Friday, September 24

Demon: A Memoir

When I finished this book I had two reactions: I loved it. And I hated it.
I am, by nature, an aspiring screenwriter. And one of the first things any screenwriter will tell you is to avoid exposition. Exposition is death in film and so I have learned to run away from exposition whenever possible. However, Demon: A Memoir is almost pure exposition. It is the story of Clay and a demon named Lucian. Lucian tells Clay of how Lucifer fell and then tells the story of creation and salvation through a demon's eyes. In some ways this book brings to mind Dinner with a Perfect Stranger, in that almost the whole book is a conversation over various dinners. Because of this, it is jarring when in the middle of a description of the creation of man and waiter might come up and refill glasses. Sometimes these events later become important, but other times they are mere distractions.

There is not must action in this book, and as such it can adopt a slow pace.

Slow however, does not mean boring. On the contrary, Tosca Lee manages to keep the excitement up, which is hard to do in a slow moving novel.

Here's what I liked: the descriptions used by Lucian about the fall and about human nature are beautifully done. It reminded me of descriptions used by C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity only more poetic. It is the different viewpoint offered in this book that allowed me to take in the exposition. For this novel, it worked. And Lee avoids the demons present in stories such as The Exorcist or even Ted Dekker's Adam. Her demon is still evil, though at first almost sympathetic. But the way she makes him sympathetic and then turns it around is haunting and scary. Much more frightening than many others.

3.5/5

Thursday, September 23

The Gospel According to Jesus

The Gospel According to Jesus by Chris Seay
When I picked up The Gospel According to Jesus, I wasn’t sure what to expect. At first I expected something along the lines of The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey. I quickly realized this wasn’t the case. What this book is instead, is largely a look at the idea of righteousness, what we interpret it to be, and perhaps what it should mean to us instead.

Chris Seay (who also authored The Gospel According to Lost) has a great way with words. His ideas flow well together and he seems like a mix of Donald Miller and Shane Clayborn, not only in style but in content. His thoughts are extremely relevant to today’s society. It especially hits on how our modern idea of morality and sin affect younger generations.

One thing I found particularly interesting was some artwork in the middle of the book. It was done by a contemporary artist and seemed to blend a Christian worldview with issues of today. Page numbers are then given to help show which areas of the book the images go along with, to support the authors idea.
4/5 stars

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com [...] book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Friday, September 10

Outlive Your Life - Lucado

Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado

If you have ever read a Max Lucado book before, you probably have noticed that all of his books follow a similar set up. The same is true with Lucado’s latest book – Outlive Your Life. Lucado follows the old adage of “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?”. And it’s not broke as far as I can tell (though I have only read a couple of his books).

Outlive Your Life is sort of how the title describes: encouraging people to do something more with their life than following your now stereotypical daily routine. In reading it, I realized that it is a very timely book, especially for younger generations. As a college student, one of the questions I face often is wondering what I will do with my life. How can I better the world? And Lucado speaks to these worries.

The chapter that stood out to me the most was the sixth chapter – “Open Your Door; Open Your Heart” — a chapter on hospitality. In a culture consumed by smart phones, twitter, and text messaging it is easy to see how we have lost the gift of hospitality and human interaction. And yet Lucado describes why it is important.

For anyone asking questions about how they can live to make their life worth something, this book will be push you and show you what you can do. If you are in a job where you feel that you are doing something worthwhile, let this book encourage you. It is a simple book but profound at the same time.

4/5 stars.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com [...] book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Tuesday, September 7

Falling Away

The Falling Away
The Falling Away is the latest book by T.L. Hines and the first book of his that I have picked up.
This is the story of Dylan, a wounded Iraq war veteran and a man who ends up being in the middle of a huge conflict of good and evil. Plus, he has a past that he feels the need to escape from-run away from (a bit of obvious irony on the part of the author as the character’s full name is Dylan Runs Ahead.
Overall the story is fast paced, moving quickly through plot points and it was supported by a strong writing style. I appreciated that although it was a spiritual/supernatural thriller, Hines doesn’t try to make the book overly religious to the point where it would bog down the story.
However, one of the weaker points of the book is what I am finding to be the typical wounded war veteran character. More and more those veterans were victims of an IED in Iraq and the opening pages/chapters recount their recovery process and the pain they’ve gone through while they are beginning to be affected by deep psychological side effects. *sigh*. I will give Hines the credit of creating a well rounded character who is easy to connect with
I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com [...] book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255