Entries tagged with “Book Review”.


A Walk in the Woods
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It is a little crazy to attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail (AT).  A good friend of mine completed it last year (see his adventure at 2200miles.com) and another friend is attempting it this year (follow along here). Both are raising money for charity as a motivation to complete the 2200 mile journey.

Bill Bryson, author of A Walk in the Woods, didn’t have such a noble purpose when he started out on his quest to hike the AT.   His book serves as a motivating point for many people’s attempts to thru-hike the trail and other smaller adventures.  I’ll admit that while reading much of the book this desire crept into my heart as well.  I could probably hike 2200 miles, but that is what the thousands of people who never finish say too!

My favorite parts of the book were the narratives from the trail.  The “story” part of the book.  Bryson described the adventure and it came to life.  While I can’t imagine the views or the pain and agony of weeks on the trail, I do have an understanding of bits and pieces of what he went through and felt like I was with him and Katz as they hiked, somewhat together!

I wasn’t a fan of all of the rabbit trails  or tangents that he took along the way.  Just the like the AT has a myriad of side trails or “blue blazes” Bryson took many throughout his writing! They related to some part of trail history, lore, or some political point he was attempting to make.  While much of it was interesting and much of it sad, it was a little frustrating to “leave the trail,” especially for the more rantish tales.

I enjoyed A Walk in the Woods and appreciated the ease of reading, even the side trails were easy to read.  I would recommend this if you need some motivation or just desire a little adventure.

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tiltawhirl

I have to say that this is one of the oddest books I’ve read in awhile.  While I think N.D. Wilson had a plan with a coherent story line, Notes From the Tilt-a-Whirl reads more like a ADHD reader’s dream.  Just as I start to track where Wilson is making a point he jumps to a related storyline from earlier in the chapter. Then just as it starts to make sense BAM you are back somewhere else.  I think he made some good points and had many great stories which brought forth God’s plan for our lives – I can’t recall them.

He uses the four seasons and the rotation of the earth as the basis for his points and stories.  Many of these stories are from his own life – chasing waves at the beach, trying to work on the roof of a house before the storm hits.  I appreciated those but was overall disappointed by the content.

This book has gotten some great reviews, but I’m not a fan.  If you are up for an interesting ride give it a shot.

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The title of the book conjured up images of Native Americans and baseball at first thought – not leadership. But that is what Seth Godin wants you to come away with in his most recent book Tribes: We need You to Lead Us.

It makes sense once you think about it a successful leader has a group of followers or a tribe behind him/her. Godin defines a tribe as a “group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader, and an idea. ” The main point of this book is that leaders, true leaders, can come from anywhere and don’t have to have formal power in an organization.  Central to that idea is that leaders lead, not manage their tribe.

Written in 2008, the book incorporates social networking ideas and even talks about then-presidential candidate Obama and his tribe.  It is pretty chopping and he illustrates his points with anecdotal stories – some making more sense and relevance than others.  There are not really any chapters or an outline to follow, but lots of good one-liner inspirations.  Clearly not a typical self-help or checklist book many of his points are relevant.

Leading from where you are

Taking risks and being willing to fail

Not accepting status quo and asking questions

Go first step out in faith and have no fear

This is a fairly quick read with less than 150 pages.  Because of that I would recommend it to others interested in persaonl growth and leadership.

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A friend commented that Not For Sale was available for free as an audiobook so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to “read” this compelling book I had heard about before.  So I downloaded it and put off my normal podcast material for the 8 hours it took to listen.  I am glad I did.

Not for Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade–and How We Can Fight It shares some powerful stories about getting children, women, and even men who get caught up in forced labor – as laborers, prostitutes, child soldiers, and other gruesome situations.    The book tells stories from around the world (including the United States) of both the slaves and the abolitionists who are working to free slaves and prevent future slavery.

Sadly, most people think slavery ended in the 1800’s but some researchers suggest that there are actually more slaves today than at any point during the African slave trade.  As you can tell this is a cause that I care deeply about so I was a little biased by the book.  I think it is a short and relatively easy read and could change the way you look at the world and those “foreigners” at your local restaurant.

