a bit of a scenario where depending WHAT one considers to have happened first, different people are to blame for tensions between communities. Of course, it’s rare that one side of a conflict can be simply blamed anyway, whether you’re talking about the early LDS church or any other group of people.
I feel like I’m rambling, and so I guess the crux of the matter is that I read this book and kept thinking to myself “How could they be so callous towards others? How could they be so self-righteous to think that they are the only ones with some kind of ‘truth’?” And I kept having to pull myself back – after all Mormonism only does what every other faith does – they assert that they have the one truth from god himself, and everybody else is damned. They believe that to protect their children, they should be shielded from teachings outside the faith, as many Christians, Muslims, Jews, and others do. After all, isn’t that what home-schooling, parochial school, madrassas and Hebrew school are mainly about – to make sure that kids are taught what’s right according to a particular faith system?
In the end, the book left me upset about pretty much every faith. The very end of the book a former fundamentalist Mormon name DeLoy Bateman, now an atheist, is interviewed. He talks for a while about the intolerance of the church to have people question the inconsistencies in teachings – they’d rather have blind following than critical thinking, according to Mr. Bateman. His final quote in the book is, “If ou want to know the truth, I think people within the religion – people here in Colorado City – are probably happier, on the whole, than people on the outside. But some things in life are more important than being happy. Like being free to think for yourself.”
I agree – any religion, government, or person that tells me it’s more important that I just follow the rules, believe exactly what I’m told, and do what they say than to critically examine evidence and make my own conclusions and choices is bloody out of their minds.
(as a small after-note, i want to emphasize again that my knowledge of mormonism is limited, and this post isn’t meant to be a slam against it or any other religion in particular – reading this book simply brought up some strong feelings about religion in general)

Madeline L’Engle passed away

Posted in family with tags on Saturday 8 September 2007 by amanda

Ms. L’Engle was one of my favorite authors as a kid – “A Wrinkle In Time” remains a book I love today. I’m sad to hear that she passed away, but so glad she led a full and long life. I’m going to be reading her stories to my children in a few yars.