I really enjoyed this book. Platt delivers another challenging yet encouraging look at the current state of the American church and what the Bible hasI really enjoyed this book. Platt delivers another challenging yet encouraging look at the current state of the American church and what the Bible has to say about living in a way that challenges what we view as "normal" church. He touched on a lot of the material in this book in Radical, but in Radical Together he faces the church head on and goes into great detail about what it looks like when a body of believers finds revelation in the Word and then takes the action that is only appropriate when one understands the heart of God.
This was a great follow-up to my reading of From Eternity to Here and has already acted as a great introduction to the reading I started today, Watchman Nee's The Normal Christian Life. I really like that Platt says things that are very challenging yet does it with love and compassion. I don't see a finger pointer here, but a man who has been radically changed by the truth of God's character, which is exactly where followers of Christ find themselves. I appreciate his honesty. He doesn't sugarcoat difficult truths and is quick to point out his own weaknesses. What I see in this book is a man with a heart for God who wants to see the church in America remember who God is and act accordingly. Good read....more
I couldn't even make it halfway through this poorly written book. I found myself rolling my eyes over painfully worded thoughts and conversations thatI couldn't even make it halfway through this poorly written book. I found myself rolling my eyes over painfully worded thoughts and conversations that neither furthered any semblance of plot or developed a character. All I'm walking away with is an idea of lots of dead birds and a remote island. My time is too valuable to spend on books that just aren't very good....more
I can't believe I didn't have this in my bookshelf yet. I have read this book several times and am touched every time I read it! Dahl tells the storyI can't believe I didn't have this in my bookshelf yet. I have read this book several times and am touched every time I read it! Dahl tells the story of Danny and his father in such a beautiful way that it takes me in every time. This book is a departure from most of Dahl's works. We usually find tragic or horrible circumstances in his books: James of James and the Giant Peach has two horrible aunts that he lives with because his parents were killed by a rampaging rhino, the unfortunate children in The Witches are subjected to horrible treatment, the brats in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory cannot escape horrible fates...Dahl has the typical Englishman's view of schools as well (see Matilda). But in this book, wonderful parents are alive and well (at least the father) and the most horrible character is really just a big bully that's not all that scary to even a child.
We are introduced to Danny by Danny himself. He gives us a brief history of his life to bring us to his ninth year when he and his father have an extraordinary adventure. The first few chapters are a lot like the movie Up. We get a picture of Danny's relationship with his father through several brief scenes, each one written beautifully and revealing Danny's admiration of and love for his father. He then tells about his great adventure with his father that involves some minor criminal activity and ingenious plots.
I read the book very quickly this time. It is rather short (only 205 pages) but Dahl does an excellent job of keeping the story going and continuing to keep the relationship between Danny and his father central. It is obvious that this relationship was what drove Dahl when you read the message on the last page: "A MESSAGE to children who have read this book. When you grow up and have children of your own, do please remember something important. A stodgy parent is no fun at all! What a child wants--and DESERVES--is a parent who is SPARKY!" This is one worth reading for a long time, no matter what your age....more
2.5 stars. Six years after the marriages that ended Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth and Darcy have settled into life at Pemberley. As they prepare for2.5 stars. Six years after the marriages that ended Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth and Darcy have settled into life at Pemberley. As they prepare for their annual autumn ball, their idyllic life is shattered when a body is found on the grounds and brings back the past that they would rather forget.
This was disappointing. I have really enjoyed James' other mysteries and hoped she would bring that same talent to the characters of Pride and Prejudice. Unfortunately all this ends up being is a subpar fanfic that relies too heavily on twists. I also didn't like her attempt to tie in other Austen novels to the P&P story line. One thing I could appreciate was her seeming attempt to answer questions she must have had as a reader of P&P. Otherwise this was just too ambitious. I'm not sure anyone could do a really great job of taking the characters of P&P and continuing the story....more
I received this book from one of the DTS speakers in YWAM. His topic was on the true church, the ekklesia, and this book was obviously a source for hiI received this book from one of the DTS speakers in YWAM. His topic was on the true church, the ekklesia, and this book was obviously a source for his teaching.
