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review 2019-12-15 19:52
Versailles by Tony Spawforth
Versailles: A Biography of a Palace - Tony Spawforth

This is mostly a social history of Versailles in the reigns of Louis XIV through Louis XVI, and as such it’s pretty interesting (though the first couple of chapters, which focus more on the architectural history of the palace, were less so to me). It answers questions such as: how did people (mostly nobility) get jobs at court, and why did they want them? How did courtiers gain access to the king? How much privacy did the monarchs and their families actually have? Did these people even bathe? (Answer: rarely, and in many cases only for medicinal purposes.)

Although it’s interesting material at a relatively short length (254 pages of text followed by endnotes) and Spawforth’s writing is perfectly readable, I still moved through it a bit slowly and wasn’t as engaged as I would have liked. This might be because I recently read a similar book about the English court at the same time – which in many ways wasn’t as different as you might expect. However, I think the real reason is that while Spawforth conveys facts well enough, he isn’t much of a storyteller: there are a lot of recurring “characters” here, mostly royalty and a handful of nobles who wrote prolifically about their life at court, but little personality emerges and there’s not much sense of what their lives were like outside the context of the specific anecdotes illustrating the author’s points.

At any rate, interesting and accessible book, but not one I’d recommend you go out of your way to find unless you have a special interest in the subject matter.

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url 2019-12-13 12:58
The First Ever Published Book by High Priestess 2400 BC
Ama Dios: 9 AoL Consciousness Books Combined - Nataša Pantović Nuit
Tree of Life - Nataša Pantović Nuit
A-Ma Alchemy of Love - Nataša Pantović Nuit

Sumerian Temple Hymns

The First Ever Published Book by High Priestess 2400 BCArtEducationSymbols and SignsSpiritualityRelationshipsMindfulnessPower of MindMantrasconsciousness

 

High Priestess Enheduanna and the Kesh Temple Liturgy

Following Humanity's fight for  by Nataša Pantović

Holy water and the sacred word, that is all you need. Said a gypsy witch with a snake around her neck.

rod-of-asclepius snake around a rod

Maria's tears they are, from the grave of Jesus. Not an item easy to find. Not a request easy to settle. A magic key of ever lasting happiness... Mystical Christianity Alpha and Omega

I'll get you the bottle of tears but for the words, you got to speak with a wizard, a male, not from the Egyptian gypsies, a Bedouin from the desert, the worshipper of Nuit, an Arab, perhaps a sailor with own boat, a

Sufi Dancing

 Sufi follower, or to a wondering barefoot priest from Syria, a hermit from the Sinai mountain, Sha Ra where MoShe saw the burning bush. That is a bit more difficult for they talk not to women.

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review 2019-12-13 00:54
Uriah Smith: Apologist and Biblical Commentator
Uriah Smith: Apologist and Biblical Commentator - Gary Land Ph.D.

The man who came to personify the Review and Herald over 50 years of working on it going from one of the young pioneers to elder statesmen of the Second Advent movement.  Uriah Smith: Apologist and Biblical Commentator by Gary Land chronicles the life of this indispensable yet very opinionated man who was influential with Adventist readers around the United States.

 

Land quickly covers Smith’s early life in New Hampshire including the two biggest events of that time, the loss of his leg at age 12 and his conversion to Millerism.  This latter event eventually led to Smith’s joining the then small Sabbath-keeping Adventists led by Joseph Bates and the Whites, the latter Smith would impress when he submitted a 3,000-line blank verse poem about the foundation, rise, and progress of the Adventist movement leading to James White offering Smith a position at the Review and Herald.  Smith did everything for the magazine from typesetting to editorials during his early years before James White took a backseat, letting the younger Smith take the lead.  Throughout his tenure Smith would constantly cover Adventist doctrines and how present-day events had prophetic implications especially when it came to other Christians attempting to get through Sunday legislation on various levels of government.  Yet Smith flirted with controversy throughout his time at the magazine and in denominational work from Battle Creek College to the 1888 Minneapolis meeting to confrontations with the General Conference leadership and getting admonished by Ellen White.

 

With a text of almost 250 pages, Land is quick and concise in his writing but not in his research as seen in his chapter endnotes.  While the reader does get a very informative look at Smith’s life, there seems to be a rushed feeling with the biography.  Unfortunately, this seems to be a consequence of Land working between cancer treatments to complete this and two other historical works that he finished just before his death.

 

Uriah Smith: Apologist and Biblical Commentator is the first biography of its kind in over 35 years through with a different perspective than previous books.  Gary Land’s informative and concise wording gives the reader a better look at the man whose name is known in Adventist circles but his life is not.

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review 2019-12-13 00:05
English Lit Relit: A Short History of English Literature from the Precursors (Before Swearing) to the Pre-Raphaelites and a Little After - Richard Armour
English Lit Relit: A Short History of En... English Lit Relit: A Short History of English Literature from the Precursors (Before Swearing) to the Pre-Raphaelites and a Little After - Richard Armour

That's better. That's Armour at the top of his game.

 

Not to oversell him. He's mildly amusing in his snarky survey of English lit. But there's also a whiff of the old uncle who's humor is rather old-fashioned, but he's always been nice and pleasant and it's easy to just let him ramble on.

 

So I'm enjoying my Armour binge but am probably not going to request all the other ones. It is good to have them lurking there in the back of my mind, waiting for another low-stress reading bout. Probably though I will limit myself to literature and academia in the future. That's where he's best.

 

You know what these books are like? It just occurred to me: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. It's the art: buxom young women in quaint attire and it's definitely old-fashioned, but not too offensive.

 

Praising with faint damns.

 

Library copy.

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review 2019-12-11 23:47
It all started with Marx;: A brief and objective history of Russian communism, the objective being to leave not one stone, but many, unturned, to ... Stalin, Malenkov, Khrushchev, and others - Richard Willard Armour
It all started with Marx;: A brief and o... It all started with Marx;: A brief and objective history of Russian communism, the objective being to leave not one stone, but many, unturned, to ... Stalin, Malenkov, Khrushchev, and others - Richard Willard Armour

I finished this one and it took forever because I didn't like it. And then I more or less immediately started English Lit Relit. It could have been a bad choice: if I was just tired of Armour's sameness, then another would have been an awful idea.

But I'm really enjoying English Lit. Yeah, my degree is in English lit, so I know more about the topic, which probably helps some. That isn't the big difference though. The big difference, in my considered and re-considerd opinion, is that Armour doesn't know as much about communism and/or Russian history.

In Marx the jokes rarely rise above "he was short". So, not quality humor.That's both terribly obvious and not actually amusing.

English Lit, though, that's his specialty. So the jokes are more clever, more subtle, and for that matter, probably better auditioned and rehearsed. It's easy to imagine Armour the Professor lecturing on early English poets. You're plowing through a thousand years of literature in a semester, your text is a fat, heavy Norton Anthology printed on tissue paper to fit in as many pages a possible. Some of it is familiar, or stirring, or new to you, but much of it is just a tedious droning on and on about the same tired symbolism and such. You maybe get something three things that stopped being amusing a couple of centuries back, and once in the whole class if you're lucky there's something that really amuses you. In that setting a lighthearted lecture, or a throw-away line, can really wake you back up.

 

So, that was an interesting thing to realize.

 

Library copy

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