Love this post by my best friend, LisaEverything I Ever Needed to Know About Friendship, I Learned From Han and Chewie.
Category Archives: 3-D
Last night, I arrived home in my usual semi-comatose state. Next to me lay the next book I intended to read. Life had been it’s usual busy self, so the book was still patiently awaiting my first foray into its ink-covered pages. Feeling sorry for it, I picked up the book thinking that I would get a few pages read before I fell asleep as is my usual wont. I was oh…so…wrong.
Van Allen Plexico‘s book Lucian: Dark God’s Homecoming is a thrilling and interesting book. Lucian (the dark god, the devil, etc.) is being framed for a crime he didn’t commit. He’ll do what it takes to prove his innocence. When he finds himself the protector of human naval space officers, his mood is not improved. What kind of dark god is he to care about the welfare of a few humans? He needs to find out who the guilty party is in order to seek vengeance.
Plexico does an excellent job starting the story in the middle of the action and not stopping until you reach the surprising end. Not only are you on the run with Lucian and his reluctant allies, but you are also start doing some thinking about what makes a person who they are. Halfway through the book, I wanted to grab my computer and begin a discussion with the author. Gaining control of myself, I continued reading. At some point, I made a sandwich for my dinner and ate with one hand while holding the book with the other. (I didn’t want to put it down to make dinner.) Later my husband arrived and occasionally walked by putting a beverage in my hand. When he put the pets to bed, I went to my bed to continue reading. My poor body could take no more and conked out at some point. This morning, I asked my husband to drive me to work so could finish the last pages on the way. Now I want to know if there is more. What’s going to happen to … nevermind, I don’t want to spoil it for you. Go get it and read it!
Okay, for my conservative friends looking for book recommendations, there are I believe two mild oaths used. I would recommend the book for around 12-years-old and up. The main character of the book is called Lucian and the devil, but is not the Christian devil.
If you read it, let me know what you think.
The stock market crash of 1929 and the Great American Heatwave, which led to the dust bowl, saw the best and worst in people. During that time, some people rose to meet the challenges and needs of mankind. They became heroes. Others sank into the shadows becoming villains. Did you know that whole world of superheroes and villains has been lost? My first venture into the world of New Pulp is Tommy Hancock‘s Yesteryear.
Yesteryear introduces us to J.C. Smithenson. Smithenson’s entire life has been shaped by a book he’s never seen. This book is a collection of stories, interviews, and secret information on heroes and villains alike. People have died trying to bring it to light. Imagine the place Smithenson is in when the book shows up in his home.
The novel takes the reader from the present to the past effortlessly pulling us into the pros and cons of this tell-all book being made available to the common man. The reader is also introduced to some great characters along the way. Hancock uses fonts and language to give us a true sense of finding a book of pulled together news clippings, handwritten interviews, and quickly scrawled messages. His use of language and dialect give life and uniqueness to his characters and make the reader believe in them. The book is fast paced action with characters you’ll never forget I think it is well written and entertaining.
Now many of you ask me to recommend books for your children. I would say that this book will appeal more to young men than young women (although I loved it.) It is probably more appropriate for 14 years and up due to the crimes committed and some mild language.
If you’ve read it, please let me know what you think.
This past weekend I read three books. Beside Still Waters by Tricia Goyer was one of these books. Tricia is a new author for me. I’ve read some historical romance and Amish books in the past; and while good reads, they are still not my favorite genres. So why write about this book? Because the book is more than a good read. It has some depth of thought and leaves the reader with some things to think about.
In Beside Still Waters, the reader meets the Sommer family. The Sommers are an Amish family still devastated by tragedy and loss after 20 years. On the day that Marianna Sommer is born, her two sisters die in a buggy/vehicle accident. She is named for both sisters and grows up trying to make up for and in some way represent the two lives lost. Meanwhile her brother, who survived the accident, seems to have deep seated issues with his father and the church which cause him to seek a life among the Englischers as they call non-Amish people. In an effort to get out of the eyes of the always watching Amish community and remove the younger children from the influence of a corrupt brother, the Sommer family moves to Montana. It is here that life changes in radical ways for the family. (If you haven’t read the book, stop here. I’m going to discuss some of the themes in the book and would hate to spoil it for you.)
There are two themes that I think make the story worth reading. They are interwoven with each other. One is the theme of a personal God. The other is the struggle with the idea of being able to use one’s life to compensate for a loss or tragedy. These are worthy themes and issues that people face today.
Amongst those that believe in the Judaic/Christian God, there are those who believe that He is personal and those who don’t. This is a theme in the book and the answer leads to very different ways of living. For Marianna, thinking one could have a personal relationship with God is prideful. However, exposure to new ideas and her brother’s tragic accident lead Marianna to rethink her position on a personal relationship with God.
Added to the excitement of a new home, challenges to her beliefs, and confusing feelings for a God-fearing and helpful young man are Marianna’s issues surrounding her relationship with her mom and the family’s grief over the loss of the two girls. Marianna has lived her whole life wondering about the wonderful qualities her sisters possessed and mourning the lack of those skills in herself. She feels that her mother cannot love her because she’s a living reminder of what was lost. And Marianna desperately wants to be all that she can for her parents to compensate them for their loss. But how is the loss her fault? Coming to terms with her life as her own and not a replacement for those lost is a long journey for Marianna. By the end of the book she’s really just taking her first steps on that journey.
