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The Last Kingdom
4 of 5 stars true
Fast paced and gritty, entertaining historical fiction...especially as a pastor to a church with Danish heritage!
The Reason for God
5 of 5 stars true
This is the best of modern day apologetics. Keller's approach is precise, profound and fair. I appreciated the two directions of the book. Most apologetics focus on "defending" the faith, but this both defends and offers reasons for b...
The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World's Largest Religion
4 of 5 stars true
Myth-busters for Christian history, arguing... ...the real motivations for the Crusades were not colonialist dreams of slaughter or financial gain ...the dark ages were not actually dark, but inventive. The mythical renaissance and enl...
Across the Spectrum: Understanding Issues in Evangelical Theology
4 of 5 stars true
Carefully and clearly written, this is a helpful assessment of key theological debates within evangelicalism. Every once in awhile, Lutherans get a nod, but oftentimes I would read the 2 or 3 options in a given category and not...
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
1 of 5 stars true
I'll admit up front that I went into this book with a bias. I've seen Chan give talks and read one of his other books. Something has itched at me about him. This book helps me understand why I have been bugged, but I don't think it's ...
The Hunger Games
5 of 5 stars true
Reread Review: Quick reread before the movie debuts. Knowing what comes of the relationship between Katniss and Peeta, the reread had a new haunting overtone, especially the final lines of the book. Review from 2011: A brutal tale with...
Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters
4 of 5 stars true
NT Wright always writes a great book. This one popularizes his "big books" (Jesus and the Victory of God and the Resurrection of the Son of God), continues the main threads of previous popular works (Simply Christian and Surprised by Ho...
Everything is Illuminated
3 of 5 stars true
I don't know what to make of this. Is it genius? Is it indulgent, self-congratulatory cleverness? There are moments of amazing heart and depth and and there are needless or head-scratching moments. Probably the 5-star reviewers would...
The Meaning of Marriage: Finding Happiness in Your Most Profound Relationship
5 of 5 stars true
This is one of the wisest books I've read on marriage. Tim Keller is a pastor in New York City, leading a church of thousands that includes a large presence of singles. A few of the features that help this book stand out among the crow...
King's Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus
5 of 5 stars true
Keller takes us through the highlights of the Gospel of Mark, culled from sermon manuscripts, to tell the story of Jesus with particular attention to how the world and our lives make sense in light of the Jesus Story. I would highly rec...
Tigana
5 of 5 stars true
What a beautiful fantasy novel! A tale about memory and loss, love and grief. About the twin loves of romance and country and how individuals choose to pay the price for each. I found myself almost immediately caring deeply for his ch...
Kingdom New Testament-OE
5 of 5 stars true
I enjoyed this highly readable translation of the NT by one of today's leading Biblical scholars. The most noticeable translation choices are related to two of Wrights areas of interest: 1) the Kingship of God in Jesus, leading Wright t...
Holy Spirit - Shy Member of the Trinity
4 of 5 stars true
Dale Bruner, one of my favorite bible scholars, and William Hordern, a Lutheran scholar published four lectures from the early 1980s on the subject of the Holy Spirit, particularly in relationship to the neo-Pentecostal movements of the ...
Thereby Hangs a Tail
3 of 5 stars true
The second in an amusing and, at times, touching detective story about a private investigator, Bernie, and his faithful four-legged companion, Chet. The tale is told from the perspective of Chet, which makes for very fun reading for ani...
Honoring the Child Spirit: Inspiration and Learning from Our Children
4 of 5 stars true
A quick read from transcripts of conversations between Michael Jackson and a rabbi friend and prolific author on faith and family topics, Rabbu Shmuley Boteach. Positives: a stirring reflection on childlikeness and the unfortunate ways ...
11/22/63
4 of 5 stars true
I really enjoyed my return to King. For all the promises of time travel and political intrigue, this is a love story at heart, and a great one at that. King, true to form, over-saturates the reader with detail, but for this foray into ...
The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience
3 of 5 stars true
This book has substance. This is not just capitalizing on Job's aura. There are about 18-20 basic elements of a Steve Job's presentation which the author lays out. Much of it is transferrable to preaching (my vocation), some of it is ...
The Language of Science and Faith: Straight Answers to Genuine Questions
3 of 5 stars true
From Francis Collin's BioLogos foundation, this presents "scientific creationism." It seems to be addressed to evangelicals, but I think many people would find the discussion helpful. I think they offer a generous position for people w...
Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most
4 of 5 stars true
I found this book to be very helpful in laying out the parts of difficult conversations and how to move from awkward or unhealthy conversational approaches to learning conversations. Obviously it's so easy to fall (back) into old patter...
