Monday, February 27, 2006


1. The Quiet American, by Graham Greene;
2. A Chance to Die: The Life of Amy Carmichael, by Elizabeth Elliot;
3. Eragon, by Christopher Paolini; and
4. Drink to Yesterday/Toast to Tomorrow, by Manning Coals

And, btw, I finished my February reads and commented under Sky's earlier post.

A Few Good Books...

Dear Friends,
Since Carrie has so kindly invited me to join your group, I'll try to give some recommendations for future books. Here goes:

Girl Meets God, by Lauren Winner

Amazingly honest and somewhat unique autobiography of a Jewish convert to Christianity. I found it a fascinating look into modern Judaism. If a good book can be defined by how much it winds itself into your mind and slowly changes presuppositions you never realized you had, then this takes first prize.

The Excellent Wife, by Martha Peace.

Recommended to me by my pastor's wife. A straight-up, honest look at what marriage is and how a wife should approach it. Very helpful, in that it gave Biblical answers to tricky questions and situations, instead of simply covering a list of principles and applications. Highly recommended.

Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke

Written by a German lady with two children, who has obviously read a wide range of classic and current children's books. Quirky. Imaginative. A modern day fairy tale, with computers and cell phones, yet set in castles and quaint villages in Europe.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Hey all,

I'm still waiting for some of the Feb. picks (WAGW & Deadline) to arrive at the library for my reading purposes. I'm also frantically trying to track down March's picks so that I can read them in the allotted time. I may overlap here. =) At any rate -- ready to select April's books? Can you BELIEVE we're already picking APRIL!? This year is flying back.

At any rate, reviewing Erika's earlier request she had picked:

1. The Quiet American, by Graham Greene

My pick is:

2. A Chance to Die: The Life of Amy Carmichael, by Elizabeth Elliott

That leaves us hunting for 2 more titles. Sky? Rose? What would your picks be?

Monday, February 20, 2006

my small thoughts thus far....

East of Eden;

I've read it before, but in honor of the book club I read it again, trying to remain neutral yet gritting my teeth as the renewal of this particular piece brought my original thoughts to the surface. I understand why people think it well written and insightful. However I dislike most of the literary world's "classics" as most of them are about as insightful to the human race as a diver in a mudbog, I don't think you can elaborate on the sides of good and evil or the feelings of the righteous or injust if you yourself are blind to the Truth. If one has not turned to Jesus and thus been enlightened to the great mysteries of life one cannot write about life truthfully for the simple reason that the truth is hidden.
I think it is important to read such "classics" so that you have your own knowledge of what it is about but I don't think it we should term it a classic, a true classic involves the triumph of Good over Evil, the struggles of life with the glory of love shining through the turmoil. I think that unbelievers can write truth, only because God uses every kind of vessel to spread His Word.
All in all, not very enjoyable. I would rather read Moby Dick, Les Miserables or The Count of Monte Cristo again.

For me this was a rather predictable and boring plot but I did like all the arguments presented for the Pro-abortion and Pro-life sides. For me it took forever to unravel and solve and make amends. It was ok. Not brilliant.

Couldn't even finish the first few pages due to frustration and rage at the stupidity of some female humans.

The Things They Carried;
Still reading.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

February Books

East of Eden (for real this time):
I enjoyed this book so much I wish I could go back and read it over again twice. There are so many epiphany type quotes in this book, so much emotion, such turns in the path that I do not feel equal to the task of writing a review.
But I enjoyed it; oh! did I enjoy it!
post script: Carrie, I still understand your deceision to abstain from this book, and support it knowing how you can be affected. ;)
But I still think it is a good book.

Other Books I've read recently:
Finding your Million Dollar Mate; possibly a good book to give to someone who dates around a lot and whines about it, but worthless otherwise. Made me think of an infomercial for "Christian" dating targeting pagans; not sure if it was selling dating, or Christianity, or both.... or neither.

Telling Secrets, Frederick Buechner; quite, quite interesting and very quick to read. I'm going to read all his other stuff now too.

