"Thanks and thanks again to Him who offers to the man whom the sorrows of life have assaulted and left naked–offers to him the fig leaf of the Word with which he can cover his wretchedness." -Søren Kierkegaard

Book Reviews

Posted in Stuff I'm Reading by matt on Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My job leaves me with an inordinate amount of free time these days. Thai work places are…less than efficient, so I just get all my work done like a Western-minded American and then I have hours upon hours to read, get angry at cross-word puzzles, and eat every scrap of food in the office.

Here’s a list of books I’ve recently read along with a few thoughts.

(1) My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George – Apparantly every kid but me read this in gradeschool. Goose was so amazed that I hadn’t ready his favorite book that he bought me a copy as a wedding present. I loved it. It’s like a more kid-friendly version of Into the Wild (which is another story Goose got me into). God bless the Goose and his wild heart.

(2) The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky – Everyone should read this book. It’s a challenge for the average American attention span, but the themes of redemption, the question of God’s existence, and the role of religion in modern society are pretty awesome. Not to mention there are a couple chapters that absolutely blew me away (again). Dostoevsky is a giant.

(3) Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer – I’m almost ashamed of mentioning that I even read these “vampire make-out books” as Ben called them, but they were pretty good stories. The only thing I really didn’t like about them was how feminine they were. Practically no action and everything told from an emotional, high school girl’s perspective doesn’t really lend itself to male readers. Though I’ll admit it…Edward Cullen is quite the hottie.

(4) One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey – In terms of length and style I’d call this an easy read, but there’s nothing “easy” about its content. When I finished it I’d lost my appetite and didn’t even wanna go to lunch. Set in a nut house, it revolves around a tense conflict between the head nurse and a male patient, and the ending was pretty disturbing.

(5) The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo – Ok so I didn’t actually read this book. Jon told me about a free deal on iTunes where they were letting people download it for free, so I threw it on my iPod and was pleasantly surprised. At times it seemed self-helpish and superficial, but overall I enjoyed the simplicity of Coehlo’s writing style. He uses lots of concise phrases full of simple words, and somehow that made the story a lot more meaningful. Overall I really liked it.

(6) Your Best Life Now by Joel Osteen – This book made me so angry that I couldn’t finish it. I think it’s deceptive half-truths and a false gospel centered around the superficial happiness of people makes it dangerous. Only in a Disneyland like America could we be so spoiled that we buy into the lie that God is this magnificent Father Christmas who’s all about getting us out of debt, making us financially prosperous and helping our dreams come true. This is the kind of false teaching spoken about in Scripture that will “tickle their ears”. Ugh. Ok I’m done.

So that’s what I’ve been reading as of late. Apart from Scripture I really haven’t been reading much theological stuff lately. I realized there are so many great novels that I haven’t read, so I’m gonna spend a couple years whittling down my “novels to-read” list.

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