This little volume provides an excellent introduction to the world and culture of the Coast Salish people, and more specifically the Suquamish Tribe,This little volume provides an excellent introduction to the world and culture of the Coast Salish people, and more specifically the Suquamish Tribe, in the time before and during the life of Chief Seattle, as well as how life has evolved as a result of the intrusion of the Euro-American way of life. With a 2001 copyright date, some of the more recent information is a bit outdated, but the background is fascinating, especially as it's written from a Native perspective.
This volume contains the complete text of Chief Seattle's famous speech, as translated and recorded by Henry Smith. But it also contains the 1970 speech by a screenwriter named Ted Perry, that was originally attributed to Chief Seattle, and which many people falsely believe is the original speech. It's fascinating to see these two in adjoining chapters....more
Take everything that's ever gone wrong with every family summer vacation and put it into one road trip with Greg (the Wimpy Kid), Roderick, Manny, MomTake everything that's ever gone wrong with every family summer vacation and put it into one road trip with Greg (the Wimpy Kid), Roderick, Manny, Mom and Dad, and you've pretty much got the gist of this hilarious book. It's out of the frying pan and into the fire on virtually every page (sometimes more than once on a page).
This was the first Wimpy Kid book that I've read, I was sent an autographed copy, and laughed my way through the whole thing. This series is not just for kids!...more
A touching and humorous collection of stories, each one an episode of a brother and sister visiting Grandma Dowdel in a small town in Illinios duringA touching and humorous collection of stories, each one an episode of a brother and sister visiting Grandma Dowdel in a small town in Illinios during the Depression years. Grandma Dowdel is quite the character, with a mind of her own, and she brews up hilarious incidents and confrontations with her more conventional neighbors. The final chapter took me by surprise and left me in tears. That doesn't happen often....more
While Westerns are not my favorite genre, I was encouraged to read (actually listen to) this classic by Zane Grey and I'm glad I did. Grey captures thWhile Westerns are not my favorite genre, I was encouraged to read (actually listen to) this classic by Zane Grey and I'm glad I did. Grey captures the essence of the Old West in northern Utah, and the star of the show (in my opinion) is the purple sage that is described in one way or another in virtually every chapter.
This book was written over 100 years ago, when more time was taken to describe the setting and develop the characters. Zane Grey does both masterfully and he spins an intricate story involving a Mormon woman who has inherited her father's wealthy ranch, and the various characters who enter her life, either to make her a Mormon bride, or to help protect her from the Mormons.
While most of the book is without violence, it does erupt later in the story, and this is where I get troubled. There are several killings in gun fights (hey this is a Western), but there is little remorse and there are no consequences. This element I personally find disturbing.
But to be transported back in time to a place I've never been was quite remarkable....more
While this "spiritual autobiography" will mainly have appeal to those who have followed Bruce's music, specifically his powerful and poetic songs, heWhile this "spiritual autobiography" will mainly have appeal to those who have followed Bruce's music, specifically his powerful and poetic songs, he has much to say about the state of the world, the journey of the spirit, the travails of the heart, and a few things to say about the music industry, that it might be of interest to a wider audience. Most segments in each chapter lead up (and explain the background to) a song lyric, which can be read like a poem. In most cases I had the melody in my head.
To my fellow Cockburn fans: read it. To my fellow songwriters: consider adding this to your reading list. To those who ask questions about American foreign policy: this is a great overview of things we've done, and done poorly, in the past several decades as Bruce was sent as an observer for various humanitarian organizations to report back on what he saw. This book gets an A+ from me....more
Inspiring poetry from the 4th Century saint comparing our destination of Paradise to that which we lost in the Fall. This is beautiful hymnody. It folInspiring poetry from the 4th Century saint comparing our destination of Paradise to that which we lost in the Fall. This is beautiful hymnody. It follows with St. Ephrem's commentary on the first two chapters of Genesis, which sheds more light on his "Hymns on Paradise."...more
This narrative non-fiction account of the development of the nuclear bomb during World War II reads like a James Bond spy thriller. While this amazingThis narrative non-fiction account of the development of the nuclear bomb during World War II reads like a James Bond spy thriller. While this amazing work is written for a younger audience, and received the Newbery Honor Award for its excellence, I found it gripping from beginning to end.
