February 25, 2008
The announcement is that I have decided to migrate all the Book a Week stuff to my new blog, The Pew Reviews. Yes, I've tried something like this before, and I didn't stick with it. But I think this time it will work, because I've got a master plan. And no, I'm not telling you the master plan yet. If you pay attention to what goes on here and there and on the podcast, you'll figure it out eventually. Although if you read this old post, you might get an idea.
February 11, 2008
My review for Hacking is going to be posted at Blogcritics. I didn't really get it through BC, but I've made the contacts at No Starch Press and O'Reilly because of Blogcritics, so I really feel that my reviews of their stuff should go to BC first. I'll post a link here, just as I did with An Incomplete Revenge, and offer a few comments here as well.
February 10, 2008
I really do enjoy this series. I got the third book to review, and grabbed the fourth when it was offered. Then I found the first two in the series in a single volume (actually, my wife found them and got them for me last year to read at the beach). The characterization is quite good, even though Maisie Dobbs seems almost to be a walking anachronism because of her progressive attitudes. Winspear does an incredible amount of research on these books; even the attitudes of the people ring absolutely true to life.
If you enjoy mysteries, or if you enjoy novels set in 1930s England, you should look into the Maisie Dobbs series. I got started just out of curiosity, but they are on my "must read" list now.
February 05, 2008
And I will have this one done by Sunday. In fact, I'm off tomorrow, so I may have it finished then!
In the beginning, you have Benjamin Harris and his Publick Occurrences both Foreign and Domestic (1690). Four pages long, poor formatting, little space between stories -- no headlines. And the first edition was also the last -- Harris' writing was so inflammatory that the colonial government in Boston shut him down. Harris is the forefather of many bloggers who seek to increase readership (and subscribers) by being as outlandish as possible (coughDrudgecough). Unfortunately, there was no freedom of the press back then.
But if Harris was the Drudge of the early colonial period, then John Campbell and his Boston News Letter was the cat blog. Long lasting just because of it's inoffensiveness, Campbell's effort was also excruciatingly dull, and typically included reports of each shipment that came into Boston Harbor.
January 28, 2008
The book this week is Infamous Scribblers by Eric Burns. Subtitled "The Founding Fathers and the Rowdy Beginnings of American Journalism." The book weighs in at over 400 pages, so I'm going to be doing about 70 pages per day to meet my goal -- that's a bit over three chapters, on average.
I've wanted to read this book ever since it came out a couple years ago. Finally bought it over the weekend at Borders, with a gift card my sister gave me for Christmas. I was a bit upset to see the price at Amazon -- it's less than half of what I paid at Borders. I've decided I'm never buying a book at the bookstore again -- there's not enough value added to my experience at a brick and mortar Borders to make me want to pay $10 more for a book. Instant gratification isn't worth that much to me. That's the sad thing about Amazon's dominance in the online bookselling business: they can discount heavily enough that it's not worth driving to the bookstore just to get the book today.
And I'm sure, as my wife said mere moments ago, that I'll be back in the bookstore buying books again in no time. But I'm going to be a lot more conscious about the prices of books that I really want -- bookstore purchases are going to end up being impulse buys, or killer sales. The days of me taking a wishlist to the store and leaving with an armload of books are over. I'll pay the shipping and let the UPS guy haul my books to my house for me.
I had a few problems with the book, though, and part of that is probably due to the size. It seemed at times that Cunningham was trying to say that demonimationalism is wrong and divisive, and that we should work to make denominations a thing of the past. In fact, he does say that denominational leaders should work to resolve the differences between denominations, and not let denominational squabbles interfere with cooperation among Christians. But at the same time, Cunningham also says that we have to teach the truth to people who do not believe the truth.
I don't know of any denominational divides that are over things that people think are not important truths. I'm not talking about things like Bible translations or music styles -- I'm talking about church structure, authority structures within the church, proper candidates for baptism, etc. These are all important issues, but they are issues that will not be resolved any time soon. We can cooperate with each other as long as we don't have to compromise on our doctrinal standards, and we should be doing that. But it seems to me that Cunningham is taking both sides of the issue here -- we have to get over our doctrinal divisions, but we also have to teach other Christians the truth. There's some conflict there, and I'm not sure that Cunningham resolves it in this book.
