Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Book Review: The Xmas Files: The Philosophy of Christmas

Author: Stephen Law
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2003

Let's face it: Stephen Law and I are on diametrically opposed planes when it comes to matters of faith and belief. Here he looks at Christmas through the lens of philosophy. He covers everything from gift-giving to the virgin birth to the idea of faith in general.

Philosophy will never be able to 'explain' God (1 Corinthians 1:25, 3:19).  Law himself admits he has many questions and, as yet, no certain answers. However, in the process of asking and seeking, some may find Him. By all means, try on.

My favourite chapter was 'Carving the Roast Beast'.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Book Review: The Derision of Heaven: a Guide to Daniel

the derision of heavenAuthor: Michael Whitworth
Publisher: Start2Finish Books, 2013

Wow. It took me quite a while to get through this book - not because it's terrible (far from it!), but because the subject matter is so deep and the author so thorough.

When I first saw the title, its subtitle, 'A Guide to Daniel', didn't register. I thought the book was about our society's mockery of God. Instead, it's a Bible study guide to the Old Testament book of Daniel, which includes the most challenging prophetical writings. Derision of heaven signifies that while powerful leaders may set themselves up as mighty and god-like, God will not be mocked and these leaders will feel His derision when He brings them to their knees. We can be sure that God has not changed and that He is still in control of our world today, no matter how dark things may seem.

Whitworth is a strong writer, whose teaching is supported by Scripture and research. The text is peppered with footnotes, and a bibliography is included at the end for the reader who wants to know more on the subject. The author suggests reading the appropriate chapter of Daniel before reading the matching book chapter, then re-reading the same chapter of Daniel afterward. This is truly necessary in order to get the full benefit of the study.

The book deservedly won 'The Christian Writers' Award'. Far from being dry, the author maintains the reader's interest throughout and demonstrates a sense of humour. It's a book I'll need to read more than once for sure, and now that I've been introduced to this author, I'm interested in seeking out his other work as well.

For the record, I received this book free of charge from the publisher through the Book Crash review program, but my review reflects my sincere and honest opinion.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Book Review: Every Day is Malala Day

9781927583319Author: Rosemary McCarney
Publisher: Second Story Press, 2014

I was prepared to dislike this book - after all, someone capitalizing on Malala's popularity is (in my opinion) reprehensible. But the book won me over. It's remarkably well done, even in its simplicity, and shows girls and children from around the world supporting Malala's cause: every child's right to an education. The book includes a summary of how Malala became a household name as well as an excerpt from the speech she made to the United Nations on her 16th birthday.

Malala is simply inspiring.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Young Lady

There's an older gentleman who's a regular user of our library. He often asks to borrow one of the newspapers we keep behind the desk (as a side note, this is because some will vandalize the paper for the crossword puzzle. It only costs 15 cents to photocopy, people!). 

The customer approaches the counter. "May I have the paper, young lady?" 

Me: "Certainly!" I hand it over and take his library card in exchange. I'm wondering if it's appropriate for him to call me 'young lady' when I'm wearing a name tag. Yes, I'm younger than he is, and at a stage in life when the appellation is somewhat welcome, but still. It's a bit informal, a bit too intimate, I think. 

About an hour later, he's finished with the paper and returns it. "Thank you, ma'am." 

Me: "You're welcome." I hand his card back to him. But wait a minute! 'Ma'am'?!?!?! What happened to 'young lady'? I got caught up in the political-correctness craze! Bring that 'young lady' back here, please!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Deja Vu Blog Hop

I just found out about this from fellow blogger, Heather Gardner. Sounds like fun. Why don't you join us?!

On December 19th, re-post your favorite blog offering from earlier in the year, or one that you believe failed to receive the exposure it deserved. Then hop from one blog to another to read the best of the best  from 2014. And it couldn't be any easier to take writing necessary! (But comments appreciated!)

Sign up here.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Please visit me at Inscribe Writers Online for today's post, which addresses the theme of writing and fear. And do not be afraid - be undaunted! ;)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Book Review: Master and Maid: the Charles Massey Murder

Author: Frank G. Jones
Publisher: Irwin, 1985

As the subtitle indicates, the book is a fictional retelling of the Charles Massey murder (unlike Charlotte Gray's book, which is true crime). Jones took this approach in order to flesh out 'things left off the public record [that might allow] the real story [to] emerge' (prologue).

Jones tells an interesting story fairly well. But there are times when he intrudes to give us an historical fact or to elaborate on something. This takes us out of the story and reminds us that we're reading one, instead of allowing us to be immersed in it. After reading Gray's well-researched and well-written account of the facts, I feel that Jones fails to do the accused or her lawyer justice. I'm also uncertain that he meets his objective of getting at the 'real story'.

Skip the novel and read Gray's book instead. No dry non-fiction, Gray is a skilled writer who brings history to life.