Friedman's Fables
4 of 5 stars true
Edwin Friedman was a rabbi and family therapist. These are 3-5 page fables that illustrate human relationships in often funny or profound ways. Lots of value here for use in counseling or self-reflection.
What It Means to Be a Duck: Mike Bellotti and Oregon's Greatest Players
4 of 5 stars true
Finally returned to this great collection of personal reflections from Oregon Football team members from the last 6+ decades. Moseley did a good job assembling contributors and I hope he revises this around 2020 to include the current d...
Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers Is Telling the American Church
4 of 5 stars true
Kenda Dean reflects theologically upon the National Study of Youth and Religion, which among other discoveries gave us the phrase "moralistic therapeutic deism" to describe the generic, default faith of the youth in our country (and, ane...
Earth Song: Inside Michael Jackson's Magnum Opus
5 of 5 stars true
An inside look at MJ's magnum opus, "Earth Song", a stunning work of many years effort. This song was ahead of its time in 1995. Reached #1 in 15 countries worldwide and was not even released as a single in the USA because of corporate...
Sticky Faith, Youth Worker Edition: Practical Ideas to Nurture Long-Term Faith in Teenagers
3 of 5 stars true
See my review of the parent's version. This is the youthworker's version. Much is the same, but some of the practical ideas change.
Memories of Ice: Book Three of The Malazan Book of the Fallen
5 of 5 stars true
Erikson makes my brain hurt. The best in the series so far, 7 more doorstoppers to go...
Sticky Faith: Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids
3 of 5 stars true
The Sticky Faith research project comes out of the Fuller Youth Institute at Fuller Seminary. This is the parent's version (there is also a youthworker version). The book is essentially about the leading factors in fostering a Christia...
The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical
4 of 5 stars true
Claiborne's story is a powerful testimony and cannot help but challenge us in the ways we live as people of faith. I had a chance to sit on a panel with Shane earlier this year and only wished we had hours more to wrestle with the natur...
Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Getting Things Done
3 of 5 stars true
A collection of Allen's newsletter articles, this book further unpacks the 5 principles of Getting Things Done. I've loved this system since reading about it a year ago. This book is good for short readings or refreshment. But, it's a...
The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry
4 of 5 stars true
A fine collection of articles written by two practical theologians concerned with ministry to the young. The postscript was a helpful description of four streams of practical theological reflection on youth ministry and a main proponent...
The Alloy of Law
4 of 5 stars true
I absolutely LOVED The Mistborn trilogy. What made Alloy of Law so much fun for me was that the original trilogy hung as the mythological backdrop to this new tale set in an emerging industrial era. It was entertaining to watch the mag...
The Next Christians: The Good News About the End of Christian America
4 of 5 stars true
Lyons gives lots of examples of the next generation of Christians, a group he calls the "restorers". This book traces the movement away from separatist Christian sub-cultures back into the culture at large, to be countercultural for the...
How to Have Your Second Child First: 100 Things That Are Good to Know... the First Time Around
5 of 5 stars true
Andrea and I love this book. Just how we like it: laid-back, a little snarky, and doesn't take itself too seriously.
Where Roots Grow Deep
3 of 5 stars true
One of those heart-warming reads, Welch's stock in trade. I enjoyed it.
A Father For All Seasons
4 of 5 stars true
Spiritual and sentimental, Welch's (no relation) anthology gives fatherhood (and sonhood) fine tribute. Welch writes winsomely, with self-deprecation and unapologetic honesty. As an expecting father, I feel both overwhelmed and empower...
Enter Jeeves: 15 Early Stories
4 of 5 stars true
Enjoyable episodes in the life of an idle rich, Bertie, and his faithful butler, Jeeves. Good occasional reading. When I read several in a row they become a bit redundant, but that's also part of the charm. Love all the britishisms. ...
Lutheran Theology
5 of 5 stars true
My theology professor in seminary, Steven Paulson minces no words in this meaty tour of Lutheran theology using the Apostle Paul's magnum opus letter to the Romans as a map. Paulson begin quickly. Some samples from page 1: "Lutheran t...
Luther: Echoes of the Hammer
3 of 5 stars true
Glad to have Luther's life available in graphic novel format. I'll probably use it in Confirmation somewhat and I believe our 4th-5th grade Sunday School teachers are planning to use it as well. Much of it was well done and the major h...
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
5 of 5 stars true
My mantra with parenting books right now is that I expect my star-ratings to drop after I actually put the concepts into practice. This one came highly recommended and it didn't disappoint. There's a lot of take away for any relations...
