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Then as you stand or walk, Sit or lie down, As long as you are awake, Strive for this with a one-pointed mind; Your life will bring heaven to earth. Excuse me I'm sorry to bother you, But don't I know you? There's just something about you. Haven't we met before? Nor means a tinseled dream pursuing lovers Find altered by-and-bye, When, with possession, time anon discovers Trapped dreams must die, — For he that visions God, of mankind gathers One manlike trait alone, And reverently imputes to Him a father's Love for his son.

Years, ye shall mix with me! Ye shall grow a part Of the laughing Sea ; Of the moaning heart Of the glittered wave Of the sun-gleam's dart In the ocean-grave. Fair, cold, and faithless wert thou, my own! For that I love Thy heart of stone! From the heights above To the depths below, Where dread things move,. There is naught can show A life so trustless!

Proud be thy crown! Ruthless, like none, save the Sea, alone!

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And pray that a wreath like a rainbow May slip from the beautiful past, And Crown me again with the sweet, strong love And keep me, and hold me fast. The light came through the window, Straight from the sun above, And so inside my little room There plunged the rays of Love.

The daily actions of religious people have accomplished uncounted good deeds throughout history, alleviating suffering, feeding the hungry, caring for the sick. Religions have brought the comfort of belonging and companionship to many who would otherwise have passed through this life all alone, without glory or adventure. They have not just provided first aid, in effect, for people in difficulties; they have provided the means for changing the world in ways that remove those difficulties.

As Alan Wolfe says, "Religion can lead people out of cycles of poverty and dependency just as it led Moses out of Egypt". There is much for religion lovers to be proud of in their traditions, and much for all of us to be grateful for. The fact that so many people love their religions as much as, or more than, anything else in their lives is a weighty fact indeed. I am inclined to think that nothing could matter more than what people love.

At any rate, I can think of no value that I would place higher. I would not want to live in a world without love.


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Would a world with peace, but without love, be a better world? Not if the peace was achieved by drugging the love and hate out of us, or by suppression. Would a world with justice and freedom, but without love, be a better world? Not if it was achieved by somehow turning us all into loveless law-abiders with none of the yearnings or envies or hatreds that are wellsprings of injustice and subjugation. It is hard to consider such hypotheticals, and I doubt if we should trust our first intuitions about them, but, for what it is worth, I surmise that we almost all want a world in which love, justice, freedom, and peace are all present, as much as possible, but if we had to give up one of these, it wouldn't — and shouldn't — be love.

But, sad to say, even if it is true that nothing could matter more than love, it wouldn't follow from this that we don't have reason to question the things that we, and others, love. More rockabilly fun, recorded at home post- Nebraska. It would be a great Nick Lowe song. With such dubious religious imagery, the overall concept is fine but not memorable. Seems a bit extreme for just parole violation, if you ask me. The instrumentation is also absolutely stellar. Bittan and Federici drive this thing, and Danny powers through the last 30 seconds with an ethereal, stunning riff. Put on your headphones for this one.

A pleasing little doo-wop-inspired ditty, recorded by the temporarily reunited E Street Band in , when Springsteen got the band back together to record a track or two for his greatest-hits album. Jangly and frenetic, this is a song you could dance to in the rec room. Plus, he successfully addresses the subject that dodged him for quite some time: healthy adult relationships. After all, Springsteen wrote the song to poke fun at the kinds of things written about him in the gossip sections.

On tour, however, it transformed into a political statement about the L. Give a good listen to the earnest and hopeful vocals, underpinned by bright piano and baritone sax as the E Street Band sings backing vocals, with those party noises on the bridge. If the song had actually made it onto Darkness , one would hope that Springsteen planned to cut the Jimmy Iovine line. Springsteen directly holds accountable those that sent them there.

This mournful and dramatic outtake has the dubious distinction of being a song that Springsteen completely forgot. When he was putting the box set together, he asked around for some suggestions, and a friend gave him a tape with the song on it. Sultry and heated, this underrated song should have been used for something, even if it never fit on Darkness. Take note of the maracas and those beautiful little flourishes from Bittan on the piano. Springsteen has only played it live once, in Madrid. The horn line alone is life-affirming. This is that, but set to a properly countrified tale of actual evil villains.

