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review 2018-07-09 00:44
Empire of the Dragon: An Event Group Thriller by David L. Golemon
Empire of the Dragon - David. L. Golemon

I love all the books in this series by I have to admit I went into this one with a little trepidation. You see it involves an Airbender, and when I read that, all I could think about was the terrible movie that came out some years back. But after I started reading it, I was hooked, yet again, by the story. The characters in the Event Group have become like family for me and I find it exciting to see what secrets they uncover.

 

 

This one is about the fabled city of Shangri-La and involves an asteroid that hit earth millions of years ago that is able to give people interesting powers over the elements, hence the airbender. Oh, and longevity too, which would be fantastic for a person like me who has too many books to read and not enough years left in this life to read them all.

Throw in some baddies, of course, who are after this rock for it's powers and the Event group, who tries to stop them, and you have a rip-roaring adventure!

 

Another fun, exciting and great adventure for a group that I have faithfully followed over the years. Definitely recommended! 

 

5 stars

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review 2018-06-30 22:21
Myths in Adventism: An Interpretive Study of Ellen White, Education, and Related Issues
Myths in Adventism: An Interpretive Study of Ellen White, Education, and Related Issues - George R. Knight

Myths pop up everywhere from history, to religion, and in the understanding of someone’s writing.  George R. Knight writes in Myths Adventism: An Interpretive Study of Ellen White, Education, and Related Issues about numerous issues that influence the thinking of Adventists educators and administrators.

 

Knight tackles 19 “myths” related to Adventist education, institutions, and thoughts over the course of 250 pages.  Beginning with myth related to “Historical and Philosophical” issues including those surrounding Ellen White, Knight clears up historical inaccuracies and puts Mrs. White’s writing not only in the context in which lines are written but what was going on at the time that made her write certain statements.  Knight then turned his attention to “Institutions and People” focusing on such issues the interplay between home and school, human nature, and intellectualism in Adventist education.  The largest section of the book about “Curriculum and Methods”, Knight focused on sacred and secular topics, Bible as textbook, literary subjects, religious instructions, in-classroom environments, and recreation and manual labor.

 

As a child of a retired Adventist teacher, I appreciated this book in seeing what my mother had to face over the course of approximately 35 years of her career.  Knight’s research and writing are fantastic throughout the book giving the reader amazing insights in how myths are given life in numerous fields and situations.  However, my problem with this book is not with Knight but with the publishers who in designing the book and blurbs made this book something it wasn’t.  The front cover blurb literally says, “A thoughtful look at misconceptions about Ellen White and Adventist life that have long caused controversy in the church” but nothing about education which is what the book is about and instead makes it appear it’ll be about numerous other things about Adventism.  Though Knight attempts to shield the publishers for their decision in the preface, it’s unfortunately makes the reader realize they might have gotten hoodwinked.

 

Overall Myths in Adventism is an insightful look at the cultural clashes in Adventist education by a writer that knows how to do research in Adventist history and education.  However even though George R. Knight is fantastic, the decisions of the publishers to make this book appear to be something that it’s not is very annoying and future readers need to know about it.

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review 2018-06-25 08:21
Evolutions: Fifteen Myths That Explain Our World by Oren Harman
Evolutions: Fifteen Myths That Explain Our World - Oren Harman

TITLE:  Evolutions: Fifteen Myths That Explain Our World

 

AUTHOR:  Oren Harman
 

PUBLICATION DATE:  June 2018

 

FORMAT: kindle ebook/PDF

 

ISBN-13:  9780374150709

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NOTE: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. This review is my honest opinion of the book.

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From the blurb:

"We no longer think, like the ancient Chinese did, that the world was hatched from an egg, or, like the Maori, that it came from the tearing-apart of a love embrace. The Greeks told of a tempestuous Hera and a cunning Zeus, but we now use genes and natural selection to explain fear and desire, and physics to demystify the workings of the universe.

Science is an astounding achievement, but are we really any wiser than the ancients? Has science revealed the secrets of fate and immortality? Has it provided protection from jealousy or love? There are those who believe that science has replaced faith, but must it also be a death knell for mythology?

