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Archive for the ‘reading’ Category

Wow, I slept for 15 hours….I guess I’ve been extremely exhausted from the last two weeks of ministry with planning and preaching for our church retreat, officiating the wedding, our ongoing VBS decorations and regular teaching and preaching.

So here’s a lighter post that I wanted to ask readers the following question:

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A lighthearted weekend reading review…because sometimes Pastors need a break from heavy reading also.  This evening’s book is on..reading!

Maryanne Wolf. Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World.  New York, NY: Harper, August 14th 2018. 272 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

This is a book about reading and the medium one uses to read (digital, print, etc) and how it affects our brains.  The author Maryanne Wolf writes in a rather informal style of “letters.”  No matter the format the content of the book and what she has to talk about is fascinating and worth reading.

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As I minister to people the question comes up from time to time of how to read more when life gets busy.  I use to share my post  that directed people to a guest post I wrote for another blog.  Unfortunately that blog has ceased to exist and I thought it was regrettable since the website owner did a good job editing the grammar for my essay (I am notorious with bad grammar).  Fortunately I found a web archive online that saved the page so I was able to reproduce the improved  written version.  I also got to expand the article to include two more points!  So below are ten things that helps one read more when life gets busy.

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A weekend leisure reading review…because sometimes Pastors also need a break from heavy theological reading!

Francesco Francavilla. The Black Beetle: No Way Out.  Milwaukie, OR: Dark Horse Comics, August 27th 2013. 152 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

I almost didn’t read this comic book.  After all who wants to read a superhero that’s named after a bug (beetle) that I find gross?  But the pulp feel of the comics in which the stories takes place in early 1941 and the beautiful colors and artwork that I gleamed from flipping through the book made me reconsider to give this comic book a chance.  And boy did the writer and illustrator did not disappoint!   I give this work a five out of five since the writer and artist Francesco Francavilla gave us a new comic character, a wonderful story and an interesting mystery.  I also appreciated that this book had a noir mystery feel and yet it was clean.

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It’s going to be a busy weekend of ministry for me with our annual church clean up on Saturday while on Sunday I’m also preaching at another church after I’m done with my local church’s own church service.  In the middle of it all that I need to finish my sermon preparation.  So this is a quick post.

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This is a review of two volumes of a Comic hero as a break from serious and deep reading.

green-hornet-year-one-vol-1

Matt Wagner.  Green Hornet: Year One Vol 1: The Sting of Justice.  Runnemede, NJ: Dynamite Entertainment, November 16th, 2010.  140 pp.

This is the first comic book I read on the character “Green Hornet” and it has left me hooked!  This tells the story of the origin of the Green Hornet and his sidekick Kato.  Set in the early 1920s and 1930s the illustration and the colors definitely enhanced the experience of reading this work.  But it was the story telling that I most appreciate from the book.

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books

For Christians its important to read.  To read the Bible. To read books on the Bible.  To read books that would help with Christian living.  To read books to know more about God.  Many Christians get this.  Many Christians might feel guilty.  Sometimes one’s life is also very busy.  How does one read more books when life is busy?  This post is meant to be pastoral, practical and encouraging.  I admit I haven’t arrived so if you have other ideas and advice please share.  So here’s my thoughts.

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Sometimes in ministry I have to read other things besides theology, Bible and apologetics.  So here’s two works for fun read that I am reviewing this evening:

The Hound of the Baskervilles: A Sherlock Holmes Graphic Novel

The Hound of the Baskervilles

Ian Edginton. The Hound of the Baskervilles: A Sherlock Holmes graphic Novel.  New York, NY: Sterling Publishing Company, July 1st, 2009.128 pp.

This is a graphic novel adaptation of Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes Classic, The Hound of the Baskervilles.  Doyle wrote this book eight years after he penned the story called “The Final Problem,” in which Holmes has already been killed off but as the forward of this graphic novel stated, Doyle brought back Holmes because he needed “a strong central figure to hold the plot together.”  In the world of Sherlock Holmes, this is a tale that was supposed to have taken place before Holmes’ death.  This is my second graphic novel on Sherlock Holmes and I found it a pleasure to read this book.  The plot was a real suspense and the mystery kept me going.  I also appreciated the drawing and the painting in this graphic novel, especially with its coloring that perfectly sets the mood for its respective panels (dark when it’s dark, bright when it is a pleasant part of the story).  I love the shadows that the illustrator has in the book as it gives that appropriate feel for a mystery especially with the fire side chats, the candles in dark hallways and outside at night.  The details of the rooms in the book is beautiful.  I enjoyed it enough that I’m planning to read the writer and artists’ other work on Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Scarlet.

Purchase: Amazon

 

A Study in Scarlet

A study in Scarlet Graphic Novel

Ian Edginton. A Study in Scarlet.  New York, NY: Sterling Publishing Company, July 11th, 2010. 129 pp.

I picked up this graphic novel after I first read the author’s and artist’s previous Sherlock Holmes work: The Hound of the Baskervilles: A Sherlock Holmes graphic Novel.  I enjoyed the first work and I also enjoyed their second volume!  A Study of Scarlet was actually Arthur Conan Doyle’s first work on Sherlock Holmes.  It is amazing to think Doyle wrote this classic at the age of twenty six something I didn’t know until I read the Preface.  I haven’t read Sherlock Holmes since I was a kid and I have largely forgotten what I read so it was a delight to see this story retold in graphic novel format.  The story was great with twists and turns.  Like the previous graphic novel I enjoyed the beautiful drawing and colors that sets the mood of late 1800s Victorian Era mystery.  I understand there is another graphic novel on Holmes out there by Edington; I wished there was more of these!

