Saturday, February 25, 2017

Great Reads – 3 standouts from Winter

I continue to be an avid reader and have been steadily working through my accumulation of used purchases. Among this winter’s batch, I found 3 worthy of special note:

1.  The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins – I confess, I delayed reading this until after Christmas… just the title itself sounds ominous and didn’t seem appropriate for the holiday season.  As reflected in my past post, Finding God with Dan Brown, my current leanings / identification of faith is as a Pantheist so it provided a bit of a chuckle with Dawkins remarked within his opening salvo that pantheists were just sexed up atheists.  I never really looked at it that way, but after digesting Dawkins’ definition of “God” it would seem to fit.  In his analysis, Dawkins identifies “God” in as a benevolent, ever present, all knowing, judge and curator type being; in contrast as a pantheist I see all that is as being part of “God”. One area of the book that took me by complete surprise was Dawkins’ compassion in regards to the issue of sex abuse by clergy. My understanding of Dawkins’ core thesis seemed to be that traditional faiths are riddled with so many far-fetched details that they defy belief whereas evolution explains details in a much more plausible fashion; therefore, accept the path of much more likely than the path of not very likely. I encourage this book for all readers, regardless of your belief. While I doubt that the reading will convert many from their starting belief, it is an intriguing read and worthy of exploration.

2.  When Heaven & Earth Changed Places by Le Ly Hayslip – one word, “Wow”. This book had sat on my shelf for a couple of years. I was at the age of becoming aware of the outside world when the Viet Nam war was in full bloom. At the time, it felt like Viet Nam would never end; it was a terrifying, brutal war and I was in full fear that I’d reach age 18 and that it would still be going and that I’d be drafted. I was so surprised and happy that I saw my way through to start this book; once started, it was difficult to put down. Undoubtedly, the brutality of the war is manifest in the story, but this story is so much more than that – it is a story of family, of forgiveness, of faith, of mother earth and the choices of people.

3.  The Myth of Male Power by Warren Farrell, Ph.D. – my one word for this one was “hallelujah” when I first spotted it among the used books for sale at the library.  As someone who has achieved a master’s level degree in social welfare, I was delighted to see an effort to present an alternate perspective to the age old “Women as an oppressed group” model that is untenable and unproductive.  I would highly recommend that this book be added as required reading for anyone is Social Work or Women’s Studies to help raise awareness that there is more than one perspective when it comes to issues of gender. Farrell did a nice job presenting the concept of males as the disposable sex; his presentation of male perspective provides ample fodder for anyone interested in improving gender relationships.  This is a worthy read, but Farrell does suffer from a disease common to many with Ph.D.s – he is sometimes overly verbose and at time presents comparisons that seem like apples to oranges.

These books and more can be found within my Amazon store.

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