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Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Devotional Talks On Christian Commitment by: Timothy E. Moody

Devotional Talks On Christian Commitment
Timothy E. Moody

Baker Book House

ISBN 9780801062032

Most of the devotions in this book would be good jumping off points for group discussions or personal meditations.

There were a few where his theology was weak - almost heretical. Yet for someone grounded in their faith, the book will challenge thinking and what you believe and as such can be a tool to help deepen your roots as a Christian.

(First written as Journal Reading Notes in 1999.)

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Assassins: Assignment: Jerusalem, Target: Antichrist by: Tim LeHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins

Assassins: Assignment: Jerusalem, Target: Antichrist
Left Behind Book 6

Tim LeHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins

Tyndale House

ISBN 084232920X

This is the last of the books in this never-ending series of books, games, spin off series and more, that I actually made it through. The writing quality dropped with every volume. In less than two decades they wrote 16 novels - over 7200 pages in the main series alone. They have eclipsed Piers Anthony's Xanth which took many decades to write.

In this series I never really agreed with the author's theological view of the end times, even though the series started off as good fiction, with entertaining books that made a reader think about the end times. Yet as the series dragged on, the writing became weaker and weaker, and for myself and many I know the authors lost the audience. I never made it through the whole series and I doubt I will ever go back and finish it. It really is a pity as there was so much potential in this series.

Everybody is out to be the one to kill the Antichrist (Nicolae) - Mac, Abdula, Chiem, Rayford. But we are left hanging about what really happens. The Trib Force team again loses members, Doc dies and Leih joins the team. Cameron travels to Israel again and sees the two witnesses resurrected and called up to heaven.

However even with all the action this was the end for me. I did not make it through any more books of the 16 in the series. The books in publication sequence are:

Left Behind
Tribulation Force
Nicolae: The Rise of the Antichrist
Soul Harvest:
Apollyon:
Assasins:
The Indwelling
The Mark
Desecration
The Remnant
Armageddon
Glorious Appearing
The Rising: The Antichrist is Born
The Regime: Evil Advances
The Rapture: In the Twinkling of an Eye
Kingdom Come

In the end it just seemed link a money-making ploy, with graphic novels, cds, teen versions, a video game and more. It is a pity this series dropped in quality so much. Jenkins went on to write an excellent trilogy - Soon, Silenced and Shadowed, that were set in a different interpretation of a future with a one world government.

(First written as Journal Reading Notes in 1999.)

Friday, 26 December 2008

Apollyon: The Destroyer is Unleashed by: Tim LeHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins

Apollyon: The Destroyer is Unleashed
Left Behind Book 5

Tim LeHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins

Tyndale House

ISBN 0842329161

In this series I never agreed with the author's theology. But the series started off as good fiction, entertaining, and were books that made a reader think about the end times. However as the series dragged on, the writing became weaker and weaker, and for myself and many I know the authors lost the audience. I never made it through the whole series and I doubt I will ever go back and finish it. It really is a pity - there was so much potential in this series.

This book was an interesting interpretation of the third woe from the Book of Revelation. The plague of the locust attacking the word is done in vivid graphic narrative. The Trib Force team has both losses and gains. The most important is Hattie leaving and joining the dark side. Buck and Chloe have their child.

Yet even with all the action this was the turning point for me. I only made it through one more book of the 16 in the series. The books in publication sequence are:

Left Behind
Tribulation Force
Nicolae: The Rise of the Antichrist
Soul Harvest:
Apollyon:
Assasins:
The Indwelling
The Mark
Desecration
The Remnant
Armageddon
Glorious Appearing
The Rising: The Antichrist is Born
The Regime: Evil Advances
The Rapture: In the Twinkling of an Eye
Kingdom Come

In the end it just seemed like a money-making ploy, with graphic novels, cds, teen versions, a video game and more.

(First written as Journal Reading Notes in 1999.)