The book is easy to read, though it seemed to go off on tangents at times that reminded me of a few of my own sermons (and some blog posts, too). Some minor grammatical issues stood out for me (LOTS of commas that were in wrong places), but I don't nit-pick about that. On the whole, the book is an interesting perspective on the Christian Unity issue, but one that unfortunately falls short of providing answers.
January 27, 2008
January 21, 2008
I think unity in the Body is an important subject, but it's also one that has been abused in the Church. We have to be unified, but that doesn't mean we turn a blind eye to heresy and heterodoxy when it appears. That's the path that many seem to take, and I'm looking forward to seeing what Cunningham's take on the subject is.
I picked this book because this is going to be a busy week, and I won't have time to read a longer book. At only 91 pages, this is a book that I can read and do justice to this week.
Stop back on Sunday for the review!
January 20, 2008
The premise of the book seems to be that part of North American (everything east of the Mississippi, judging from the cover art) broke off from the main continent. This landmass is much closer to Europe than the New World was, and thus is discovered and colonized much quicker (1451).
January 14, 2008
From Amazon.com's description
New York Times bestselling author Harry Turtledove has intrigued readers with such thought-provoking "what if..." scenarios as a conquered Elizabethan England in Ruled Britannia and a Japanese occupation of Hawaii in Days of Infamy and End of the Beginning. Now, in the first of a brand-new trilogy, he rewrites the history of the world with the existence of an eighth continent...It sounds promising, and it's pretty unique in terms of alt-history: a POD (point of divergence) that really doesn't hinge on human decision (as far as we know right now).
Atlantis lies between Europe and the East Coast of Terranova. For many years, this land of opportunity lured dreamers from around the globe with its natural resources, offering a new beginning for those willing to brave the wonders of the unexplored land.
So Sunday you'll have the review. I have to have the book finished by Friday, because that's when new releases are due at the library. Yes, I said library. I didn't buy this one. After the last Settling Accounts book I read, I determined that I'd only read Turtledove if I checked it out of the library. I'm almost back to reading him full-time again; this trilogy will probably make the decision for me.
January 13, 2008
It was interesting looking around the internet and reading some of the responses to this book -- especially the negative ones. It's easy, I suppose, to go negative on a book that takes a new approach to something. It's easier than, say, actually admitting that you might be doing something wrong, or looking at something in the wrong way.
On Tuesday, I mentioned a negative review of this book. Well, it wasn't really a review, since I seriously doubt that the folks at Berean Call actually took time to read the book. And they'd probably take great pride in the fact that they haven't read it.
And that's a shame, because when you actually sit down and read the book, you understand where Nowak is coming from. You start to see what Christians can learn from looking around us, at people who don't serve God, and yet are doing tremendous things.
January 08, 2008
The book has generated some controversy among people who focus on the less savory aspects of the samurai way of life, and who seem to have missed the point of the book. But more on that Sunday, when I review the book.
December 26, 2007
ONE: I will be trying to revive the Mark Study and the This Week in Church History features. Both have languished, and both were enjoyable to write, so I'm trying to go back to them.
TWO: I will be reading and blogging a book every week. I've got a backlog of books I've received to review, and this will be a great way to get through the stack. They won't all be winners, and they won't all be Christian books. They may be books I've already read, but I will be reading them that week. I will announce each Sunday what book I'm reading and blogging, and by the following Saturday the review will be up. In some cases, the review here will be a link to the Blogcritics review -- if I get something through them, they get the exclusive review. It's how the site generates revenue, and it's the ethical thing to do even if they didn't ask us all to do it. But I get books through other avenues, and those reviews will go here first. I'm allowing for two or three weeks off, so count on 49 or 50 books this year, starting on January 6th.
THREE: I'm going to be posting a little about various Christian feast days throughout the year. I'm actually stealing this idea from my wife, and she MAY start a blog of her own dedicated to it, but I think it's a great idea. And since today's St. Stephen's Day, I think I'll start with the next post.
There's a common theme among my resolutions -- I want to post regularly. Once upon a time I was a Large Mammal in the TTLB ecosystem. Now, I doubt I'd even show up on the radar. In 2008, I want to change that. I want to get all my readers back, and I THINK I've got a schedule worked out so that can happen.
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