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A Year with G. K. Chesterton -- Kevin Belmonte
Written by Mike Noel   
Saturday, 15 December 2012

A Year with G. K. Chesterton -- Kevin Belmonte 

As the title suggests, this is a reading-per-day style book.  Each day contains a brief scripture excerpt, a comment on that scripture by Chesterton, one or two selections from Chesterton's published works, and a snippet from his literary biography associated with that day.  The readings are clever and insightful.  They are though-provoking, as daily readings should be, and help one to think about their own world view.  Especially when dealing with topics such as the nature of man, Christianity, and the place of religion in modern society.

 

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10 Christians Everyone Should Know -- John Perry
Written by Mike Noel   
Friday, 28 September 2012

10 Christians Everyone Should Know

This book is a collection of 10 mini-biographies of notable historical figures.  The list includes a diverse set of subjects ranging from Galileo to Bach.  All of the individuals were devoted Christians and each biography gives an overview of their accomplishments while showing how faith was central to their character and actions.

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Illusion -- Frank Peritti
Written by Mike Noel   
Saturday, 14 April 2012

Image

I must say that I was quite pleasantly pleased with Peretti's latest novel Illusion.  Out of the blue I received an invitation from the publisher (or their marketing team) to provide a blogger's review of the book.  Normally I'm not a Peretti fan but I decided to give it a shot.  I'm glad I did!  Illusion is a captivating, surprising, and entertaining book.  Although Frank Peretti is known for his supernatural thrillers he had departed from that genre entirely with this book.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 14 April 2012 )
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Real Marriage -- Mark & Grace Driscoll
Written by Mike Noel   
Saturday, 21 January 2012

Real Marriage

In Real Marriage Mark and Grace Driscoll attempt to provide solid advice to married couples. The topics cover a wide range of marital issues but the primary focus is on physical intimacy.  It maynot be the authors' intention to put the focus here. In fact, I would guess that the authors meant to show that improved physical intimacy would be an emergent quality once the other areas of the marriage were improved.  

The book is authored by both Mark and Grace Driscoll. Most books with coauthors will have authors alternate on chapters or will have one primary author as the "voice" of the book. Mark and Grace interwove their authorship seamessly on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis -- sometimes even changing author in the middle of a paragraph. The constant switching took a little getting used to but once I became comfortable with it I enjoyed that style.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 21 January 2012 )
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The Book of Man -- William Bennett
Written by Mike Noel   
Monday, 28 November 2011

The Book of Man

The Book Of Man: Readings on the Path to Manhood is the latest by William Bennett (author of The Book of Virtues and The Moral Compass).  This book is a collection of short writings collected from various authors sprinkled with original essays and profiles written by Bennett himself.  All of the writings, taken from such diverse sources such as Homer, Augustine, and Mark Twain, are focused on the point of what it means to be a man.  This may seem to be a presumptuous task and certainly vulnerable to accusations of male chauvanism or misogyny but Bennett does well to avoid these twins dangers.  In fact, one entire section (100 pages) of the book is devoted to the interaction between man and woman (and children) and he demonstrates nothing but the need to hold women in high esteem.


 

Last Updated ( Monday, 28 November 2011 )
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Ringworld -- Larry Niven
Written by Mike Noel   
Sunday, 30 October 2011

ringworld

Larry Niven's Ringworld is considered a science fiction classic.  Somehow I missed reading it back when I was in highschool.  I have a suspicion that I started reading back then but I must have stopped.  The first chapter or two were quite familiar but then after that everything was new.

The book revolves around the place called Ringworld.  This is a strip of land that orbits around a central star. The inside (sun facing) of this strip has been terraformed to build an earthlike environment.  The land spins so that centrifugal force balances against the gravitational pull of the star.  This land is incredibly vast with a surface area three million times the surface area of earth.

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They Also Serve -- Mike Moscoe
Written by Mike Noel   
Tuesday, 04 October 2011

they also serve

One of the things that comes with the territory in the science fiction genre is the fact that things don't always make sense -- at least not right away.  But in good science fiction all of the strange things eventually resolve into some sort of coherence.  Unfortunately this wasn't the case with They Also Serve by Mike Moscoe.  The crew of Second Chance makes a bad "jump" through space and ends up at a planet in some unknown area of the universe.   Against all odds, this is the same planent that another ship accidently stumbled across 300 years earlier.  In order for the crew to get back to their home planet they need to establish a base and build the required resources. Seems simple enough.

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The Final Summit -- Andy Andrews
Written by Mike Noel   
Sunday, 03 July 2011

The Final Summit

The Final Summit by Andy Andrews describes the "final" summit meeting of many of the world's great thinkers throughout all of time to address the issue of how to save mankind. The archangel Gabriel, supposedly at God's command, has organized this meeting.  But it is more than just a friendly gathering.  Gabriel announces that if the group of people cannot correctly find the answer on how to save mankind, they will be destroyed.  The group is given a time limit and some rules on how to conduct the meeting.  Under this structure, the majority of the book consists of 'conversations' between these notable people.  

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Orthodoxy -- G. K. Chesterton
Written by Mike Noel   
Thursday, 10 March 2011

Orthodoxy

Orthodoxy is one of those books that has developed some legend around it.  References to this little book pop up all over the place in Christian literature as if everyone who is anyone has read the book.  It always receives high praise.  So much so that the praise is simply assumed and never stated.  After reading this I too sense the richness of the book.  One time through is not enough.

If we consider Lewis to be the first layer of the apologetics onion then Chesterton is the second layer. A little stronger.  A little denser.  And certainly a little less obvious.  But this book is excellent. 

One thing that must be said right from the start is that Orthodoxy is metaphorical.  All throughout the book Chesteron relies on metaphor to make his point.  The logical rigor and abstract philosophy that Lewis brings to his works is just not there.  This can make the book either better or worse, depending on your likes.  As for myself, I simply took it for what it was.

I believe the Chesterton constantly resorted to metaphor simply because he is a poet.  By that I don't necessarily mean that he writes verse, I mean that he expresses passion and life through the use of words and word pictures.   Therefore, using metaphor is the natural way for him to make his point.

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