Sunday 23 April 2017

Stirred by a Noble Theme: God's Heart, Israel and the Nations - Annie Elliott

It's not a terribly long book, about 200 pages, but Stirred by a Noble Theme: God's Heart, Israel and the Nations, by Christian pastor and personal friend Annie Elliott, delivers a religious, spiritual and powerful punch, and one overriding message. That message, simply enough and painstakingly documented using Biblical literature, is that the land of Israel, for all eternity, belongs to God and the Jewish people. Period, end of argument.

Thursday 2 March 2017

Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

For me one of the best parts of reading 19th century British literature is imagining the author's 19th century British experiences and perspectives. Compared to what we now enjoy just over 100 years later, Thomas Hardy's were extremely limited. It's fascinating to picture him, hunched over his desk -- in Higher Brockhampton, Dorset, England, where he lived for all but five of his 87 years -- under a dim, recently-invented electric light bulb, writing with an unperfected, recently-invented ballpoint pen, or possibly with a revolutionary yet antediluvian typewriter. Under such conditions, employing his collective historical knowledge and exceptional talent, he produced dozens of short stories, hundreds of poems and 15 great novels, among them the 1889 masterpiece Tess of the D'Urbervilles.

Tuesday 24 January 2017

Most of These Stories are Somewhat True - Jeff Mackwood

The 2015 soft-cover book titled Most of These Stories are Somewhat True (Naughty and Nice), by Ottawa's Jeff Mackwood, is pure delight in 228 pages. Okay, some of it is a little annoying, but then I'm pretty sure that doesn't bother the author, who I only met after the book was published. It could be called an autobiography in 101 vignettes, which together draw the picture of a man who - though he claims to be secretly introverted - comes across as highly confident, mentally healthy, physically strong and tall, extremely smart, competent, articulate, funny, well-travelled, tough and athletic, a guy with a terrific family and an interesting, humorous way of interpreting his own unique experiences. But because of the title, the reader is frequently left asking: Is this true or is it a somewhat bold-faced lie?

Sunday 1 January 2017

The Glory and the Dream: A Narrative History of America 1933 - 1972 - William Manchester

Talk about a trip down memory lane. Every famous and notorious occurrence that took place from the Depression until Watergate -- as well as some not-so-famous events -- is recounted in The Glory and the Dream: A Narrative History of America 1932 - 1972. William Manchester's 1400-page tome, which made the New York Times best seller list in 1975, begins with a long reach back to the darkest days of the darkest decade. It moves forward one excruciating, exciting -- and yes, even the odd boring -- year at a time until, some 40 chapters later, it finishes at the beginning of Richard Nixon's second term as president.