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About Literature / Artist Core Member Jamie30/Male/United States Groups :iconlogicsquad: LogicSquad
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Deviant for 3 Years
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So Vital is Free Speech :iconamericandreaming:AmericanDreaming 32 33 Comparative Political Compass :iconamericandreaming:AmericanDreaming 18 45 It's Up to All of Us :iconamericandreaming:AmericanDreaming 32 31 In a Poor Way :iconamericandreaming:AmericanDreaming 55 25 Two Sides of Certainty :iconamericandreaming:AmericanDreaming 18 7 The Paradoxical Commandments :iconamericandreaming:AmericanDreaming 31 15 The Bishop of Bath and Wells :iconamericandreaming:AmericanDreaming 9 14 Patio Lunch :iconamericandreaming:AmericanDreaming 5 4 The Third Wave :iconamericandreaming:AmericanDreaming 38 26 On Loss, Mourning, and Pretense :iconamericandreaming:AmericanDreaming 28 9 Religion and Donkeys :iconamericandreaming:AmericanDreaming 40 35 The Downside of Specialization :iconamericandreaming:AmericanDreaming 40 20 Nothing Appears More Surprising :iconamericandreaming:AmericanDreaming 43 11 The Alt-Right vs the Regressive Left :iconamericandreaming:AmericanDreaming 28 29 Global Problems :iconamericandreaming:AmericanDreaming 37 40 Your Symbol of Yourself :iconamericandreaming:AmericanDreaming 18 11

The glass. 

41%
28 deviants said *Throws glass*
29%
20 deviants said There is no glass.
23%
16 deviants said Is half full.
7%
5 deviants said Is half empty.
My GoodReads page contains a fair number of book reviews, the vast majority of which are positive (my average rating is 3.82/5). I thought it would be interesting to therefore share with you a selection of reviews from among some of the books I did not enjoy. The reviews are 95% spoiler free. 


"The Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss (2007) - Fantasy


Blurb (from GoodReads): The tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen. The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature. 

My review: "The Name of the Wind" is a tedious, meandering love story masquerading and packaged as fantasy. Large swaths of the text are devoted to the unbearable pining of an adolescent over the first girl to ever say two words to him. The style of the book was heavy-handed and almost unbelievably pretentious. Rothfuss sees fit to liberally infuse the exposition with little pearls of wisdom about love and life which sound like they could have come from any community college freshman in a creative writing class.

Still, I held out some hope that perhaps, as is sometimes the case, the ending might redeem the mediocre content of a book. No such luck. The book ends not on a cliff hanger or with any means of hooking you in to read the next one, but with this bizarre, sociopathic tirade of threats from one character to another. Maybe all would be made clear or mitigated once reading further volumes (maybe not though), but I'll never know."    (written 10/18/2015)

"God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows that God Does Not Exist" by Victor J. Stenger (2007) - Atheism, Science


Blurb (from GoodReads): Physicist Victor J. Stenger contends that, if God exists, some evidence for this existence should be detectable by scientific means, especially considering the central role that God is alleged to play in the operation of the universe and the lives of humans. Treating the traditional God concept, as conventionally presented in the Judeo-Christian and Islamic traditions, like any other scientific hypothesis, Stenger examines all of the claims made for God's existence.

My review: If you want to read a book that argues in favor of atheism, I advise you to read literally almost any other book written on the subject. "God: The Failed Hypothesis" offers nothing substantive that the other atheistic books out there don't provide. Stenger is a physicist, and as such, this book will give you a bit more physics than the others, but where this one fell drastically short was the presentation and style. Victor Stenger may well be a fine scientist, but his writing is that of a high school text book; accessible, but humorless and dreadfully boring. The actual content of the book is sound, his arguments and analysis are valid and in accordance with all the available scientific knowledge and data, but good luck getting through this one.    (written 10/28/2014)

"A Shadow in Summer" by Daniel Abraham (2006) - Fantasy


Blurb (from GoodReads): The city-state of Saraykeht dominates the Summer Cities. Its wealth is beyond measure; its port is open to all the merchants of the world, and its ruler, the Khai Saraykeht, commands forces to rival the Gods. Commerce and trade fill the streets with a hundred languages, and the coffers of the wealthy with jewels and gold. Any desire, however exotic or base, can be satisfied in its soft quarter. Blissfully ignorant of the forces that fuel their prosperity, the people live and work secure in the knowledge that their city is a bastion of progress in a harsh world. It would be a tragedy if it fell. Saraykeht is poised on the knife-edge of disaster.

