Doing a review of Crisis
of Faith by Eliza Wood is a bit
difficult, as my reactions to the book are all over the map based on what
part I'm talking about. This is one of those book where your reaction
and enjoyment are dependent on what you were reading it for...
I'll state my bias up front: I generally
do not like what I call "soapbox novels". This is where
the author has a very specific view on some topic, and the story is secondary
to the message that they are trying to convey. Crisis of Faith falls
squarely in that category. The story and plot, in my opinion, takes
a *far* back seat to the information the author is presenting. I
thought the characters were only there as supporting players for speeches
and information, and the action and plot details don't do much more than
provide a scene for the next discussion of the topic. Based on that,
I would not be a fan of the book.
On the flip side, the message that's
conveyed is challenging and thought-provoking. The characters are
attempting to write a new version of the Bible that removes references
to topics that are often used by radical sects to justify horrific actions.
Sections on things like slavery, violence towards women, and war
will be removed, and they will call on all secular and spiritual leaders
to promote this more-enlightened version of scripture.
The plot action is weak on how and why
people will embrace this, as I just don't see groups jumping on board with
nothing more than a letter demanding that they do so. And, in some ways,
you might see this as somewhat reminiscent of Dan Brown Da Vinci Code theories
and conspiracies to manipulate the original intent over the years to support
a religious power structure. But what Crisis of Faith does bring
out is the tendency of people to stick with the positive Bible stories
and ignore the parts that don't really mesh well with their already-held
beliefs. In reality, *all* passages need to be considered and examined
to come up your world view. Picking and choosing some parts and ignoring
others while you profess to believe it all isn't a valid option.
Another interesting part of the message
is to view how people and groups have already revised "truth"
over the years. Society has changed their views on things like slavery
over the years, from it being a God-given right to being outlawed. Granted,
some would say that the revisions were wrong and that the truth has been
strayed from. Conversely, many would argue that freedom is a God-given
right. Which right prevails? Did a truth become untrue? The questions
don't get easier, but they have to be asked.
Kudos to Ms. Wood for presenting an
interesting topic with a number of things to think about. If I were
to go into the book looking for message first, story second, it would fare
better in my opinion. But since I was thinking novel first with a
subtext, I wasn't quite as thrilled. Based on your mindset and willingness
to be open to the topic, your mileage might well vary from mine.
Book Review - What I've Learned... So Far Part III: Banjos, Boats And Butt Dialing by Mike Ball
Mon, May 20th 2013 6:52a Thomas Duff I was recently offered the book What
I've Learned... So Far Part III: Banjos, Boats & Butt Dialing
by Mike Ball for reading and reviewing. I know I end up turning down most
of the offers I get for review copies because I'm so far behind in reading
and reviewing, but it's hard to turn down a book that can somehow link
banjos, boats, and butt dialing in a title. It also helped in that he delivered
I've never heard of Mike Ball, but it's
probably easiest to think of him [read] Keywords:
Book Review - Drop Dead Healthy: One Man's Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection by A. J. Jacobs
Sun, May 19th 2013 10:13a Thomas Duff I've always been amused by people who
are health fanatics following some particular trend or fad that promises
to fix every issue known to medical science. A. J. Jacobs decided to follow
all the health advice he could find for a year, and the result is his book
Drop Dead Healthy: One Man's Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection.
With the type of humor displayed in his prior books, Jacobs shows just
how impossible it is to follow all the health advice out there (or even
a small part of it). [read] Keywords:
Sun, May 19th 2013 9:10a Thomas Duff Nate Silver is the current rock star
of statistics and predictions based on the overwhelming accuracy of his
forecasts in the 2012 election results. His book The
Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail — but Some Don't
does a good job in explaining the fundamentals of statistics, probability,
and predictions. If society understood these concepts, we'd spend far less
time arguing from polarized positions "supported by facts"...
A Catastrophic Failure of [read] Keywords: notes
Book Review - Judaism For Dummies by Rabbi Ted Falcon PhD and David Blatner
Sun, May 12th 2013 7:40p Thomas Duff This was a book that I had put on my
library "to be read" list, but decided that getting it via Amazon
Vine was faster and better... Judaism
For Dummies by Rabbi Ted Falcon
PhD and David Blatner. I felt this was a *perfect* example of what Dummies
titles are good for... context on a complex topic, enough so that you know
where to go for more information. Toss in a fair amount of humor along
the way, and I had a great time reading this (while learning lots).
Introduction [read] Keywords:
Book Review - Tell No Lies by Julie Compton
Mon, May 6th 2013 8:40p Thomas Duff Tell
No Lies by Julie Compton is the
first of a series (two so far) of novels centered around District Attorney
Jack Hilliard and his fellow lawyer and one-time lover Jenny Dodson. That's
"one-time" as in "slept with her once", but it happened
at a time and under conditions that made the two of them front-page news.
Dodson was put on trial for murder, facing the death penalty. Hilliard
was her alibi, as the night of the murder was the night he visited her
house. He's convinced that [read] Keywords:
Book Review - Storm Kings: The Untold History of America's First Tornado Chasers by Lee Sandlin
Sat, Apr 27th 2013 10:09p Thomas Duff Tornados... powerful, fearful, unpredictable...
and a source of controversy over the years as people tried to figure out
what they are (or if they even existed). Lee Sandlin tells the story of
those who first tried to solve the puzzle in his book Storm
Kings: The Untold History of America's First Tornado Chasers.
I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought I would, but it could well
be due to incorrect expectations rather than the fault of the content or
quality of the writing. I'll [read] Keywords: connections
Book Review - Six Years by Harlan Coben
Tue, Apr 23rd 2013 6:06a Thomas Duff I picked up Harlan Coben's latest novel
Years from the library a week
or so ago. I enjoy his books, and I was looking forward to a few days of
leisurely enjoyment. What I got instead was a book I had a hard time putting
down, as Coben kept me guessing right up to the end. Granted, I read a
lot and don't necessarily do a good job of being able to remember plots
and story lines of books I read even six months ago. Still, this is one
of the best non-Bolivar novels he's written.
Book Review - Calculated In Death by J. D. Robb
Sat, Apr 13th 2013 8:49p Thomas Duff Yay... another J. D. Robb (aka Nora
Roberts) novel... Calculated
In Death. This time, Dallas is
tagged on a woman's death that looks to be a mugging gone bad. Her body
is found on the street at the base of a set of stairs leading up to a building
in the midst of remodeling. But Dallas and Peabody find evidence that she
was actually killed inside, and the street scene was staged as a diversion.
Further investigation reveals that in her job as an auditor, she had just
been given three new [read] Keywords: