Tag Archives: review

Review: The Life and Legacy of Pope John Paul II

The Life and Legacy of Pope John Paul IIThe Life and Legacy of Pope John Paul II by Wyatt North

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a nice read, a quick one too, on my Kindle. I picked it up in one of those Amazon sales, and I’m glad for it (a sale still available as of the time of this writing). It was a brief but informative look at the life of Pope John Paul II. I enjoy biographies in general, so it was nice to learn so many things about this man that I hadn’t known. Much of this information may not be new to my Roman Catholic friends and family, but it was new to me. Like, I didn’t know that Karol Wojtyla attended the same university as Nicholas Copernicus–not at the same time, of course!

For the time commitment this book would require, I’m not sure there is any reason someone shouldn’t read it.

View all my reviews

Review: The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming

The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of HomecomingThe Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming by Henri J.M. Nouwen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received this book as a gift from a dear friend. And it may be one of the more important books I’ve read year to date. There are some books that a person reads, and it is just the book that person needs to read at that moment. This was one of those books for me. It may not be the book someone else needs to read today, but it will probably be a book you will need to read someday.

Continue reading

Review: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The Secret Life of Walter MittyThe Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Good short story by James Thurber, recently made into a movie with Ben Stiller. I listened to an audio version read by Stiller.

The story is rather engaging, I found myself imagining and seeing the real life around him as well as the imaginary worlds he was lost in. The story is a great short story to read and discuss, especially with students, I imagine.

Continue reading

Review: A Student’s Guide to Natural Science

A Student's Guide to Natural ScienceA Student’s Guide to Natural Science by Stephen M. Barr

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Good little book discussing the history and development of science from the Greeks to today’s ‘superstring theory.’ Most of it is very accessible, probably all of it if you are already relatively familiar with the history of science and scientists as well as some of the theories and ideas connected to physics.

The book also has lots of good little quips and ideas to pull and share with others. Here are a few I marked:

Physics can be regarded as the most fundamental branch of natural sciences, since the laws of physics govern the processes studied in all the other branches… [D]evelopments in physics and astronomy have had the most profound impact on philosophical thought.

The fact is that the glory days of ancient science were long gone by the time Christians became a significant demographic or intellectual force.

This, he says, in order to contrast the idea that Christians prevented or halted continued significant scientific advances.

Contrary to what many imagine, religious skepticism does not appear to have been a generative factor in the Scientific Revolution.

Galileo said that the great Book of Nature is written in the language of mathematics.

View all my reviews

Review: Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me GoNever Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an incredible book about life and death, medical ethics, and the human soul. The author writes in a way that you feel the same way the characters do as the truth about the world outside of Hailsham. When the characters are ignorant, you are ignorant; when the characters learn things they can’t understand, so do you; when the characters fully realize what kind of world they live, only then do you.

That may sound like something that is obvious about books, but it is neither common nor done well. Ishiguro does it very well. And the story gives humanity to people who may not be thought of as human in a technology-driven and focused society.

I now need to see the movie.

View all my reviews

Review: Community of Grace: An Orthodox Christian Year in Alaska

Community of Grace: An Orthodox Christian Year in AlaskaCommunity of Grace: An Orthodox Christian Year in Alaska by Mary Alice Cook

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this book because of the title, actually two different parts of the title that appealed to me.

First, I read it because of the word community. I love the idea of community and how different people live that out in various settings has always fascinated me. So, to read a book about how a group of Orthodox Christians live community was appealing to me right off the bat.

Second, I read it because of the idea of the Christian year. Seeing that life reflects seasons in a calendar, the book appealed to me as its ideas seem to be following the rhythms of the Orthodox calendar. What the looks like in an Orthodox Christian’s life is of interest to me.

I like the book because it gave me a good sense of both: Orthodox community and the Orthodox calendar. I also liked the fact that I got to know particular members of a particular community and wanted to know them more. I even found myself, briefly here and briefly there, wanting to move to this community and experience it myself.

The book, in that sense, kind of has a Wendell Berry feel to it, or even a Rod Dreher and his book, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, feel to it. But, this book only gets four stars because it isn’t quite up to par with either of those, especially Berry’s works. It is probably not fair for me to rate this book as a comparison to Berry–especially since Cook wasn’t trying to copy Berry in her book, Community of Grace. So I’ll grant that. But, if it had intended to make me want the community they have, it was slightly, just slightly, underwhelming. The desire was there, but only briefly at different points throughout the book.

I still enjoyed the book, and Cook tells a lot of great stories. And I did feel like I knew certain members of the community. Thus, a four-star book.

View all my reviews