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Through the Looking Glass by: Lewis Carroll

Through the Looking Glass
Lewis Carroll
Various Editions

Though this book is not much better than Alice's Adventures, the chess motif and theme does make the book much more interesting. With the bossy, dominant Red Queen and the quiet, kind, messy white queen, the book is a study in contrasts.

The interweaving of the Nursery Rhyme Characters and the frequent fish poetry references does provide more continuity and a sense of sequential events than Alice's first adventure. I also appreciated the linking of the cat at the beginning and end of the story.

It does still feel like Carroll did way too many opium pipes in his time.

(First written as Journal Reading Notes in 1999.)

Monday, 22 December 2008

The Subway Mouse by: Barbara Reid

The Subway Mouse
Barbara Reid
Scholastic
ISBN 9780439952231

Famed Canadian author and illustrator Barbara Reid has created another wonderful book for children. Reid has won just about every Canadian award for children's authors or illustrators, and her unique plasticine illustrations are known and recognized the world over. In this story she not only uses her trademark images but incorporated found objects to enhance the images and tell the story.


This story is of a mouse named Nib. He is fascinated with items he finds around the subway station he lives in. In his home of Sweetfall, there are legends of Tunnel's End. Nib is fascinated and captivated by these mouse myths. One day he is compelled to search for Tunnel's End and his and our adventure is just beginning. His quest leads him through other mouse towns in different stations, and he meets Lola who joins him on his journey. Pick up the book and follow Nib on his journey; it will be a fun and wild journey.

(Images courtesy Barbara Reid.)

Book written and illustrated by Barbara Reid:
Zoe's Year (2012)
Picture A Tree (2011)
The Party (2010)
Perfect Snow (2009)
Sing a Song of Mother Goose (2007)
Fox Walked Alone (2009)
Read Me A Book (2004)
The Subway Mouse (2003)
Zoe's Rainy Day (1992)
Zoe's Sunny Day (1992)
Zoe's Windy Day (1992)
Zoe's Snowy Day (1992)
The Golden Goose (2000)
Fun With Modelling Clay (1998)
The Party (1997)
First Look Board Books: Acorn to Oak Tree (1999)
First Look Board Books: Seed To Flower (1999)
First Look Board Books: Caterpillar to Butterfly (1999)
First Look Board Books: Tadpole to Frog (1999)
Two By Two (1992)
Sing A Song of Mother Goose (1987)

Book illustrated by Barbara Reid:

Peg & The Yeti (2004)
Gifts (1995)
Effie (1990)
Have You Seen Birds? (1986)
The New Baby Calf (1984)
Jenny Greenteeth (1983)
Mustard (1983)


Books contributed to:
Read Me A Story (2010)
Dream; a Tale of Wonder, Wisdom & Wishes (2004)
Mother Goose: A Canadian Sampler (1994)

Author Profile and Interview with Barbara Reid

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Alice's Adventure in Wonderland by: Lewis Carroll

Alice's Adventure in Wonderland
Lewis Carroll

Various Editions


My first impressions of this book were that it was like reading C.S. Lewis on cheap drugs. The events are complete non sequiturs and the changes in plot are worse.

It appears to be a spoiled child wandering in a world she does not understand, nor is willing to learn about - unlike Lucy in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe who seeks to understand the local customs and circumstances.

The book is very easy to read but it leaves distaste in my literary mouth. I know it is considered a classic but I just do not see it, and if I did not have to read it for school I would not have bothered to finish it.

(First written as Journal Reading Notes in 1999.)

Saturday, 20 December 2008

The Party by: Barbara Reid

The Party
Barbara Reid
Scholastic
ISBN 9780590124287


Barbara Reid is a world renowned Canadian author and illustrator. Reid has won just about every Canadian award for children's authors or illustrators, and her unique plasticine illustrations are known and recognized the world over. She won the Governor General's Literary Award for Children's Illustration with this book.

