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paulfrankspencer

paulfrankspencer

Joined July 2018

literary fiction, philosophy, theology, and anything else by recommendation - thoughts and creativity at bgfg77.com
review
paulfrankspencer
The Stranger | Albert Camus
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Mehso-so

I was expecting more... Are the questions asked here really that deep or is it just a simple narrative riffing on Ecclesiastes?

GondorGirl I remember reading this as a teenager and finding it life changing. I reread it a few years ago and thought teenaged me was crazy. 2w
paulfrankspencer @GondorGirl Right? I mean, it's fine, but it is generally so well regarded that I was just assuming that it would take me way deeper than it did. 2w
7 likes2 comments
review
paulfrankspencer
The Hound of Heaven | Francis Thompson
Pickpick

Very quick poem. Old-fashioned language. Theology seems sound.

review
paulfrankspencer
East of Eden | John Steinbeck
Pickpick

It's still that good. If you've not read it, read it.

quote
paulfrankspencer
East of Eden | John Steinbeck

"Hate cannot live alone. It must have love as a trigger, a goad, or a stimulant."

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paulfrankspencer
East of Eden | John Steinbeck

"I guess no matter how weak and negative a good man is, he has as many sins on him as he can bear. I have enough sins to trouble me. Maybe they aren't very fine sins compared to some, but, the way I feel, they're all I can take care of. Please forgive me."

quote
paulfrankspencer
East of Eden | John Steinbeck

"I know that sometimes a lie is used in kindness. I don't believe it ever works kindly. The quick pain of truth can pass away, but the slow, eating agony of a lie is never lost. That's a running sore."

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paulfrankspencer
East of Eden | John Steinbeck

"We have only one story. All novels, all poetry, are built on the never-ending contest in ourselves of good and evil. And it occurs to me that evil must constantly respawn, while good, while virute, is immortal. Vice has always a new fresh young face, while virtue is venerable as nothing else in the world is."

5 likes1 stack add
quote
paulfrankspencer
East of Eden | John Steinbeck

"You're a brave man," Lee said.

"No, I'm an old man. And if I should have anything on my conscience it won't be for long."

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paulfrankspencer
East of Eden | John Steinbeck

"An unbelieved truth can hurt a man much more than a lie. It takes great courage to back a truth unacceptable to our times. There's a punishment for it, and it's usually crucifixion."

quote
paulfrankspencer
East of Eden | John Steinbeck

"There are no ugly questions except those clothed in condescension."

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paulfrankspencer
East of Eden | John Steinbeck

"There's a capacity for appetite that a whole heaven and earth of cake can't satisfy."

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paulfrankspencer

"Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the appetite."

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paulfrankspencer
East of Eden | John Steinbeck

"When two men live together they usually maintain a kind of shabby neatness out of incipient rage at each other."

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paulfrankspencer
East of Eden | John Steinbeck

"A man so painfully in love is capable of self-torture beyond belief"

"There was a real fear mixed up in his love, and the precipitate from the mixing of these two is cruelty."

quote
paulfrankspencer
East of Eden | John Steinbeck

"Eventlessness has no posts to drape duration on. From nothing to nothing is no time at all."

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paulfrankspencer
East of Eden | John Steinbeck

"His conscience bridged him to his brother and did his pain for him the way at other times he had done his homework."

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paulfrankspencer
East of Eden | John Steinbeck

"She had a dour Presbyterian mind and a code of morals that pinned down and beat the brains out of nearly everything that was pleasant to do."

I've known one or two such Presbyterians.

paulfrankspencer "Liza had a finely developed sense of sin. Idleness was a sin, and card playing, which was a kind of idleness to her. She was suspicious of fun whether it involved dancing or singing or even laughter. She felt that people having fun were wide open to the devil. And this was a shame, for Samuel was a laughing man, but I guess Samuel was wide open to the devil. His wife protected him whenever she could." 2mo
11 likes1 comment
quote
paulfrankspencer
East of Eden | John Steinbeck

"You can boast about anything if it's all you have. Maybe the less you have, the more you are required to boast."

review
paulfrankspencer
American Gods | Neil Gaiman
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Mehso-so

I liked the beginning of this book way more than where it ended. I know a bunch of y'all read for the twists, but I'd prefer sharper dialogue, characterization, and poetic descriptions of intriguing ideas. Had a good premise here, but not good enough to carry a full-length novel, apparently.

paulfrankspencer Also, what's with the bit at the end where the otherwise absent narrator comes in and tells us that gods are a stupid idea anyway. Keep your infantile editorializing to yourself and let me read this work of *fiction* 2mo
14 likes1 comment
review
paulfrankspencer
Dracula | Bram Stoker
Pickpick

First time reading this since college, maybe. I used to consider it my favorite book. The suspense, while at times a little clunky for a modern reader, is genuine and pretty expertly maintained throughout. Lots of quality dramatic irony based on the epistolarian form.