My review: The far-Eastern themed setting seemed refreshing and original, but this book left me waiting for something - anything - to draw me in. The story had almost nothing in the way of fantasy, action, adventure, or any meaningful struggle or conflict. The plot was glacial, the characters uninteresting, and their relationships forced with a heavy hand. "A Shadow in Summer" gave me no reason to continue on to the other books in the series.    (written 11/26/2014)

"The Shadow of the Torturer" by Gene Stone (1980) - Fantasy


Blurb (from GoodReads): It is the tale of young Severian, an apprentice in the Guild of Torturers on the world called Urth, exiled for committing the ultimate sin of his profession -- showing mercy toward his victim -- and follows his subsequent journey out of his home city of Nessus.

My review: There was a musty, scholarly dryness to the writing that, in and of itself, can work, but when combined with vague storytelling and incomprehensible, one-dimensional characters, rendered the book extremely difficult to immerse oneself in. The world and its history seemed interesting from the hints and allusions sprinkled throughout, but not enough to sway me to wade further into a story that, in swaths, makes little sense, and with characters I don't care about.    (written 12/26/2015)

"The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" by Mark Haddon (2003) - Fiction, Young Adult


Blurb (from GoodReads): Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, for fifteen-year-old Christopher everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning. He lives on patterns, rules, and a diagram kept in his pocket. Then one day, a neighbor's dog, Wellington, is killed and his carefully constructive universe is threatened. Christopher sets out to solve the murder in the style of his favourite (logical) detective, Sherlock Holmes. What follows makes for a novel that is funny, poignant and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing are a mind that perceives the world entirely literally.

My review: To be frank, reading "The Curious Incident" was a thoroughly unenjoyable experience, even downright grating at times. To whatever degree the style and content of this novel accurately represents the thought process and/or experience of those unfortunate souls so afflicted, then perhaps it can be useful in that regard as an educational tool. As a piece of literature, however, I found little of value. By its very nature, "Curious" has a built-in defense mechanism against criticism; it's a poor story told even more poorly, but it was written so on purpose, and it is about an autistic child, which conveys an unspoken ultimatum of insensitivity to any who would express distaste. I, however, have never been able to square the circle of convincing myself that irritating mediocrity is somehow more enjoyable or valuable than it seems by virtue of having been created intentionally so. There it is.    (written 4/5/2017)

"The Mismeasure of Man" by Stephen Jay Gould (1982) - Non-fiction, Science


Blurb (from GoodReads): How smart are you? If that question doesn't spark a dozen more questions in your mind (like "What do you mean by 'smart,'" "How do I measure it" and "Who's asking?"), then The Mismeasure of Man, Stephen Jay Gould's masterful demolition of the IQ industry, should be required reading.

My review: The synopsis of this book was hugely misleading. I was expecting an interesting, thought-provoking exploration on how we measure intelligence today. Instead, I got a textbook-like history lesson on all of the racist and pseudoscientific ways people used to measure it decades or centuries in the past. Let me sum this entire book up in a sentence to save you the time in reading it: "People back in the day had really stupid and racist means of measuring intelligence."    (written 4/26/2013)

"The Anubis Gates" by Tim Powers (1983) - Science Fiction, Time Travel


Blurb (from GoodReads): Brendan Doyle, a specialist in the work of the early-nineteenth century poet William Ashbless, reluctantly accepts an invitation from a millionaire to act as a guide to time-travelling tourists. But while attending a lecture given by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1810, he becomes marooned in Regency London, where dark and dangerous forces know about the gates in time. Caught up in the intrigue between rival bands of beggars, pursued by Egyptian sorcerers, befriended by Coleridge, Doyle somehow survives. And learns more about the mysterious Ashbless than he could ever have imagined possible.