An affectionate, piano-drenched love letter to a distant love. He opens the record with this problem statement: Despite everything that might follow, love still eludes him. The last verse is deliberately left open to interpretation, which amplifies the impact of the rest of the song. A wistful, spirited remembrance of the Jersey Shore club scene. How else would you describe this exaggerated, knee-slapping, electronic folk number? Springsteen invokes Wild Billy and two kids running away to join the circus, over a quiet acoustic background, with an ethereal chorus against a fairground calliope until fadeout.

His voice and guitar share a gentle melody through the first verse and chorus, but a minute in, as we reach the second verse, the strings coast in from behind and the acceleration expands in the verses and choruses to follow. The guitar duel between Springsteen and Tom Morello is the most interesting part, to be honest.


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  5. Springsteen approaches the first Gulf War and Los Angeles gang wars with a dark, haunting melody, using low chords, slide, and a deep blues harmonica to tell a tale of harsh reality and grim choices. The melody sounds like the rhythm of a freight train. Like that book, the song shows rather than tells. A sexy, fun little number with a backbeat you can dance to. Bonus points for not sounding overproduced or mechanical, like so many of the other songs on this record. The strings are expressive and expansive, but Springsteen has a surprise for us on the bridge, when the horns swoop in and the entire loping, triumphant melody could easily fit in a John Ford Western.

    This country-and-western-flavored track is the artful conclusion to a record full of longing and unanswered questions.

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    Yet another song written from the perspective of the veteran, this time from the second Iraq war. So much lost potential.

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    How did this get left behind? For a kid from New Jersey, Springsteen understood the city as well as any native son, but he also had the blessing of not taking the place for granted. He saw the details that locals overlook after a while. The story goes a little something like this: One night during the Born in the U. He was trying to capture the ability to make his audience laugh, an element he admired in his favorite performers, like Little Richard or Jerry Lee Lewis.

    Springsteen revisits the song he gave to Southside Johnny in With this version included, Darkness becomes a completely different album. An evocative, solid rave-up. Not all homecoming songs are about triumph. His vocals are laid bare, nothing buried in the tune, his voice on the edge of anguish.

    It sounds ancient, as if it has always existed. It sounds like it was written decades ago.

    Top 25 Fantasy Books for Women

    It is a more immediately recognizable Springsteen song while still being sonically fresh, even if what Bruce is doing here is his best Jimmy Webb interpretation which is not a bad thing! The song has an infectious backbeat, and Bruce relishes the challenge of singing with another strong vocalist. A delightful classic rockabilly romp from end to end. Springsteen shouts and screams and testifies with great driving percussion behind him, as guitars play in keys matching the organ. Underrated and overlooked. The keyboards and fingerpicking are so deep and buried, you feel them more than you hear them.

    Bruce realizing his Brian Wilson fantasies and cribbing from Jagger and Richards in tribute. Rose of Lima. The house is gone, but the tree still stands. Bruce Springsteen absolutely, genuinely loves Halloween. Plus, how many rock songs mention Viagra so brazenly? The track features gently loping acoustic guitar, layered with accordion and the most soothing vocals, like a mountain stream. Springsteen learned so much from Elvis Presley, including what not to do.

    With a strong assist from Chuck Berry, the Boss pays tribute to the King with this simple, pointed, almost-rockabilly track. He initially recorded the demo with a drum machine and could have re-recorded it with real drums at any point, yet chose not to. If you ever go to Memphis, play it right as you turn onto Elvis Presley Boulevard on your way to Graceland. It is timeless in the best way, glorious and soul affirming. The idea of using music as a form of prayer is a beautiful sentiment.

    An awful lot of gambling metaphors set against a standard rock melody. A strong, straightforward anthem. Springsteen minces no words with this one, though it loses a few points for extraneous electronic effects and textures that add nothing to the composition. An optimistic track, both lyrically and musically. First, an early rockabilly version was cut early in the —81 recording sessions that led up to The River. The River version is just a straight-ahead rocker, so it fits better with the record overall, but the rockabilly version absolutely has more depth.

