Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tamar's Trouble

Remember what I said in an earlier post about Christian fiction? Well, I have only found one modern Christian author I like and that was only one book.  Granted the book was one of the best I have ever read and I highly recommend it to anyone who will listen (Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers).  Please listen - you will not be disappointed.  But enough about a book I have already read...

So another book I got for Christmas this past year was another Rivers book.  It is a set of novels called A Lineage of Grace.  Each of the five novels tell the story of some woman in the lineage of Christ.  They offer an imagained fuller account of their lives based on the sparse Biblical renderings.  With Drew's permission, I will review each of these as though they were separate novels in their own right.  First up is Unveiled the story of Tamar.  For the Biblical account of Tamar (the one married to Judah's sons, not the sister of Judah) you can go to Genesis 38. As for Rivers' retelling of her story, I come down on the side that she was faithful to the Biblical account, which is good in my book. 
The best part of reading Rivers' version is the historical emotional context you gain from her.  The book of Genesis, by its very nature as a historical account, leaves out much of the emotion and cultural context of the actions of the major players.  More than once whilst reading Unveiled, I found myself pondering the deeper emotion Tamar must have felt and the way God truly worked a miracle through Tamar's actions.  I have always been kinda weirded out by the story in Genesis, but the historical, cultural backround really helped to paint a picture expressing Tamar's devotion to her new family in a culture only offering her shame and derision.  I found myself remembering the promise to come to Judah later in Genesis, "the scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from beneath his feet until Shiloh comes," and thinking how narrowly Judah missed the hope of promise by the way he dealt with Tamar.
For those reasons, this is a good book to read.  I would never tell anyone to shirk God's account of Tamar, but I do feel that once one has grasped all there is in the Biblical account, Rivers' story is a good companion.  To that end, the book includes a study of sorts to dig deeper into the Word above all Words.  For that I am appreciative to Mrs. Rivers and look forward to reading the other stories in her book on the family of Christ.

Review: 5.5 out of 7


Friday, March 26, 2010

It counts when it's during this year!

Leah thought I might be cheating because I read a book that I read last year. I think that if I've read it during this year then it should count. When you're reading epics it's going to take a few times of reading through the books to capture everything. Robert Jordan, Tad Williams, and Glen Cook are all exhaustive. However, the Glen Cook books that were read this year were new, but that doesn't mean that I won't go back and re-read the first few this year. I guess that I really like reading the books that I've read 10,000 times.

That brings me to this latest book. I just finished reading I Am Legend by Richard Matheson which I read a couple years ago after the movie came out. It's a short book about the end of civilization as we know it. Fancy that, I've been reading a lot of post-apocalyptic books. ;-) Robert Neville is the last man alive, but he's not alone.....

The book is a great little read. It's to the point. And nothing like the movie. This isn't a movie review site, but I cannot believe that a director/producer cannot figure out how to do a movie based strictly off of this book! I guess there's a fear that it's going to be too bleak, or too quiet, but viewers have shown that they can enjoy movies like that(see that crazy Tom Hanks movie where he's on an island). The book keeps you interested from beginning to end even when Robert is out doing simple scavenging. Matheson did a good job of bring your attention to the book, and then not allowing the book to get drawn out.

Rating: 7 CB's - The Boogey Man, Wolfman, and Dracula all have the same thing in common with Robert Neville. Thank you Matheson for naming aptly.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Top of the Heap

Whilst reading this week's book, I felt so old!  No it was not the latest vampire thriller set in a teen-angst filled world of swooning hearts and longing looks.  It was a book I read for the first time when I was 15.  When I told Drew this little fact, I realized that was almost 15 years ago.  I have lived half of my life since reading this book - wow! 
Drew, in a previous entry, reviewed a book he had first read in his teens and so I thought it would be ok to revisit one of my favorites from "back in the day."  As the Crow Flies by Jeffrey Archer is ridiculously readable, so it is hard to call it literature, but it is nonetheless well written enough not to get the editor in me raging at the stupid errors (although I think I located one).
It follows the life of a man from barrow boy to tycoon beginning in 1900 and finishing up in 1970.  It travels the globe from Whitechapel to Chelsea Terrace (about two miles away as the crow flies) with stops in WWI France, post WWI India, post WWII America, and Australia.  The characters created by Archer (as in all of his books) are fully realized and yet slowly revealed.  They are layered against one another in a structure that lends itself to storytelling magic. 
Archer is known for the red herrings in his books and they are here indeed.  Although I read this one 15 years ago, I found myself somewhat familiar, yet fully surprised at each turn.  I think this is only due to the storyteller's yarn Archer spins.  I actually dreamt all night last night about how the story could turn out.  Of course each of my crazy twists were not even close, but I was happiest with the written ending. 

Rating: 6.9 (It doesn't get much better)


Monday, March 22, 2010

The Drawing of the King

Late last year I decided that I'd try out an author that I had no real desire to ever really try out. Stephen King ended up surprising me with The Dark Tower series and Gunslinger, the first book in the series. I'm sure I'll have some *bonus* books near the end of the year so I'll save that review for then. This year I finally picked up book two of that series: The Drawing of the Three.

A little backgound is going to be in order. Roland, the gunslinger, has finished the first part of his quest for the Dark Tower. While he has traversed his world to the very ends of it, he's still without the clarity to know his next move. All he knows is that he must reach his goal. At the onset of this book, things are not going well for him. Let's just say that Roland and Lobsters do not mix. Fortunately for the gunslinger, the man in black(neither Johnny Cash or the gunslinger) knew that life was going to get really strange..... in the form of a door in the middle of a beach.

Now, this was definitely not what I was expecting from a fantasy novel. You have the gunslinger which feels like it's out of a western. In fact, the first book is about 90% western w/ 10% fantasy. The characters that join Roland end up being a junkie, a woman with a dual personality, and a killer. And that's not even the weirdest part!

Stephen King does an excellent job at keeping the pace up in the book compared to the last. He made interesting characters, furthered the story, and presented a story with incredible depth. King doesn't create a book that's terribly difficult to read. You get what he's trying to say, and his humor is pretty enjoyable in this series(tooter fish!). This isn't a book for one who's sensibilities are offended by crude language. The aforementioned characters are as gritty as they sound. If you don't mind, then you'd probably enjoy it.


Rating: 8 CBs! It's a great read - great book two... and it's not scary!