The DaVinci Code; fun fiction in that it's a "page turner" (albeit uses cheap tricks to keep you turning, but I didn't mind). Interesting use of historical documents/art to weave an plot. Not terribly compelling, but fun "National Treasure" type mental-film. I will not be reading his other stuff.

The Little Prince; Slightly bizarre, but totally superb! A must read children's book for adults and kids alike!

The Light Princess, George MacDonald; I remembered this book from second grade from the illustrations by William Du'Pinou (*cough* I just brutalized the poor man's name... please ignore). A very interesting tale, fun-ly written with serious themes.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


The American Christian Fiction Writer's home base! Perhaps we should all submit something for the Genesis Contest.

On a related note, I remember talk at one time of a few of us trying our own hands at some writing. I write a little more along the Annie Dillard lines (I flatter myself, excuse me; I would like to think I write like Annie Dillard). I would like to request we start some writing, here, now. Not too much, I know we're all busy.

But that's why God gave us coffee.

Because life is too short.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Help! Help!

From a colleague:

"I have a goal to assemble a list of books of Christian fiction that would be of help to a Christian who wants to build bridges to the Christian worldview with his unbelieving friends. The kind of work I have in mind are those with an implicit Christian worldview - C Lewis, J Tolkien, F. O'Connor, M L'Engle come to mind - or one's written by sensible unbelievers (thank God for common grace) that do a good job of provoking us to think about sin, grace, gratitude (they might not use those words, but the concepts are there). The movie Seven, for example, is one of the best *movies* I can think of that deals with human depravity, but it's, well, not a book. (It's hardly worth mentioning, but Evangelical "kitsch" - stuff that you wouldn't give to your best friend - isn't what I'm looking for.) I'd love to find works other than Lewis, Tolkien, et al but I don't know the fiction world very well and my guess is that unbelievers blessed with huge doses of common grace are probably the only ones out there who have written any good, thought provoking fiction worth reading. If there are Christians out there hanging a shingle writing good fiction, it would be great to find something "contemporary", i.e., written since WWII or thereabouts. George MacDonald is probably a brilliant writer, but how many unbelievers (and believers!) will be riveted by Phantastes?"

So, recommendations?

Other reviews from December and January

While in the past I've always said it isn't possible, I'm beginning to think I read too much.

Blue Like Jazz by Don Miller
Very pleasantly surprised. Not highly intellectual, engaging, never dragging, and while I violently disagreed with some of his assertions, I found myself fervently agreeing much more often. I made it about half way through the book, completely absorbed, before I absolutely had to grab a pencil and start scribbling all over the pages; the text calls for thought and interaction.
I feel every Christian should read this book, while scribbling all over it themselves, if not to shed light on their own thoughts, to shed light on those of their brothers.

Public Image by Muriel Sparks
Cold, plain, precise writing style and subject matter (at least in this book); some turns of phrase completely obscure. A talented writer, but otherwise, unenjoyable. Generally forgettable. I probably just didn't get it. I intend to read one more of hers, then move on if it is the same.

Calvin's Commentary on Genesis
I always enjoy Calvin, if only just for the obvious passion for God that blazes through his warm writing. (Always unexpected, for some reason). I was working on his commentary on Romans, according to the texts we're using in our Bible study, but that was rather over my head I'm afraid. His introduction to Genesis was wonderful; very.... Complete. I look forward to moving farther and farther on in this one (I'm only up to Gen. ch 5).

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus
Surprisingly Christian! His main premise that he returns to again and again is, not in so many words, we all just need to give each other a lot of grace and be more sacrificial too. I highly recommend it for women who are overly romantic, or have lots of sisters but no brothers. It'll help clear up a lot of problems before they start.

The Cost of Discipleship by Deitrich Bonhoffer
Wow. A bit too deep for me. I feel as though I ought to be reading it several times before it'll sink in. Very enjoyable though, a well balanced display of the unity of faith and works.

I haven't gotten my books for February yet, it takes awhile at my library to get them ordered for me. ('Sides, is it February yet? I don't THINK so!) But I am looking forward to commenting on everything! Just wanted y'all to know I am not by any means a silent book partner!