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7 years ago  ::  Jan 08, 2008 - 10:31AM #1
chris_lg
Posts: 358
I mentioned the books on another thread and thought I'd get a discussion going about them. I haven't seen the movie yet but read all three books. I liked them a lot, but the third one got a little busy for me. The theology got a bit disturbing, but I wasn't too upset by it. What it described was not atheism, but more pantheism. I was more disturbed by the idea that all churches were depicted as evil throughout all the universes. I thought that was pretty dismissive and simplistic. BUT, I remind myself, this is fiction, and as a story, it was pretty engaging. And the church in the story was truly evil. And poor GOD! But I don't want to give away too much. I liked the idea of a Republic of Heaven with no King. The books are very, very spiritual. I can certianly see why more conservative parents are upset. I don't think this is a book for young kids. I don't even think most young ones would understand it. Older ones are probably thinking about this stuff anyway and ready to ask these questions. If the parents or ministers are ready to have the conversations, why not? It addresses church corruption and false teachings. Real issues in our real world. In their world even God is false, but again, it's fiction, (isn't it?)
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 08, 2008 - 12:39PM #2
BetteTheRedde
Posts: 2,325
chris, I'll give them a read if you think they're worth it. (I loved Harry Potter, after all.)

Of course, I'd never ban a book. I don't even make age suggestions. I was reading adult fiction at age 11.

Anything one reads is fodder for discussion, and I think the ability to critically debate is one of the greatest goals of parenting. There has never been a subject not open for debate in my household, with normal limits on 'gross' stuff at mealtimes, LOL.
"Sometimes they are referred to as the 'radical Right.' But the fact is that there is nothing radical about them. They offer no novel solutions to the problems that plague them; indeed, they offer no solutions at all. They are immensely discontented with things as they are and furiously impatient with almost everyone in public office who can in any way be held responsible for their frustrations. But it cannot be said that they hold any clearly stated objectives or have any specific program either in common or individuals. They are fundamentally and temperamentally 'aginners.' And perhaps the commonest characteristic among them is anger. They can fairly be called, if nothing else, the Rampageous Right."

Alan Barth, New York Times, November 26, 1961
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 08, 2008 - 4:41PM #3
chris_lg
Posts: 358
Please do, Bette. So far my sister, the atheist, is the only other person I know who has read them. I'd love to hear another Proggie's take on them. Sis and I both loved the first two, and got a bit bogged down in the third until the end. The ending was worth slogging through for.
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 08, 2008 - 4:53PM #4
BetteTheRedde
Posts: 2,325
chris, unless I get inspired to buy them, might be a while. I'm hold position 9 for the first book at the library. They've got about 12 copies, though.
"Sometimes they are referred to as the 'radical Right.' But the fact is that there is nothing radical about them. They offer no novel solutions to the problems that plague them; indeed, they offer no solutions at all. They are immensely discontented with things as they are and furiously impatient with almost everyone in public office who can in any way be held responsible for their frustrations. But it cannot be said that they hold any clearly stated objectives or have any specific program either in common or individuals. They are fundamentally and temperamentally 'aginners.' And perhaps the commonest characteristic among them is anger. They can fairly be called, if nothing else, the Rampageous Right."

Alan Barth, New York Times, November 26, 1961
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 08, 2008 - 8:26PM #5
Stardove
Posts: 15,685
Be sure to check Amazon Golden Compass page.

Shipping can be higher than the books. I've paid 99 cents for a book and $3.99 for S & H at www.amazon.com.

www.half.com is another good site for buying books.
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 08, 2008 - 9:18PM #6
BetteTheRedde
Posts: 2,325
Stardove, my biggest problem is space. I have three bookcases, one of them 6' x 8', in my living space and would prefer not to add more soon. It's only taken me three years to 2/3 fill the 6' x 8' one. I have to be fairly sure I'm going to want to read it again. I mainly buy reference, theology books, cookbooks and a bit of classic lit and rely on my local library for most of my fiction needs. Although I do use Amazon.ca, I do a lot of book shopping at one of my local used bookstores, or the sole remaining independent bookseller in town.
"Sometimes they are referred to as the 'radical Right.' But the fact is that there is nothing radical about them. They offer no novel solutions to the problems that plague them; indeed, they offer no solutions at all. They are immensely discontented with things as they are and furiously impatient with almost everyone in public office who can in any way be held responsible for their frustrations. But it cannot be said that they hold any clearly stated objectives or have any specific program either in common or individuals. They are fundamentally and temperamentally 'aginners.' And perhaps the commonest characteristic among them is anger. They can fairly be called, if nothing else, the Rampageous Right."

