About Me and My Blog and Amazon Store

My photo
Langley, BC, Canada
I love to read. I love books. I like to talk about books and recommend them. I read everything including cereal boxes and junk mail! I heard once that if you're not reading at least 3 books at a time you're not reading enough! This blog will keep track of the books I've read and whether or not I liked them. It will be a little bit of everything from Christian fiction to Science fiction and fantasy. Feel free to participate by suggesting books to review and giving your comments. Occasionally I am given free books by Publishers in exchange for a review. I am not told how to review them or compensated in any way for the review.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Scroll by Dr Grant R Jeffrey and Alton L. Gansky

I received this book for free as a digital download from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Dr David Chambers is a Biblical archeologist working in the land of Israel. For many years his own personal faith had sustained him as he made important discoveries and helped to prove that the stories in the Bible were true. But now his faith in God is gone, his love for Biblical archeology has waned and he has lost the love of his life because of these other two losses. He is at a crossroads in his life when he gets an important phone call from an old mentor with a request that he can’t refuse.

Grant Jeffrey and Alton Gansky have written a book steeped in history, a mystery of Biblical proportions all wrapped up in a love story. The love story is the simple part, God’s love for us, for the nation of Israel and the love of two people navigating the deep waters of faith and doubt. The history is the history of the land of Israel, its ancient history and current political landscape. The mystery, well, that’s the part I can’t tell you about. But it’s a good one. They do a good job of keeping the suspense going. The novel is well written with equal parts of action and suspense. I sometimes found the archeological/historical references a bit tedious and thought they interfered with the story telling but I suppose the background is necessary for readers to understand the point of the mystery.

If you enjoy mysteries and especially if you are interested in the land of Israel and the part she plays in the story of Christianity and in the future then you will be particularly interested in this book.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens

In 1836 Dickens was asked to write some captions for a story about a Sporting club that would be mainly told in pictures by a famous artist. Dickens grumbled about the theme wanting it to be a travel and investigation club instead. This became a serial called the Pickwick Papers. The first seven installments were completed and then the artist committed suicide. The widow of the artist charged that it was her husband and not Dickens that had written the story. Dickens was incensed by this charge and laboured hard and long to prove it false.

The Pickwick Papers are about the adventures of Samuel Pickwick. Mr. Pickwick and his 3 friends form the Pickwickian club, whose sole purpose is to travel around London and the surrounding countryside, meeting people and reporting on their adventures. It’s good to keep in mind that this was written as a monthly serial so each chapter is a story unto itself although there is continuity to some of the stories.

I was interested to note that Dickens employed the cliff hanger ending to many of his stories; obviously as an enticement to readers to anticipate and buy the next installment. I found it hard to get into the stories but eventually was able to enjoy them for what they were; illustrations of the life and times of an elderly gentleman in the mid 1800’s. There’s romance, duels and much eating and drinking and interspersed among the travel adventures is the occasional ghost story.

I’ve read many of Dickens novels over the years but had never read the Pickwick Papers. I confess that at times I found it a bit tedious but overall enjoyed the adventures and characters in this book. One of the things that Dickens is famous for is his ability to create memorable characters and this book was early evidence of that.

While he was finishing up the Pickwick Papers he was also beginning to write Oliver Twist. That will be my next novel to read.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Beginning of the 2012 Dickens Challenge

Before I begin my reviews I just want to mention that I found 2 great biographies to use as references on Charles Dickens. The first is by GK Chesterton called simply Charles Dickens. While not exactly a contemporary of Dickens, Chesterton lived a few years after him and completely understands the life and times in which Dickens wrote. Chesterton also has an interesting take on the faith of Dickens that we will explore a bit as we go along. The second book is by a modern day biographer named Jane Smiley, a Pulitzer Prize winning American novelist. Her book is called Charles Dickens: A Life. She explores Dickens from a more modern perspective and examines his works with a more modern day literary approach. Both authors bring different perspectives to Dickens life and works and I’m enjoying reading them. I’ll do reviews of these books when I’ve finished them.

Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812. Early on he showed talent for acting and writing and his father often made him perform for guests. He was born into a moderately wealthy home and enjoyed some of the finer things in life. His Father lost his fortune and Charles was sent to the factory to work. He hated it. I found this an interesting fact about Dickens as it gave him context to be able to write authoritatively in either an aristocratic voice or in the voice of poverty as he had experienced both.

I’m about half way through The Pickwick Papers and will do my best to have a review of that book along with some more information about Dickens before the end of January. Stay tuned.