This is a book review on the book Faith Hope Love & Everything in Between, which I have been reading over the last few days. What an amazing book, there are gems and nuggets of brilliance on nearly every page. Though it was very readable, I did not want to hurry it in case I forgot something, so I limited myself to a chapter a day.
The whole theme of the book is that Life is a Journey and not a destination with a stop at the end. It is how we make the Life's journey is the key. Mick helps give understanding to some of the great mysteries in life, and encourages a trust in God along the whole of the journey.
Out of the many gems that I picked up as I read the book was the one that as a Christian we should be like lighthouses. Lighthouses are seen and recognised, in the daylight they are normally in a visible position, and at night time they shine a light out. It is a passive action, they are just going about their normal role and others view them, recognise and respect them for what they are.
So this is a real challenge – do others recognise me as a lighthouse?
The book used up to date research and data to expand, challenge and provoke thought on the various themes it covers, to expand on the idea that life is a journey that we are all travelling along. A handbook for living the Christian life.
All in all a very good book which helps develop a closer relationship with God and others, one that could be highly recommended. This was book 32 week 22 fiction 20 (9 on audio) non fiction 2
This is my blog review of the book Ben-Hur by Lew Wallace, which I listened to as an audio book.
I listened to this as a librivox recording, and it was a mega book, just under 24 hours of listening whilst in the car. It has occupied many thousand miles of travelling over the last couple of months in the car.
“Ben-Hur is a story of two very different heroes. Judah Ben-Hur, a prince of Jerusalem, is involved in an accident to the Roman procurator which is taken to be intentional. He is seized and sent to the fleet as a galley-slave, while his family is imprisoned and the family goods confiscated. When Ben-Hur saves the fleet captain from drowning after his ship is sunk in a fight with pirates, that officer adopts him as son and heir. With Roman training, Ben-Hur distinguishes himself in the arena and the palistrae and appears to be on the way to high military command. With the help of a faithful family retainer and a generous Arab sheik, Ben-Hur is enabled to take part in a widely touted chariot race, where one of the other charioteers is the boyhood friend who connived to punish him for the accident and split his estate. That rival is crippled, financially and bodily, in a no-holds-barred race. Ben-Hur turns his attention to the prophesied King of the Jews, when through the sheik he meets Balthasar, one of the Three Wise Men, and hears of the child born years ago. Will Ben-Hur be the general who brings victories to the King, and finally liberates Israel from the oppressive Roman yoke? In his quest for the answer, Ben-Hur seeks out the Nazarene, now rumoured to be The Messiah.”
This book is an amazing example of Victorian literature, and contrasts with current literature. Around 80-90% of the text is description or theorising, with just the remainder being plot and story. At times this could be very frustrating, having listened to it for an hour and the story has not moved on at all. All very different to the film of the same name that I remember from my youth, which was very dramatic.
Still all in all an enjoyable experience, and certainly makes the miles pass by when sitting on the motorway. This was book 31 week 21 (9 on audio) non fiction 1
This is my review for the Flight of Eagles by Jack Higgins - I love the cover of this book – it says “Jack Higgins the world's master thriller writer” - so modest. The story is about two twin brothers, born in the United States, but find themselves as on opposite sides during the second world war.
They were both pilots, and both aces, Max for the Luftwaffe and Harry for the RAF to start with then the American Air force.
By a strange twist of fate they find themselves together again in the final part of the war, and one has to save the other. The other key character in the story is Tarquin the bear, who travels around with them and is rescued repeatedly and ties the whole thing together.
This was an enjoyable book, with enough twists in it along the way to keep my interest. This was book 30 week 21 (8 on audio) non fiction 1
There is a field behind our house that is used by the local farmer for keeping sheep. During the non summer months the farmer feeds them, driving up in his vehicle parking it by the wall and putting the feed into the feeding troughs. Fairly quickly the sheep get used to the noise of a vehicle, being related to the provision of food and coming running across the field towards the feeding troughs thinking there is food.
Sometimes mistakenly one or more of the sheep mistake our car engine for the farmers, and starts to run towards their feeding troughs. As soon as one starts to run across the field the others follow, even though there is no sign of the farmer. They all stand around waiting for the non existent food. Not that this has anything to do with the book, but is quite amusing to watch.
This book won the Man Booker Prize in 2010 and has 4 sides of quotes about how good it is at the front of the book “Full of wit warmth intelligence ….” So I thought it must be good and enjoyable.
I found reading it like trying to walk through treacle, maybe my mind set is not in tune with the authors, nor all the reviewers quoted but I did not find it funny. In fact I found it boring, as shame really as I was looking forward to reading it.
That was book 29 week 20 (8 on audio) non fiction 1
Peter Robinson's book the Strange Affair is a book that I have had on my shelf for quite some time, as I was not sure if I wanted to read it. It is about the death of DCI Alan Banks brother, and how investigates the murder.
Anyway I did read it and whilst I did not really enjoy the subject matter, it was a good book to read.
The story line was directly related to Alan's investigation, whilst at the same time a parallel and overlapping investigation was going on by DI Annie Cabbot.
Of course eventually the two lines of investigation overlap, moving away from Yorkshire back down to the south and London, but they remain only from the two police officers perspective, highlighting the frustration through lack of knowledge as to what is going on.
The story ends with an horrific truth, which Alan uncovers and realises that this is the real reason why his brother was killed. I can't say that this was an enjoyable book due to the subject matter but it was a good book.
