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Book Notes: Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane by Suzanne Collins

    Summary I love this series. Gregor , book 2 in The Underland Chronicles, is an epic for young adults--probably the same audience as Narnia , Wingfeather , and Green Ember . It is a fast-paced, heart-tugging adventure story that takes place deep underground. This book has brains and heart. Like everything I’ve read by Collins, there isn’t a word in the wrong place. Nothing is wasted or confusing or missing. Why I read it I read and loved the first book in the series while we were on vacation. After reading several more serious books since then, I wanted a break to read a lighter book. I can't believe I waited so long to read this series since I loved Hunger Games . I've never heard anyone mention this book. f Quotes Gregor realized that the journey filled with squids and whirlpools and mites and serpents and loss, great loss, had change them. It had made the oath they had sworn in front of that furious crowd in Regalia real. 210   "Run like the River, Ripred," said

Book Notes: Emma by Jane Austen

   Summary This is my favorite Jane Austen novel. It feels like a modern situation and story. It is the story of a young woman who thinks she has the world figured out. Her attempts to craft people, relationships, and situations to her liking meet the chaos and complication of real life. When I finished it, the word that came to mind was “delightful.” It’s just a fun story. Why I read it I realized a year or so ago that my favorite books have tended to be literature, but I also realized that I don't read much literature. To correct that, I made a resolution this year to read all of Jane Austen's novels that I haven't read. This is the 5th of her 6 novels. Quotes If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. 445   The affection which he had been asking to be allowed to create, if he could, was already his. 447   Key Takeaways This is my favorite Jane Austen novel. This is long (500 pages or so) and worth reading. I would just read it along with something lighte

Book Notes: All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot

  Summary I love these short reflections on life as a country vet. They are good for reading one or two per night before bed. This collection of columns is deeper and more thoughtful. They draw from history and they jump back and forth more than the first collection. This one also describes the transitions in life on farms in the early-mid 1900's. Why I read it We have really enjoyed the TV series based on Herriot's stories. I intended this to be my light reading before bed. Quotes And as the years passed I often wondered on the beneficent providence which had decreed that an animal which had spent his first twelve months abandoned and unwanted, staring uncomprehendingly into that unchanging, stinking darkness, should be whisked in a moment into an existence of light and movement and love. Because I don't think any dog had it quite so good as Roy from then on.  78       "You are quite proud of your little dog, aren't you Nellie," I said, and the gentle squinti

Book Notes: None Like Him by Jen Wilken

Summary It is a short summary of the non-communicable attributes of God like eternity and self-existence, an explanation of our limits in the face of God’s limitlessness, and applications of that gap between God and us. I appreciate how she applies doctrine and doesn’t just describe it. It is aimed at women, but I think it is a book everyone should read Why I read it I finished reading John Frame's The Doctrine of God and wanted something shorter than 500 pages to read in my mornings. I've been reading systematics, historical theology, and N.T. Wright for the last 4 years. This also came highly recommended by my wife. Quotes Just as my assurance of salvation rests in the fact that God cannot change, my hope of sanctification rests in the fact that I can.  87      The raging of the nations can be navigated only by keeping a fixed point in view: the Lord God , seated on his throne. 91     We eagerly await Unbound 2.0 and 3.0, wondering what new advance will free us even further

Book Notes: Krakatoa by Simon Winchester

   Summary This is about the largest volcano eruption in recorded history. Winchester explores the causes, effects, and results of the explosion from many angles: history, culture, science, technology, religion, etc. Winchester's writing style is stiff and difficult (I've read two books by him this year), but if you are interested in Krakatoa or Indonesia, then it is readable. Why I read it I have heard interesting stories about Krakatoa, so I wanted to learn more. I also love Indonesia after spending two weeks there when I was in seminary. Quotes 13 percent of the earth's surface vibrated audibly, and millions who lived there heard it, and when told what it was were amazed. 264   To the outside world the eruption of 1883 may have spelled death and devastation. To the world of biology and botany, however, the subsequent energetic happenings on islands in the Sunda Strait represent nothing more nor less than a freeze-frame picture of the future of life itself--a demonstratio

Book Notes: Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

   Summary Gregor falls through a vent in his apartment building and is transported to a new world where he goes on a journey, fights battles, and learns about himself. It is kind of Alice in Wonderland meets The Odyssey . Why I read it I wanted a fun book to read on vacation that wasn't a slog. I enjoyed Collins' Hunger Games trilogy (as much as one can enjoy such a brutal series). I've been meaning to read this for years and finally picked up. I'm so glad that I did. Quotes "Fly you high!" (spoken throughout)    "Hope," said Vikus. "There are times it will be very hard to find. Times when it will be much easier to choose hate instead. But if you want to find peace, you must first be able to hope it is possible." 301   Key Takeaways This is super fun epic fantasy story for kids and young adults. I really enjoy Collins’ writing because everything works so well. I said years ago that Hunger Games is the most perfectly written series--also

Book Notes: The Reason for God by Tim Keller

Summary This book is tremendous! It is an explanation of the Christian faith for today. Part one describes why common criticisms of Christianity undercut themselves. Keller makes the point that skeptics should doubt their doubts. Part two is an explanation of reasons to believe in Christ--Keller calls some of them clues that lead to God rather than proofs for God. Keller’s point is that Christianity is not simply an argument or a series of rational beliefs but a system that makes sense of the world and an invitation to a relationship of joy with the God of the universe. Why I read it I reread this after reading Andy Stanley’s Irresistible because I wanted to read a different way to engage skepticism than Stanley’s. This is much more satisfying to me. Stanley’s apologetic seems to be a combination of good hermeneutics with bold marketing as his apologetics. I think that leads to more confusion and skepticism rather than less. I prefer a careful and compelling invitation like The Reason