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review 2017-03-30 00:40
Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea (Hinges of History #4)
Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter - Thomas Cahill

The foundations of what we call Western culture today seemingly sprung from one place, Greece, yet that is not the entire truth.  Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea, the fourth volume of Thomas Cahill’s Hinges of History, examines and explains the structure of Greek society and ideas as well as the reasons why it has permeated so much of what we know of Western culture.  But Cahill’s answer to why the Greeks matter is two-fold.

 

Over the course of 264 pages of text, Cahill looks at all the features of Greek culture that made them so different from other ancient cultures.  Through the study of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Cahill examined the Greek’s view of war and honor in their grand war epic then how the same man expressed how the Greek’s expressed their feelings.  The contradiction of the Homeric works is part of a larger theme that Cahill explores in Greek poetry beyond Homer, politicians and playwrights, philosophers, and artists.  Throughout each chapter, Cahill examines what the Greeks did differently than anyone else as well as relate examples that many will know.  Yet Cahill reveals that as time went on the Greeks own culture started to swallow itself until stabilized by the Romans who were without the Greek imagination and then merged with newly developing Christian religion that used Greek words to explain its beliefs to a wider world; this synthesis of the Greco-Roman world and Judeo-Christian tradition is what created Western thought and society that we know today.

 

Cahill’s analysis and themes are for the general reader very through-provoking, but even for someone not well versed in overall Greek scholarship there seems to be something missing in this book.  Just in comparing previous and upcoming volumes of Cahill’s own series, this book seems really short for one covering one of the two big parts of Western Civilization.  Aside from the two chapters focused around the Homeric epics, all the other chapters seemed to be less than they could be not only in examples but also in giving connections in relevance for the reader today.

 

For the Western society in general, the Greeks are remembered for their myths, magnificent ruins, and democracy.  Thomas Cahill’s Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea does reveal that ancient Greece was more than that and why a culture millennia old matters to us today.  While not perfect, this book is at least a good read for the general reader which may be what Cahill is aiming for but for those more well read it feels lacking once finished.

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review 2017-02-28 00:49
I Ended Up Missing Futurama
Dark Matter: A Novel - Blake Crouch

Honestly I think that for the most part I was bored by this book. I think the fact that I am a girl that has grown up reading Stephen King, none of the plot points in this book were surprising to me.

 

Dark Matter follows the character of Jason Dessen after he is abducted by a mysterious man in a mask and finds himself in a place that's familiar but is altogether different than the world he is use to. Jason spends most of the book trying to find his way back to his beloved wife and son. I do wish that I've got a better sense of Jason I feel like Crouch did not do a good job developing him. The only thing that this book is focused on is Jason and his family. And I think the way that his wife is elevated into this book into this prize is just a bit off-putting but thank goodness Crouch redeems himself in the end with that whole storyline.

 

We do get an interesting side character that is Jason's companion throughout his adventure but then disappears halfway through the book which disappointed me. I had so many questions left about this character and what their ultimate fate was.

 

Jason's wife Dani unfortunately wasn't developed as much as I needed her to be. We get glimmers of this character's strength, her ability to see beauty, her artistic ability, but I needed more if I had gotten more I think this would have easily been a 4-star book.

 

I thought that the mysterious man was kind of a joke because I kind of called who this had to be and once again this person's justifications for what they did was total crap. I kind of rolled my eyes a bunch thousand since all this book did was made me long for Futurama who did better with this same type of dilemma.

 

I kept waiting for this infamous twist that everybody kept talking about and it just was kind of a joke to me. Anybody that has watch Futurama would have definitely gotten there before the main character did.

 

 

I do think that though the overall plot was interesting, I wish that Crouch had pushed things a little bit more. I wanted to see more darkness in the story.

 

The writing was okay I think Crouch tried to explain the science behind this whole book, but I am always of the mindset that you don't need to over explain things to readers, it just often leaves you with plot holes like I saw by the time I got to the end of this book. The flow was really off after about one third of the book and it didn't really adjust itself until almost the very end.

 

The book taking place in Chicago was interesting to me and I really do wish that Crouch had use the setting a little bit better. He initially did use Chicago very well in the first couple of chapters and then it just kind of became a backdrop with nothing behind it. I could almost see this being staged in a theater somewhere and you would see a backdrop and the words with Chicago written on it to represent the city.

 

The ending is I think supposed to leave you with hope but all I did was leave me with more questions than answers.

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text 2017-02-25 16:25
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
Dark Matter: A Novel - Blake Crouch

This was actually not that long a book to get through which surprised me. Everyone I talked to about this awesome twist, but I guess I've read Stephen King too much to be taken aback by the twist, it made sense. I think Crouch wanted this book to have a happy ending, but I feel like he could have pushed it further. I definitely liked this book though. 

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text 2017-02-25 13:03
Reading progress update: I've read 12%.
Dark Matter: A Novel - Blake Crouch

I am so confused.

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review 2017-01-31 15:54
Dark Matter
Dark Matter: A Novel - Blake Crouch

It's family night at the Dessen household, but at the insistence of his wife Jason Dessen leaves to go to a local bar for a drink where his friend is celebrating. On his way back Jason is threatened by a masked abductor and forced to drive to a remote location where he is then knocked unconscious. He wakes up to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits - strangers that know him and are extremely happy to see him. Jason begins to understand that this life he has woken up to is not the one he's been living in for the last fifteen years. His wife is not his wife, his son was never born, and Jason himself is not the ordinary college physics professor he used to be. Instead he is an incredible genius who has achieved something unbelievable. But he wants his old life back and he'll do whatever it takes to go back to that.

I can probably count on one hand how many sci-fi books I've read. This one sounded too good to not check out. And I'm happy to say I was not disappointed! This book was interesting and complex. The characters, the situations, the writing - everything felt so real that it was like I was actually a part of Jason's worlds.

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