This is the story of a family reunion/party. It is the story of two sisters who are nervous and hesitant at the beginning of the day, and a little shy about being at the party. Yet as the day wears on the children have their own fun and adventures as the adults catch up and enjoy the party also. With incredible illustrations and a great story, it is a book that will be fun for the whole family.

(Images courtesy Barbara Reid.)

Book written and illustrated by Barbara Reid:
Zoe's Year (2012)
Picture A Tree (2011)
The Party (2010)
Perfect Snow (2009)
Sing a Song of Mother Goose (2007)
Fox Walked Alone (2009)
Read Me A Book (2004)
The Subway Mouse (2003)
Zoe's Rainy Day (1992)
Zoe's Sunny Day (1992)
Zoe's Windy Day (1992)
Zoe's Snowy Day (1992)
The Golden Goose (2000)
Fun With Modelling Clay (1998)
The Party (1997)
First Look Board Books: Acorn to Oak Tree (1999)
First Look Board Books: Seed To Flower (1999)
First Look Board Books: Caterpillar to Butterfly (1999)
First Look Board Books: Tadpole to Frog (1999)
Two By Two (1992)
Sing A Song of Mother Goose (1987)

Book illustrated by Barbara Reid:

Peg & The Yeti (2004)
Gifts (1995)
Effie (1990)
Have You Seen Birds? (1986)
The New Baby Calf (1984)
Jenny Greenteeth (1983)
Mustard (1983)


Books contributed to:
Read Me A Story (2010)
Dream; a Tale of Wonder, Wisdom & Wishes (2004)
Mother Goose: A Canadian Sampler (1994)

Author Profile and Interview with Barbara Reid

Friday, 19 December 2008

When The Almond Tree Blossoms by: David Aikman

When The Almond Tree Blossoms
David Aikman

ISBN 9780849936418

Thomas Nelson


This book is Christian speculative fiction. It was very interesting because it presents a possible future in which a second civil war takes place in the United States.


It has some wonderful plot twists. Basically it is the story of one man Douglas Richfield, a member of the peoples' movement (Socialist) who becomes a constitutionalist. It is the story of his development as a person, and as a person of faith. He is awoken from rote life living as a cog in the machine, to being a man of conscience, to finally a man of character.

It has elements of being a spy story, a love story, a story of political intrigue and faith all rolled up in one neat consistent package.

It is a good read that I could honestly recommend to just about anyone.

(First written as Journal Reading Notes in 1999.)

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Pink! by Lynne Rickards and Margaret Chamberlain

Pink!
What's a Penguin to think when he turns Pink?

Lynne Rickards
Margaret Chamberlain (Illustrator)

Scholastic
ISBN 9780545086080


This is a fantastic book about being different and being accepted. It is the story of Patrick the penguin who wakes up one day and has turned pink. He finds it hard being a pink penguin so goes in search of other pink birds, specifically flamingos in Africa, but he finds out he fits in even less there. So he returns home to Antarctica and discovers that being different is not so bad after all.

I was originally attracted by the hilarious cover of this book, and both the story and illustrations are wonderful. It is one of those fun books to read and look at. I think it would be fun to share with most children, and they will learn a lesson from it also. Pink! is an excellent read.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

The Very Cranky Bear by: Nick Bland

The Very Cranky Bear
Nick Bland
Scholastic
ISBN 9780545989985


This is a great picture book for children. It is the story of four friends trying to get out from the rain and the cold. Unfortunately they take refuge in a Bear's cave. Bear is not happy that they have invaded his home. Lion, Zebra and Moose try to make bear happy by making him like them; Sheep on the other hand gives of himself.

It is a fun read and wonderfully illustrated by Australian author and illustrator Nick Bland. It has made me want to track down his other stories, and the books he has illustrated for other authors.

