Mere Christianity ★★★★★

merechristianity (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Mere Christianity
Series: ———-
Author: C.S. Lewis
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Theological Non-Fiction
Pages: 190
Format: Massmarket paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Lewis turns some radio lectures/talks into book format in which he talks about Christianity and humanity on very basic levels and very broad terms. It really does come across as someone trying to have a casual conversation about an important subject and it feels like Lewis gets the balance of casual and importance just right.

 

My Thoughts:

I read this completely because of my reaction to Toll the Hounds. I needed a good anti-dote to Erikson’s horrific existentialism and his debasement of Redemption. If any one could help, strengthen and encourage me in my Christian faith, Lewis is the man to do it.

I deliberately didn’t take notes and actually tried to read through this as fast as I could, kind of like chugging some medicine. Not because it tasted bad, but I knew if I stopped to taste it, I’d start eating it drop by drop to get the full taste and I needed a large dose of medicine NOW. It worked well. No man is sufficient to himself and we ALL need help and encouragement along life’s way.

This was not a heady and deep look into the various thoughts of Christian doctrine and how this church and that church have come to the conclusions they have, etc, etc. This was very much like Lewis having a conversation with you and much like any good conversation, if you aren’t ready for it or don’t want it, then it won’t work for you no matter how good it is. So I certainly wouldn’t just blanket recommend this to everyone. If you don’t know anything about Christianity and want to learn something without committing yourself or getting dragged into theological depths you simply aren’t even aware of, this is the book for you. If you are a Christian who needs some reminders and some encouragement, this is the book for you.

I COULD have taken notes. Pages of them. But that might just be me and how I deal with non-fiction. I go into a gear where I feel like I need to write a book report whenever I read non-fiction. However, I did underline one phrase that really stood out to me:

For mere improvement is no redemption, though redemption always improves people…”

Attaboy Lewis!!!

I am giving this a conditional “best book of the year” tag. Conditional because I don’t read enough non-fiction for there to be enough to truly choose from. Also, I really don’t like comparing escapist fare (no matter how enjoyable) with a serious book like this. Comparing them would mean they are equal and they aren’t and I don’t ever want to get into the mindset where they are.

★★★★★

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How to Survive and Thrive! In Church ★★★★☆

survivechurch (Custom)

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: How to Survive and Thrive! In Church
Series: ——
Author: Doug Batchelor & Karen Lifshay
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Non-fiction
Pages: 128
Format: Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Batchelor, a 7th Day Adventist pastor and author, writes this little book on how to survive various types of churches but also how to contribute and make your church a better place.

There are 16 chapters, each focusing either on a particular type of church [dead, big, little, divided, etc] or on a particular problem in church [scandal, gossip, doctrinal doubts, etc] and the final chapter entitled “Not Just Surviving – Succeeding!”

 

My Thoughts:

This is not a comprehensive help book. I read this in one sitting, one evening. It is a lightly humorous book meant to highlight some of the common problems in any and all churches and what you, as an individual, can do.

Basically, Batchelor boils it down to “don’t give up”. Like I said, I read this in one sitting and it was like a nice bottle of gatorade on a hot day while working hard. It’s not a meal but it refreshes you and allows you to keep going until it IS meal time. Batchelor also stresses personal responsibility in your spiritual life. You have to read your Bible and pray if you want to stay connected to God. Going to church once a week to get “fed” isn’t going to cut it.

Batchelor is unabashedly 7th Day Adventist and while this could be used for almost any denomination, it is aimed at SDA’ers. Many of his quotes are from the writings of Ellen White. If that would be a problem for you, then I would not recommend this book.

Anyone who goes to church could benefit from reading this book. Treat it like the word of encouragement it is and not as a theological treatise and you will be well served.

I do wish that there had been an “Interested In More…” epilogue. Could have pointed to some specific, deeper, more relevant books on particular topics. That would have been a nice springboard.

