Monday, April 20, 2015

Review: Unoffendable: How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better by Brant Hansen

Review: Unoffendable: How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better
Brant Hansen
W Publishing Group

What! Is that a real word? Unoffendable?  It is now if it wasn’t before.  And one that needs to hang around.  Hansen has found a single change that could make all of life better.  In chapter after chapter he makes his case for being unoffendable.  Sometimes it looks like humility, and then it could look like forgiveness.  Other forms it could take are obedience and love.  

We know all those words so what is Hansen’s point?  His point is that anger in whatever form has to go.  All the time.  Every time.  No exceptions.  He looks at all the “but, what about…” angles and doesn’t miss very many of them.  Each time the answer is be unoffendable and it isn’t his idea.  It is Biblical.  Don’t believe that? 

Read this book.  “It’s not fair!” is even off the table.  Hansen doesn’t bludgeon his reader nor pretend anger and its siblings don’t exist.  His points use real life examples of how it works, and he tells of the difference it makes in his own life.  His style is so “winsome, humorous, and conversational” (Back cover says it best, so I used it) that you don’t mind agreeing with him on point after point. 
I think he’s one to something here and deserves to be heard more widely.  Read his book and more importantly, make that one change.

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

Review: The Room by Jonas Karlsson, Translated from the Swedish by Neil Smith

Review: The Room
Jonas Karlsson, Translated from the Swedish by Neil Smith

Oh, my!  I didn’t see that coming.  I should have, but got caught up in the final scene.  Who is Bjorn?  That’s pretty much what the reader is left to decide.  That, and who all the others are as well.  Bjorn and his relationship with his office coworkers is the setting.  Watch them interact with Bjorn and Bjorn with them.  You have met all the characters, and probably have been several of them yourself.  See how they meet the challenges set before them by Karlsson.  It just keeps getting better, in my opinion.  I sat back and marveled that so much could be packed into a mere 180 pages.   

9780804139984The Room is the most thought provoking read I have encountered in a very long time.  Why? Because the author leaves so much room for the reader to interact with his story.  Several of the endorsements likened Karlsson’s work to Kafka.  Another mentioned Beckett, and yes I can see how that could be.  They may have influenced Karlsson, but he writes for today’s audience who seem to prefer more room to roam within the story.  Does the reader have the final say here?    

What did I not like?  Can’t find much to talk about here, but for those that must have everything all neat and tidy at the end, or for those that need loads of action and less character, you may find a new way to appreciate fiction with this book.  It’s short, give it try.  You will not leave quite the same.  

The publisher included a group discussion guide for reading groups to use if they so choose. 

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


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

HCSB Study Bible: Personal Size from Holman Bible Publishers

HCSB Study Bible: Personal Size
Holman Bible Publishers

The publisher states that this Bible contains comprehensive study notes, full-color maps and reconstructions, and word studies in Greek and Hebrew.  They have not overstated their presence.  The study notes are indeed plentiful, useful and insightful.  The word studies give pronunciation, uses, and focus passage with a short discussion relevant to the term examined.  There are also timelines which I find helpful to keep events and kings sorted out, as are the charts found throughout the entire text that summarize or categorize different areas.  Essays, book introductions and other available features make this an excellent study Bible.  The translation philosophy is given in the introductory sections.  The Biblical text reads easily and plainly.  I recommend this translation and the study aids found here as an excellent study Bible.  Wish I'd had one back when I began this journey.

There is one point that I cannot recommend for this particular volume, the Personal Size edition.  It is listed as a personal size Bible and the size is indeed that.  The issue is that in going for a smaller size the text had to be reduced.  I found it very difficult to read comfortably from this size page and font.  The cross references and notes are for young eyes only and in optimum light.  I would not buy this size volume.  That said, I would invest in this study Bible in its full size version without hesitation.

So this is a mixed review.  Great material in a package (the Personal Size) that has a very limited audience.  Therefore, the final verdict is left for the individual to decide.  If you have no problem reading fine print this one will be OK for you.  For the rest of us, go ahead and spend for the larger version. 

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