Monday, August 6, 2012

Summer Reading Challenge Update

     Ok, So, at the beginning of the Summer I resolved to participate in a self-imposed reading challenge. I wanted to read 30 books over the summer. It looks doubtful as to whether I'll be able to reach that goal, but I've come a long way so far. I've just now passed the half-way mark! 15 books over the summer so far, and I still have a couple of weeks left! I kind of fell of blogging about them after I finished, so, instead of reviewing each one, I'll just give a brief summary of my thoughts, and whether or not I'd recommend it or not, and a star rating.

#6: Tales of Asgard
    So, after seeing Thor, and the Avengers I just got a huge hankering to read Norse Mythology. I invested in this book and it is one of the best things I've ever read. It probably is not one of the most accurate representations of the Norse gods ever, but here's why. A lot of these stories are adapted from something called the Prose Edda which was written sometime in the 1200's, after Scandinavia had converted to Christianity. The gods in these stories are paragons of moral order (except for Loki, but there always has to be one). The stories are fun and witty, and the very end is amazing. It talks about the Ragnarok - the Twilight of the gods - when everything in the world is destroyed and re-made. And, just when Odin thinks that evil is gone forever, sin pops up again. Despairing, he wonders if there will ever be an end to sin and suffering, and at the very end he hears a prophecy telling on one who will come and destroy sin and death once and for all. An obvious reference to Christ put in by the author of the Prose Edda as a tribute to the Christianity that his people had adopted. Super cool, I would definitely recommend this one!

#7: First the Dead
     This is a book about a man who researches the bugs that eat dead people. Which is gross. He goes to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina to help rescue people and clean up the bodies. He then suspects that someone is using the disaster to cover up murders. Only he can't do anything because he's supposed to be helping the living first, but we all know that he'll solve the murders anyways. It was an ok book, there's nothing wrong with it. An easy read.

#8: Beowulf
     I am the only person I've ever met who read this book under no compulsion. It was a very good book. It was short and to the point which I love. Plus, I got to play the 'See how may things from this book that Tolkien used in Lord of the Rings' game. I got fourteen. It was a good story, and I don't really remember any objectionable content. I enjoyed it, and would recommend it to others. 

#9: The Woman in White
     Alright, so, this was a long book for a reading challenge, but I knocked it out in three days. It's a Sensationalist Novel, which makes it over the top, dramatic, and incredibly fun to read. These people's lives are absolutely ridiculous which is, of course, awesome, because why would I want to read about someone with a normal life? I wouldn't.All that to say I loved it. Recommend it to everyone. 

#10: The Father Brown Stories
    Written by G.K. Chesterton, these are some of the best detective stories ever written. Chesterton was one of the great Christian thinkers with C.S. Lewis and Tolkien in their Inklings group. The Father Brown stories follow Father Brown (fittingly enough) a priest whose experience, rather than making him less able to understand the world, allows him to know people at their worst and gives him keen insight into the human soul. he uses these insights to occasionally solve crimes, and more than occasionally to win people's souls. Written before Chesterton converted to Catholicism these stories still convey deep and important Christian truths. I still don't like them as much as I like Mr. Holmes' stories, but the hero has more to be said for him than Dear Sherlock. My favorite one was the Winged Dagger. Recommend to all mystery lovers.

#11: Where the Broken Heart Still Beats
     This was marketed to me as historical fiction. The only historical part was two of the names, everything else was made up. That's all my disappointment can bring me to say on this book.

12: Robinson Crusoe
     When I first read this book it was an abridged version. I liked it, and figured I'd read the real thing. Guess what the abridged version left out. Oh yeah, that would be the entire point of the book. This is a book written about a man's journey to Christ. It is NOT a book about a man surviving alone on a island. It takes abandonment on an island for this man to think about his life and recognize his need for a savior of his soul, rather than a savior for his body. In the end he gets both. It's a great book, I've always loved it. I love it even more now.

#13: The Mysterious Affair at Styles
     This was my first introduction to the Agatha Christie novels. I enjoyed it thoroughly, I couldn't put it down. Her ending was really clever. However, it was just another mystery novel. It was a good introduction to her work, I want to read more, but I feel like she's written better stories.

#14: Anne of Green Gables
     This is another one that I've re-read, but to be fair I really remembered nothing about it. It was like reading it for the first time. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved Anne. She's so flighty and ridiculous, but grows up pretty well. It's a good book and I recommend it to all. Not my favorite, but still a good read.

#15: Taking Back Astronomy
     So, I LOVE science - especially Astronomy. My church recently had an Apologetics Conference where a member of the Creation Science Institute came and spoke, and I picked up this book there. It's produced by Answers In Genesis, and is basically about the secularization of Astronomy and how the science actually supports a Biblical interpretation of cosmological history. Let it be known that I typically agree with everything Answers In Genesis affirms. I am a literal Six day Creationist, I'm not a Darwinist, so my beef with them isn't a scientific one. All of their material, I believe, is really confrontational. If you do not hold to their exact beliefs you are 100% anti-biblical (that is a quote from the book), and you hate Jesus (that is nowhere in the book, nor on their website, or in nay of their materials, but people make that complaint) and I just find this notion to be ludicrous. 
     I really think that you can be a Christian and believe in an Old Earth creation and still be within the realm of Biblical orthodoxy (I do not think that you can believe in theistic evolution and be OK), it just depends on how you interpret the word yom. I know credible scientists who reject Darwinism completely, and are old earth creationists. It's not like a one or the other thing. The fact is, we just don't know. Also I had an issue with their logic in the book (they rejected uniformitarianism and then used uniformitarianism to defend their own position). It was a good book, I agreed with the conclusion, it was very informative, and I loved the pictures, I just really wish AIG wasn't so confrontational.  

p.s. Despite my thoughts on the book and the organization I still desperately want to go to the Creation Museum.

Next up: Dietrich Bonhoeffer Biography, Ben Hur


  1. Yay Mariah! How many books can you shove in a week? We'll see. >:)

  2. I did 3 once. It just depends on how much time I have and how difficult the material is for me to focus on :/


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