Personally, I’m really interested in where she goes with her new beliefs and ideas. Can she go back to the life she lived for 20 years or is she about to venture into a whole new life vastly different from what she’s always known? It is this desire to know more about the story and the compelling themes that make me a fan of this book. Tricia Goyer has done incredible job of bringing these issues to light and, yet, not making them preachy. She gives the reader a good story with depth.
So, if you haven’t read it, pick up a copy and let me know what you think.
(By the way, I was given no free copies nor was I asked to even write this review.)
The latest trend among my friends is to not watch today’s TV shows replacing them with rented or bought TV shows from the past with cleaner and more morally conscious themes. Shows like Little House on the Prairie and Facts of Life dealt with life’s issues and problems while encouraging the main characters to follow character building roles.
I actually like this trend especially as it applies to exposing their children to things that are character building and not things that cause them to question the role of family or sexuality at young ages. I like it so much that I’d like to suggest doing that with the books one reads. In fact, my favorite author would be a great one to try. Louisa May Alcott is best known by most people as the author of Little Women, but I wonder if they know that she wrote many other books. Little Women may be considered very girly, but the sequel is just the opposite. Little Men follows the lives of the boys who attend Jo’s school. The lives of the March family are wrapped up in the third book Jo’s Boys.
If you’re not interested in following the March family, you might have more interest in a book called Jack and Jill, which is about to young people who fall down a hill while sledding and are seriously injured. It deals with issues of anger, patience, and trusting that no matter your circumstance you can make a difference.
My personal favorite is An Old Fashioned Girl. It is the story of a young woman who makes friends with a young girl from an affluent family. We watch as she is tempted by the luxury she’s exposed to and learn much about what true wealth is.
In all of Alcott’s books, girls are girls; boys are boys; and parents were held in places of respect and honor. I think these books contain great values that should be passed on to the next generation. I hope you’ll read them. If you do or have read them, let me know what you think.
I just finished reading Heaven is for Real, which has me thinking about, well…heaven. Many others are thinking about it too, which really seems to be the purpose behind the book. In fact, there is a group of people thinking, talking, and blogging about it that completely surprises me: atheists. Atheists are talking about this book everywhere. By talking about it, I mean that they seem to be outraged calling into question the intelligence and gullibility of those who read it.
Given that this book is sparking so much dialog. Let’s take a look at it. The book is the story of a family that underwent a terrible ordeal. The little boy the story focuses on almost dies when his ruptured appendix is misdiagnosed. I think for the sake of charity, we can all agree that this is a serious and traumatic event for any family. It is what happens after the event that causes the uproar. As they continue with their life and processing the event that had just consumed their lives, mom and dad begin to hear comments and statements from their son that make them begin to wonder about heaven. Their son claims to have been to heaven during three minutes of his surgery where he meets people he’s never known and learns things he never knew.
Now, although I believe in God, I tend toward a healthy amount of skepticism. After all, the Bible encourages people to test all things. (1 Thessalonians 5:21) So, I admit to huge doses of “really?” For example, God has a rainbow horse – really? (Although since He created everything, why not.) What I did like was that the parents tried to just listen and take in what was being said even though they didn’t always believe a lot of what they were hearing. Kids at that age hear and remember things you don’t remember discussing around them. Could that be the cause? Could it be as some have suggested a hallucination brought on by pain, medication, and/or anesthesia? Maybe. Or could the child be speaking from his memories of events he believes took place? I don’t know.
I do know that the story is well-written and takes us on the emotional journey of parents who have dealt with a lot of grief and loss. It takes us down to the depths of the hurt and anger the Burpos felt at events in their lives. It also lifts us up with events that gave hope and purpose to their lives. It’s the one thing Christians have in abundance that those who do not believe in God cannot have. (Romans 15:4) It is our hope in Christ and the resurrection that enables us to walk through the trials of life with a much different outlook.
The book is very much a “feel good” kind of book, which honestly is not my number one choice for reading material. But that’s fine—I like to feel good. Reading it and enjoying it does not imply that I am immature as Susan Jacoby says in her blog “‘Heaven is for real’ and the immature American mind.” (The Spirited Atheist, March 30, 2011) In fact she goes on to say, “The Americans buying the book are the same people fighting the teaching of evolution in public schools.” Surprise—I’m not against the teaching of evolution in public schools. I’m all for teaching the theory of evolution. What I’m against is the bullying attitude of those who don’t believe in God. Calling people “immature” for having different beliefs is bullying.
Nor is it “worse for your brain than huffing industrial solvents” as Michael Gerber claims in his blog “‘Heaven is For Real’ parody.” (Atheistnexus, May 20, 2011) The implication here is that it will destroy your brain. Really? Actually killing off vast amounts of my brain and turning myself into a vegetable would be preferable to reading a book that causes me to stop and think about what I believe? I think I’m starting to sense the immaturity previously mentioned in someone that’s read the book; interestingly, he’s not a believer. I suggest that if you read the book and examine your beliefs, you will actually be doing good things for your brain as it is a muscle that needs to be exercised. It is mental activity that strengthens the brain. So don’t worry about your intelligence and maturity. They are fine. Challenge your beliefs – it will only make you stronger.
All that being said, if you don’t believe in God or heaven and these thoughts anger you, don’t buy or read the book. For everyone else, if you want something that will cheer you up, read it. I think it provides hope and something for you to think on whether or not you believe it.