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Ray V (South Wales)

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Sabbath as Resistance:
Sabbath as Resistance:
Price: 4.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Brueggemann challenging and original as always, 11 Jun 2014
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This little book is a kind of collection of sermons on the Sabbath principle. It shows how Sabbath is an act of resistance against the tyranny of work, anxiety and dissatisfaction brought about by greed and the scarcity economy. Without a sense of Sabbath we make our fellow human beings commodities instead of neighbours. This book is a deep challenge to the values that prevail in today's world and in which we are all caught up. I would have liked to see some practical suggestions for how we live "Sabbath", but perhaps Brueggemann intended that we should start by thinking for ourselves!


Talk Like TED: The 9 Public Speaking Secrets of the World's Top Minds
Talk Like TED: The 9 Public Speaking Secrets of the World's Top Minds
Price: 5.39

5.0 out of 5 stars A Book all public speakers should read, 10 Jun 2014
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'TED' talks are a very popular set of of videos available on line, in which experts in different fields introduce their subject or make their point in 18 minutes. This book shows the secrets of a good TED talk, but its relevance is much wider. As a preacher, I found it very stimulating and challenging, and my sermons since reading it have been considerably changed. It could be life-changing!


The Struggle to Understand Isaiah as Christian Scripture
The Struggle to Understand Isaiah as Christian Scripture
Price: 19.59

4.0 out of 5 stars An Indispensable textbook for its subject, 10 Jun 2014
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I rate this book four stars because I can't honestly say I love it. I skipped through it in some parts, because it goes into detail I'm not really interested in. However, for anyone studying the reception history of Isaiah it is a very comprehensive survey, showing the principles on which nearly all the significant Christian writers from the early Church to modern times have based their interpretation of the Old Testament generally and Isaiah in particular. I learned a lot from it.


The Book Thief
The Book Thief
Price: 2.49

5.0 out of 5 stars A great plot and very moving, 10 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Book Thief (Kindle Edition)
This is a story mostly about young people growing up in Germany in the years just before and after the beginning of the Second World War. I found the early part of it a bit difficult at times, and felt like giivng up. It tells the story in the first person from the point of view of Death, which takes a little getting used to. Its style of chapter headings etc. is also a bit unusual. But it was well worth persevering, The story gets more gripping as it goes along, and in the end is deeply moving.


Quantum: Einstein, Bohr and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality
Quantum: Einstein, Bohr and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality
Price: 4.79

4.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Story, 14 Mar 2014
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A very readable account of the progress of the quantum discoveries and debates. I am not a mathematician, and felt I had to skip a few passages where the maths got very complicated. Nevertheless it was a good read, showing us some of the personalities involved as well as the scientific issues. It also highlights the tragic effects the two world wars and anti-Semitism had on the progress of science.


Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia
Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia
Price: 4.68

4.0 out of 5 stars A Challenge to Relgious and Secular Ideas, 27 Feb 2014
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This is a book to make you think. It traces many trends in religious and secular thinking that all stem from what the author sees as a harmful myth - the idea that a perfect world can be achieved. He traces this myth back to the Christian idea of the imminent end of the world and the coming of the Kingdom of God. Having led to much violence in its religious setting, in modern times it has been transposed into a secular guide through such movements as the French Revolution, Communism and other revolutions, all of which have led to reigns of terror. Apocalyptic thinking is willing to sacrifice any number of lives now for the sake of a perfect future which it 'knows' is coming. Gray sees this in the missionary enthusiasm that assumes that all the problems of the world will be solved when the American style of democracy becomes the norm everywhere. This has led to such things as the disastrous invasion of Iraq. This is a complex book which deserves to be read and re-read. In the end it pleads for realism rather than utopianism - the willingness to do what w can to improve things while recognising that the world will never be perfect.


And God Said, "Billy!": A Novel
And God Said, "Billy!": A Novel
Price: 2.54

4.0 out of 5 stars Very Funny and (Almost) True, 23 Jan 2014
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This book paints a deliciously satirical picture of a certain kind of charismatic fundamentalism, familiar if a bit exaggerated. At the same time it is a good story full of suspense and a surprise in the tail: I found it hard to put down. Perhaps a rather deeper (if longer) novel could have been made by making Billy a little more normal and his process of changing more gradual. In the first part of the book he seems to be not just a religious extremist but also suffering from a mental illness, literally hearing voices etc. This kind of religion is ridiculous and mad enough without that added factor. Also I felt that his mental illness was cured and his attitude changed a bit too easily and quickly. It would have been good to read more about the actual process of his growth into a deeper understanding of God and how he coped with the challenges and uncertainties of his emerging new insight.


Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Leather Cover, Ink Blue (will only fit Kindle Paperwhite)
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Leather Cover, Ink Blue (will only fit Kindle Paperwhite)
Price: 29.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Ideal accessory for Kindle Paperwhite, 19 Jan 2014
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Very compact and easy to handle. I like the way the device automatically switches on and off as you open and close the cover.


The Liberal Delusion
The Liberal Delusion
Price: 4.53

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mis-Titled?, 29 Dec 2013
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I bought this book for the same reason as I bought Richard Dawkins's 'The God Delusion', i.e. because I expected to disagree with it but thought the challenge would be good for me. This proved to be partly true. It got me thinking about certain aspects of the 'leftie' way of thinking which have been in the back of my mind and which the book articulates: for example, the way in which liberals have their own 'orthodoxy' that tends to silence opposition, the selective treatment of atrocities (we condemn Hitler because he was right wing and pass over Stalin, Mao etc. because they were 'on the right side'), and the way working-class children are patronised and encouraged to 'express themselves' and thus denied access to the middle-class culture that keeps liberals prosperous and comfortable.
One of the things Marsh objects to is the way people are expected to take on the whole liberal package and so denied real freedom of thought: e.g. if you support gender equality, gay rights etc. you are shot down for expressing the slightest reservation about abortion. But ironically Marsh himself lumps an enormous number of different ideas together in his category of 'liberalism'. Were Stalin or Mao Tse Tung liberals?
Marsh himself says that liberalism is not all bad. It stems from the Enlightenment and has led to a lot of change for the better: the abolition of slavery, better attitudes to minorities, etc. His objection is only to the way certain liberal ideas have been uncritically accepted and pushed to extremes. This is why I think the book's title should not be 'The Liberal Delusion' but 'Some Liberal Delusions'.


A New Order
A New Order
Price: 0.92

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Real Page-Turner, 27 Dec 2013
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This review is from: A New Order (Kindle Edition)
Having read this book I was surprised to find it was Keith Mulcahy's first novel. It is a mature and polished production, a crime and espionage thriller with character and spiritual insight. The plot (as it should be for this genre) is very complex, but clearly told, and I had no great difficulty in following it. It paints a very bleak picture of the Roman Catholic hierarchy - not recommended reading for paranoids who already think all the bad things in the world are plotted by the Vatican! However, there are some sincere Catholics in it and the author seems to understand their faith, and even to understand the complex motives and character of those who are part of the corruption. Well worth reading!


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