Friday, June 24, 2005

Hodgepodge of Book Tags

Ok, Since Theomony and Wildboar book-tagged me, I'm going to make a hodgepodge of answers from the categories I've seen on other folks' sites that have done this ;) I'm also going to ignore categories I can't fit :P

Here's the spiel from Wildboar: (followed by the numbered questions from Theomony)
Imagine that a local philanthropist is hosting an event for local high school students and has asked you to pick out five to ten books to hand out as door prizes. At least one book should be funny and at least one book should provide some history of Western Civilization and at least one book should have some regional connection. The philanthropist doesn't like foul language (but will allow some four-letter words in context, such as expressed during battle by soldiers). Otherwise things are pretty wide open. What do you pick?

Alrighty then! To the chase!

First to the spiel categories:
Funny: "Grendel" by John Gardner was an off-beat, funny retake on the classic Beowulf epic, told from the perspective of the dysfunctional monster Grendel. I've lost my copy of the book, and apparently so has the local library! Must be popular!

Western Civilization: This is a toss-up "All Quiet on the Western Front" about WWI I think, was very good, but also depressing. And "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara was an excellent historical fiction account of the battle at Gettysburg in the Civil War.

Regional: ?? I can't think of much that would qualify as 'regional' literature, and I can't think of the title or author of the book, but I read a really interesting book about Old Detroit that a lady I know pulled out of a heap of books a library was going to throw away. It was published probably in the 40s or something, and so it was long before the current decay had struck the city where I was born. Apparently, during it's boom, Detroit was considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world, taking part in the "City Beautiful" movement. Sadly, one would never guess this now. But anyhow, the book was fascinating for me, a Detroit local, to learn about the peak of Detroit's liveliness in culture, architecture, sports, industry (esp. automotive), etc.

On to Theomony's questions!

1. How many books do you own?
Good question. Never have attempted to count. I have kept almost all my biology and chemistry textbooks from college (at my parent's home), plus a lot of books I accumulated or inherited as a kid, and those fill up a 7' x ~3' bookshelf, so what's that? A couple hundred? (I have no clue :). Then I have all my theology books that I've gotten at seminary, which are probably two to three times that, so as you can see, this is very sketchy estimating :) All told, I'd guess I have close to a thousand, although that seems like such an easy number to overestimate.

2. What was the last book you bought?
This is a tricky question since I just bought about 6 books to donate to my vicarage church's library, and those aren't for me. But the most recent book(s) I've purchase for myself are 1) The Concordia Reader's Edition of the Book of Concord, which I've not received just yet, and 2) One Nation Under Gods, a History of the Mormon Church by Richard Abanes.

3. What was the last book you read (are reading)? I read a few chapters/essays in "The Social World of Luke-Acts" ed. by Jerome Neyrey, which had some interesting insights, but wasn't as useful as I'd expected/hoped. I'm currently reading "Preaching Christ from the Old Testament: a contemporary Hermeneutical Method" by Sidney Greidanus (a Calvinist!), which I started in a homoletics class at sem. Its very good so far, though I'm re-reading what I'd already covered. I do think in his reaction against certain types/methods of preaching Christ in the OT, he unnecessarily eliminates certain valid methods because he fears abuse, but he offers much in the way of positive insights as well as cautions. I'd like to be reading something fiction right now too, but haven't found something I'm interested in yet.

4. What are some books that meant a lot to you?
Ok, like Floyd here, I have to say first and foremost the Bible and the Book of Concord are the main books that have truly influenced and affected my life, thanks be to Jesus Christ my Lord!
Beyond those obvious ones, here are some of my favorites, in no particular order:
1) "Robinson Crusoe" by Daniel Defoe--I often dreamed as a child about an adventure on a deserted island like Crusoe's, and sometimes still do!

2) "Why I am a Lutheran, Jesus at the Center" by Daniel Preus
3) "Spirituality of the Cross" by Gene Veith
4) "The Defense Never Rests" by Craig Parton --all three of these are excellent primers in Lutheranism, each from a different angle.

5) "Darwin's God: Evolution and the Problem of Evil" by Cornelius Hunter--an excellent philosophical and scientific examination of evolution! Shows brilliantly how much of evolutionary arguments against design are predicated on a 'negative theology.'

6)"Law, Life, and the Living God:The Third Use of Law in Modern American Lutheranism" by Scott R. Murray--excellent examination of the 3rd use! caused me to reexamine some of my own thinking.

7)"Romance of the Three Kingdoms" by Luo Guanzhong--don't think sleazy American romance novels! This is a beautiful epic of Chinese history during the dissolution of the Han Dynasty ~200 AD, and is a true classic. Lots of heroism, war, political intrigue, and great dialogue!

8) "Revenge of Conscience: Politics and the Fall of Man" by J. Budziszewski--fascinating bio/apologetic of a former nihilist who came to Christianity, speaking about the woeful effects of suppressing conscience.

9) "In the Beginning Was Information" by Werner Gitt--shows how Information Theory utterly contradicts the theory of evolution, particularly the essential step of organizing information out of chaos to create the first cellular life.

10) "Perelandra" by C.S. Lewis--I was completely intrigued by Lewis' re-imaging of the Fall and the excellent dialogue in this book. I also want to note here that I love almost all I've read by C.S. Lewis, including Narnia; and also Tolkien's LOTR and Silmarillion. Both excellent authors!

11) "Evolution: Theory in Crisis" by Michael Denton
12) "Darwin's Black Box" By Michael Behe--both interesting rebuttals of evolution, Denton is an atheist molecular biologist, and Behe is a Roman Catholic biochemist (i think that's right)

13)"My Side of the Mountain" --another kid's book, but a great adventure story about a boy who runs away from home to live in the Catskills. My childhood dream!

that's all I can think of for now, but I know there's more ;)

5. Tag! I tag the four gentlemen from Evangelical Lutheran, Floyd, Burt, Hess, and Winter. Have fun!

P.S. Thanks to Wildboar and Monergon for tagging me!
P.S.S. Though I didn't provide links for the books, I have reviews of several of the above on I enjoy reviewing books, and currently have ~75 reviews on Amazon.

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