No longer what I would call "the best" but still a solid 5-stars, I'd say.

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paulfrankspencer
V for Vendetta | Alan Moore

"A revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having."

Remember, remember.

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paulfrankspencer
Dracula | Bram Stoker

"It is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it explains not, then it says there is nothing to explain."

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paulfrankspencer
Dracula | Bram Stoker

"There are darknesses in life, and there are lights; you are one of the lights."

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paulfrankspencer
Dracula | Bram Stoker

"We learn from failure, not from success."

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paulfrankspencer
Dracula | Bram Stoker

"He tells me that he loves me more, but I doubt that, for at first he told me that he couldn't love me more than he did then."

blurb
paulfrankspencer

I *never* give up on a book, but having read this collection before and no longer being on my trip (I read poetry when travelling), I just can't do it right now. On to Stoker for some post Halloween fun.

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paulfrankspencer
Screwtape Letters | C S Lewis
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I am reading Screwtape again during this trip, but mostly I just wanted to share a view of the Caucasus Mountains from my hotel room in Georgia.

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paulfrankspencer
Marvelous Light | Paul Frank Spencer
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They're all organized. Poetry, philosophy, history, religion, general non-fiction on the left shelf, top to bottom. Fiction alphabetized on the right, spilling onto the coffee table, with kids books (Calvin and Hobbes featured prominently). Antique books and random coffee table books on the built-in shelves. All Civil War on the TV stand.

paulfrankspencer DVDs have their own unit, with textbooks on the bottom shelf. 4mo
MegaWhoppingCosmicBookwyrm Looks great! 😍 4mo
The_Penniless_Author Your place already looks nicer than mine, and we moved in 9 years ago! 🤣 4mo
Louise Looks great! 4mo
paulfrankspencer @The_Penniless_Author All I can say to that is I'm happy you haven't seen any of my other rooms... 4mo
11 likes5 comments
review
paulfrankspencer
Master and Commander | Patrick O'Brian
Pickpick

To have read this back-to-back with Gods and Generals was a treat: another foray into an older world with military tactics I know so little about. The interpersonal aspects and dialogue were sufficiently engaging, but the maritime detail is what really makes it worthwhile.

blurb
paulfrankspencer
Untitled | Unknown
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#thoughtfulthursday @MoonWitch94

1. Apples
2. Thanksgiving
3. Bonfires
4. October
5. November

I probably should choose between the months, but I'd rather have both without the extras than miss out on either.

MoonWitch94 Thanks for playing 🍁🌻🍂 4mo
9 likes1 comment
blurb
paulfrankspencer
Untitled | Unknown
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#Two4Tuesday @TheSpineView

1. My gut says worse, but my head says different. The garbage books of the past are in the garbage heaps, not on our shelves. Meanwhile, the garbage books of the present are all around. We can have a distorted view of the past, it seems.

That said, I love the tact of writers past. I mean "gritty" and "real" has a time and place, but writing a sex scene without anything graphic is a (largely) lost art. ??

paulfrankspencer 2. I think not. I say "think" because I don't even really try to guess what's coming. As a writer and reader, I know that anything at all might happen next, and so though I'm rarely surprised by anything, that's mostly because I don't expect anything either. 4mo
TheSpineView Thanks for playing and happy Tuesday! 😊👍📖 4mo
The_Penniless_Author Agree totally with both these answers 👍 4mo
9 likes3 comments
blurb
paulfrankspencer
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Still in the process of unpacking after the purchase of my first home. These will need reorganizing, but it's some sort of start.

batsy Congrats! And happy unpacking of books 📚📚📚 4mo
Nute Already a lovely space!🙂 4mo
11 likes2 comments
quote
paulfrankspencer
Master and Commander | Patrick O'Brian
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review
paulfrankspencer
Gods and Generals | Jeff Shaara
Pickpick

I was left with a fraction of my grandfather's sizable collection of American Civil War literature, a fraction which is itself still sizable. This is the first of that collection I've read after years in my possession.

I've never been passionate about history, but this historical fiction perhaps has whet my appetite to learn more about the war. We will see. Fascinating to see how the battles unfolded and the leadership decisions and motivations.

review
paulfrankspencer
Angels and Demons | Dan Brown
Mehso-so

Possibly a low pick.

I think I read The DaVinci Code in middle school, and though even then I didn't seriously entertain the fictional, I am surprised at how much I needed to suspend disbelief reading this. That said, it was sufficiently entertaining and exciting.

review
paulfrankspencer
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Pickpick

What is being? Why is there being instead of nothing?

A philosophically robust answer to these questions lies within these pages, an answer from some of the preeminent philosophers of all time. If you're willing to spend the cash, the content is rich.

6 likes1 stack add
review
paulfrankspencer
The Courage to be | Paul Tillich
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Pickpick

Holy moley! What a book! A definite 5🌟

Tillich was considered a theologian's theologian, and as such, he goes deep into the philosophy of religion as more properly the philosophy of being, a living ontology or an existentialist essentialism.