Here we read in rapid detail America’s race to develop the bomb before Nazi Germany, while sabotaging Germany’s efforts in places like Norway and Switzerland. At the same time Soviet Russia seeks out spies to steal America’s secrets in order to develop their own bomb. After Germany surrenders, President Harry Truman decides to use the bomb on Japan in order to force them to surrender.
With the conclusion of World War II, the Cold War with Russia grows as America and Russia escalate their race to develop bigger and better bombs. Robert Oppenheimer, often called “the father of the atomic bomb,” sought to avert nuclear proliferation after the war, much to the chagrin of President Truman.
The book concludes with the sober ramifications of a modern nuclear war, even on a smaller scale between countries like India and Pakistan.
I highly recommend this book to students and adults alike. I listened to the audiobook version, which was read with Dragnet-like intensity. While I’ve read a fair amount about this period of history, I learned many things I had not known before, and I liked the way the author tied together many seemingly disparate events. ...more
Loving Our Enemies: Reflections on the Hardest Commandment, by Jim Forest, is an important book. It received the 2015 Gold Illumination Book Award forLoving Our Enemies: Reflections on the Hardest Commandment, by Jim Forest, is an important book. It received the 2015 Gold Illumination Book Award for theology. But this is not a volume filled with big theological terms, but one that is accessible to anyone who wants to grapple with what Jesus would have us do: love our enemies.
Jim Forest has devoted his life to the work of peace within the Christian context and this book is the result of his life’s work.
Early in the book he states: “Jesus implicitly ridicules the idea that good can be brought about by evil means. Violence is not the means of creating a peaceful society. Vengeance does not pave the road to forgiveness.”
Forest quotes extensively from various early church fathers and Christian activists, such as Thomas Merton and Dorothy Day, whom he personally knew, to present the case that we have no option, as Christians, but to forgive, to let go, to turn the other cheek, and to yes, love our enemies.
Part Two of the book presents the “Nine Disciplines of Active Love,” which are: 1. praying for enemies 2. doing good to enemies 3. turning the other cheek 4. forgiveness 5. breaking down the dividing wall of enmity 6. refusing to take an eye for an eye 7. seeking nonviolent alternatives 8. practicing holy disobedience 9. recognizing Jesus in others
Forest presents practical ideas that would work on both an interpersonal level, and those that have implications on a larger scale.
I have highlighted key quotes that I will be returning to. And I will be purchasing copies to give as gifts. Like I said, “This is an important book.” ...more
I just finished listening to the audiobook version of A Call to Conscience: The Landmark Speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which I did on the tI just finished listening to the audiobook version of A Call to Conscience: The Landmark Speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which I did on the tails of listening to his Autobiography. In both cases, the audiobook version is to be preferred, because one gets to hear to the powerful resonating voice of Dr. King on these great sermons and speeches. There is as much to be gained from the delivery of these words as there is in seeing them on the page.
While many of these speeches and sermons are excerpted in the autobiography, here we get them in their entirety. And each speech is preceded by a preface by a renowned figure, such as Rosa Parks, Andrew Young, the Dalai Lama and Sen. Edward Kennedy, who was deeply impacted in some way by each speech.
Since I, like most people, have heard the “I Have a Dream” speech so many times, I was touched deeply by the last two speeches in this volume, “Beyond Vietnam” and his final speech, given the day before he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, during which he eerily had a sense it might be his final words.
Since I give a talk annually to high school students about the Vietnam War, I will be recommending the “Beyond Vietnam” speech to any student who wants to learn more about why people chose to oppose that war. It is the best summary of the anti-war movement that I have ever heard.
I’m glad that I have devoured both of these books in the past two weeks and only regret that I did not do it much sooner. ...more
I just finished listening to the audiobook version of The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., which includes rare recordings of speeches and serI just finished listening to the audiobook version of The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., which includes rare recordings of speeches and sermons of Dr. King. The book was edited by Clayborne Carson, and read by Lavar Burton.