Books by Nick Bland:
A Monster Wrote Me a Letter (2005)
Aussie Jingle Bells (2006)
I Lost My Kisses (2007)
Donald Loves Drumming (2008)
The Very Cranky Bear (2008)
When Henry Caught Imaginitis (2008)
The Wrong Book (2009)
The Very Itchy Bear (2010)
Twinkle HB (2010)
The Runaway Hug (2011)

Monday, 15 December 2008

Selected Poems by: Rainer Maria Rilke

Selected Poems
Rainer Maria Rilke

This was a very good book of poetry and Rilke is one of my all time favorite poets. The poetry in this volume cuts to the heart. As I read I could not but hope and pray that the words would have an effect upon my heart and my life. A number of the poems moved me in significant ways. I copied Oblation and The Knight out in my journal.

I end up seeing myself both as Rilke observing others and as those whom he observes. I always look forward to pursuing more of his writings. This book was a great edition with the English translation and the German original on facing pages.

(First written as Journal Reading Notes in 1999.)

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Read Me A Book by: Barbara Reid

Read Me A Book
Barbara Reid
Scholastic
ISBN 9780439937177

We received this book free in a welcome pack from the Ontario Early Years Centers when our first child was born. It is a great little book about the joy and pleasure of reading. It is one of the first books I read my daughter and she asked for it
again and again. The story is written in a rhyming verse that is fun and easy to read. The story is light and bouncy and the illustrations fantastic.

Barbara Reid is a world renowned Canadian author and illustrator. Reid h
as won just about every Canadian award for children's authors or illustrators, and her unique plasticine illustrations are known and recognized the world over. In this story she not only uses her trademark images to encourage reading and family activities, it's a great little book. Our first copy has been destroyed by use and has needed to be replaced.

(Images courtesy Barbara Reid.)

Book written and illustrated by Barbara Reid:
Zoe's Year (2012)
Picture A Tree (2011)
The Party (2010)
Perfect Snow (2009)
Sing a Song of Mother Goose (2007)
Fox Walked Alone (2009)
Read Me A Book (2004)
The Subway Mouse (2003)
Zoe's Rainy Day (1992)
Zoe's Sunny Day (1992)
Zoe's Windy Day (1992)
Zoe's Snowy Day (1992)
The Golden Goose (2000)
Fun With Modelling Clay (1998)
The Party (1997)
First Look Board Books: Acorn to Oak Tree (1999)
First Look Board Books: Seed To Flower (1999)
First Look Board Books: Caterpillar to Butterfly (1999)
First Look Board Books: Tadpole to Frog (1999)
Two By Two (1992)
Sing A Song of Mother Goose (1987)

Book illustrated by Barbara Reid:

Peg & The Yeti (2004)
Gifts (1995)
Effie (1990)
Have You Seen Birds? (1986)
The New Baby Calf (1984)
Jenny Greenteeth (1983)
Mustard (1983)


Books contributed to:
Read Me A Story (2010)
Dream; a Tale of Wonder, Wisdom & Wishes (2004)
Mother Goose: A Canadian Sampler (1994)

Author Profile and Interview with Barbara Reid

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Nigger of the Narcissus: A Tale of the Forecastle by: Joseph Conrad

Nigger of the Narcissus:
A Tale of the Forecastle
Joseph Conrad

Various Editions

Originally published in 1897this book is considered to be the turning point in Conrad's career. The book has also been published under the title The Children of the Sea: A Tale of the Forecastle.

This is a very good short novel. It has strong characters, great navel insight and is a study of the character of men. It also has to do with the lives of men in general - the good, the bad, and the indifferent.


In an interesting way it weaves a tale of deceit that becomes a reality. James "Jimmy" Waits, a west Indian black sailor waits for illness and is waiting for death.

It explores not only the deceits of men, but how man deals with illness and death in confined space. It was an excellent read.

It is available for free download from Project Gutenburg.

(First written as Journal Reading Notes in 1999.)

