In this captivating novel, Kiisa, an eleven-year-old girl, finds herself in boarding school. The transition is a difficult one for her, but it is alsoIn this captivating novel, Kiisa, an eleven-year-old girl, finds herself in boarding school. The transition is a difficult one for her, but it is also filled with wonder, as she discovers a talking bird in her trunk among her things. This Messenger, Njili, relays news from home but also hints of a "rescue," and of interesting events to come.
Kiisa learns to navigate the new world of the school and begins coming into her own as a young woman, but events are turned upside down when rebels attack. And this gives Kiisa a new chance to seize the opportunities she is given to make a difference. Events hurtle to a compelling and action-packed conclusion.
My boys and I loved reading this novel. It was a great read-aloud book. I especially appreciated the immersion in East African culture (I'm assuming, based on the author's background, that it is quite authentic, since I don't have a first-hand way of judging), and enjoyed opening up my kids' eyes to other ways of life. The story is also filled with fascinating tinges of Christianity that come across as authentic and can stimulate further discussion. And the story was just a lot of fun. We haven't read the first book in the series yet (we most definitely will be doing so soon!), and it isn't required background for this book, though there are a few allusions to the earlier story.
In all, this is a great book. My boys (nine and six) all loved it and gave it two thumbs up. The language was often a stretch for the six-year-old, but he was still able to follow along, and my nine-year-olds were fully immersed in the action. I've no doubt they'll read this book on their own in the coming years.
Thanks to New Growth Press and to Cross Focused Reviews and Shaun Tabatt for the review copy of this book....more
This is a profound and thoughtful theological introduction to natural theology. Alister McGrath has published widely about issues of theological methoThis is a profound and thoughtful theological introduction to natural theology. Alister McGrath has published widely about issues of theological method, apologetics, and science and religion, and he has engaged the topic of natural theology a number of times before and at considerable length. So he is highly qualified to write an introduction to this topic. And he has done it superbly. This book is really a prolegomenon to a natural theology, in that he spends much of the book seeking to define what natural theology is and justify it as a legitimate enterprise. But as part of that, he does articulate his own vision for how best to undertake the task, and he does give some hints as to what a natural theology would contain and how this would enhance our vision of God and our understanding of the world.
Key to McGrath's aproach is a genealogical approach to the topic, looking historically at the various ways natural theology has been undertaken in the past. He asserts that there have been various approaches throughout Christian history, with each major incarnation affected by its own culture and setting, thereby providing a fertile source to be mined for alternative approaches and checks on our own assumptions. The commonly assumed paradigm for natural theology of approaching nature completely apart from any reference to God or revelation is situated in a much broader array of possibilities and becomes only one avenue among many for a robust natural theology.
McGrath's core assertion is that no theology is without place or perspective, so instead of attempting some type of Enlightenment-inspired objective statement of natural fact, he proposes a distinctly Christian natural theology. This means approaching nature informed by a robustly trinitarian view of reality and a correspondingly transformed imagination that allows us to encounter nature in a new way and articulate a compelling and coherent understanding of the world and of God. This natural theology has two audiences, as it articulates "a theology and spirituality of nature to those within the Church" and affirms "the rationality and aesthetic adequacy of faith on the other" (154).
McGrath's writing is unfailingly clear and theologically robust. He engages important investigation into the history of theology back to the early church, draws on modern thinkers such as Charles Taylor and C. S. Lewis, and engages broadly from such arenas the visual arts and the hard sciences. He may not convince every reader of his approach to natural theology, but this book is an essential introduction that gives a fresh and compelling statement of the legitimacy of this often maligned facet of theology. (He has an extended engagement with Karl Barth's important arguments and reviews the Barth-Brunner dialogue in some detail; again, he's eminently qualified to do so, as he has recently completed a theological biography of Emil Brunner.) Highly recommended.
Thanks to the Wiley Blackwell and the Amazon Vine program for the review copy of this book....more
4.5 stars. Romesha has crafted a vivid and intense portrayal of a tragic battle in the frontiers of Afghanistan. He is a Medal of Honor winner, but he4.5 stars. Romesha has crafted a vivid and intense portrayal of a tragic battle in the frontiers of Afghanistan. He is a Medal of Honor winner, but he is unflinchinly humble. He is restrained in his criticism of others and careful to share credit for valor and wisdom widely. The account itself is one of the best battle narratives I've read, ranking up there with Blackhawk Down. ...more
This book is full of sage wisdom for anyone working in the editorial field. Saller has worked for years as a manuscript editor at University of ChicagThis book is full of sage wisdom for anyone working in the editorial field. Saller has worked for years as a manuscript editor at University of Chicago Press, and she has also been the editor of the Chicago Manual of Style's online Q&A, so she knows the real-world issues in editing. The chapters are short but are packed with simple and balanced advice seasoned with humor that shows her delight in her work and her ability to keep things in perspective. Authors, colleagues, difficult manuscripts, yourself: you will learn to deal better with them all. Highly recommended. ...more
This is quite a stunning book. It really seeks to get at the experience of combat, the futility and ambiguity of war, and the deep racial divides thatThis is quite a stunning book. It really seeks to get at the experience of combat, the futility and ambiguity of war, and the deep racial divides that ran through American society and the military in the Vietnam era. Marlantes's writing is very good, and his characters are strong and authentic. The book will likely leave you both frustrated and satisfied, and that's just right, I think. It's not a Tom Clancy-style war narrative, with quick action and a lot of big-picture tactics. Instead, it largely deals with the experiences of a company of Marines and focuses on one young lieutenant. And I think it's all the better for it. This means it may not be the best book to understand the big picture of the Vietnam War, but it also means that it gives a historically rooted yet timeless account of what war is like. And it's effective. Highly recommended. ...more
This book is classic P. D. James. I found it a bit slow in parts, but the last fifty pages or so are just right. The writing is strong and Dalgliesh iThis book is classic P. D. James. I found it a bit slow in parts, but the last fifty pages or so are just right. The writing is strong and Dalgliesh is spot on as a lead. ...more
"Go up the trail rejoicing. Pip thought about that; it seemed quite different from his own philosophy of trying to find the change that would help" (1"Go up the trail rejoicing. Pip thought about that; it seemed quite different from his own philosophy of trying to find the change that would help" (157). Pip is an orphan who sets out to ride the rails after finding is half brother murdered outside the orphanage where they live. Having lost his closest companion and the only family he really knows, Pip sets out in search of himself and a place in the world. This powerful novel depicts the America of the Depression years, an apt setting for the wanderings of this lost boy. Youmans's characters are brimming with life, and she writes powerfully. ...more
This is quite a stunning little book. It's short, just over one hundred small-trim pages, but it's powerful. In some ways it's a classic coming-of-ageThis is quite a stunning little book. It's short, just over one hundred small-trim pages, but it's powerful. In some ways it's a classic coming-of-age story. But Youmans's poetic sensibilities come through in the clarity of the words and the occasionally striking expression. Meg touches death and life, and has to wrestle with what it all means, and whether God plays any part. Though it centers on a thirteen-year-old girl, this book reminds us that we're all coming of age and constantly struggling to touch and embrace life. ...more
Glimmerglass is a fascinating book. The prose is powerful, and the plot is at turns mundane and magical. Longing and wandering and discovering and wonGlimmerglass is a fascinating book. The prose is powerful, and the plot is at turns mundane and magical. Longing and wandering and discovering and wondering are all woven together in this journey through interwoven worlds. Glimmerglass is a profound statement about the power and purpose of art, and it also wrestles with what it means to plumb the depths of reality and how to live in that knowledge. At points, I wasn't sure I was getting it, but by the end I was sure that the book had gotten me. I was ready to start again after the last page. ...more
4.5 stars. I really enjoyed this book. It's delightfully written and evokes the landscapes and culture of the Upper Midwest. The main characters are a4.5 stars. I really enjoyed this book. It's delightfully written and evokes the landscapes and culture of the Upper Midwest. The main characters are all interesting and well drawn. Enger deals deftly with issues of faith and the miraculous. And I was particularly struck by the contrast between hospitality, humility and graciousness embodied especially by Reuben's dad, Jeremiah, and the cruelty and harshness of the surrounding world. Jeremiah is generous even when none is shown in return. This book takes place largely in the 1930s, but it really reads like a Western at times. And the mini-Western, the poem by Reuben's sister, Swede, that keeps showing up in the text, provides a pithy counterpoint to the narrative. In all, a beautiful book....more