Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Review: D.L. Moody: A Life by Kevin Belmonte

Review: D.L. Moody: A Life
Kevin Belmonte
Moody Publishers

Belmonte has told Moody’s story so well that only the toughest will not shed a tear in the final chapter.  The narrative reads like good fiction.  

Moody was a member of an exceptional generation in Western history.  That generation saw unmatched wealth and poverty, invention, education, and opportunity---for some, but not others.  Think of the stories of Charles Dickens to imagine this period, or the US before the Civil War and after.  Moody knew the hard side of this period, especially after his father died leaving his family destitute.  But for family and community who knows what Moody would have become. However, his hardships made him more attuned to those around him. So as it turned out, we who are living a century later still partake in his legacy and his life’s work. 

What did I not like about this book?  I did miss his family, and especially his wife and her influence.  Maybe someone will undertake a biography from her perspective?  While we wait for that, please find a copy of this book and read it.  The author includes an annotated bibliography for anyone who would like to read more about this very gifted man. Endnotes for his references throughout the text are also listed.

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


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Review: More Than Just The Talk: Becoming Your Kids’ Go-to Person about Sex by Jonathan McKee

Review: More Than Just The Talk: Becoming Your Kids’ Go-to Person about Sex
Jonathan McKee
Bethany House Publishers

More Than Just The TalkAt last!!  It’s OK to say “sex” and not spell it or find some euphemism for it.  And this is a biblically based book.  We’re off to a good start already.

 McKee has two primary themes throughout the book.  Don’t freak out, and talk to your kids often.  He admits the conversations can be awkward since most of us have grown up whispering about this subject.  The kids today, just like we were once upon a time, need good information and guidance related to sexual behavior delivered in a loving environment in rational discussions.  What is appropriate, how far, what about same sex attractions, are certain practices really sex?   There’s more, but you get the idea.  

As he makes abundantly clear, the messages found in the media are giving the wrong signals to whoever watches or listens related to sexual behavior and perceptions.  He uses current examples from the music industry, cinema, TV, internet, and he doesn’t forget the phones.  There’s plenty of research on the lasting behavioral effects related to the using those examples as role models. There’s no ranting here though.  He’s interested in dealing with the parents so that they can help their kids make wiser choices for their own lives.  Boundaries, responsibility, balanced responses---things like that.  Things that we all can do to help right now, and hopefully established open channels for the future.

What I found most helpful wasn’t his stating that there’s bad stuff out there that’s billed as cool, but was the way to handle yourself when you either discover evidence of poor choices being made, or when your child asks those questions that require rational, truthful answers.  How not to freak out.  (Basic communication skills that go out the window, sometimes.)  Talk to your kids, often.  The themes you meet early in this book and you will revisit regularly.  

I do recommend this book and wish it had been written long ago.

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

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Review: HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes

Review: HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton
Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes
Broadway Books

Whether you are a fan of Hillary Clinton or not reading this book will open your eyes to more than just HRC.  She is not an incidental character in this book, but definitely not the only one of interest.  I found myself recognizing names and making connections that I missed somewhere down the line of the last few years since the tenure of the Obama’s in the White House.  

http://www.randomhouse.com/author/187702/amie-parnes?sort=best_13wk_3monthHRC gives a view from the inside of just who Clinton is and how she operates.  I must say I do admire her ability much more than I did before reading this book.  She can navigate well in the political arena on her own power.  But apparently, she has more than her own resources to rely upon there.  Her husband figures largely in her political career too.  Like he quipped many years ago, they come as a two for one deal in politics.  That partnership did not seem to extend to her time in the State Department according to this book.  And that time is the redeeming value of this book as far as I am concerned.

I found the book not a delight to read, but not drudgery either.  It is slow and the opening third could be torn away without damaging the rest of the work these authors produced, in my opinion.  Although, there may be some that find that part enthralling---if you like reading how HRC managed to capitalize on her loss to Obama.  

This is a book about Hillary Clinton and with the 2016 presidential race drawing near it might be a good resource for those that see her as a prime contender, assuming she does in fact become just that.  If not, read it to discover just how convoluted the government and politics can be.  That may be the most useful purpose of this book in the next decade.

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