    The quietest song on the record, but easily the angriest. He asks a lot of questions here without actually asking any actual questions. The power of this song lies in its specificity, the little details and the big ones. He sets the tone with tuba, accordion, acoustic guitar, and mandolin, telling the story of a circus from setting up and settling in to packing up and moving on. What distinguished this particular cut in his mind?

    This is the kind of song Springsteen thinks about when he describes why The River needed tracks that evoked an E Street Band show. The disbelief manifests itself in his voice. The good-time sax solo and get-down party music juxtapose with the lyrics in such a strong way. Bruce wants us to understand the hypocrisy of violating basic American civil liberties in the name of keeping America safe. With all those clever turns of phrase, this song gets better every time you listen to it. This tale of the inveterate rambler rolling to a stop is a keeper.

    Think about that again: He wrote it for Elvis Presley. Star time! He lost a lot of weight. For a long time, you only knew about this song if you were there back in the day, or you bought the Live — box set. Its inclusion was one of the things they got right with that release. It was probably thrown on just because Bruce misses Clarence. The track has its basis in the Starkweather killings ; he saw Badlands , which led him to a book written by a local journalist named Ninette Beaver , whom he would also interview. Sit down real close and listen good. Van Zandt perfectly colors the chorus on backing vocals, and the entire band is feeling it, slow and steady, with perfect, soulful precision.

    If you could bottle the sound of that one night, this is what it would be. Definitely one for the ladies. A perfect single, a heartfelt paean to the days of catching AM signals across the country, an anthem to the power of the radio airwaves. The song owes a lot to punk rock. A highly underrated number in the catalogue. Disc two strikes again! The song is a sympathetic celebration of music fandom, delivered with earnest, ebullient vocals, and half a dozen little sonic touches: hand claps, oooh-ooohs, aaah-aaahs, heys, and compact sax solo.

    It embodies the sultry, languid attitude of a cocksure young Casanova, with the music to match. This is what it sounds like when Springsteen pursues his power-pop agenda, even though the vocal delivery belongs on a rock-and-roll number. This song catches you by surprise. It opens with random guitar strumming, then the band comes in solemnly, with an almost-orchestral sound. Only the E Street Band could get away with something so unabashedly corny and unironic. Bruce does his best Jackie Wilson imitation on this track, and he pulls it off with aplomb.

    The vocals are full of exuberance and ecstasy, and Clemons is the unequivocal star, his sax running a counterpoint beneath the vocal melody. The intricate subtlety of the background instrumentation is simply outstanding: pedal steel and strings, brushes on the cymbals. The same words appear in every chorus, but they imply different emotional states based on the preceding verses. Go, Janey. The sound of summertime on the Jersey Shore, period.

    The first of the great epics. It swells when it should, then drops back down in the next measure. His voice is open and full of yearning, Van Zandt adds delightful harmony vocals in counterpoint, and a quasi-Farfisa organ noodles in the background. This would be a sad story of lost love and regret, but two elements elevate it: the lonely, hollow organ chords underneath the main melody, and the bridge. So simple, yet so compelling. The first song Springsteen wrote for the album. The sense of duty, the courage. An optimistic, boisterous statement of intent.

    The emotion in the vocals is what sells the song. Sounds familiar? You know, fantasy books with male protagonists, pathetic females whose sole role is only to be saved by the hero, and to be part of a ham-fisted romance. If you like that sort of book as a woman, that's fine. But if you are a woman who likes strong female characters and books that don't cater to the male mind and yes ladies, MOST of the fantasy books are written by men FOR men , this list will give you some ideas. While admittedly, most fantasy books are geared toward the male reader, there are some very well written books that may appeal to SOME women who like a "softer," more "character-driven" fantasy tale.

    Some of the books listed have strong elements of romance see our best romance novels sister site for PURE romance recommendations if that's what you are looking for. To aid these ladies in the quest to find good fantasy literature that appeals to such sensibilities, I've listed the best fantasy books for women, or to put it more politically correctly, the best fantasy books with strong female protagonists.

    Those ladies who are offended by my title "Fantasy Books for Women," my sincere apologies , but this list is simply my attempt to help certain women or men find books that they may find particularly interesting. This is not only limited to girls -- guys who don't mind reading books with complex female protagonists will enjoy the books on this list too. I do note that this list has become somewhat controversial over the past couple of years I've had several women post long essays on the comment section "critiquing" my selections as completely sexist mainly due to the mere fact that I've even suggested there may be a difference between what females and males prefer.

