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review 2017-06-19 02:06
Conclave - Robert Harris

I love these kinds of novels. I’m always up for a plot filled with intrigue, who’s going to backstab who, who’s got the dirty secrets and who’s the horrible but cunning bastage that will expose these secrets and so on….

 

I had to whip out my dictionary for these latin/Catholic terms that are prevalent throughout this novel. (My knowledge in Catholicism is very rusty.) But you learn something new all the time right? Now I know there’s actually names for each piece of their clothing these men wear.

 

I love how it in the first third of the novel the plotting to be the next pope starts. It’s a reminder that even though these people are spiritual figureheads and we look to them as authority figures, they’re still humans with ambition. But this is the part I loved reading the most. I love the intrigue, I love the plotting. I love how Lomeli is in the middle of this and is trying to make sure everything in the voting process is legitimate.

 

You have a group of characters to keep track of, but there isn’t much to them. They’re broken into cliques to keep track of them easily but the book is centralized on Lomeli and he’s the only one that develops throughout the novel. He’s likable for the most part and does deal with his inner self for the most part. He has his faults as well which makes sense (who doesn’t want to be pope?!) which makes these characters realistic.

 

The plot itself starts off really well. I liked the pace and events during the story. What bothered me was the last third of the novel where everything went chaotic and the author seemed to inject some action to make it more lively. I didn’t think it was necessary and there wasn’t any need for that. What I would prefer is more intrigue and inner plotting amongst the Cardinals. (There was but there was no need to the action sequence which wasn’t even a feature it happened “off screen”.)

 

Another thing which didn’t sit too well was it was one thing after another with the surprises. First it was this guy. Then the other. Oh, can’t forget this guy either. We already elected the pope? No wait here’s another monkey wrench. It was just too much (by the end I was screaming out: “Just give him the papacy and let’s go home. This is getting ridiculous”.) Some parts were spaced out but it just felt too much. However, good on the author to make sure all the loose ends were tied together. Nothing was left unanswered.

 

I liked this book but it would have been better without all the extra bits and pieces here. More intrigue and plotting within. It’s what makes it so much better. Otherwise, it was a short quick read and worth it. Just remember this is an alternate history of events.

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review 2016-03-14 03:02
Betrayal: The Crisis in the Catholic Church - The Investigative Staff of the Boston Globe;Matt Carroll;Kevin Cullen;Thomas Farragher;Stephen Kurkjian;Michael Paulson;Sacha Pfeiffer;Michael Rezendes;Walter V. Robinson

This movie came out last year and only released in the city I lived in for a month. 

 

I finally find the time and energy to see this movie yesterday as I know this movie is "heavy".

 

And it is very good. No graphic scene to shock the viewers. Just dialogue and good plot moving along as the journalists got closer to the truth.


The Catholic Church and its bishops and priests are wicked and powerful. 6% of Catholic priests raped children and the church knew about it for years. Instead of dealing with this the right way, the Catholic church used their money and power to suppress the truth denied justice for rape victims. 

 

That's the truth. Now the movie take the audience along for the journey of discovery. 

 

While watching the movie, this image of the Hulk, Batman and Wolverine half-brother Sabretooth team-up and fight against the evil Catholic Church. The surprising one is Sabretooth as the calm leader, while the Hulk run around being hotheaded. 

 

Further reading.  How the ‘Spotlight’ movie got made https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/names/2015/10/30/how-spotlight-movie-got-made/wXVXUiYPkoF3hEP9K4dydP/story.html

 

Spotlight: the reporters who uncovered Boston's Catholic child abuse scandal http://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/jan/13/spotlight-reporters-uncovered-catholic-child-abuse-boston-globe

 

And of course, there is a book related to this. Betrayal is written by the staff of the Boston Globe.  

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review 2014-09-17 08:47
Historia Kościoła Katolickiego, po prostu
The History of the Catholic Church: From the Apostolic Age to the Third Millennium - James Hitchcock

Kiedy tylko zobaczyłam ten tytuł wiedziałam, że chcę przeczytać tę książkę. Zamówienia przez internet mają tę dobrą stronę, że zazwyczaj nie patrzę na książkę jako przedmiot, ot okładka i ileśtam stron. Kiedy przyszła paczka, nieco zaskoczyła mnie wielkość tego tomiska, nie jest ogromne, ale w sumie sama nie wiem czego się spodziewałam, przecież to ma być historia obejmująca ponad 2000 lat. Z pewną dozą nieśmiałości podeszłam do lektury, owszem miałam obawy, że utknę gdzieś w 1/3 dzieła i zabraknie mi chęci i samozaparcia aby lekturę dokończyć. Tego typu opracowania mają to do siebie, że onieśmielają. Tym większe było moje zaskoczenie i zadowolenie, kiedy odkryłam, że nie jest to po prostu zbiór niepowiązanych informacji, ale zgrabnie napisana historia, opowieść mająca zasadniczy trzon. Lektura była przyjemna i w wielu miejscach łapałam się na tak zwanym momencie "wow". Wiem, że nie raz będę wracać do wybranych rozdziałów. Właściwie od razu po skończeniu pierwszego czytania, książkę przekazałam dalej, ale już nie mogę się doczekać kiedy powróci do mojej biblioteczki, żebym mogła ją wertować i cieszyć się lekturą. Zdecydowanie jedna z lepszych książek w tej dziedzinie. Siłą rzeczy jest to opracowanie skondensowane i miejscami jedynie sygnalizuje pewne zagadnienia, ale jest świetnym punktem wyjścia do dalszych poszukiwań. Dla mnie pozycja obowiązkowa.  