Purchase: Amazon

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Happy Veteran’s Day to all you who served that reads this blog!  I think this book review is appropriate for today.

When Books went to war Molly Guptill Manning

Molly Guptill Manning. When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II.  Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, December 2nd, 2014. 288 pp.

This book is about books and it wasn’t boring!  The subject of this book is about the effort of average Americans and later the US government in providing books to members of the military during World War Two.  The bulk of the time in war is boredom.  Servicemembers need something to occupy their time.  I’ll remember my time in Iraq in which individual Marines blasted rap, country and heavy metal (I can’t picture guys listening to Justin Beiber, I’m just saying).  In a world where MP3 players, DVD players and PSPs were not existent, the GIs in World War Two read.

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howtoread

Note: The book is available online for free in Html format if you click HERE for the table of content.

A helpful book on the Christian discipline of reading filled with practical advice. The author was a president of a Christian college and an avid reader and he even shared how his interviews with potential faculty members include the question of what they read to gauge where they are at spiritually. As the first chapter points out in why Christian read, I agree with the author that a Christian who reads spiritually is also a strong Christian spiritually (and I might add, holistically). I thought his chapter on a three year reading plan was helpful even if I don’t adopt his plan at least it gets me thinking about a longer and purposeful reading plan. Besides the practical advice throughout the book, the author’s Wesleyan background does show up slightly in the book and some of his suggestions of the suggested books would not be books I would recommend. The books he recommend include works that are authored by Philip Yancey, Rick Warren, Tony Campolo, Richard Mouw, Ronald Sider, Mark Noll and Gregory Boyd. Some of these authors I have serious theological concerns with (Campolo, Mouw, Boyd), others for lack of theological depth (Hayford, Eugene Peterson, Yancey) still others their philosophy of ministry (Warren and Mouw) and while others I have reservation with the political views being advanced (Sider and Campolo). For the discerning Christian, this book still has something to offer to help believers read better. I still recommend Lit! by Tony Reinke as the top Christian book on reading. Below are helpful quotes and tips from the book:

“The highest level of Christian reading is to read for integration, or as Adler and Van Doren say, “to see things whole.” They also refer to this stage of reading as “synoptical,” the idea of looking through a lens and seeing things come together in one picture. Immature readers of Christian books will take one book and view it as the summation of whole truth. More mature readers, however, will hold one book in abeyance until they have a chance to read other sources on the same subject. Then, always looking through the lens of the God-breathed Word, they put different viewpoints into the perspective of the whole, relate the viewpoints one to another, and draw them together into a composit conclusion without sacrificing the truth” (60-61).

“A passive reader is like a catcher who never returns the ball, while an active reader is one who fires the ball back in the form of questions that keep the game going and make the event exciting” (58).

“For another thing, unless speed-reading results in better comprehension, we will be no better off than the hare in the well-known fable. Like the speedy hare, we may have superior reading speed, but those who take their time like the tortoise will win the race of comprehension. Of course, if we have the discipline to master both speed and comprehension, we will become world-class readers” (68).

“If we can improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of our reading, we will get more from all the books we read. Christian books, in particular, deserve a quality read if they are to serve the purpose of helping us to understand the Christian faith and grow spiritually” (57).

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Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

Lit!, Tony Reinke. Reading about reading can seem somewhat pardoxical (especially since you are reading it), but I don’t think it’s at the point where it’s irrational. In the same way that a person reads a logic textbook even though we do “know” the laws of logic intuitively, so a Christian reading a book on reading might help them to become more conscious and aware what it is one is doing when they, and further refine one’s reason for reading. In that vein, I’ve enjoyed reading Tony Reinke’s work titled “Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books.” I was wondering if it would nothing more than a repeat of the classic, “How to read a book.” Reinke’s unique contribution is his attempt to lay the foundation for a theology of reading, which is the subject of the first half of the book. I enjoyed how he pointed out that as Christians, we must get our worldview from the Bible, and that it should not be from other source of literature. Using the analogy of a “touchstone” which tests for real gold, Reinke wonderfully explain that every literature must be evaluated through the lens of what Scripture tells us reality is. Only then can one find the joy of even benefiting from non-Christian literature if one is already strong in one’s foundation in the Word and reading with a discerning spirit. The second book has been equally as helpful, with practical consideration and tips about how to read, developing a habit of reading, etc. I thought the practical suggestions were suprisingly good, especially since at first I was kind of skeptical if the author would just present things so common sense that everyone could have said it themselves, but it surpassed my expectations. Here in the second half of the book, the author also discusses about reading together as a community, and for the benefit of others and with others, and the importance of asking others for recommendation. As a pastor and a father of a young five month old daughter, I also appreciated the chapter on what pastors and parents can do to foster the desire to read among kids and other Christians. The biggest change in my life from reading this book is a reconsideration on my part concerning reading fictions; I’ve always though fiction were of little significance, but it has made me want to revisit the issue again. I would recommend this book for veteran readers and those who struggle to read as well.

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