Monday, February 1, 2010

To catch up. :)

I know it's been a while. :P I have been keeping up rather faithfully with the readings of this blog, just my time constraints have kept me from updating it. :P So I'll provide the list of what I've read so far, a rating (scale of 1-5), and a slight commentary on a few of them. This will come in a few posts, this one being the first 30 books/collections that I've read.

Daisy Miller-3 This one I would recommend only because it’s an interesting case study. There’s really not any consistency behind Henry James’s work here at all.
Hounds of the Baskervilles-5
A Study in Scarlet-4
Sign of the Four-3 Probably my least favorite of Conan Doyle’s work. Not sure why, though.
Adventures of Holmes-5
Memoirs of Holmes-4
New England Nun-3
Revolt of Mother-3
Collection of Wordsworth-5
Collection of Coleridge-5
Collection of Keats -5
Collection of Emily Dickenson -4
The Storm-1 Don’t read this. Chopin is a very graphic writer for the late 1800’s, and I honestly felt like I was reading a trashy romance novel of today’s era.
The War Prayer-4
Ordeal by Fire-5 This is an amazing book about the Civil War. I’m taking a civil war class this semester, and we had to read this. It’s got a lot of facts, and can be a heavy read at times, but the writer is the leading historian when it comes to civil war facts. He’s amazing, and I loved every single page in this book. It’s not, like most textbooks are, slanted towards either side, which I very much enjoyed. It might have a slight yankee slant, but for the most part it’s not that big.
Shame of the Nation -4 This one makes you think…a lot. It’s about the education in our school systems. The premise is that a lot in our nation is failing schoolwise. Segregation is at the highest level, we aren’t supplying enough money to the underprivileged schools, and as a result those children are suffering. It’s sad, but it does make you think.
13th Tale-5
Orthodoxy- 5 Wow. This was amazing. I remember reading parts of it during debate camp in between my junior and senior year in highschool (daphne and david both had copies of it up there) but reading the whole thing was amazing. Essentially Chesterton attempts an explanation, not of whether the Christian faith can be believed, but of how he personally has come to believe it. It’s definitely a great read for anyone who wants to learn more about Christianity. He explains why he believes that OrthodoxChristianity best explains human existence. It’s an amazing book. And I love his humor.
Dear John-3 Good story plot, but like all Sparks novels it’s depressing and has 1 scene that ruins the entire book. The best part about this book is how much Savannah relies on her faith and belief in Christ.
Oliver Twist-4
Dante’s Inferno-5
African Queen-4
Emma-5 Yeah, ok, so I had never read this one all the way through. It’s amazing. It’s not my favorite of all of Austen’s works, but I am drawn to Emma in a lot of ways. She’s definitely a very human character. She’s one of the least likeable, but that’s what makes me like her more….she’s so full of flaws. You know she’s human.
Fellowship of the Ring-5 Yeah, I know. Another one I hadn’t read that I should have years ago. Haha. But it’s amazing. I can’t even express how much I love these books (I haven’t finished the 3rd yet) so just go read them for yourself.
Two Towers-5
Unceasing Worship-5
An Old-Fashioned Girl-5
Romeo and Juliet-4
Julius Caesar-4

Friday, November 6, 2009

I'm out to change the world

Lest you believe that I have entirely abandoned this project, let me assure you that it's not the case. I have been busy. I have, however, found time to read a series of 12 books (leaving me about 7 books behind schedule, but I finished off one of those books last night). The series I read can all be read separately, but they are all by Ann Kiemel Anderson. I'm not sure if any of you have heard of her...but she is incredible.

Maybe I need to explain my back story with this amazing authoress. I'm not sure how many of you are aware of this, but I was adopted through a private adoption when I was 4 hours old. Prior to this, however, my mom was in contact with Ann Kiemel Anderson. She adopted her 4 sons via private adoptions. Someone had given Mom a copy of Mrs. Anderson's books, and she became such an encouragement to my mom, who was unable to have children. They began writing letters, and while Mrs. Anderson wasn't able to help Mom with an adoption, she was such an incredible encouragement to my mom. I grew up reading this letters, and hearing these books discussed.

I started reading her books when I was 12. I don't recall them that well, which is why I decided to re-read them. Oh my word. Ann's first few books were written while she was a single woman, and they reveal her struggles. Her faith, her want of a husband, how she's out to change the's amazing. She has a unique writing style....very loose, no capitalization. And yet it fits her somehow. I greatly admire her books, and they have taught me so very much. She details her struggles with raising 4 children, humorous antidotes, how she dealt with adoption and her 4 children, her marital issues, etc. These books are truly gems to read. Apparently she's written a few that I have yet to read, that I need to look into. But I have never read an authoress that I enjoyed more than Ann Kiemel Anderson,

Monday, October 26, 2009

Nightmare Academy/A Long Fatal Love Chase

Both of these books are fiction, yet both Amazing.