★★★★☆

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Porcelain: A Memoir (Non-Fiction) ★★★☆ ½

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This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

 

 
Title:        Porcelain: A Memoir
Series:     ——
Author:   Moby
Rating:    3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre:     Autobiography
Pages:     408
Format:  Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Moby, the music artist, looks back on his life from his late teens until the release of his album, Play, in 1999.

 

My Thoughts:

I’ve enjoyed various songs by Moby, as I like the kind of music he puts out. I’m not his greatest fan, nor do I know all his albums or all his songs or anything like that. I’m a casual fan. At best. I knew that one of his songs was the end song for the movie Bourne Identity. I knew that he was a vegetarian [turns out he’s vegan] and I knew that he had, at some point, claimed to be a Christian.

Non-fiction is not the genre [notice how I lump it ALL together? That should tell you something] that I like to take long swims in. I prefer to let others have that privilege. But my recent read of Deadhouse Gates really left me needing something very different to get me back in the reading groove. This popped up at the library, I believe, so that is how I ended up reading it.

How do I review a book that is pretty much a journal? There is no plot. Moby goes all over the place even while keeping things very chronological. We might get introduced to Karen in one chapter and then he’s with Josephine in the next with no rhyme or reason. This was not an indepth, exhaustive look at Moby’s life. It touched on highlights that have apparently stood out to him up until 1999, when things started going his way?

3 things stood out to me. He had a very hard life growing up and overcame being the token poor boy where he lived. Relationally, he needs to grow up and make a commitment to one of the ladies and stop searching for “The One”. Love isn’t just a feeling and he chases the feelings, time after time after time. Finally, while he might call himself a Christian, I’d be forced to say he’s “spiritual”. He’s interested in “God” but it is apparent that while he’s read and even studied the Bible, he doesn’t think that the God of the Bible is the God he’s after. It is sad to see and he even acknowledges his gradual loss of Faith, but he never claims to have had Faith in Jesus Christ. So from my perspective, what has he really lost? A feeling.

This is definitely geared more towards those who are musicians themselves. When he starts talking about “the beatback interwoven with the attack high on his RGB-304” I have no phracking clue what he’s talking about, specifically. I can glean that he’s doing something musical with one of his instruments. In all honesty, that is enough, but it would have been nice to understand a little more sometimes. I felt like the dumb kid peeking through the window occasionally.

With all of that being said, I still enjoyed this read. I learned more about a guy whose music I like. I jumped the rut of SFF for a day and I learned that I am pretty damned satisfied with my life even if I’m not famous, making 100K a year or sleeping with pornstars. If Moby, whose real name is Richard Melville Hall, writes another memoir about later in his life, I’ll be reading it for sure.

★★★☆ ½

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The Great Controversy (Non-Fiction) (Audio) ★★★☆☆

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This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

 

 
Title: The Great Controversy
Series: ——-
Author: Ellen White
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Non-Fiction
Pages: Lots of Minutes
Format: Audio Edition

 

 

Synopsis:

A history of the True Church, the Remnant, according to Ellen White. Also goes into the details of the Tribulation and makes plain the prophecies written in Daniel and Revelation about the end of the world and Jesus Christ’s Second Coming.

 

My Thoughts:

I suspect ones’ appreciation for this book will vary according to how much weight you put on Ellen White being a prophetess. If you believe that she was, you’ll take this book in the spirit in which it was written. Much like the Book of Acts, statements of fact. If you don’t believe she was a prophetess, you’ll have to dismiss much of this book. And if, like me, you’re ambivalent or on the line, there will be lots you agree with and lots you’ll dismiss.

I go to an Adventist church and I keep Saturday, the 7th Day, as the Sabbath. I also have no problems with modern day prophets. Revelations makes it clear that there will be 2 final prophets in the end days and layered prophecy about John the Baptist makes it clear that there will be a second “Elijah” to foretell about Christ’s second coming.

