User Profile

Sergeant Cat

Joined 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Favorite Books:

Mostly post-apocalyptic, dystopian, horror, sci-fi, history, books that explore religion and spirituality, manga, comics, and graphic novels.

About Me

US Army Veteran. MA in History, BA in History & Jewish Studies from the City College of the City University of New York.

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User Activity

The Exiled Fleet (2021, Tor Books) 4 stars

J. S. Dewes continues her fast paced, science fiction action adventure with The Exiled Fleet, …

Great sci-fi action entertainment

4 stars

This was a really fun book. There's a lot of action, a lot of adventure, and the story's world opens up quite a bit more so we get a better idea of the history leading up to the events in the first book. I'm kind of sad that I read this right when it came out, because I know it's going to be a long wait for the next book in the series to arrive, and I'm excited for it.

The Power of Ritual (2020, HarperCollins Publishers) 3 stars

Ter Kuile, cohost of the podcast Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, demonstrates in his …

A shallow rehash of popular self-improvement trends

2 stars

This book can be boiled down to the idea that people should find things that are already meaningful in their lives and recognize that meaningfulness, then ritualize that meaningfulness to add to its existing meaningfulness. I think the author's intention behind writing this book was to express the idea that people should be comfortable turning experiences that are traditionally non-religious into a spiritual and meaningful encounter as a replacement for traditional religious practices. However, I felt that his message was too open-ended. He doesn't provide any sort of framework for what would be defined as positive and meaningful beyond what feels good and feels right. What if someone feels spiritually connected to the world when they commit violence? Is that valid? It just seems as though there's a lack of structure, or there's a presumption that people will somehow fall back on the morals and basic ideas provided by the …

The Power of Ritual (2020, HarperCollins Publishers) 3 stars

Ter Kuile, cohost of the podcast Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, demonstrates in his …

This book seems to be really derivative.

Chapter 1 seemed to be a rehash of Heschel's "The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man", a classic book on Jewish Shabbat that I've also read.

He doesn't really provide anything new to the conversation about personal observance of the Sabbath, except that he puts it in terms that someone unfamiliar with Judaism can understand and says that you could observe a Sabbath at any time and while doing things that you find personally meaningful.

Find things that are meaningful to you and dwell on them in a meditative way is how I would sum this up so far, and there's nothing wrong with that I suppose, but the way the author presents it as if he's telling us something new and original, when it's not. He's, so far, simply borrowing from Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism.

The Power of Ritual (2020, HarperCollins Publishers) 3 stars

Ter Kuile, cohost of the podcast Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, demonstrates in his …

I'm still in chapter 1, but this seems like the kind of book that I'd really enjoy. It talks about recognizing deeper meanings in the things that we do and adding an element of ritual to our daily activities to create additional meaning and purpose that nourishes us in ways that traditional religion used to.

So far, I've been really struck by the idea of something like a reading club or CrossFit, or just taking a walk in the woods, becoming a sort of ritualized spiritual experience that can hold value. It rings true.

The Pursuit of God (1993, Christian Publications) 2 stars

During a train trip from Chicago to Texas in the late 1940s, A.W. Tozer began …

This reads like the worst part of my childhood. It has all of the hallmarks of Christian fundamentalist thought, including contradictions that completely invalidate a point the author made two pages earlier.

You can clearly see that Tozer has digested the busted idea that a book (the Bible) can be completely contradictory and incoherent and still be a singular and divine narrative, and has applied that ideology to his writing.

Waking the Buddha (2014) 2 stars

"Is there more to Buddhism than sitting in silent meditation? Is modern Buddhism relevant to …

Hard pass if you're looking for something objective

2 stars

This reads like sectarian propaganda pretending to be objective. I think I would have enjoyed it more if it hadn't been so obviously uncritical and adulatory.