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Reviews Written by
Rodge (Ontario, Canada)
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   

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The Collapse of Parenting: How We Hurt Our Kids When We Treat Them Like Grown-Ups
The Collapse of Parenting: How We Hurt Our Kids When We Treat Them Like Grown-Ups
by Leonard Sax
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 26.43
33 used & new from CDN$ 18.89

5.0 out of 5 stars Common-sense and hard truths about parenting, June 20 2016
Leonard Sax's book is a wake-up call to rethink - or perhaps just start thinking - about how parenting is done in the modern American setting. Pointing to a culture of disrespect, Sax suggests that parents start cultivating humility in their children, stop over-medicating them and over-scheduling them, among other things. A usable common-sense book.

The End of Alchemy: Money, Banking, and the Future of the Global Economy
The End of Alchemy: Money, Banking, and the Future of the Global Economy
by Mervyn King
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 33.10
23 used & new from CDN$ 27.57

4.0 out of 5 stars Oddly readable book on banking, financial crisis, global economy, June 20 2016
Mervyn King's oddly readable book looks at the financial crisis from a somewhat different perspective. Rather than hunt for villains, King tries to dive deeper within the global economy to understand what underlying causes made things fragile enough to collapse as they did. He identifies banking reforms as critical, finding existing monetary or Keynesian proposals inadequate. A provocative and quite readable book

Gulag: A History
Gulag: A History
by Anne Applebaum
Edition: Hardcover
14 used & new from CDN$ 16.67

5.0 out of 5 stars Essential history of the Gulag, June 14 2016
This review is from: Gulag: A History (Hardcover)
This is a near indispensable history of the Gulag, incorporating archival material and Gulag memoirs to stitch together a very readable account that is essentially truth-telling and story-telling at its finest. I expected this read to be harrowing but nothing prepares you for the dehumanizing effects of the senseless prison regime that Stalin and his henchmen put into place. How the Gulag came to be and how it came to an end, how various people responded to their plight within the Gulag - everything is covered here including the wrenching personal stories, with occasional interludes of black humour. Pretty much a must-read, pulling together varying materials into one cohesive whole.

The Soul of Doubt: The Religious Roots of Unbelief from Luther to Marx
The Soul of Doubt: The Religious Roots of Unbelief from Luther to Marx
by Dominic Erdozain
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 38.50
17 used & new from CDN$ 38.49

5.0 out of 5 stars An alternate history of doubt, May 31 2016
This revisionist historical account posits the rise of doubt, atheism and agnosticism is caused by "conscience" rather than scientific discoveries. The case is put pretty convincingly although Erdozain may distort the record somewhat to achieve his effect. By focusing on figures such as Spinoza, Voltaire, Feuerbach and Marx, Erdozain shows the surprising ways skepticism has increased - sounding more like a version of an Old Testament prophet or Jesus himself rather than an outright pagan. This thesis has a lot to commend it and this book is definitely worth a look. Erdozain manages to make his intellectual history quite interesting and readable as well, as a bonus ~ far more readable than a Charles Taylor who promotes a similar thesis

The Art of Biblical Narrative
The Art of Biblical Narrative
by Robert Alter
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.81
36 used & new from CDN$ 12.91

5.0 out of 5 stars Accessible and for anyone with an interest in the Bible, May 24 2016
This book will be of value to anyone who has interest in the Bible - "believer" or otherwise. Alter convincingly outlines in very accessible fashion how the Bible's narrative can truly be read as literature, as worthy of close examination as Homer or Shakespeare. Alter also guides us in understanding the unique ways the Bible uses narrative in contrast to other well-known literary traditions so that we can truly appreciate it's well-deployed economy of means.

The Radical Reformation
The Radical Reformation
by George Huntston Williams
Edition: Hardcover
4 used & new from CDN$ 119.06

5.0 out of 5 stars There's nothing else like it, May 24 2016
Though much of his analysis may be open to debate, this book is simply essential and incomparable for getting a bird's eye view of the reformational ferment outside of the "magisterial" reformation. There was a lot of stuff going on. As a Mennonite, this book helped me gain more perspective on Anabaptist roots as well as the various responses to it. We get to hear the voices of groups that essentially no longer exist and therefore don't get much attention today, but were significant in the development of the time. This book covers the first 2 generations, approximately, of the Reformation period and takes us all over Europe to see the "Spiritualists", "Anabaptists" and "Rationalists" at work - as Williams categorizes them

The Gods of Newport
The Gods of Newport
Offered by Penguin Group USA
Price: CDN$ 10.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining read, no more, May 10 2016
John Jakes is a master of historical fiction, in this novel the formula shows through. The story is engaging enough to keep your interest throughout, but most of the developments are perfectly obvious and the characters are cardboard. Good for an entertaining time-killer, no more

Smarter Faster Better
Smarter Faster Better
by Charles Duhigg
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 30.84
2 used & new from CDN$ 30.84

4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and probably useful for the diligent reader, May 2 2016
This review is from: Smarter Faster Better (Hardcover)
This books is entertaining - "Gladwellian" would be an appropriate word - and provides us with a series of stories illustrating different elements of living a productive life. This book is highly enjoyable, however getting value out of it will probably take more work. Duhigg gets bonus points for his notes at the back of the book which allow some further digging into his ideas as well as pointing to some controversies.

The Greatest Knight: The Remarkable Life of William Marshal, the Power Behind Five English Thrones
The Greatest Knight: The Remarkable Life of William Marshal, the Power Behind Five English Thrones
24 used & new from CDN$ 7.14

4.0 out of 5 stars Non-fiction historical thriller, April 28 2016
Asbridge pretty much nails the historical page-turner genre here. If you think a medieval biography sounds like a chore, think again. If you read historical fiction set in this time period, this could be a good book to ease you into reading about the real Middle Ages! Definitely far more interesting than you might think.

Our knight William Marshal lived in an era much different from our own in many ways. Asbridge is realistic about the appealing and less-appealing sides of his nature. Marshal was not quite the "power behind five English thrones" as the subtitle suggests, but he did serve Henry the Young King, Henry II, Richard the Lionheart, King John and finally Henry III. There are many ups and downs in this story, but somehow William Marshal made it through it all, and managed to die in his bed in his seventies (so that's the spoiler). How he got there, though, is an endlessly fascinating read.

The Great Hunt: Book Two of 'The Wheel of Time'
The Great Hunt: Book Two of 'The Wheel of Time'
Offered by Macmillan CA
Price: CDN$ 9.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable fantasy, April 28 2016
If you like high fantasy, this is definitely what you are looking for. Jordan has annoying elements in his writing but overall succeeds at the main mission, creating a fantasy world and adventure that is complex and original enough to make you feel compelled to move forward. However, outside of those who enjoy fantasy, this is not really a book that gives you other reasons to read or that stands as a classic in its own right. I can't see myself reading much deeper into this series.

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