Sunday, December 15, 2013

Once-a-Day Country Faith Devotional

I obtained this book free from Book Sneeze in return for providing a review.

Was overall impressed with this book. It is in effect a bible quotation book that does what the title says -- provide reflections from fifty-six leading country music stars on their favorite biblical quote. The basic format: a nice glossy picture of the star(s) in question, the quote and a short discourse on what the quotation means to them. Nothing profound but a nice way to examine the Bible in a good looking package. The book also includes the Gospel of Mark.

The title is a bit curious in that it is not really "once a day" since we just have the fifty-six reflections. The Book of Mark is provided perhaps because it is the shortest gospel. The aim is to help the reader pick their own favorite passage and this suggests a certain Christian focus. But, the verses chosen are from both testaments of the Christian Bible.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Dear Mr. Knightley: A Novel

Jane Austen in Northanger Abbey noted that a novel is "some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language.”

This along with the pleasure so many have reading them has led her own books to inspire a range of volumes as well (and at least one movie, Clueless). A book referencing a character from Austen's Emma suggests this too is one of that character. Mixing in a bit of a Dickens touch, this tale is about an orphan who gets a chance to Northwestern University’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism via scholarship. In return, she has to write to her beneficator, who is going by, yes, Mr. Knightley. Shades of "The Education of Samantha Moore." It's a nice device though extensive epistolary novels (letters) do personally bore me after awhile. The importance here is the nature of the character and the interest held in their stories. Here, we see the development of Ms Moore's character, which as Austen fans know, is a key theme in her novels as well.

Others note that this seems to be in the style of an old novel, but really -- lots of things are modeled on other things. We need to judge the book itself, not how it stands against some novel from when the Titanic went down (in real life!). On that level, it's a pretty good read. Judge for yourself.

This book was obtained free from Book Sneeze in return for this review.