Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Review: Midnight Jesus: Where Struggle, Faith, and Grace Collide… by Jamie Blaine

Review: Midnight Jesus: Where Struggle, Faith, and Grace Collide…
Jamie Blaine
W Publishing

Read this Book!  Spend your money for a copy.  Borrow one if you’ve got no money for it.  It is the best I’ve read in a long, long, long time.  I can’t say it any better than Augustan Burroughs has, “Gorgeous, brilliantly written, deeply moving, life-affirming, and just plain stunning.”  I don’t get excited about a book often, but this one is different.  And in the best way possible.  
Blaine makes it plain up front that the book is “A work of creative nonfiction” meaning the names, dates, locations, and other identifying features have been changed to protect those he’s thinking of while he writes.  Don’t be surprised if you find a little of yourself inside this book.  Also don’t be surprised if you find yourself wondering if a few changes need to happen in your own life.  And don’t be surprised if you find yourself laughing at some points and near tears at others.  This is good writing and reading.  

This book was provided by the publishers for a review.  I don’t have to say nice stuff either, but in this case the raves are totally deserved.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Review: So, Anyway... by John Cleese

Review: So, Anyway...
John Cleese
Three Rivers Press

The Monty Python guy, right?  That’s all I knew of John Cleese.  There’s more, of course.  And I thoroughly enjoyed reading his telling of it.  So, Anyway lives up to the endorsements on the cover and I totally agree Michael Ian Black’s opinion of Cleese as “an amiable, slightly loony uncle.” (back cover)  I have grown quite fond of the John Cleese I met in his book.  

So, Anyway... by John CleeseThe book takes some time to read as Cleese allows only the lean, fat free to remain in his narratives.  I didn’t want to miss anything he had to say, and if I did try to skim a page or two I had to back up to catch up.  The wit he drops into the text every so often made it worth the while.  His teaching moments that are scattered throughout the book were intriguing and if I ever were to attempt to write comedy they would be most helpful.  What works, why it works, how to make it work, where the ideas come from and the sheer amount of work, pain, and joy of the task.  Meanwhile he’s engaged the reader with his story of his life.  Serendipity, according to Cleese, seemed to be his constant companion or he’s been rather modest about his own talent.  I suspect both in his case.  

Why no account of the Monty Python years?  Maybe, he wanted to let his audience in on some other parts of his life in this book?  Or maybe there’s plenty of other sources available?  I don’t know.  But I do know that I enjoyed his book.  

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

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Review: KJV Foundation Study Bible from Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Review: KJV Foundation Study Bible
Thomas Nelson, Inc.

KJV Foundation Study Bible, hardcoverKJV, King James Version, the text of Scriptures translated into the English language long ago.  Happily, the more recent editions have dispensed with the script used back in the 1600’s and opted for a more modern one.  It’s my understanding that the translation itself has not been altered, but that realm belongs to the experts.  The features available in this particular version from Thomas Nelson are what I intend to address.

As the title states, this is a study Bible.  The notes do not intrude or interfere with the main text and are not available for every verse.  That keeps the number of pages to a more manageable size and weight.  Those notes are generally basic, but insightful.  Each book has a brief introduction covering the author, date, theme, and a key verse.  Cross references, a concordance, and a good set of color maps round out the study material available in this edition.  As listed on the dust jacket the words of Jesus are in red, a feature that some prefer.

One of the nicest features that I found was that this book has a guarantee related to its workmanship available on the Thomas Nelson website.  I did check on that, and if it falls apart it can be replaced, assuming normal use, of course.  I tried to break the hardbound copy I have and failed. That made me happy since I’ve had several Bibles from different publishers that did come apart.  

I would recommend this Bible as a good, basic, personal size study Bible.  One other note, I found the font size and clarity adequate for most readers except those that need the extra large print perhaps.

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