Friday, February 20, 2015

Review: The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden: Grow Tons of Organic Vegetables in Tiny Spaces and Containers by Karen Newcomb

Review: The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden: Grow Tons of Organic Vegetables in Tiny Spaces and Containers
Karen Newcomb
Ten Speed Press

Attention, container and small space gardeners or those that are thinking of giving it try.  This book contains loads of good information for us.  The nice part of this book is that it isn’t all facts and charts.  The author has made it fun to read too.  Yes, I do recommend this book.  It does not contain all there is to know, but I think it’ll give a good start for your gardening efforts. This is a completely revised version of previous editions according to the cover information and I’ve not seen the older versions so I can’t tell you what has changed.

Newcomb starts from the ground up with helpful ideas and suggestions for your planning phase.  Size, location, and soil preparation instructions get the garden off to a good start.  Discussions of various fertilizers and the symptoms of a deficiency are particularly useful.  This is organic gardening so the discussion talk about bone meal, other animal products, ash, and humus.  Newcomb also devotes a chapter to pest control that uses natural predators or naturally occurring insecticides that are considerably less toxic than some other products available.  Want to recycle yard and kitchen waste? Yes, how to compost that is there too.  How to water, when to water, how to tell if you’re over or under doing it comprises another chapter.  Now you’re ready to grow your garden.

Heirloom vegetables, herbs, and companion planting guides round out this book.  She provides lists of varieties of nearly anything you may want to grow from A-Z.  And it’s not just a list.  She includes where to find them, which season is best for that plant, spacing and support if it needs it, typical problems and the fix, harvesting, storage and finally a few growing tips.  Did you know radishes came in standard and winter varieties? Or that tomatoes come in colors other than red, yellow, or purple?  There’s a white one, too.  Can’t wait to try some of those.

No yard or desire for the larger plans?  A few containers with midget vegetables might be another option.  Midget vegetables?  Yes, and she provides a lists and providers for them too.  

 I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Review: Jesus Swagger: Break Free from Poser Christianity by Jarrid Wilson

Review: Jesus Swagger: Break Free from Poser Christianity
Jarrid Wilson
Nelson Books

Swagger?  “ A person’s style---the way they walk, talk, dress” is the definition Wilson chose to use for this work.  OK.  Not liking the word much, but we’ll go with it for now.  See if works or not. 
The subtitle is where the book goes with the swagger idea.  Real or fake.  Arrogant or humble.  Inclusive or exclusive even.  That’s the kind of look he explores in his book.  Perhaps the thin layer of respectable Christianity that has been around for a while has failed often enough for some folks to look for something more.  And that is where Wilson steps into the discussion. 

Wilson along with other authors have explored this topic a lot recently.  Maybe it is time to step back and check out where we are in this and then decide what comes next.  I applaud him and them for saying what has been painfully obvious to those outside the church for a long time.  Talk and walk don’t match.  Who needs that?  Nobody.  And the mainline denominations are feeling the pinch. 

Wilson’s treatment is adequate, but uneven, I think, perhaps as an effort to avoid sounding preachy.  I found myself skimming large sections and then slowing down to hear what he has to say in other spots.  

So in the end does “swagger” work?  This author objects to the use of homeboy in relationship to Jesus near the end of this book and says, “…I don’t think homeboy is something that magnifies the importance of his being….Jesus is not your homeboy.” (147-8). He has more to say in that vein but I’ll leave that for you to read.  Sorry, Jarrid, using swagger and especially an urban dictionary definition strikes me the same way.  

Do I recommend this book?  A reserved yes.  If you want to soft place to start exploring the topic, this one is it. 

This book was provided by the publisher in return for a review.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Review: RVR 1960, BIblia de Estudio Holman from Holman Bible Publishers

Review: RVR 1960, BIblia de Estudio Holman
Holman Bible Publishers

Yes.  I am going to review a Spanish language Bible.  The BibleGateway site says this about the 1960 revision, “This revision of the RVR has been the basic text most used by the evangelical Spanish-speaking church. It is the most beloved translation of Spanish-speaking Christians because it retains the traditional style of the Spanish language.” (  

The actual text of the Bible I will leave to the experts.  One thing I will add is that when I compared it to the NVI (the Spanish NIV) there were differences in word choices and word order.  This would be similar to the differences seen among the English language Bibles.  

This particular Bible is a study Bible and a very nice one at that.  The paper weight is good and the finish smooth.  Interspersed throughout the text are color photographs, illustrations, and maps.  Each book is prefaced with an introduction and sections related to the author, historical setting, message, and outline.  A feature that I liked was a timeline that helped locate different people and actions within the book.  Copious notes that follow the text add insights to aid the reader in his understanding.  Certain Greek and Hebrew words have their own sidebar explanations too.

In addition to all that there is a concordance, glossary, maps, and reading plans.  Another feature that I liked was the inclusion of several theological articles.  For instance, before beginning the Old Testament readings the editors have inserted an article that covers the origin through the canonization of the Old Testaments books. Before the book of John there is an article about the Incarnation and Christology.  This is a study Bible.  

The copy I received is hard bound, about 2300 pages.  It does lay flat when opened, and the font is just right I think.  It has a red letter New Testament, two column text, and center cross references.  Paragraph style within the text, verse listing in the notes that accompany the text.  

It doesn’t get much better.  Yes, I do recommend this one.

I received this book from the publisher for review.