In his book, Viola takes a look at what the Bible has to say about God's plan in reaching out to mankind, both in creation and in sending Jesus. He clearly outlines three functions of the followers of Christ and takes time to expound on each idea.
My main struggle with this book was a sense that I had heard it all before. I often had to pray before reading because I didn't want to carry that attitude with me as I read. I did find some sections to be especially stirring and they became starting points for prayer. The biggest challenge for me seemed to be accepting the truth of his words and wondering what his ideas would look like if active in my life. At times I also struggled with his writing style. I'm not a big fan of ending chapters with ellipses and cheesy one-liners, and I found myself fighting an eye-roll every now and then by the way Viola chooses to "hook" you to continue reading.
I actually found the last chapter to be the most interesting and fulfilling. Viola shares his testimony of being a part of so many movements in the church, only to be left wanting. I feel that many followers of Christ are in this state. We're looking for the newest thing, and in the process we lose our focus on Christ. When we focus on things like power or evangelism or prophecy, it is often because we have forgotten or simply don't comprehend that Christ IS those things. He is the Word of God. He is the power of God. He is what draws men to Himself. I wish I had written this right after I finished because now I'm reading another book about the church and my thoughts are confused. Overall, I would recommend this book because it is challenging to the way Americans view church and can really stir one's heart to truth....more
I really, really disliked this book, which I feel is saying a lot. I can't remember the last time I was ready for a book to be over when I was only haI really, really disliked this book, which I feel is saying a lot. I can't remember the last time I was ready for a book to be over when I was only halfway through it. I was intrigued by the premise. In this book we are given the story of Ahab's wife, Una. Ahab, if that name isn't familiar, is the obsessed whaleboat captain in Moby Dick. As I think about it now, the title is a bit misleading. I would say that only 1/3 to 1/4 of the book actually spends time on Una's marriage with Ahab. I digress.
On the cover of the book is a quote by a reviewer: "Beautifully written." I agreed with that statement when I began the book. Naslund has a wonderful way with words, but after reading for a while, I felt that she was trying too hard to be lyrical and existential. I felt many times that I was reading the work of someone who likes to hear herself talk. I don't know the author, but if this is a statement of her personality, we probably wouldn't connect.
Then I had problems with the main character herself. Time and time again I wondered what everyone was so enamored with. Every person Una comes into contact with, save her father, seems to worship her within a matter of hours. I found this irritating because there seemed to be no character flaws at all. In the one instance I can remember, when someone gave her a piece of their mind through a letter, the letter writer, by the end of the letter, is expressing that they are sorry they were ever mad at her and they want to reconnect. Really?
By the end, I also felt that the book had a huge gap in the realm of reality. I did not see an authentic human struggle with Una. She simply is who she is and expresses no regrets. To be sure, that character trait alone is not a shortcoming, but when this attitude leads to condescension of those that share different beliefs, it is indeed a shortcoming of pride.
My final grousing point is the intentional way that the author seems to shout for the characters, "Look at us! We defy the world and are proud of it! See us defy cultural and societal norms! We're cool!" Between unwed mothers, agnostics and universalists, homosexuals and extreme feminists, I was constantly unsuprised and exasperated. Let me clarify that I have no problem with people that have beliefs other than mine. Again it is the smug pride that I felt was layered beneath these characters that drove me nuts. I had the sense that if I tried to engage any of these characters in a discussion of beliefs and ideas, the only person who would actually listen would be Una's mother. I got the sense that the others would always listen politely and answer with the patience of an adult with a small child. Okay, I'm done. ...more
I randomly picked this up at a used book store when I was on a rampage. I couldn't recall having read it before and the idea seemed interesting. A youI randomly picked this up at a used book store when I was on a rampage. I couldn't recall having read it before and the idea seemed interesting. A young man is found dead during a group stay at a rented manor in the English countryside. At first it seems to have been an accidental overdose or suicide, but after another young man is found shot, questions arise as does the phrase "seven dials." Soon a trio of young people are investigating the deaths and finding themselves immersed in an international conspiracy...or are they?