Evolutions brings to life the latest scientific thinking on the birth of the universe and the solar system, the journey from a single cell all the way to our human minds. Reawakening our sense of wonder and terror at the world around us and within us, Oren Harman uses modern science to create new and original mythologies. Here are the earth and the moon presenting a cosmological view of motherhood, a panicking mitochondrion introducing sex and death to the world, the loneliness of consciousness emerging from the memory of an octopus, and the birth of language in evolution summoning humankind's struggle with truth. Science may not solve our existential puzzles, but like the age-old legends, its magical discoveries can help us continue the never-ending search.
"

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This book is exactly what it states on the cover - 15 myths that explain our world - but it is not a comparative mythology text or a book that refutes misconceptions of evolution.  In this book, Oren Harman takes some of the current scientific knowledge (about the formation of the universe, Earth, and evolution of various organisms) and formulates it into 15 mythological "stories", usually from someone's perspective (e.g. Mother Earth, a trilobite).  The writing style is fanciful and lyrical, occassionally overly verbose.  

I'm really not sure who the target audience of this book is supposed to be.  If you have knowledge of the topics the author covers, you might find this book amusing, though you won't find any new information.  If your scientific knowledge is limited, then most of these 15 myths will probably be confusing to you.  Personally I found the Chapter "Illuminations", which provides references and explains where the author got his information, more interesting than all the fuzzy mythological stories.  In my opinion, this book is either very clever or very silly, depending on the readers mood and inclination for expecting something more substantial than wierd stories touted as myths.  I really was hoping for more meat and less fluffiness.

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review 2018-04-21 15:39
Nothing too terrifying I'm sad to report
Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places - Colin Dickey

I picked up Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey with the hope that it would be like the 13 Alabama Ghosts books I remember so fondly as a child (they still have the first in the series at the public library in my hometown). I don't fully believe in ghosts but I do fully enjoy reading ghost stories. Tales of haunted places in particular are fascinating because they're usually told with a kernel of truth at the center. However, Dickey seems to contradict himself at every turn in this book by retelling these ghost stories and then almost immediately debunking them. Further compacting the confusion, each chapter ends with a somewhat mystifying takeaway about why there seems to be so many 'ghosts' and 'haunted places' in the United States. (And this is despite the U.S. as we know it being a relatively young country.) He covers the gamut of places that could possibly be haunted. There's the typical cemeteries and old houses but there's also factories and even the rarer entire city haunting (Detroit for example).  Overall, I didn't feel satisfied because I think I was hoping for less analysis and more storytelling. I suppose this might be of interest in terms of a tour guide for places to check out yourself but it wasn't my cup of tea. 4/10

 

Of possible interest: Dickey is a member of the Order of the Good Death started by Caitlin Doughty which I'm sure you'll all remember from earlier blog posts. I have to say that I didn't find his writing nearly as compelling as hers. :-/

 

What's Up Next: Fly on the Wall by Emily Jenkins

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-03-28 18:02
Good detective work marred by a distorted approach
Myths & Legends of the First World War - James Hayward

Truth, as the saying goes, is the first casualty of war, and in this book James Hayward demonstrates just how true this was during the First World War.  He examines many of the falsehoods that arose during the way, from rumors of nonexistent spies to such fabled tales as the “Angel of Mons” and the Russians in England.  Addressing each of these, he details the impact of the particular legend and traces its probably origin, an effort that requires equal parts detective work and reasoned speculation.

 

Yet for all of his admirable work in penetrating through the mythos of the war, Hayward’s book suffers from some notable flaws.  His text suffers from errors borne of sloppiness; he makes factual mistakes when establishing the context, and in one instance he cites a novel as if it were a memoir instead of a work of fiction.  The most problematic part of his book, however, is his chapter of the “legend” of the incompetent British command on the Western Front.  While the idea of the “lions led by donkeys” has faced increasing challenges recently from several quarters, Hayward treats it as if it were simply another.  By lumping it in with the other falsehoods he addresses, he distorts the process of historiographical debate underway, ignoring the evidence that led many historians to their views on the incompetent leadership of the British generals.  A different approach towards the topic would have served the author better in this respect.

 

For the most part, Hayward is to be commended.  His book offers an entertainingly written examination of the propaganda and rumors that grew out of the First World War.  People who are seeking an introduction to the topic could do worse than to turn to its pages, though a certain amount of skepticism is warranted in some parts.

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