Alan Barth, New York Times, November 26, 1961
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 08, 2008 - 9:49PM #7
Stardove
Posts: 15,685

BetteTheRedde wrote:

Stardove, my biggest problem is space. I have three bookcases, one of them 6' x 8', in my living space and would prefer not to add more soon. It's only taken me three years to 2/3 fill the 6' x 8' one. I have to be fairly sure I'm going to want to read it again. I mainly buy reference, theology books, cookbooks and a bit of classic lit and rely on my local library for most of my fiction needs. Although I do use Amazon.ca, I do a lot of book shopping at one of my local used bookstores, or the sole remaining independent bookseller in town.




Bette, I understand. I have books cases in three different rooms. Three book cases in the office. One in the living room and two huge ones in the den. And I wonder sometimes why I can't find a particular book I'm looking for. I love Half Price Books, but attempt to stay away from them. ;)

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7 years ago  ::  Jan 09, 2008 - 9:37AM #8
chris_lg
Posts: 358
The library will get to you soon enough. They're so engaging you move right through them. with 12 copies you'll get one soon. I just hope they have copies of the other 2 volumes. It's a real trilogy, not just sequals, so the story doesn't end with the first book.

I have a space problem with books too, and I have a 4 bedroom house. I love books, and I prefer to own them because I love to go back to them and reread favorite passages, and to lend them when I want to. My husband is a very patient man. He's not a book person, but he saves every issue of The Nation and Mother Jones that he's ever received. He's actually worse than I am in his own way.
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 29, 2008 - 4:18PM #9
Doohickie
Posts: 250
AHEM!  :)

Is this a discussion of the books, or a discussion of where you're going to put them?

Anyway, I've read all three books way back when they came out in paperback.  In fact, I posted a discussion thread on BNet back then.

I personally felt the first two were far more interesting than most fiction out there.  An interesting take on the nature of the universe, of souls, etc., in a well-paced story.  As a Christian, I didn't see anything in the first two books that I thought should get them banned from young readers' lists.  He invented some theology, but they are, after all, fantasy books.  I felt the theology was no more objectionable than the theology of the Narnia series, or the commonly-accepted-without-thought "Forceism" of Star Wars.

The third book is.... unfortunate.  Yeah, God gets killed off.  But that's not what makes it unfortunate.  It's unfortunate because the first two books were damned interesting page-turners.  You can't wait to see what happenes next.  They're well-written.  The third book was just terrible on all those counts.  No plot twists, no surprises, no special insight into the nature of the spirit; just a dreadful plodding along to the end.  A real yawner.

I almost want to ask over on the atheism board if they saw the series the same way.

Anyway, I think the series would have been wonderful if the first two books were unchanged, and if Pullman had channeled C.S. Lewis to help him write the third one.  ;)

As far as how the books played out in my imagination, I remember seeing the previews for Polar Express, and thinking that would be the perfect animation technique for the Golden Compass; in my mind's eye, that is exactly what the books looked and felt like in my head.
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 30, 2008 - 10:08AM #10
chris_lg
Posts: 358
I agree about the third book. It just didn't live up to the other two. I was kind of touched by the little romance at the end, and the fact that the attachment of two 13 year olds was taken so seriously. That was quite sweet. There were a couple of moments. Some other parts might have had some potential if they were better written. The whole pretender God idea could have had more done with it, I think.

I actually liked the Dust. I heard so much whining about the books "teaching atheism". I don't see this as atheism particularly. I see the Dust theology as panentheism. Not the same thing. And fiction doesn't "teach" anything. Not necessarily. It's fiction. It tells a story. It may or may not teach. Parents are allowed to have conversation with their kids about this stuff too. My daughter is 10 and had trouble getting her head around the books. I think she's just too young for some of this. She might have done better with the movie, but it was out of the theaters by the time we got around to seeing it. A friend's son is 15 and his church youth group is reading the books. I guess if any heebie jeebies about church authority and corruptions come up as a result of reading the books, they would have come up anyway. Better to get the doubts out in the open and have them addressed.  I was less upset by the death of God, which I can explain as the alagorical death of the patriarchial image of the Father in Heaven (as opposed to the Great Mystery or whatever) than I was by the implication that all organized religion was evil from the get. Of course, there IS a lot of corruption in churches that has to be recognized and addressed, but faith communities fill a need as well. Still, it IS fiction. Pullman's ideas are not the Gospel. Hell, even the Gospel isn't necessarily the Gospel.
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