My review: The plot itself was clever, both in conception and in the twists, but the story seemed to blur by at erratic, breakneck speeds. It was difficult at times to determine what was happening, and even more so to care. The plot synopsis, in summary, looks very ingenious and intriguing, but I did not enjoy the way it was written. The characters were two-dimensional, and no part of the story was allowed to breathe, but rather was frantically crammed down your throat. We've all read books that were agonizingly slow paced, but this one left me feeling like I've stepped off a roller coaster after too many cheese fries.    (written 8/28/2014)


If you find these reviews interesting, useful, dead-wrong, or offensive, feel free to let me know.


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  • Reading: Mao's Last Dancer / 1984

Activity


If you're into left-leaning political cartoons, please check out gkuehn. His gallery is superb.
I was recently made founder of the group environmentalism group GreenGeeks.

:icongreengeeks:

Please check us out and join/watch!
I found this worthwhile.

"What I learned from 20+ years of teaching critical thinking & moral reasoning, summarized in 1 page."
- Peter Boghossian
pbs.twimg.com/media/C9yHe7sUQA…

Also see my Boghossian folder - americandreaming.deviantart.co…
I missed most of it while playing (and losing) my own championship game tonight, but San Jose took Edmonton to the woodshed with a 7-0 spanking. A thing of beauty. I always miss the good ones! #HockeyProblems 
University student Mashal Khan was accused of spreading blasphemous content on social media. Ten of his fellows stripped him naked in public and beat him with wooden planks until his skull caved in. They continued beating his corpse, and wanted to set it on fire. Onlookers watched.

www.reuters.com/article/us-pak…
As United Airlines' well-deserved PR nightmare rages on, let's stop and notice the aspect no one is discussing, the aspect we've all grown numb and almost indifferent to by this stage. We've gotten to a point in America where the police are now regarded more or less like grizzly bears; predictably dangerous, but bereft of moral responsibility. We fault United for involving the police, and rightfully so, but our collective consciousness now takes it as a given that police involvement will inevitably entail unnecessary violence. You brought a grizzly bear onto a plane, of course someone got mauled!
Stinky cooking odors constitute a crime, Italy's supreme court rules, calling it "olfactory molestation." I can relate.

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/…
Haven't written any essays lately. Any subjects you'd enjoy reading from me?
Being unnecessarily mean-spirited, insensitive, or "edgy" (the euphemism we now give to things which used to be called by other names) just for the sake of it, are - and should remain - valid expressions of free speech. They are not, however, good expressions of free speech. They should not be banned, but they should never go uncriticized.

You are free to speak your mind (excluding incitements to violence). You are free to be mean or even hateful. You are free to be a child who does something simply because they can. You are also free to destroy your own reputation. You are free to make a pariah of yourself. You are free to advertise your moral or intellectual bankruptcy to the world. You are free to get as good as you give.

Journal History

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AmericanDreaming
Jamie
Artist | Literature
United States
My focus with this page is ideologically themed pictures and writing, pertaining to religion, science, philosophy, politics, history, social commentary, and other related subjects. My journal entries will predominantly be short essays on these subjects, with some book reviews too.

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:iconpheasant-one:
Pheasant-One Featured By Owner Edited Apr 16, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Have a Pepsi:
979690-dfd07cd26938ef84d98082bfc9dc764e by Pheasant-One 
To bridge the divide and come together in peace.
I'm giving them out to everyone.
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:iconamericandreaming:
AmericanDreaming Featured By Owner 6 days ago   Writer
Thank you for this digital beverage.
Reply
:iconamericandreaming:
AmericanDreaming Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2017   Writer
Interesting.
Reply
:icongreatkingrat88:
Greatkingrat88 Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2017
Have you considered doing any posters with Terry Pratchett quotes? While his tone was often less dignified and more irreverent, I think his quotes are no less profound for it.
Reply
:iconamericandreaming:
AmericanDreaming Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2017   Writer
He hasn't been on my quote-radar mostly because I haven't read any of Pratchett's work, plus I generally don't quote fiction that often.
Reply
:icongreatkingrat88:
Greatkingrat88 Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2017
I think Pratchett himself has a few neat quotes, and some of his in-universe ones are quite good. I'll just share one of my favourites:

The Patrician, tyrant of ankh-morpork, a machiavellian character and by far the most competent ruler in the series, is in a meeting with some wizards, when the following comes up.