With all of that being said, I am not convinced that Ellen White was a prophetess with God’s authority inspiring her writings. She was a Godly woman who was smart and I don’t automatically dismiss her teachings, but much of what she writes can only be accepted if you believe that she had the authority to say it in the first place. Her re-interpretations of the Millerite calculations about the dates in Revelations leave a LOT to be desired [ie, they’re vague as all get out. Which is contrary to her claims of having worked it all out. If you can’t say when Christ is coming back, don’t say you can]

The good side of things is the emphasis on the Sabbath as the Commandment that most of the church has thrown aside. I’m a big Saturday Sabbath keeper, always have been and its just refreshing to hear someone say so without a lot of the flummery that modern protestants use to justify Sunday as the Sabbath [as opposed to the Lord’s Day].

I listened to the audio version put out by the Ellen White Estate, which was free at http://ellenwhiteaudio.org/great-controversy/ and narrated by Dennis Berlin. I put it on my phone and listened to and from work. So I’d get little chunks here and there. I started this last September. In another month or two I’ll probably download another of White’s books and start listening to it as well.

★★★☆☆

bookstooge

The Lord God Made Them All (All Creatures Great and Small #7) DNF@10%

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This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything and linked at Goodreads & Mobileread by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

 

 
Title:         The Lord God Made Them All
Series:       All Creatures Great and Small #7
Author:     James Herriot
Rating:      Unrated
Genre:       Non-fiction
Pages:       388
Format:    Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Even more stories from the Vet. And apparently he goes to Russia, or something.

 

My Thoughts:

I abandoned this at the 10% mark. I just couldn’t take any more cutesy stories about animals or the people. The people just pissed me off. So I endured for almost 40 pages. Then when he starts off about him going to Russia, and preparing his reader for that adventure, I just gave up.

Almost 400 pages was too much and I had really reached my limit of animal stories about 2 books ago. Nothing wrong with this book, hence the Unrated rating. I am using this as a lesson to teach myself when I need to abandon a series sooner.

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  1. Review of Book 1
  2. Review of Book 2
  3. Review of Book 3
  4. Review of Book 4
  5. Review of Book 5
  6. Review of Book 6

Vet in a Spin (All Creatures Great and Small #6)

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This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

 

 

Title: Vet in a Spin
Series: All Creatures Great and Small #6
Author: James Herriot
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Non-Fiction
Pages: 224
Format: Kindle digital scan

 

Synopsis:

James completes his pilot training and is all set to do his part in the RAF when a minor bit of surgery removes his A+ health rating and he loses his rating to fly. After kicking about, the RAF sends him back home to be a vet again.

Stories from his vet days are once again interspersed and make up the bulk of the book.

 

My Thoughts:

Another good edition of the Vet series. I really wish he’d done more about his actual time in the RAF though, as the little tidbits he doles out shows that he can tell much more than just animal stories.

The ending with him entering Darrowby, for the first time again, to start over and wondering if his vet skill have atrophied in the time he spent in RAF training is a good look at a young man who has done a lot but just isn’t sure.

star30full-custom

Let Sleeping Vets Lie (All Creatures Great and Small #3)

Let Sleeping Vets Lie - James HerriotThis review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.com & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

 

 

 

 

Title: Let Sleeping Vets Lie

Series: All Creatures Great and Small

Author: James Herriot

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Genre: Non-fiction

Pages: 256

Format: Kindle digital scan

 

Synopsis:

Jim continues his apprenticeship and we get a good number of character sketches. This time around it is definitely about the people and not even the funny stories.

 

My Thoughts:

This book was just as fun as the previous two. However, this time around it felt more like a deeper look into what made up the people of the village that Jim worked in. Some were funny, some were rather sad [the young couple that failed at farming because of a disease that killed all their cows was the toughest] and some just “were”.

 

Also, Jim finally gets up the courage to make Helen his. Took him long enough 🙂