    So let me reiterate my intent for this list: it recommends books with VERY strong female protagonists, strong and realistic romance, and characters you can emotionally connect with. Or if you don't give a damn, then look at any lists on the site -- there are plenty of good books with both male and female protagonists authored by men and women.

    There's a lot of good stuff there that both men and women will enjoy, but this specific list just has some particular books that you may connect with on an emotional level. The fortunes of one of Bingtown's oldest families rest on the newly awakened liveship Vivacia. For Althea Vestrit, the ship is her rightful legacy unjustly denied her--a legacy she will risk anything to reclaim. For Althea's young nephew Wintrow, wrenched from his religious studies and forced to serve aboard ship, Vivacia is a life sentence.

    But the fate of the Vestrit family--and the ship--may ultimately lie in the hands of an outsider. The ruthless pirate Kennit seeks a way to seize power over all the denizens of the Pirate Isles The author and protagonist are both women. This is a very strong series with a realistic character and realistic, often complicated, relationships. Romance is a strong element in this book, but it's not handled in the ham-fisted method that abounds in most fantasy books. But good romance is not the only thing this book has going for it. The world Hobb has created is simply marvelous. This is one landscape you just want to explore; it's quite simply magical.

    Robb's prose is also top notch and her descriptions transport you into the fantastical world she has created. I highly, highly recommend this book to both men and women. If you want a fantasy that's different, compelling and has some very strong female characters who will appeal to all women, read this series! McKinley is one of the best female-empowerment writers in the fantasy genre, crafting masterful fantasy tales with compelling, realistic, and strong female protagonists.

    This is the story of Aerin, a female protagonist who's probably one of the best developed in the whole genre. She is the everywoman, a girl who faces the same struggles that many a woman deals with, and in the face of these struggles, learns to overcome them — and not by the helping hand of some dashing young prince who rides in from the forest to save the day. No, this is female empowerment where a woman has the potential to solve her own problems and does so. There are no sudden plot devices that save the day, no deus ex machina that fixes all problems, just good old-fashioned struggling and learning and using the knowledge gained to find a solution.

    So for one of the most compelling fantasy tales with a seriously strong contender for the best written female protagonist ever, this is a book you cannot skip. Lovely Sorcha is the seventh child and only daughter of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters. Bereft of a mother, she is comforted by her six brothers who love and protect her.

    Sorcha is the light in their lives, and they are determined that she know only contentment. But Sorcha's joy is shattered when her father is bewitched by his new wife, an evil enchantress who binds her brothers with a terrible spell, a spell which only Sorcha can lift-by staying silent. If she speaks before she completes the quest set to her by the Fair Folk and their queen, the Lady of the Forest, she will lose her brothers forever.

    When Sorcha is kidnapped by the enemies of Sevenwaters and taken to a foreign land, she is torn between the desire to save her beloved brothers, and a love that comes only once. Sorcha despairs at ever being able to complete her task, but the magic of the Fair Folk knows no boundaries, and love is the strongest magic of them all Mariner writes some of the best female characters in the fantasy genre.

    These fantasy books are good. Really, really good. With some intelligent, complex, and interesting female protagonists and some really well handled romance, this trilogy is a gift to all women -- and men. It's Celtic fantasy with a very strong romantic element, a lush, vivid world, and some really compelling characters -- especially the protagonist a woman. Fantasy written by a girl, for the girls. This is romantic fantasy at it's best. With a Martin-esque plot and Jim Butcher pace, The Axe and the Throne is a definite "must read" for even the pickiest fantasy fans.

    In his stunning debut, Ireman has built the type of world so vivid and engrossing that leaving it at the end is agony. In spite of leaning toward grimdark, where authors often enshroud every scene in depressing darkness, there is no lack of cheerful moments or brilliant scenery. Yet the pangs of near-instant nostalgia that come after you put down a book like this have less to do with the inspired setting, and far more to do with those who inhabit it. From savage, unremorseful heroes, to deep, introspective villains, the cast of this story is comprised of believable characters capable of unthinkable actions.

