That last post was such a lie. This blog is now dead. I thought I should just put that out there.

I’ve now finished the hsc which means….more posting! Perhaps. But I don’t have that many pressing things to do, and can at least probably find 30 minutes a week to write about a book, and I’m reading a lot! So on Monday, keep a look out for a post on ‘Einstein’s Heroes’ (I’m going to spoil the suspense by saying it gets a good review). And that’s all, I need to do something productive right now or I’ll go mad, so catchya later!

I sure hope i got the author’s name right. Anyway, last night I finished a book called The Confession. Admittedly I read it for school, but still, sort of by my own choosing (additional texts – got to love them.) So I thought, I haven’t posted on my blog in a while, why not do that!

Overall it was a very engaging book, though there are certain pages I would have skipped if I had the omniscience of God. Despite these,  the book was really compelling. The setting was unlike anything I’ve ever read (Eastern-bloc Europe 1956, 3 yrs post Stalin’s death) and having no knowledge of the period I was a little confused by what was created (the coutnry is nameless and I believe Prime minister Mihai was created) and what was real. But Olen Steinhauer was amazing at creating atmosphere and setting very implicitly – I just have to work out how to write about that in my essays.

One thing confused me – the blurb said the country was moving from a tenuous democracy into brutal totalitarinism, but teh vibe I got (quite a strong one) was that it was totalitarian (under Russia) the whole time – but I just read a review that said the threat of Russia returning hangs over them. I don’t know – maybe I’m just crazy.

Anyway, the story revolves around an inspector Ferenc Kolyeszar in an unnamed Eastern-bloc state during 1956. The story begins with seemingly unrelated crimes which develop into a longer chain of, we learn, related ones. Ferenc is a WWII vetren turned policeman and writer with a shaky marriage who is becoming increasingly isolated. But the investigation he leads brings him into a lot of conflict, wrong-doing and confusion, all against a very well-worked context. I particularly like the way in which the book ends, which explains the whoel book as Ferenc’s second published book, and provides anothe rperspective in the story to wrap everything up.

So while I wasn’t particularly sad to see the end of this book, I would not not recommend it. Yes, in fact I might even recommend it! It was a very interesting read (I don’t think I can quite use the word enjoyable due to subject matter and the atmosphere evoked) that managed to hold my interest over the relatively long period of time i read it in. So, Oeln Steinhauer’s The Confession – recommended.

As in….soon. I haven’t posted for a long time because I always forget I actually have blogs. But coming up will be a post on either Olen Steinhauser’s The Confession or a biography of Eric Lidell. Keep your eyes open.

I have one sentence that encapsulates all that this book was for me: It is the most a book under 160 pages has ever made me think. So, for me, that meant it was a good book. 

What’s this book all about then? So there used to be a quaterly journal called kategoria right? A reviewer described that journal as not defending the faith, but doing the opposite, taking the forward foot. The Myths of Science is a collection of, oh 5/6 articles form kategoria that deal with,well obviously, myths of science. Topics include: Galileo proving science vs christianity; miracles and whether they’ve been disproven; Giordano Bruno (same as Galileo); Darwin and the Fundamentalist Christians (what they thought of his theory) and finally the Scopes trial.

Very interesting book. NONE of the topics were a favourite because they were all so good. Just writing them down there made me remember how fascinating they were. So I’ll tell you about each one. First is Galileo: Brilliant. I never actually knew much about Galileo, but now i do, and with one more reading I will totally dare you to duel me in proving that Gaileo is an example of the church supressing science, and I will totally win. Galileo does not prove that at all. Actually it’s quite fascinating: you learn lots of stuff about him you never knew. It made me rethink the man completely. Urban myths, I’m telling you, everyone accepts and no one does the research.

Second: miracles. I have to warn you that the first chapter on miracles (there’s two, and the second is short but so full of good stuff), makes you think insanely hard. Well, not insanely, and i liked it but you have to be in the mood for it. It deals with a whole lot of probablity but not like you’ve ever dealt with it before! But it’s verygood the way the author totally smashes this other guy’s main point about miracles not being possible. The second about miracles is … can we base our faith on them, i think, and is very thought provoking reading.

Third: Giodan Bruno. I had never heard anything about this guy at all before this book but it was still evry fascinating. Coming from the completely ignorant side of things, I found it impossible that people veiw him like they do. Basically he’s a 16th-ish century …. oh say philosopher that everyone takes as an example of matyrdom for science, but from what Birkett says he was a nut job. Crazy. I’m serious, he was all over the place with his theories and basically insulted all of Europe. No wonder they burnt him.

Fourth: Darwin and the Fundamentalists. This chapter made me think very hard about myself just accepting things without wider reading. It also just made me think very hard about other stuff. It’s essentially about three fundamentalists and their response to Darwinist evolution. Hang on, you say. Darwin and evolution are like, synonyms aren’t they? NO. Darwin came up with his own means  of evolution: natural selection. There’s definately other theories out there, but basically, one thing i learnt was that Darwin’s theory never really held much sway with scientists (no….way) because of the immense amount of time needed for the minimal changes to occur and … other reasons. I’d need to read it again, but it was very, very, very enlightening.