This isn't the hardest academic content I've read, but it ain't easy. If you can get through it, the reward is inescapable.

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paulfrankspencer
The Courage to be | Paul Tillich

"Without a consciousness of truth itself doubt of truth would be impossible."

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paulfrankspencer
The Courage to be | Paul Tillich

"The pain of despair is that a being is aware of itself as unable to affirm itself because of the power of non-being. Consequently it wants to surrender this awareness and its presupposition, the being which is aware. It wants to get rid of itself --- and it cannot."

review
paulfrankspencer
Pickpick

This is about Decision Theory and how the Normative Rational Standard is insufficient when applied to transformative experiences. Descriptively, I think the book is great.

Prescriptively, however... In stripping transformative experience down to its theoretical core, Paul exposes the issue, but in putting its flesh back on, she arbitrarily establishes a new standard for rational action, which (as you may expect) is arbitrary.

review
paulfrankspencer
Pickpick

Worth reading, but I don't believe the essays are of the same quality. The first was great, but the third gets to the root of Murdoch's metaphysics/epistemology, and I find that portion specifically lacking. But it is an interesting perspective of a godless, yet spiritual philosophy and the ideas are worth engaging.

quote
paulfrankspencer

"It is very difficult to concentrate attention upon suffering and sin, in others or in oneself, without falsifying the picture in some way while making it bearable. Only the very greatest art can manage it, and that is the only public evidence that it can be done at all."

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paulfrankspencer

"It is always a significant question to ask about any philosopher: what is he afraid of?"

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paulfrankspencer

"There is only one culture, of which science is now an important part. But the most essential and fundamental aspect of culture is the study of literature, since this is an education in how to picture and understand human situations. We are men before we are scientists, and the place of science in human life must be discussed in words. This is why it is and always will be more important to know about Shakespeare than to know about any scientist."

review
paulfrankspencer
Heaven | Randy Alcorn
Panpan

Alcorn's most basic conclusions are based on debatable premises, so his whole argument, though more thorough than anything I've ever read on the topic, is a bit suspect and open to many disagreements.

Also, this book should have been 1/4 as long. Would have benefitted from a heartless editor.

review
paulfrankspencer
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Pickpick

If anyone doubts that Descartes is the godfather of all modern scientific enterprise, read this. He was the first to reform science to rely, at a fundamental/theoretical level, on math. Descartes posited that there is a distinct divide between mind and material, and our mind works better when we assume that it is divorced from the world at the point of our untrustworthy senses. We must trust math instead of direct observation. 1/3

paulfrankspencer We've seen how well Descartes' method works in verifying material concerns (see quantum theory and relativity). Further, we now believe in matter as the trustworthy thing, not mind (if mind even exists beyond material), the implications of which contribute significantly to the despondency of our era. /3 6mo
paulfrankspencer But anyone who wants to blame Descartes for the modern meaning crisis would do well to revisit his first 2 conclusions upon which his mathematical explanations hang and without which they are meaningless. I am mind and God exists. Nothing without these. The math is unanchored meaninglessness without mind and God. /fin 6mo
3 likes2 comments
review
paulfrankspencer
Pickpick

Descartes was incredibly bold in the strong conclusions he drew around Cogito Ergo Sum, and probably disregarded legitimate arguments against his primary conclusions to his detriment. That said, he has a humility in the face of a greater reality (which he understood as the necessity of God) that I think his detractors ignore to their detriment.

All told, his philosophy is brilliant; it is a wonderful place to start for those plagued with doubt.

blurb
paulfrankspencer
Untitled | Unknown
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#wondrouswednesday @Eggs

1. The Red Hot Chili Peppers played at the Westmoreland County Fair (Pennsylvania), and we lived like a mile away, and everyone in my family's religious circle was worried about them getting naked on stage.

2. Bookstore. I very rarely borrow books.

3. The Hobbit. I wrote a paper on it to get into Honors English for 9th grade, so it was one of the first I thought critically about, and the story stuck with me too.

mandarchy Thanks for the chuckle. I was just thinking about the Chili Peppers and their socks the other day. 6mo
Eggs Ha ha #1!! Thanks for joining in 👏🏻📚🤗 6mo
monalyisha I love your “event!” Though everyone‘s answers have been interesting & thoughtful, your response definitely introduced some much-needed levity. 😅 6mo
12 likes3 comments
review
paulfrankspencer
Pickpick

I don't read many modern thrillers, but this was pretty fun.

review
paulfrankspencer
On Social Justice | Saint Basil (Bishop of Caesarea)
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Pickpick

As short and easy as you could want, this little guy should challenge each of us to reframe our perspective on our relative wealth against the need all around. It wasn't ours to begin with, and we can't take it with us. Put it to better use.