Friday, December 31, 2010

Books for December 2010

Treat Your Own NeckTreat Your Own Neck by Robin McKenzie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A good book, and helpful for considering body mechanics and healthy ergonomic practices as well as useful stretches for both recovery and prevention of neck pain.

The Children of MenThe Children of Men by P.D. James
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Very good story, though quite dark for much of the book. I had read that it had an apocalyptic angle to it, and it certainly does. James deals with matters of faith a little bit flippantly for my tastes, but not so much that it obscured the quality of the story.

The Subversive Copy Editor: Advice from Chicago (or, How to Negotiate Good Relationships with Your Writers, Your Colleagues, and Yourself)The Subversive Copy Editor: Advice from Chicago by Carol Fisher Saller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Very good book; an interesting look at copy-editing and the functional dynamics of the work. There are a lot of good workflow ideas and advice here, as well as fun anecdotes and a lighter approach to the work of publishing.

View all my reviews

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Bits and Tidbits, end-of-the-year 2010

Funny: Help! My Half-Elf Is Pregnant! These are excerpts from a Dungeons & Dragons magazine advice column. Very funny stuff.
Strangely Beautiful: Lori Nix's Stunning, Tiny Dioramas Depict an Abandoned World. These are amazing, and betray a fascinating worldview as well.
Also Funny: Awkward Pregnancy Photos. It still surprises me what some people consider artistic and/or appropriate. (Warning: one pic has a bare booby.)
A Real Problem: Walking Santa, Talking Christ. A look at the real statistical differences between those who say they are active in church vs. those who actually ARE active.
Mayonnaise: The Guiltless Pleasure. I like this piece, not so much because I agree with his love of mayo, but because I love his writing style.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone. I pray that, as Advent comes to a close this afternoon, and Christmastide begins, the Lord will bless each of you with the joy of His coming and the hope of His grace and mercy.

Here are some especially delightful Christmas treats for your listening pleasure (video links-- click through to the blog if you're reading this on Facebook)-- some of the lesser-known, but absolutely beautiful, carols:

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Books for fall 2010

The "bad news is that I haven't done a very good job of keeping track of books I've read lately. The good news is that I'm using a new (to me) service called GoodReads that will clean up my reviews a bit. I'll make use of GoodReads's sharing tools to post reviews here.
Books I've read fairly recently:
Agnes, Daughter of William the Baptist or The Young TheologianAgnes, Daughter of William the Baptist or The Young Theologian by James M. Chaney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was the “sequel” to Chaney’s William the Baptist: annotated edition, and follows Agnes, one of William and Dora’s children who wishes to be admitted to the Communion Table for the Sacrament. Like William the Baptist it is written in a dialogue style, and it is very readable.
Agnes is not quite as good as William, which may explain why it is so hard to find a copy. Still, it is a good book and worth the read, if you can find it!

Acts of the Apostles (Mind Over Matter Series)Acts of the Apostles by John F.X. Sundman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A good, fun read. After a somewhat complicated start, this one will draw you in and keep you interested.
I read it as an ebook; I'm not sure if it is available in print. It reads well as etext, which seems a bit fitting given the subject (though it feels a little dated, set in the mid-90s). There were a few annoying artifacts which I am pretty sure are the fruit of using Smashwords, not poor editing. But overall, it was well laid-out and flowed well in iBooks.

A Guide to Biblical Commentaries & Reference WorksA Guide to Biblical Commentaries & Reference Works by John Frederick Evans
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book is unlike any I have seen: while D.A. Carson and Tremper Longman both have offered similar bibliographies and surveys in the past, neither was as thorough nor as detailed as Evans. Furthermore, both Carson and Longman (understandably) focused on only one of the testaments.
Evans’s A Guide to Biblical Commentaries & Reference Works is the most comprehensive survey of commentaries around. It is very up-to-date, even including commentaries released in the second half of 2010. And it is extremely useful, offering guides for students of the Bible from every level.
Any seminary or Bible college student, pastor or ministry worker, or even professors who interact with the Bible will be grateful for this as a ready-reference.
(Full disclosure: I work with the ministry that publishes this volume.)

A Visit from the Goon SquadA Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I didn’t finish this book, but I’m done with it, at least for now. I read a little more than 50% of it.
This is a strange book. It’s more of a collection of short stories, with the characters in the stories loosely connected to the characters in the other stories. It jumps around in a historical timeline with no evident rationale, and at the beginning of each chapter (which is actually a new short story) you’re disoriented and lost for a few paragraphs. There are some sections that are frank about adult ideas, but very little that is explicit.
Still, it was a reasonably good book (the part I read). I put it down for a few weeks, and when I came back to it I was completely lost. I didn’t start over, but I did have to work to regain a sense of who was who. After a couple of tries, I simply lost interest. I think a good bit of the reason why was that I had very little invested in the characters, as I had encountered each of them only briefly in one or two stories.
I think the writer is clever with much of what she does here, and this might be a great book for a vacation or holiday when it could be read straight-through over a few days.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, December 1, 2010