Book: Crazy Love
Author: Francis Chan
Recommend: Definitely worth a read…
What does loving God really mean? What does it really look like to truly love God? These are the central questions in Francis Chan’s book, Crazy Love. If you are looking for something new to read through to convict and inspire you to live a more God-centered life, this book will definitely challenge you to look at where you really are. Not comparing yourself to the Christians around you, but comparing yourself to the Biblical ideal of what loving God actually is. I definitely feel like I was challenged by this book to look again at my life and see if I am really someone who is loving God or someone who is acting out of fear and obligation.
I have a feeling I’ll be reading this one more than once.
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Book: Tiger lily
Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson’
Recommend: If you like Peter Pan…
The cover of this one actually was what made me pick it up. I figured that this was about Tiger lily from Peter Pan and was thrilled to find out I was correct. I am a big fan of all things fairy tale and Peter Pan is one of my favorites. Who doesn’t like the idea of not growing old? Whether is be werewolf, vampire, zombie or lost boy the idea of never growing old appeals to that basic fear of aging and death.
Overall this book was a fresh perspective on Peter Pan long before the appearance of the Wendy bird. I never thought I would dread the appearance of Wendy in any version of Peter Pan. The author explains Tiger lily in such a way that makes you want to reach out and hug the girl as well as hope that somehow she will escape the impossible situation that she is in.
I did have a couple of things I did not appreciate about this book. The overall attitude towards the power and worth of Christianity was obnoxious. Second, the fact that she allowed a character to be raped and did nothing about it. If she is writing teen fiction, she needs to set a good example for the teens she is writing for. Teens should never hear not to report abuse and rape. Ever. Even if it isn’t culturally accurate, they need to hear the important message to report these things and get help. Sometimes authors need to remember the audience a bit more.
It was an interesting story and extremely engaging but definitely not one for the overly impressionable teen.
Get it used…
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Book: The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible
Author: A.J. Jacobs
Recommend: I’m on the fence about this one. It had it’s good points and it’s sad points.
I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to get when I dove into this one. All I knew was the title had definitely peaked my interest. What exactly would it be like to attempt to follow some of the more obscure Biblical rules for a year?
As a Christian, I figured this would be interesting look from another perspective on the Bible and faith in general. An outsider looking, Jacobs takes the literalistic interpretation to the extreme. As someone who understands why we don’t follow all the cultural rules in the Old Testament anymore, I found of of it very amusing in a sad sort of way. The beard and hair alone was enough to cause massive laughter. While he did point out the separation of moral laws from cultural ones, he doesn’t really seem to get the point that the law was put there to show us that we couldn’t do it all ourselves and that we needed a Savior.
However, the fact that the author doesn’t really address a mainstream, moderate approach to Christianity (or Judaism) was strange to me. He seemed determined to seek out the extremes. From the Pat Robertsons to the gay Bible study, there really didn’t seem to be a moment where he sat down with the type of moderate Christianity that prevails today. The kind that centers on the Bible but isn’t extreme in either direction. I think the author missed out on a large part of what Christianity is about. When he does hit those things they seem reluctant and begrudgingly admitted.
I think the biggest tell of this whole book was his dealing with the Creation Museum. Instead of going in with an open mind, he freely admits that there is only so far his mind will stretch. I think for him, this was about looking at the rules but not really looking at the heart of the matter. If he had, this book would have been less light-hearted and more reflective in nature.
As a Christian I did find merit in reading this book, it was good to see how someone views faith from the outside looking in. However, I left it wanting to talk to the author and try again to convince this skeptic that he was missing the point.
Buy it new 🙂
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Book: The Poisonwood Bible
Author: Barbara Kingsolver
Recommend: Eh. I didn’t think it was nearly as good as all the hype around it.
I’ve heard about this one for years – literally. Honestly the title made me reticent to pick it up. Then when I found out the plot, even less so. Honestly, the only reason I read this one is that it’s on my list. So I didn’t go in having high expectations. While it was better than I thought it would be, it wasn’t life changing.
Okay, this is about a missionary family in Congo in the 1960s. They go in with no training and attempt to share with a tribe. The father doesn’t spend the time getting to know the people or culture, just preaches at them and find out far too late why nothing he is doing works. Then there is a revolution and instead of leaving, the father stubbornly insists that they remain until a live changing event occurs and nothing is ever the same again.
The writing was really good overall. I enjoyed hearing from the different characters as the story moved through. I think the author voice all but the youngest daughter really well. You didn’t get a sense that the five-year old was really five. She read like she was twelve or so, not the baby of the family.
I honestly found the parents a bit dense. First off, why wouldn’t you ask people why they don’t think baptism is a good idea? Why wouldn’t you attempt to understand the culture you were now immersed in? I think that this shows a very old way of thinking when it comes to mission work. One that rarely if ever exists today. Even then, this would not be the norm. The book really does paint the idea of mission work in a bad and inaccurate light. I’ve been surrounded by missionaries most of my life and this is not what it looks like. I think the one positive thing this does for missionaries is show how hard it is to live in such a foreign culture.
While it was an engaging read, I really don’t see myself picking this one back up again.
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Book: Jane Slayre
Author: Charlotte Bronte and Sherri Browning Erwin
Recommend: Definitely! Especially for fans Jane Eyre.
I am a huge fan of the original version of this book, Jane Eyre. It has always had a spooky quality that appealed to me. When I saw this on the shelves I simply had to read it. After tackling Pride and Prejudice and Zombies I was a bit apprehensive but dived in any way. I am glad that I did.
The author nearly seamlessly incorporates vampires, zombies and werewolves into the original story of an orphan who is employed as a governess to the ward of a man with a secret. For some reason the idea of Jane being a vampire hunter was not odd to me. She did so out of necessity, not because she wanted to. In places where the story deviated from the original tale, the wording was so well done that I could almost swear it had been penned by Miss Bronte herself.
The only fault I could find with the book was the voodoo controlled zombies hiding under the guise of Christianity. No self-respecting bokor would have mixed Christianity with voodoo. It was the only point of the story that felt just a bit weak to me. I understand the author’s motivation behind the decision but it just didn’t quite flow as well as the rest of the book did.
Overall, this was a great read and fit with the spooky feeling that the original tale already had, adding to the story in a memorable way. I think this one is going to have to become part of my collection. I definitely see a desire to reread this version again soon.
Buy it new 🙂