Book Chat August 2015

book chat

Book Chat book reviews contain affiliate links.

cThe Cost of Our Silence: Consequences of Christians Taking the Path of Least Resistance came along at just the right time for me. I received it in the mail to review (thanks, Aneko Press) right about the time the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage. I was so upset by that ruling. Not because I’m “hateful” or “intolerant.” It’s just that it feels so … wrong … upside-down … for our world to be not just allowing, but celebrating something God has called sin.

That’s what David Fiorazo feels like, too, and on a whole host of issues in our culture today. Reading his book is like getting together for lunch with a smart friend and discussing the issues of the day. The book is full of examples that will make your blood boil, and also scriptures backing up his words.

A few quotes I liked:

  • We as Bible-believing evangelical Christians are locked in a battle. This is not a friendly gentleman’s discussion. It is a life and death conflict between the spiritual hosts of wickedness and those who claim the name of Christ. — Francis Schaeffer
  • I resolve to endeavor to my utmost to act and think as if I had already seen the happiness of heaven and the torments of hell — Jonathan Edwards
  • It would be a godsend if the church would suffer persecution today; she hasn’t suffered it for hundreds of years. She is growing rich and lagging behind — Billy Sunday
  • When depravity and immorality appear more prevalent in society, one of the main causes can be traced to silent or inactive Christians. This environment sets the stage for emboldened agendas against God, His Word, and His people.
  • The phrase “separation of church and state” does not exist in the Constitution. The founding fathers almost certainly were thinking only of Christianity as a religion when the US was founded. An early version of the Establishment Clause states “Congress shall make no law establishing any particular denomination of religion in preference to another.” Note that they mention various denominations (of Christianity), and not various religions. To our founders, any discussion of religion meant variations of Christianity.
  • Many pastors have become more comfortable operating their churches as 501(c)(3) institutions with meetings held on Sundays, fearing to discuss anything remotely political (this includes abortion, gay marriage, etc). If you do have a pastor who speaks out on these things, encourage him, because such pastors are rare these days.

Fiorazo, who is anĀ author, contributor, and radio personality, includes a chapter on judicial tyranny, and mentions the faulty belief of many that, because the Supreme Court or a judge pronounces something legal, the action in question is also morally right. He also mentions the fear of some of our founding fathers that the judicial branch could gain too much power, as is happening often now. He cites the example of years of incremental work being done toward having partial birth abortions banned. The ban was finally signed into law 11/5/2003 — only to be suspended by a judge one hour later (side note — I often think of the massive responsibility judges have (all leaders, really, but judges in particular). I would not want to have to stand before God someday with some of their decisions on my hands – James 3:1).

One of our dilemmas as Christians is what to do in the face of so much pushback from the popular culture. I think our default reaction is just silence/”turning the other cheek”/etc. However, think about it: has the other side behaved in the same way? Absolutely not. They are emboldened by our lack of action, and push their agenda even harder. As a teacher, I relate it to the quiet, “good” kid never getting the attention that the loud, ornery kid does. God’s will will ultimately be done regardless, but does He want us to passively stand by as our culture forsakes Him wholesale? It’s something to think about.

As a side note, I’ve enjoyed Fiorazo’s Facebook postings. If you’re similarly dismayed about the way our nation is heading, I urge you to “like” his page.

*****

glass

I know I must be the last reader in North America to readĀ The Glass Castle, and I’m not sure what took me so long, but — wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. I LOVED this book!

Jeannette Walls is five years older than I am, and this is her memoir about growing up in an, um, unique situation. Her dad is an alcoholic and her mom has some difficulty that’s not specified. I’m wondering if she’s bipolar. The parents are both very intelligent. Dad is always working on various inventions which never come to anything (it probably doesn’t help that alcohol takes him away from home for days at a time), and Mom teaches for a while, but when she sometimes refuses to get out of bed for the day, that’s a problem.

Mom is nothing if not blunt: “Lori was the smart one, Maureen the pretty one, and Brian the brave one. You never had much going for you, except that you always worked hard,” she tells Jeannette. Mom has a soft side, but it rarely seems to be toward her kids. She “always bought the dented cans, even if they weren’t marked down, because she said they needed to be loved, too.” More often, she and Dad both brushed off the family’s hardships and told the kids to buck up. Indeed, the book begins with 3-year-old Jeannette cooking herself a hot dog on the stove when her dress catches fire, leading to a 6-week hospital stay that only ends when Dad sneaks her out of the hospital. Within days, Mom encourages her to cook again, telling her, “You can’t live in fear of something as basic as fire.” Dad throw young Jeannette into a pool over and over, saying he bets she thought she would drown, “but I knew you’d be just fine.”

The family lives in unbelievable poverty, because most of the time, neither parent is working. Neither do they accept welfare. It’s hard to imagine how they even survived, and at times they barely did.

As a writer myself, I tend to be a tough reviewer. As I read, I’m always thinking of things I’d do differently, etc. But to me, this book was without flaw. The way Walls writes is so compelling that I really could have read this book in a single sitting — it’s just that good.