Christie, as always, does a great job of bringing to life the society of post WWI England and pulling the reader into an intriguing mystery. One thing that I enjoy about her is that when she throws in a twist, which she always does, you don't feel like you've been cheated, but rather that you've missed the obvious the entire time. That is the biggest reason that one of my favorite books of all time is her And Then There Were None. I did not find this book as involving as many of her others, but at the end I found myself with a desire to read it again, this time with the truth in mind, much as I enjoy rereading ATTWN and observing the murderer throughout. ...more
Well, there is is. I don't often give out five stars, but Tana French is certainly at her finest in this third installment of her Murder Squad series.Well, there is is. I don't often give out five stars, but Tana French is certainly at her finest in this third installment of her Murder Squad series. Frank Mackey, a character we have met in previous books, is the central character here. An old suitcase found in the neighborhood where he grew up drags him back to a dysfunctional family he hasn't seen in over 20 years and reopens a world he'd rather keep forgotten.
This is by far my favorite of French's books thus far. While the other books had an undercurrent of the supernatural, this book has none and is so realistic that you would think she was thinking of a specific person every time we meet a new character. While character development is by far the most obvious strength here, there are so many other aspects that she handles beautifully. I didn't realize until the end how much I appreciated her approach to giving the back story between Frank and the victim. And while I figured out who the murderer was about 2/3 through, that only pushed me to get to the end to see the story behind it, and it was as sad as I thought it would be. While other mystery writers just seem to plug in elements to a familiar formula, French stands out so much that even a casual mystery reader would do well to branch out to see what mystery literature looks like....more
Wives and Daughters centers around Molly Gibson, a country doctor's daughter, as she grows up.
It took me a while to get into this book. The first fewWives and Daughters centers around Molly Gibson, a country doctor's daughter, as she grows up.
It took me a while to get into this book. The first few chapters were hard for me to get through as there is no specific plot to follow and, in my mind, nothing was really happening. In the middle of the book, I found myself wondering when something was going to happen. What makes this all the more maddening was the fact that Ms. Gaskell passed away before she could finish the story, and while it was far enough along to see where it was going, I would have gladly traded those early chapters for a satisfying finish. Otherwise, Gaskell proves again that she is an excellent character builder. Her treatment of Mrs. Gibson alone is skillful because it is complex and realistic. The country society she portrays is wonderful to watch and the love story, as in North and South, is slowly built, which I always appreciate. If only it could have been finished!...more
I can't even remember where I heard about this book, but I'm glad I read it. It tells the story of Daniel, beginning the day that he discovers a bookI can't even remember where I heard about this book, but I'm glad I read it. It tells the story of Daniel, beginning the day that he discovers a book that will be the cause of a dangerous number of years. His story goes alongside that of Julian Carax, the author of the fateful book, and as Daniel explores the mysterious author, we see many parallels and uncanny similarities. This book includes romance, adventure, mystery, and drama all in one, and it all works very well together.
Overall, I found the book to be rather dark in many places, bringing to mind The Kite Runner in many instances, but there's no way that I could compare the two. Zafon has done a much better job of weaving his story and continuing to take the reader deeper into the lives of the characters. Zafon's writing really sets the dark mood as the settings seem to go darker as time goes on and Daniel uncovers more and more. The beginning of the story seems harmless enough, but we ride with Daniel deeper into the dark places he must go to finally understand the man who created a literary masterpiece. I'd also say that it's rated PG-13, with scenes of sexuality and some minor language. ...more