Fifth: Boy oh boy, I read this one today and was it good. I had never heard of the Scopes Trial but now i know all about it! And it’s amazing how twisted history can get, just to serve the arguments of ‘warring’ factions. i.e. science and christianity (after reading this book i’m wondering whether its a good idea to continue pursuing study of science). Basically in Tennesse it used to be illegal to teach evolution (it was more wordy than that but i can’t remember it). But it got heaps political and became about types of democracy and the defendants initiated the trial and the prosecutors won but now everyone says it was a humiliating win for evolutionists, which it wasn’t, really. Anyway, again very interesting.

This book is well worth the 16-odd dollars i bought it for. Definately. And i will gladly lend it to anyone who so much as mentions it. It i don’t necessarily take as law what they say but IT makes you think and they’ve done good research (they show up those ‘secular’ scientists anyway.) Now what i’d be really interested in is if someone wrote a response to any of these articles. I’ll have to find out. But yes. Read it, please.

There’s two books I want to talk about here: A Spectator’s Guide to Jesus and A Spectator’s Guide to World Religions. Both are by John Dickson and both are very much worth a read. I can’t really remember why I decided to read the former, but it’s really helped get me into reading christian books more since and that has been very helpful to me, anyway. So, what are they actually about? A Spectator’s Guide to Jesus, actually both of them, are  pretty much what they sound like. The first is pretty much a summary of the life of Jesus, or aspects of his life/person. so for instance it goes through Jesus as teacher, miracle worker, friend of sinners, son of god etc. Really good. Founded in historical evidence as Dickson writes  not from his christian perspective as much as his historical perspective. Very good if you’ve a) been reading the OT for a while and have ‘forgotten’ the real Jesus and what he was like or b) if you’re just interested in who Jesus actually was as opposed to what the secular world constantly says. Good reading.

The second book, A Spectator’s Guide to World Religionsis also very good. It’s very informative and was extremely useful for me because I actually didn’t know that much about the religions discussed in the book (apart from Christianity). I think it’s extremely valuable for anyone to read this book (or any similar one)  because I think we all too often just swallow the stereotypes the world throws us concerning major religions or just accept what others say as truth and I know I for one had never actually found out what the religions were all about for myself. So Dickson looks at Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Dickson, in his own words, shows every religion in it’s best light and stays very objective until the last chapter. As he says, it’s vital to look at every religion in it’s best light so that we can really see which religion is true (here he points to Christianity). But yes, a very valuable read. I also just like the fact that he explained polyism (? probably wrong i’m going from memory) and then, like a week later, it was mentioned elsewhere and  i knew what it was. This kinds of things make me happy.

Who would I recommend read these? Everyone!! Our world can be pretty lazy in actually finding out the truth about someone before making judgements about them so i think it’s very important for us to read books like these ones that actually explain the religions and what they believe objectively, in a good light and as the religion believes. Because often historians believe different things about crucial figures in religions, when what that particular religion believes about the figure is very important to them (i think this happened in Hinduism or Islam, sorry not sure.)

It’s been a while and I’m sorry, but I always just forget!! Time to set a  reminder on my phone I think … So, this week the book under scrutiny is Helen Garner’s Joe Cinque’s Consolation.  I read this book only because I needed a true crime text fro Extension English, but that doesn’t mean I regret reading it. Basically it’s the story of how Joe Cinque (hence the title) was killed by his girlfirend. actually it’s the story of the court cases foor this crime and how Garner thinks Joe is lost amongst all the proceedings and ‘gets to know him.’

Thsi is a very good read. Well, there are many book I’d read over it, but I still enjoyed it. It’s a bit confusing trying to work out when everything happened, and there’s a plethora of witnesses, but I think that reflects the confusion Garner feels on trying to understand the case. YOu really engage with Garner and her opinions, and so end up quite frustrated at the legal system, which is a small taste of how she feels, I think. The Cinque family never get the justice they want, and the judge tells us that sentencing isn’t about punishment but protection fo society from the criminal (or something to that effect). It’s all a bit annoying. Especially when Anu Singh (the girlfriend) gets off on her charges because she was mentally ill or something……

After reading this I’ve learnt hat I’m not really a true crime fan. The book was very interesting and a good read, eye-opening too, but I don’t think I could read much more of the genre. Too morbid.

Ah, well I don’t have much to say abotu this book but that I would recommend it to you to read, because it’s a good insight into the Australian justice system and also, I’d never heard of this case and am kind of blind to murder cases that happen in our country. It was ‘illuminating’ to read about when I never realy consider their occurance. So yes, read this if you can. Good book.