This book raised so many issues. First, differing perspectives. Jeannette doesn’t seem angry or bitter about a childhood that seems pretty horrific. Apparently 2 of her siblings feel fairly similarly, but the youngest sister struggles a lot with life. During the book, Jeannette feels that her mom should toughen up with her dad and that this would turn the family’s situation around. Then Mom takes off for 2 months to renew her teaching license, leaving Jeannette in charge with a set amount of money. Jeannette’s carefully-planned budget is blown when Dad insists on taking much of the money for booze. Big sister Lori confides her idea that caryatids — the woman statues holding up Greek temples — had the second toughest job in the world. The toughest belonged to their mom in dealing with their dad.

One by one, the kids escape to New York City as they reach their late teens. The parents later follow them there, living homeless.

I could talk on and on about this book. Really, it is just that good. I promise you’ll be hooked. Just read it!

*****

darkr

You may remember about a year ago, when my teenage daughter reviewed Dark Hope by Monica McGurk. Well, Monica has a sequel out, and it’s called Dark Rising: Book Two of the Archangel Prophecies.

Here’s a teaser: “Hope Carmichael is on the run. The only question is, from whom? Can one person upend a prophecy as old as time? ** The epic narrative introduced in Dark Hope continues in Dark Rising as Hope crisscrosses some of the most ancient sites in Europe and plumbs the depths of history in search of the truth about the Key, herself, and love. Exploring themes of identity, fate, jealousy, trust, and forgiveness, Dark Rising’s mythological scope and moral urgency deepen as we come to understand the choices and consequences faced by a young woman determined to follow her heart and chart her own destiny.”

Daughter #2 was excited when Monica sent a copy of this new book in the mail. She plans to read and review it as soon as she can, but since her AP Literature class has just begun, her “free” reading is on hold for a while. But Monica kindly sent another copy along, autographed no less, for me to give away. I’m assuming most of you aren’t currently taking a lit class, so you can read this book NOW!

Sign up to win a copy using the rafflecopter form below, by September 1. I’ll choose a random winner September 2.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Visit 5 Minutes for Books to see what others have been reading this month.

22 thoughts on “Book Chat August 2015

  1. You’re not the last person to read The Glass Castle – I had never even heard of it until now. What a horrific childhood. It’s a wonder the kids made it out alive and with any sense of normalcy.

  2. I read The Glass Castle a while ago and agree with your review. It was heart-wrenching for me and I can’t believe those kids survived. It made me so sad to read how hungry they always were and how they would find food in the school’s trash cans and share their finds with each other. It made me so grateful for the terrific parents I had.

  3. My church book club was talking about some of our past selections at our last meeting and we got on the topic of The Glass Castle. One lady mentioned how it was one that they read and all enjoyed, despite the bad language in it (a lot of the discussion revolved around the difficulty of selecting books that don’t offend some one or the other.) The subject matter of Walls’ childhood definitely doesn’t seem like it would be enjoyable to read – but Walls tells her story so well that you can’t help but love the book.

  4. I think I would probably benefit from the first two. I’ve never heard of the second one, but that’s not surprising, since I don’t read the same genre of books that you do.

  5. Great reviews like always. I read Glass Castle when it came out and was also struck about how unbothered by her up bringing the author remains. Great book–a classic for the coming generations. I will have a look for the first one. I wish my Sunday School class would read something like that!

  6. If our library has The Glass Castle I may check it out for a couple friends to read. My leisurely summer has just expired and I don’t recall opening a single new magazine that I have stacked up. Let’s face it – reading isn’t high on my list. I did read a few books and finished the Library summer reading program. I am not sure how that happened.

  7. From what I see I want to read them all. I have also recommended to friends to check them out they look good.

  8. My SD loves a good book and just finished a series. I think this would be a great addition for her.

  9. I would love to win this post because it sounds full of adventure, and sounds perfect for the armchair traveler and history lover! I would also like to read The Cost of Our Silence… I will be checking that out. Thanks for the chance to win!

  10. I would like to win because I read Dark Hope and would love the chance to read this one as well!

  11. There are many things that are “sins” that are allowed in our world and many things in the bible that we no longer allow because we, as a society, have said they are wrong. If you made all sins illegal no one would be out of jail. Should we allow concubines, second wives, stoning of people because they wear two different types of fabric?
    The founding fathers were very clear that religion was not to be the guiding factor in this nation and judges have the power to overrule unconstitutional rulings. Without them slavery would still be legal, african-americans could still be denied service, and Japanese-americans would still be interred. I have no issue with your opinion that gay marriage is not ok, but I do take issue with people implying that something should be illegal based solely on religious grounds.

  12. I would love to win because I love love to read and am ready for a new book.

  13. You are not the last person to read Glass Castle – I’ve not read it and I own it. It was given to me. I hear great things about it all the time but I just cannot bring myself to read it. Maybe one day
    .

  14. Evidently I am a oouple of years behind in reading these reviews, but I definitely agree with the premise that Christians are much too silent about just about everything that matters. Even though we fancy ourselves as having good moral values, we don’t do enough to spread that word to others. While I try my best to set a good example, I often wonder if even some members of my own extended family are getting the message!
    The Glass Castle sounds like a really good read. Do you have a copy of it that I could borrow?

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