Posted in Literature

Page 37 Line 13

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately, mostly academic, but I’ve sneaked in a few fun books too. I’m curious about the books that y’all enjoy. So grab a) the book you are currently reading or b) the nearest book or c) your favorite book and turn to page 37 and post the first complete sentence that starts on (or after) line 13.

I’ll start: A) “Restoration of the cease-fire line and restoration of cease-firing and then have a fact-finding commission.” From Crisis by Henry Kissinger. This sentence is from a transcript of one of many phone calls between Dr. Kissinger and the Soviet ambassador on the morning of October 6, 1973 (Yom Kippur War).

 

Posted in Moody Publishers Book Reviews

20 Things We’d Tell Our Twenty-something Selves Review

I recently signed up to become a book reviewer for Moody Publishers. Moody sends me free books and I tell you what I think about them. The first book I have received is 20 Things We’d Tell Our Twenty-something Selves by Peter and Kelli Worrall. This husband and wife duo share life advice from their personal experiences as well as from years to teaching and counselling college students.

Before discussing the content of their advice, I want to make a note about Bible translations. If you’re like me, the first thing you do when looking at a Christian book (or a box of cards) is find out what version of the Bible is used. If it is the Message, I automatically put the item back on the shelf. The Message is not an authoritative translation of the Bible and so I doubt the legitimacy of anyone who uses it. The Worralls predominately use the ESV; however, in Chapter 18 they use the Message for I Peter 1:3-5. Since this is a review of the book and not a treatise on the failings of the Message, I will not give a point-by-point analysis of the differences between the versions. You can use Bible Gateway to see for yourself. Sufficed it to say that I don’t understand why they did it.

Moving on.

20 Things is like a cross between a devotional, a self-help book, and an advice column. The Worralls address the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of life. The book is only 246 pages and the chapters are fairly short; it can easily be read in a sitting or two. But I recommend  taking on one chapter per day to give yourself time to actually think about what the authors have to say. Because the chapters are so short, the Worralls don’t delve as deep into some issues as they could have. And they know that. Each chapter ends with “Actions to Consider,” “Questions for Reflection,” and “Other Things to Read.” What surprised me about the reading suggestions is that they were not all Christian works. Along with passages of Scripture, sermons, and other works by Christian authors were classic secular novels such as A Tale of Two Cities, Les Miserables, and Frankenstein as well as more psychological works The Power of Habit and Alone Together.

As you read 20 Things, keep in mind that is a collection of advice learned from the authors’ lives. They share several personal stories about their struggles and successes. When I read this book, there were some chapters that I found incredibly helpful. They made me think about issues from a new perspective and analyze how I can change for the better. But there were also chapters that didn’t apply to me.

One particularly good insight that Peter has in Chapter 19 is looking at sin (in general, but this chapter dealt with pride) as a zombie. As Christians, we have put our sinful desires to death. But they creep up on us and we are tempted. We must fight sin like we would fight zombies.

Despite my disappointment over the use of the Message, I am glad I read this book.

 

Posted in Book Reviews, Literature

A Fairy Tale Ending that I Really, Really Like

Today I read Papa Gatto, an Italian fairy tale retold by Ruth Sanderson. It has your typical fairy tale characters: a kind, hardworking young girl, a vain disinterested step-mother, a snobbish, lazy, but beautiful step-sister, and a prince in search of a wife. What is unusual about this story is that the title character is a  wise, talking cat who needs a nanny.

Guess which one of the maidens fails her nannying duties and which one receives a diamond bracelet as payment for her tender care and a recommendation to the prince. Naturally, it is not simple. Given the opportunity for deceit, the step-sister embarks on a charade to win the crown.

Quite frankly, at this point of the story the only thing that kept me reading was Sanderson’s illustrations.

When the prince finally meets the girl whose sweetness had charmed 8 kittens and their father, the first thing he does (obviously) is propose.

The girl says no.

Mic drop.

How could she possibly marry a man she just meet.

Bingo.

The whole marriage-at-first-sight thing has always bothered me in fairy tales. Don’t get me wrong, I love section 398 and its decimals. But I often wished for more time between the meeting and the wedding. This could be one of the reasons why Beauty and the Beast is my favorite. I guess I’m a little bit like Robert in Disney’s Enchanted.

But the story does leave you with hope. The girl moves in with the cat family to be their “permanent” nanny and the prince will visit often so he can win her love after they get to know one another.

The unconventional ending (and the illustrations) saved this mostly predictable and somewhat strange story. Papa Gatto  has landed on my list of books to read to my hypothetical daughters.