While I have admired Dr. King most of my life, and I have read various books and articles about him, I had never taken the time to devour this great autobiography. And while there would be advantages to reading the print version, such as being able to highlight and meditate on his many memorable quotes, the advantage of the audiobook is in hearing the voice, and feeling the spirit, of this great orator and leader of the civil rights movement, as well as one of the first leaders to speak out against the war in Vietnam.
Some of the many thoughts that ran through my mind as I listened were:
1. This young man, who won an oratorical contest in junior high, continued to follow his dream to be a public speaker. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to be a minister or an educator, but he continued to develop his craft from an early age.
2. He pursued an education, all the way through his PHD at Boston College, and he interacted with the great thinkers from throughout civilization. He became an articulate and well-read man, and continued to develop his mind throughout his life.
3. It was his commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ that caused him to pursue equality and freedom for all, not just black Americans, but poor whites, and eventually for the impoverished of other nations.
4. In spite of the fact that he was stabbed by a demented black woman early in his career, and that if he had sneezed his aorta might’ve been punctured and he might have died, he continued to press on.
5. In spite of the fact that he received many death threats, he continued to press on. In one of his final speeches, you can hear that he believed his end might be immanent, but that didn’t stop him from being a “drum major” for peace and righteousness.
6. He persisted in his belief in non-violence, even in the face of his fellow civil rights leaders who began moving toward “black power.”
7. He traveled to India to learn more about how to practice non-violence from Mahatma Gandhi, who led his nation to independence through non-violent means.
8. To this day there are people who distort the story of Martin Luther King, accusing him of things that simply are not true. Simply devouring this great autobiography, and coming to grips with his thoughts, his spirit, and his story, would do much to set the record straight. ...more
Although it's sometimes difficult to keep track of the names of kings, abbots, bishops, priests, and even popes, this is a fascinating look at the sprAlthough it's sometimes difficult to keep track of the names of kings, abbots, bishops, priests, and even popes, this is a fascinating look at the spread of Christianity in England, mainly from about 430 AD to 730 AD. Bede favors the Roman calculation of Easter, as well as the Roman practice of tonsure, as opposed to what we would now call Celtic Christianity, but in spite of that you get a good picture of what the Church looked like, and how the faith was spread. I took personal interest in his many descriptions of personal piety, most notably prayer, fasting and almsgiving, which hasn't really changed.
It's interesting the number of kings who resigned to become monks, and sometimes abbots. I also have a clearer picture of the various tribes who lived in England at this time, Kent, East Saxons, East Angles, Northumbrians and West Saxons.
Also fascinating was how much contact the various English tribes had with the Continent, and especially with Rome. I had assumed England was much more removed than what is presented here....more
I’m afraid I can’t get as excited about The Art of Racing in the Rain as my friends who enthusiastically recommended it to me. I did like the book, buI’m afraid I can’t get as excited about The Art of Racing in the Rain as my friends who enthusiastically recommended it to me. I did like the book, but did not love it.
Here’s what I liked:
1. The story is told from Enzo the dog’s perspective. He got the dog right. This was fun and unique.
2. The story takes place in Seattle and parts of Washington State, which is where I grew up. I have been to MANY of the streets, parks and places that he mentions, and he got that down perfectly.
3. The story has some heart-wrenching moments and the author successfully pulled me into them.
4. The author successfully weaves together three or four perspectives: the rise of the career of a car racer, the story of Eve’s illness, and the story of the Enzo, the dog, and the ordeal of legal issues.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
1. The plot is fairly predictable. The book is more-or-less in two parts and in each section I knew where it was going long before it got there.
2. The book is littered with the F bomb and a few other profanities that just don’t belong in a story of this kind.
3. The story is about (among other things) car racing. I’m afraid this is a “sport” that I’ve never cared for. It’s loud; it wastes gas; it pollutes the air. I just don’t get it.
4. Denny’s religion (or philosophy) is car racing. It just makes me sad that people have replaced faith with something as spiritually shallow as car racing. Again, I just don’t get it. ...more