    And it is these characters -- the ones you wish you could share a drink with or end up wanting to kill -- that forge the connection between fantasy and reality. Keethro, Titon, Ethel, Annora.

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    These are names you will never forget, and each belongs to a man or woman as unique as they are memorable. No book would be complete without a its fair share of intrigue, however, and there is no lack of it here. Each chapter leaves you wanting more, and Ireman's masterful use of misdirection leads to an abundance of "oh shit" moments. Do not be fooled or do -- perhaps that's part of the fun by storylines that may appear trope-ish at first. This is no fairytale. It is said that angels found the land and saw it was good Sold into indentured servitude as a child, her bond is purchased by Anafiel Delaunay, a nobleman with very a special mission Treachery sets her on her path; love and honor goad her further.

    And in the doing, it will take her to the edge of despair Set in a world of cunning poets, deadly courtiers, heroic traitors, and a truly Machiavellian villainess, this is a novel of grandeur, luxuriance, sacrifice, betrayal, and deeply laid conspiracies. Not since Dune has there been an epic on the scale of Kushiel's Dart-a massive tale about the violent death of an old age, and the birth of a new. Unique, passionate, sad, jubilant -- these are all words that come to mind when reading Carey's tremendous effort. These are fantasy books for women and guys too. The protagonist is a woman and probably the most complex female character in the entire genre of fantasy.

    The Asharite empire has splintered into decadent city-states led by warring petty kings. King Almalik of Cartada is on the ascendancy, aided always by his friend and advisor, the notorious Ammar ibn Khairan -- poet, diplomat, soldier -- until a summer afternoon of savage brutality changes their relationship forever. Meanwhile, in the north, the conquered Jaddites' most celebrated -- and feared -- military leader, Rodrigo Belmonte, driven into exile, leads his mercenary company south.

    In the dangerous lands of Al-Rassan, these two men from different worlds meet and serve -- for a time -- the same master.

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    Sharing their interwoven fate -- and increasingly torn by her feelings -- is Jehane, the accomplished court physician, whose own skills play an increasing role as Al-Rassan is swept to the brink of holy war, and beyond. Hauntingly evocative of medieval Spain, The Lions of Al-Rassan is both a brilliant adventure and a deeply compelling story of love, divided loyalties, and what happens to men and women when hardening beliefs begin to remake -- or destroy -- a world. Gavriel Kay has never written a bad fantasy novel. He always populates his worlds with fully realized characters.

    His female characters are always strong, with sassy personalities and strong intelligence. Follow Lois McMaster Bujold, one of the most honored authors in the field of fantasy and science fiction, to a land threatened by treacherous war and beset by demons -- as a royal dowager, released from the curse of madness and manipulated by an untrustworthy god, is plunged into a desperate struggle to preserve the endangered souls of a realm.

    It's a great story about a strong female character written by an outstanding female author. It's got everything there is to like in a good fantasy novel: great characters especially female ones in this book , awesome romance, and a great plot. This is technically a sequel to The Curse of Chalion, also another great book for men and women , but The Paladin of Souls can be read as a stand alone. If you are planning to read Paladin of Souls, then my recommendation is to read Curse of Chalion, then Paladin of Souls, then The Hallowed Hunt, as the three books are connected albeit loosely.

    I know I said Paladin of Souls is a standalone, and it is, but it's worth reading Chalion first if you can get it. If not, then it's not that big of a deal. Seriously, this is a lovely series with an outstanding female protagonist. Romance, love, loss, adventure -- this series has it all. The novel is by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts, but it's pretty clear that Wurts wrote this all on her own -- the characters are a whole level better than Feist's regular work.

    The protagonist is a woman who controls her own destiny. The book could be classed as historical fiction, but the setting is that of an Asian fantasy world, one that is fascinating. Don't worry though, it's not all just historical fantasy -- there's plenty of fantastical elements that will keep hard core fantasy fans entertained. Here is the magical legend of King Arthur, vividly retold through the eyes and lives of the women who wielded power from behind the throne. A retelling of the classic Arthurian tale from a woman's perspective literally. Some outstanding female characters in this book and it's got everything most women would love.