Nightmare Academy is a ficticious book by Frank paretti. I'm not going to spend much time talking about this, only say that if you have not read it, do. It's a pretty light read, but really helps to explain the difference between truth and non-truth.

A Long Fatal Love Chase. Where do I begin with this. This is a book by Louisa May Alcott, the writer of Little Women. It was discovered years later in her memoirs, and published. It's a fascinating book, yet not what I expected her to write. I felt like I was reading a book written about 20 years ago, not in 1866, which was before she wrote Little Women. The basic plot is about a woman pursued by her ex-lover, a relentless stalker, through many countries and places. It's intense. There aren't any risqué scenes that I can recall, but there are several things implied. I'd recommend reading it if you are of a mature age, and mature enough to handle the material. Also, the ending is sad...which I liked, but if you want a happy ending, don't read it. :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mere Christianity/Pursuit of Holiness

So I fell slightly behind on reviews for this past week, so I'll combine a few of these together.

Mere Christianity should definitely be read by Christian and non-Christian alike. It lays out in a very easy to read format the basics of Christianity. I think that reading it has definitely helped shape my views of Christianity and has enabled me to be able to share my faith with other people by understanding what I believe. And I can express it in words so the average person can understand.

Pursuit of I was supposed to read this book my senior year for debate, but I never got around to it. I wish I had read this back then. The gist of the book is that holiness is something we must strive for. This gives so many practical suggestions in how to achieve holiness. He really covers how God calls you to be like him, not like others. He gives several examples of things you can do to worship Him more. IF anyone from the old tcc days is reading this, it begins to remind me of a discussion we had on the forum about the beauty in small things. Just like small things contain beauty, the small things that God gives us can draw us closer to Him and closer to holiness.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A prairie legacy series

I read this series of books when I was a sophomore in high school, and I knew I needed to re-read it again. This series has a lot of strong ties for me, since the general story plot of the last two books revolves around a little adopted girl named Mindy. I was adopted at 4 hours old, so this book had personal ties. I love how strong Virginia becomes throughout the book...oftentimes sacrificing what she wants for what God wants and for the needs of others. If you want a light read, I'd recommend these books, though I must warn you that some of the subject material in there should warrant a slightly older age of readers. There's some alcohol abuse chapters, and while these are handled in a negative ligjavascript:void(0)ht, some of them can be slightly intense.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Allegory of love

This book i'm not going to say much about, as I believe it's a book that everyone really has to experience on their own. I think it's been one of the more difficult books that I've read lately, simply because there are so many different references to books and literature of the middle ages. This book gave C.S. Lewis his reputation for being a critic of literature from that period. He talks quite a bit about courtly love, and how it is so very full of allegories. He goes over many of those said allegories in famous works of literature, such as Chaucer. If you are at all interested in studying about the roots of love in classic literature, or if you just want to learn more about the middle ages, this is definitely a book to read.

The next set of reviews is on a series of books, so it will be published on Tuesday.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Living the Cross Centered Life

Oh, My. Where do I even start with this book? For starters, this book really helps to explain how much the cross should be at the center of our life. Not the tangible object, but Jesus's death on the cross, and his intense sacrifice for us. Paul says in the scriptures: Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you...for I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: That Christ died for our sins.This is the essential thing about our lives, what we should be passionate about. Because we are sinners, the only thing that saved us from eternal hell is the magnificent death on the cross, and we need to realize just how powerful this was. I have to admit, my thoughts on this have been changed, in that I now realize just how much Christ scarified for us. And that there was only 1 man who could save us. C.J. Mahaney puts forth that the one verse that sums up the entire bible comes from Paul's first letter to Timothy: "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time."

The most powerful part of this book was how it expresses how much we were at fault for Jesus's death on the cross as well. The book states that "only those who are truly aware of their sin can truly cherish grace." This is so true in so many different ways. He clarifies that his purpose isn't to point out sin, only to help us to embrace grace fully. And that God is present in all our suffering.

There's one chapter, though, that really stood out to me. Breaking the Rules of Legalism. Thomas Schreiner shares a quote in there where he says "legalism has its origin in self-worship. If people are justified through their obedience to the law, then they merit praise, honor and glory. Legalism, in other words, means the glory goes to people rather than God." I don't know about you, but there are many times when it's easy for me to self-worship. I can be prideful, whether it's in a good grade in math, discussions in politics, or simply the fact that I was homeschooled. I thus ask that if anyone notices this in me, that they continue to help me to overcome this's a constant struggle. This chapter also clarifies the difference between Justification and Sanctification, which I think are much needed definitions. God doesn't want us to continue to grow simply so we can impress our friends in our knowledge; He desires for us to worship, read our Bible, and pray because it is pleasing to him.

This book has greatly changed the way I think, and I would recommend anyone who hasn't read it go pick up a copy of it. You'll be thinking a lot differently after reading it.