Friday, 12 December 2008

Fox Walked Alone by: Barbara Reid

Fox Walked Alone
Barbara Reid
Scholastic
ISBN 9780545989985


Fox walked alone is Barbara Reid's retelling of the story of Noah's Ark. It is the story of Fox who follows the other animals even though they are traveling in pairs. It is incredibly well written and the illustrations are awesome. This will be a
great book for children of all ages.

Famous for her plasticine illustrations, Canadian author and illustrator Barbara Reid is world renowned. Reid has won just about every Canadian award for children's authors or illustrators. She won the Governor General's Literary Award for Children's Illustration for The Party and this book was nominated for 7 awards.

(Images courtesy Barbara Reid.)

Book written and illustrated by Barbara Reid:
Zoe's Year (2012)
Picture A Tree (2011)
The Party (2010)
Perfect Snow (2009)
Sing a Song of Mother Goose (2007)
Fox Walked Alone (2009)
Read Me A Book (2004)
The Subway Mouse (2003)
Zoe's Rainy Day (1992)
Zoe's Sunny Day (1992)
Zoe's Windy Day (1992)
Zoe's Snowy Day (1992)
The Golden Goose (2000)
Fun With Modelling Clay (1998)
The Party (1997)
First Look Board Books: Acorn to Oak Tree (1999)
First Look Board Books: Seed To Flower (1999)
First Look Board Books: Caterpillar to Butterfly (1999)
First Look Board Books: Tadpole to Frog (1999)
Two By Two (1992)
Sing A Song of Mother Goose (1987)

Book illustrated by Barbara Reid:

Peg & The Yeti (2004)
Gifts (1995)
Effie (1990)
Have You Seen Birds? (1986)
The New Baby Calf (1984)
Jenny Greenteeth (1983)
Mustard (1983)


Books contributed to:
Read Me A Story (2010)
Dream; a Tale of Wonder, Wisdom & Wishes (2004)
Mother Goose: A Canadian Sampler (1994)

Author Profile and Interview with Barbara Reid

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Anne of Avonlea by: L.M. Montgomery

Anne of Avonlea
L.M. Montgomery

Various Editions


Like the first Anne book, Anne of Green Gables, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. And though many think these books sentimental mush, I seemed to garner a lot from reading them.

They teach me to see God in new and exciting ways - to see God more in Nature and the world around me that He has created - to look for the best in all people I meet, especially those who are hard to like, ie Mrs. Rachael Lynd and Mr. Harrison. We have to learn to see past the exterior to see the person inside.

(First written as Journal Reading Notes in 1999.)

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard

Grumpy Bird
Jeremy Tankard
Scholastic
ISBN 9780439851473

This book was written to help children see that they can change a grumpy mood. We follow Bird as he begins his day grumpy and tries to stay grumpy. Jeremy Tankard has written and illustrated a great book, with fun, bright and vibrant colors. It is a great story book for the younger members of your families, or as a cure for your own bad mood.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Anne of Green Gables by: L.M. Montgomery

Anne of Green Gables
L.M. Montgomery

Various Editions


I read this book for a university course, and I was surprised by the book. I did not expect to enjoy it but ended up enjoying it quite a bit. I actually found that I could not put it down. There are so many themes and issues covered in the book. Like Matthew in the book, I found I fell in love with Anne and as Anne grew I was challenged to growth.

The themes in the book that grabbed me most were:

Importance of Trees
Importance of Naming
Death of hope
Prayers
Tears of healing
Belonging
Dreams
Alice in Wonderland References (Moral Duchess)
Looking Glass Friend
Sacred Memories
Self Naming "Anne of GG"
Desire to Fit In
Friendship
Time
Kindred Spirits
Anne being "All Spirit, Fire and Dew."
Etiquette

This book was so good that even though I only needed to read it for the course I ended up reading a few of the other books in the series.

(First written as Journal Reading Notes in 1999.)