The Patrician took a sip of his beer. “I have told this to few people, gentlemen, and I suspect I never will again, but one day when I was a young boy on holiday in Uberwald I was walking along the bank of a stream when I saw a mother otter with her cubs. A very endearing sight, I’m sure you will agree, and even as I watched, the mother otter dived into the water and came up with a plump salmon, which she subdued and dragged on to a half-submerged log. As she ate it, while of course it was still alive, the body split and I remember to this day the sweet pinkness of its roes as they spilled out, much to the delight of the baby otters who scrambled over themselves to feed on the delicacy. One of nature’s wonders, gentlemen: mother and children dining upon mother and children. And that’s when I first learned about evil. It is built into the very nature of the universe. Every world spins in pain. If there is any kind of supreme being, I told myself, it is up to all of us to become his moral superior.”

The two wizards exchanged a glance. Vetinari was staring into the depths of his beer mug and they were glad that they did not know what he saw in there.

Reply
:iconamericandreaming:
AmericanDreaming Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2017   Writer
Interesting. That middle one has some potential perhaps.
Reply
(1 Reply)
:icondarkvikingmistress:
DarkVikingMistress Featured By Owner Edited Apr 9, 2017  Student Writer
www.youtube.com/watch?v=0R4Y2d…
SMOKE WEEED PASSOVER DAY
Reply
:iconamericandreaming:
AmericanDreaming Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2017   Writer
Heh, very nice.
Reply
:icondarkvikingmistress:
DarkVikingMistress Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2017  Student Writer
You can smoke weed on Passover in front of your parents, just remember to pretend to have a headache and when they complain say that its Kosher XD IRL tr0ll
Reply
:iconamericandreaming:
AmericanDreaming Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2017   Writer
I'll keep that in mind. :icontrippingballsplz:
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconscorching-whirlwind:
Scorching-Whirlwind Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2017
Thank you for the :+fav:
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:iconamericandreaming:
AmericanDreaming Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2017   Writer
:iconbuddyjesusplz:
Reply
:iconamericandreaming:
AmericanDreaming Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2017   Writer
Would've been a good service.
Reply
:icondarkvikingmistress:
DarkVikingMistress Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2017  Student Writer
LOL I laughed so much I died

Just imagine chanting REVENGE IS THE SWEETEST JOY NEXT TO GETTING PUSSY in a sermon style setting or singing it in a carol lmao oh my god

I wish I could've gone just to see the Catholic Choir rapping a Tupac song and the looks on everyone else's faces.
Reply
:icondarkvikingmistress:
DarkVikingMistress Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2017  Student Writer
I saw that Ayaan Hirst Ali was cancelled...

I might've tried to see one of her shows in Melbourne god fucking dammit. Why must Australia ban everything :( (Sad) 
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:iconamericandreaming:
AmericanDreaming Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2017   Writer
It's not that she was banned but that she received death threats and determined it was unsafe to come. Very disturbing, especially since there are left leaning people on social media justifying the threats.
Reply
:icondarkvikingmistress:
DarkVikingMistress Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2017  Student Writer
Ugh. I wish people weren't like that.

I mean, how does it affect their lives...that some Muslim reformer have a talk and open discussion? At least she's trying to reform Islam, what are they doing? Unbelievable.
Reply
:iconamericandreaming:
AmericanDreaming Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2017   Writer
She is a symbol that invalidates their worldview, and must be therefore be destroyed.
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(1 Reply)
:iconhazarkucuk:
hazarkucuk Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2017  New Deviant Student Traditional Artist
What do you think about Turkey,Turks and rising Atheism in all Turkic countries? 
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:iconamericandreaming:
AmericanDreaming Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2017   Writer
I am aware that Turkey is one of the most secular Muslim-majority countries, however I have not heard of rising atheism. If true, that's good news. My only hope is for the safety of apostates and their rights, which is often in danger.
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:iconhazarkucuk:
hazarkucuk Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2017  New Deviant Student Traditional Artist
Nationalism and Atheism are rising quickly but atheists become nationalist also.  
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:iconamericandreaming:
AmericanDreaming Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2017   Writer
Atheism is merely a single answer to a single question: Do you believe in god? No. So atheists can belong to all sorts of other group labels.

Do you believe that atheism is making the problems of tribalism/nationalism worse?
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(1 Reply)
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