Review by Nisha Ward -- Mythic Worlds and the One You Ca...

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Nisha Ward
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Review by Nisha Ward -- Mythic Worlds and the One You Ca...

Post by Nisha Ward » 18 Jun 2019, 13:30

[Following is a volunteer review of "Mythic Worlds and the One You Can Believe In" by Harold Toliver.]
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2 out of 4 stars
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Hello, dear reader, and welcome to this review of Mythic Worlds and the Once You Can Believe In by Harold Toliver. Before we begin, let’s have a story, shall we?

Once upon a time, there was a lovely 19 year old who decided that what she really wanted most in the world was a degree in English Literature. She studied for years and years, sometime in that period trying and failing to read Derrida’s Of Grammatology.

Why do I bring that period of my life up?

Well, dear reader, trying to read Mythic Worlds was very much like trying to read Of Grammatology. Granted, I read the entirety of the former instead of the mere few pages of the introduction I read of the latter, of course.

In this, Toliver proposes a deconstruction of the mythology that defines our societal structure. While he does reference Judeo-Christian and Greek mythologies, it’s mostly centred on a very Western, very modern myth-building strategy as its used to justify war and conflict. In fact, Toliver builds the narrative from an examination of mythology’s role in communication up to the role it played in the war in Iraq and beyond.

Reader, I fear this is where I must tell you that this is not an easy read, nor is it light. Toliver often gets lost in the details of his own musings, choosing to philosophise and speculate with very little in the way of satisfactory evidence to support his theories. While his list of references is impressive, it feels as if he refers to the same handful of experts in every chapter. As such, the book becomes repetitive and boring after a while, making it quite a difficult work to get through.

In addition to that, it felt like much of the book could have been compressed into single chapters as they covered similar topics over a range. Dividing them into distinct sections of the text helped to keep these areas of discourse together, but in doing so, the repetition was exacerbated to a greater extent. For example, chapters four, five and six examine why people choose to believe the myths they’re fed by society, but rarely is anything new offered after chapter four.

However, I would be remiss not to point out that I don’t think this is a book for a general audience. Too much of the prose is oriented towards abstract and conceptual theories that are better expounded upon in a university setting. As such, it offers some interesting insight into the means, modes and reasons for communication and how it shapes society in a manner that would be useful to students of the social and behavioural sciences.

While Toliver’s work is hard to get into, it is nonetheless quite thorough and informative but the repetition, lack of readability on the part of a general audience and the numerous errors I found along the way force me to rate this at 2 out of 4 stars. I’ll also end here with a heavy recommendation that this be geared towards students and academics.

******
Mythic Worlds and the One You Can Believe In
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Post by kdstrack » 19 Jun 2019, 12:06

Sounds like quite a feat! I appreciate your honest comments. It does seem that people prefer to believe myths. This is easier than taking the time to reflect and weigh the logical (or illogical) outcome of the beliefs we hold. Unfortunately, a heavy read like this one will not motivate people to spend more time revising their beliefs/myths to see just what they are supporting! Thanks for your review of this book. I enjoyed your story!

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Post by aolayide » 19 Jun 2019, 14:10

I truly enjoy your review. However, I am not a fan of this genre. I think people who like heavy reading, myths and different beliefs will really enjoy this one.

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Nisha Ward
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Post by Nisha Ward » 19 Jun 2019, 17:11

aolayide wrote:
19 Jun 2019, 14:10
I truly enjoy your review. However, I am not a fan of this genre. I think people who like heavy reading, myths and different beliefs will really enjoy this one.
Understandable. It is pretty heavy work to deal with.
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Nisha Ward
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Post by Nisha Ward » 19 Jun 2019, 17:13

kdstrack wrote:
19 Jun 2019, 12:06
Sounds like quite a feat! I appreciate your honest comments. It does seem that people prefer to believe myths. This is easier than taking the time to reflect and weigh the logical (or illogical) outcome of the beliefs we hold. Unfortunately, a heavy read like this one will not motivate people to spend more time revising their beliefs/myths to see just what they are supporting! Thanks for your review of this book. I enjoyed your story!
Yep. That is the downside to Toliver's work. It's a difficult read outside of an academic setting, so it might not necessarily promote self-reflection in that area.
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Post by CommMayo » 20 Jun 2019, 13:39

Better you than me! I don't think I could have gotten through the tome as well as you did.

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Post by Nisha Ward » 20 Jun 2019, 13:58

CommMayo wrote:
20 Jun 2019, 13:39
Better you than me! I don't think I could have gotten through the tome as well as you did.
It helps that I just finished my undergrad degree. I was still in that state of mind.
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Post by CommMayo » 20 Jun 2019, 15:19

Nisha Ward wrote:
20 Jun 2019, 13:58
It helps that I just finished my undergrad degree. I was still in that state of mind.
Congratulations! When I got out of undergrad and a few years later graduate school, I just binged on fiction novels for months! I needed the brain erase :-)

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Post by Nisha Ward » 20 Jun 2019, 17:22

:!2:
CommMayo wrote:
20 Jun 2019, 15:19
Nisha Ward wrote:
20 Jun 2019, 13:58
It helps that I just finished my undergrad degree. I was still in that state of mind.
Congratulations! When I got out of undergrad and a few years later graduate school, I just binged on fiction novels for months! I needed the brain erase :-)
Thanks!
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Post by Prisallen » 21 Jun 2019, 08:39

This does not sound like a book that I would enjoy, but I'm glad you were able to get through it. Thank you for an honest and well-written review!

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Post by Nisha Ward » 21 Jun 2019, 08:45

Prisallen wrote:
21 Jun 2019, 08:39
This does not sound like a book that I would enjoy, but I'm glad you were able to get through it. Thank you for an honest and well-written review!
Thanks for stopping by!
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Post by thaservices1 » 21 Jun 2019, 12:25

I like the way you presented your review, it was unique. I really did not enjoy this book either, it is rambling and abrasive. But yes, the sheer amount of research was impressive.
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Nisha Ward
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Post by Nisha Ward » 21 Jun 2019, 12:38

thaservices1 wrote:
21 Jun 2019, 12:25
I like the way you presented your review, it was unique. I really dnid not enjoy this book either, it is rambling and abrasive. But yes, the sheer amount of research was impressive.
It really was. Did you find it to be as repetitive as I did?
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Post by Miriam Molina » 22 Jun 2019, 04:38

I was wondering why your cat had glassy eyes. Did you let her read the book?

At least this book fared better than Of Grammatology.

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Nisha Ward
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Post by Nisha Ward » 22 Jun 2019, 07:55

Miriam Molina wrote:
22 Jun 2019, 04:38
I was wondering why your cat had glassy eyes. Did you let her read the book?

At least this book fared better than Of Grammatology.
Not my kitty but she must have been. Also, yes, it did but just barely.
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