I appreciated that the book wasn’t just tales of sorrow and misery but that each chapter also shared the hope and beauty of freedom.   There are a lot of organizations working to end human trafficking and this book shares some of their stories.  It is a “Christian” book but it doesn’t shove Christianity down your throat – just stories.

The biggest thing that I didn’t like about the book was how the stories were interwoven.  You would be reading about one person then pause for a little bit about another and then back and forth.  This was a little confusing in the audio format, but probably made more sense in the written text.

I encourage you to read the book and take action.  The book has an excellent and helpful companion website for the Not For Sale Campaign.  The site offers relevant news, actions to take, and other was to get involved including following their blog.

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The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver was AMAZING! It was hard to place this book down and was so compelling that my wife wanted me to start reading it out loud to her halfway through.

Kingsolver brilliantly tells a story about a family from Georgia who moves to the Congo as missionaries before the world turns upside down and Congo becomes independent from their colonial rulers.  This is a work of historical fiction as she weaves the story of the Congo into the lives of 4 women and a unfortunate man. In her own words

This is a work of fiction. Its principal characters are pure inventions with no relations on this earth, as far as I know.  But the Congo in which I placed them is genuine.  The historical figures and events described here are as real as I could render them with the help of recorded history, in all its fascinating variations.

The story is told by Orleanna Price (mother), Rachael, Leah, Adah (twin of Leah) and Ruth May.  Each person narrates for awhile in their own distinct personality and perspective.  They talk about what is happening, their feelings, and their interaction with each other and their father, Nathan.  From the beginning you can begin to see how their fundamental Christian faith is not going to benefit them much as they negotiate a new and vastly different culture.

The story doesn’t end when tragedy strikes, because that is when the story really gets interesting.  I recommend this Oprah’s Book Club book to everyone.  It highlights the problems of Westerners bringing their own ideas and culture into the developing world and being so rigid that no good can come from it. 

 

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This is a good easy read for anyone who has a difficult person in their life! Drs. Brinkman and Kirschner identify 10 broad groups of difficult persons we all have faced at some point.  After a few introductory chapters, they provide action steps to help you guide your difficult person towards being easier to deal with!

Not a cure-all, but definitely a quick and easy way to make your day at the office a little bit easier.  They use humor, stories, and informed research to help you.

The ten groups of people are:

  • The Tank
  • The Sniper
  • The Grenade
  • The Know-it-All
  • The Think-They-Know-it-All
  • The Yes Person
  • The Maybe Person
  • The Nothing Person
  • The No Person
  • The Whiner

A couple of their techniques used across the spectrum are being a good listener, seeing the intent of a person’s behavior, projecting your expectations, and trying to understand the causes of a behavior.

Check this out!

 

 

 

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I’ve mentioned this book before on the blog and we just finished reading it! We aren’t overly diligent in our reading together, but we are trying!

Written as part of the Women of Faith collection this book is a collection of 60 short devotions split into eight categories.  The authors are Dr. Larry & Rachael Crabb, Paul & Nicole Johnson, Dr. Kevin Leman, Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott, Gary Smalley, Becky & Roger Tirabassi, Dr. Neil Clark Warren.  With an impressive list like that the book has to be good!!

While each author (or set of authors) has a different writing style, each shares stories from their lives or clients lives making everything seem more real.  It does provide challenges to couple to learn how to love each other deeper and to understand the importance of loving Christ first and your spouse second.  I highly recommend this to couples of all stripes.  Sometimes humorous, sometimes extremely serious it is grounded in scripture and prayer.

The eight sections are titled:

  1. Celebrating our Friendship
  2. Celebrating our Imperfections
  3. Celebrating Family and Hope
  4. Celebrating our Oneness
  5. Celebrating – Even in Tough Times
  6. Celebrating our Future Together
  7. Celebrating Each Other’s Gifts
  8. Celebrating Romance and Passion

We will probably read this book again throughout our marriage to make sure we keep our marital joy!  I’ll close with a list of some of the chapter/devotion titles!

  • The Fine Art of Stubbornness
  • Graveyard Roots
  • True Love
  • The Carousel
  • What Part of 5:30AM Don’t You Like?
  • Stronger Together
  • The Naked Lady Who Needed a Lift
  • Sign and Stuff

Have you read this? Leave me a comment and tell me what you thought.

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