This was book 28 week 19 (8 on audio) non fiction 1
This is the third book in the Richard Hannay series, I had read the other two before I started to record them here. It continues the story of his exploits as a British secret agent during the final years of World War 1
John Buchan's plots seem to enjoy a sense of travel and this book is no exception. Our hero finds himself travelling, firstly to Glasgow, and then on north up to the Isle of Skye, and then back to London being pursued by the police. His trip evolves a wide variety of transport, including hitching a ride on a plane.
The plot then moves to France, Italy and Switzerland and he helps save the British forces from defeat during this time in the war, by stopping the arch enemy spy, and exposing the underground railway.
The story also has love and sadness. Richard finds his true love, but his great friend is killed in an aircraft battle. An enjoyable book and I now want to read the next part of the saga – The Three Hostages.
This was book 27 week 18 fiction 26 (8 on audio) non fiction 1
Claire paints a picture of Britain, specifically the Somerset levels in 1946, that is so far from life today that it could be in another country. The book is all about the tensions between the Polish soldiers from the second Polish Corps who are refusing to go back to Poland as it is now occupied, and the returning British soldiers.
Add in shortages, lack of housing, lack of work, difficulties in language, romance, and one of the coldest winters on record and it all makes an explosive mix.
The main characters are Wladyslaw Malinowski who is taken on by Billy Greer to help with the Withy harvest on his uncles farm in the heart of the Somerset levels. Then there is Lyndon Hanley the so called hero of the Burma Campaign, though his current behaviour is far from heroic. Finally there is Stella a local school teacher who has to choose between Lyndon and Wladyslaw..
The book has humour, and sadness and the death of one of the key characters triggers a series of events that bring the story to a tragic ending.
It is a very atmospheric, dramatic story and certainly an eye opener if life was really like that in 1946.
A book that can be well recommended as book 26 week 18 fiction 25 (8 on audio) non fiction 1 (falling slightly behind my target of just under two a week)
This is the second novel recounting the residents of 44 Scotland Street, and was a delight to read. The hotchpotch of life portrayed here bring back memories of a time that seems ages ago now. Though the characters are quite unique in their personality they all fit together so well.
For me the two main stars of the book were Bertie and the nudist picnic in Moray Place. Firstly the idea of a nudist picnic in cold Edinburgh itself just brings a smile to the face. It would have to be a very sheltered sunny garden just to even get me to take off my jumper, let alone anything else.. I won't spoil the event if you have not read the book, but Domenica does attend the picnic..
Then we come to Bertie, he is just the star of the whole book, with lots of lovely story lines. His trip to Glasgow with his Dad to collect their car was one of the best. As a six year old boy he ends up playing cards with a notorious Glaswegian gangster Lard O'Connor and much to everyone’s amazement wins.
Having collected their car from Glasgow on the way home, it comes to light that the car now has one too few gears, and where the gear has vanished brings a smile back on to my face just recollecting it.
Then there is of course the whole story line of Bruce wanting to set himself up as a wine merchant, and his various exploits at trying to get a partner for the business and buy stock, without be had.
All in all a very enjoyable book as book 25 week 17 fiction 24 (8 on audio) non fiction 1
The Coffin Dancer continues the storyline of the brilliant quadriplegic criminalist Lincon Rhyme and his assistant Amelia Sachs. (When I was choosing which book to read next as I have a small pile waiting to be read, I choose this book thinking it might be an apt one whilst the paralympics were on) The sub text of the book is all about how a quadriplegic can get around and do a difficult and demanding job. One touching part of the story was when Lincon could not get his speech recognition software to respond to what he was saying due to the emotion in his voice. Anyone who has tried to use this sort of software will relate to this. It just does not work if one speaks in anything other than the flat dull normal tones, and it certainly does not cope with any forms off stress in the voice.
Anyway that is going off point a little, the story is all about a hitman, with the nickname of the coffin dancer, who is killing off protected witnesses before a court case. The book zips along at a good pace, it even has a countdown of hours at the start of each chapter so you know where it is going. That being said having thought that it is all wrapped up, there comes a couple of unexpected twists at the end of the story, one a bit more plausible than the other.
To say much more would spoil the plot line and that would be a shame, as if you like reading this sort of book then it is a good read. Not too much focus on the process of killing and enough on plot and characters to make it believable.
So this was book 24 week 16 – fiction 23 (8 on audio) non fiction 1
This is the second book I have read by Jo Nesbo and was just as enjoyable as the first. As one of the quotes says on the back of the book “A superb novel. Intricate, true gripping” . I can't agree more.
The story starts with a man robbing a bank and shooting dead a cashier, and it is all visible on CCTV. Then it gradually unfolds with twists at every juncture, till the detective Harry Hole has become the suspect, and he has to solve the mystery to free his name.
Going along with this there are more bank robberies – are these copycat ones or the same person. All one great big mystery. It was really hard to put down as at nearly the end of each chapter a new twist in the tale was revealed. A thoroughly gripping book and fantastically translated by Don Bartlett. Besides the names it would be hard to tell that it had not been written in English as the first language. I can't wait to read the next book, but that will probably be a Christmas present.
So this was book 23 week 15 – fiction 22 (8 on audio) non fiction 1
Dyslexic doodles on photography, food (growing, cooking & of course eating), faith and other fascinating things. This is a personal blog expressing my views.