Friday, 5 December 2008

Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom by: John O'Donohue

Anam Cara:
A Book of Celtic Wisdom

John O'Donohue

Harper Collins
- Browse Inside
ISBN 9780060929435


This was a wonderful book. I am very thankful to both Fr. Jim Link and Fr. Paul Quinon for recommending it to me. I must admit that I did not get it all, but much of the Celtic Spirituality presented touched my spirit, my mind, my intellect and my soul.

It is a book about the Celtic worldview and way of life. It has made me even more homesick for the land of the Celts; it aroused a desire to return to Ireland or Scotland. Yet I realized that I would need to learn to live the Celtic way/mode here before I could even consider going back across the pond.

The book made me realize how much I needed to simplify my life, and prompted me to take a semester off school to help establish a new pattern of living and of being. It prompted me to reestablish a stronger pattern of work, bible study, prayer, reading and pursuing God and his will above all else, to try to live each day to the full, to live to be a good and true friend, and to learn to be better at being.

As an aside there are two more books by O'Donohue that follow the same spirit: Eternal Echoes and To Bless the Space Between Us both of which I attempted to read on a number of occasions but was unable to make it through. One of his books of poetry conamara blues - I ended up reading a number of times.


(First written as Journal Reading Notes in 1999.)

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Political Commentary


I normally do not do a lot of political commentary. To be honest it is not really my thing. But The proposed Canadian Coalition Government has raised so many issues and so much debate I wanted to say a little.

First a number of people on both sides of the fence on this have made some great points. Michael Davenport at Valacosa's Thoughts has one of the most reasoned and researched pieces on the events. Blazing Cat Fur has a number of posts on the topic. Also most media outlets sites have articles with 1000's and 1000's of responses.

All I can say is it is legal, it has happened before federally and provincially and I for one am glad to see Harper not as prime minister.

Petition To Support
Petition to Oppose

Globe and Mail Reader Poll
CTV's comments on growing web reaction.
Great National Post Article.

(Hat tip to Davenport for the links.)

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

A Tarnished Phoenix by: James Melville

A Tarnished Phoenix
James Melville

ISBN 071263651X

Doubleday


I actually picked this book up for the cover art. I had a friend looking to get a tattoo of a phoenix and I was keeping my eye out for images for him. This one caught my eye. But not being one to spend money on a book and not read it or at least try to read it, I gave it a go.

This book is way outside my normal reading genres. First it is a spy novel, suspense thriller. Second it has a strong romantic element, yet with that being said, once into it I could not put it down.

It is a fascinating story set in post WWII Japan under MacArthur's administration. It has great characters, a very complex plot and is extremely well written. It was both intriguing and heartwarming at the same time. There were numerous interesting plot twists and developments and the pace was excellent.

(First written as Journal Reading Notes in 1999.)

Monday, 1 December 2008

Meme: A Book Meme - Book Award

Well I got myself tagged twice, the second was my own fault I was planning on Tagging Ebeth at A Catholic Mom Climbing the Pilliars, but had not yet responded to Jean at Catholic Fire tagged me first.
The Rules:
Pass this on to 5 blogging friends. Open the closest book to you, not your favorite or most intellectual book, but the book closest to you at the moment, to page 56. Write the 5th sentence, as well as two to five sentences following that.

"I am in a hurry and must write quickly. I have only tonight to leave for you what I can and to hide it well. I don't know if this will ever be found, but it is a good precaution, and so I'll take the time to write it. Using the basket to hide this book of secret things up high will be another challenge, but I believe I can do it without anyone catching me. We shall see." - The House of Power: Atherton Book 1 Patrick Carman.

This passage was excerpted from Fulton J. Sheen's The World's First Love, Doubleday Image Book, 1952.

I am passing this award/meme on to:

1. Two Guys Named Jeff at Thursday Night Gumbo
2. Holly Black
3. Fionnchu at Blogtrotter
4. James at Real Life Rosary
5. Ellen at Divine Serendipity