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review 2014-09-16 07:34
7 wielkich mitów
The Seven Big Myths about the Catholic Church: Distinguishing Fact from Fiction about Catholicism - Christopher Kaczor

Bardzo lubię książki, które pozwalają zabrać głos w dyskusji i wyrobić sobie własne zdanie. Kiedy zobaczyłam ten tytuł wyzwoliła się we mnie zdrowa ciekawość, nie tylko samych tytułowych mitów, ale przede wszystkim użytej argumentacji. Książeczka rozmiary ma niewielkie, tym bardziej zastanawiałam się, jak w tak skondensowanej formie można odpowiedzieć rzeczowo na poważne pytania. Szczerze powiedziawszy, w moim przekonaniu, autor tylko w połowie wyszedł zwycięsko z tego zmagania, niektóre argumenty wypadają nieprzekonująco, lub w najlepszym wypadku niewystarczająco odpowiadają na mity. Lektura pozostawia niedosyt, ale to może celowy zabieg mający pobudzić do dalszych poszukiwań i lektur. Nawet z moim pozytywnym nastawieniem do Kościoła ta pozycja nie przekonuje do końca, obawiam się, że sceptyków nie przekona w ogóle. Plus za sformułowanie tych 7 mitów i podjęcie próby odpowiedzi.  

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2013-11-19 07:47
The Sisterhood by Helen Bryan
The Sisterhood - Helen Bryan

Since the publication of The Da Vinvi Code it could have been expected that similar 'what if'- questions would pull a few new surprises out of the hats of history, and this book is no exception. In the Da Vinci Code, the question was asked 'What if Jesus was married or had a family?'. In this book the question is asked ' What if Jesus had sisters or brothers, and Mary did not remain a virgin forever? ' Throw in the theories presented in another recent book 'The Kabbalist' around the true history of Jesus as seen from a Jewish viewpoint, as well as yet another possibility in 'The Shack' of God being a woman, and I can safely declare myself ready to drown my sorrowful confusion in a casket of ancient Roman Posca!

This long and complex tale centers around a history of women and their fate in the Catholic church during and after the Spanish Inquisition in which people from other faiths were forced to convert to Christianity with bloody prosecutions and killings by the thousands for those who still practiced their own religions in secret. 

The Gospel of the Foundress of the Las Golondrinas Convent, Andalusia, Spain, ultimately reveals much more than her own history. It solves the mystery behind the badge around the little girl's neck who was found in a fishing boat by sailors and delivered to a convent in Spanish South America.

This is her, Menina Walker's story, going back centuries and involving the fates of five orphan girls: Esperanza, Pia, Sanchia, Marisol, and Luz. Menina Walker, the little Spanish girl who was adopted and given a new name by American Baptists, was given the medal and The Chronicle for save keeping by the nuns of the South American convent. She grew up in America, decided to study Art History and visit Spain for her college thesis. A traumatic experience drives her to go sooner than later.

As fate would have it, she misses her bus to Madrid and unbeknownst to her, she lands up in the convent where her story begun, centuries ago . 

The reader is immediately pulled deep into the narrative, totally losing a sense of reality, completely vanishing into the in-depth history of the Spanish Inquisition, the fate of the Jewish, Muslim and other converts who were prosecuted by the Spanish authorities and the destiny of the nuns who had to take care, in utmost poverty, of the sufferers of the prosecutions. 

Two story lines are intertwined. The one begins in 1552 in Spain and the second one in 2000 with Menina Walker starting her life as young student.

At first I was mesmerized. The information is so well presented that the reader taste, feel, hear, and smell every single detail. From moldy  dark, dilapidated convents, to the barbaric, 'uncivilized' Incas, the taste of stale bread, and the stinky breaths of rotten teeth - it was vividly presented. The story is a riveting depiction of the terrible lives of so many people in that period of history. 

But by the 50% mark of the kindle version I had enough of the endless historical detail and the endless repeat of horror and hardship in the different story lines of the five girls, their families and the nuns. I just had enough of the never-ending stream of new characters constantly being added with their stories. The superficial, light-weight inclusion of the modern, and romantic, American girl's participation in the story almost derailed it for me. It did not quite fit into the narrative at all! What a pity! It would have been more convincing, to me personally, if she was from South America, or not present at all! 

But! The Sisterhood was a learning curve. Informative, thrilling, suspenseful, masterfully presented. 

I would have loved to rate it five stars, but one stars goes awol for: 1 ) the tedious nature of the information dump.  2) Menina, with her tasteless, money-driven, mass-market, tourist-trap solution just blew it for me! Menina was too obvious an added character to make the book more of a commercially palatable chic lit target. The dignity in the tale of the nuns and the orphans was destroyed. It cheapens the story. No, she was not the heroine in this book at all, sorry! The humble, devoted, dedicated, compassionate nuns unintentionally overshadowed her in every aspect of what it means to be human and to sacrifice everything for the good of fellow human beings.There were just too many protagonists, a too detailed information overload and intense descriptions of the surroundings. However, the historical aspects of the story, with the nuns as protagonists, saved the book. Their stories were the magnificence this tale needed to make it an extraordinary read!I recommend it to anyone who is interested in this part of history and can appreciate the immense wealth of research being presented in this narrative. The story contains many elements of the Greek comedy, Lysistrata, written by Aristophanes, which was performed in 411 BC. in Athens. This aspect provides another enchanting dimension to the book. And then there is the sub-story of the swallows........!  Amazing!

All in all though, a really, really good read! I love this author's writing style and way with words. I will read her again. 

Source: something-wordy-reviews.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-sisterhood-by-helen-bryan.html
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