Night of Knives
3 of 5 stars true
Erikson-lite, Esslemont fills in some of the backstory to the Malazan Book of the Fallen. This novel takes place on one night and the action is well-written. The characterization, however, is pretty trite and flat. I probably won't re...
A Big Little Life:  A Memoir of a Joyful Dog
4 of 5 stars true
This dog memoir has a quiet and spiritual pace. I've read a few Koontz novels, including one featuring a special golden retriever (which Koontz was writing when Trixie died), but I appreciated this personal look into the family behind t...
Parenting With Love and Logic
5 of 5 stars true
I imagine L&L gets higher ratings from expectant parents than practicing ones. The basic concept makes great sense to me: rather than being either a helicopter parent who always rescues their kids from the consequences of their actions ...
The Emotionally Healthy Church: A Strategy for Discipleship That Actually Changes Lives
3 of 5 stars true
A formerly burnt-out pastor makes a personal case for attending to emotional-health issues in church and ministry life. Many helpful insights, but in general I felt the case was made in chapter 1 and the rest was commentary. I also fel...
Antiphon
4 of 5 stars true
Great book. After reading Martin's Dance with Dragons, this book has a refreshing fast pace. I love the impact of faith/science/belief in this series.
Deadhouse Gates
4 of 5 stars true
Unrelentingly brutal. Lives up to my friend Sam's description: "Brilliant and Brutal.' Lots of stunning moments. Not an easy read, but very worthwhile....
Erasing Hell: What God Said about Eternity, and the Things We've Made Up
2 of 5 stars true
Chan responds to Rob Bell's recent "Love Wins." The quick turnaround shows. When you subtract the page breaks, double-spacing, chapter end-notes, appendix, and sample chapter from another book of his, this 208 page book is actually 50-...
The Man in the High Castle
3 of 5 stars true
What if we lost WWII? This 1962 classic imagines an america jointly occupied by Japan and Germany. The ideas are stronger than the plot, but it was definitely interesting.
Leadership is Dead: How Influence is Reviving It
2 of 5 stars true
Good message, winsome writing, and the author has heart. But I could sum up the book in 2 sentences: 1) Don't be a jerk 2) Caring for others is true influence. The further I read, the faster I read.
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
5 of 5 stars true
Thank you David Allen! GTD is simple, comprehensive, and sets you up to stay 'in the zone'. GTD is a system for clearing your head (your Brain's RAM) so that higher-order thinking can occur without the psychic drain of all those unfulf...
Dog on It
3 of 5 stars true
Took a few chapters to get into the Dog's POV, but once I did it was an enjoyable read. Quite a few Deus Ex Machina elements, but he writes suspense very well and captures the dog/owner bond beautifully. I wish Porter and I could solve...
DogTown: Tales of Rescue, Rehabilitation, and Redemption
4 of 5 stars true
What a hopeful and heart-wrenching collection of dog stories. Each chapter tells the tale of a doggie down on its luck and how the Best Friends Society took them in and rehabilitated them in preparation for a Forever Home. I highly rec...
The Pastor: A Memoir
5 of 5 stars true
Comfort food for the pastor's soul; challenging fare for a would-be messenger of the gospel. Peterson, best known as the translator of The Message paraphrase of the Bible, writes a beautiful memoir of life as a pastor. Invisible six day...
Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians
4 of 5 stars true
Inventive fantasy for young readers, by Brandon Sanderson, author of the Mistborn trilogy and completer of the Wheel of Time series. Having a library director friend - Steve Silver - made this a funnier read.
Old Man's War
4 of 5 stars true
Creative reflection on what it means to be human and form connections, when bodies can be replaced and consciences 'grown'...
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
2 of 5 stars true
definitely different. Slow start. how's that for a sophisticated and glowing review?
I Don't Want to Kill You
4 of 5 stars true
Gripping conclusion to a strange and addictive trilogy...
The Wise Man's Fear
5 of 5 stars true
Now I have to wait 2+ years for the conclusion!? Great writing, love the themes of wind and names that embrace plot, characters, and back story. The framing story of Kote the Innkeeper really enhances the suspense for the concluding no...
Sourcery
4 of 5 stars true
witty fun...
Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived
4 of 5 stars true
Rob Bell takes a risk in writing this book, but I appreciate how he lays it on the line. This would make for a lively small group study... First the positives, then the problems (for me): Positives: Bell writes like he's speaking to yo...
The Name of the Wind
5 of 5 stars true
A beautiful, highly engrossing tale - the first of a trilogy. Told in the first-person. Hints of Harry Potter in the orphan boy goes to the academy sort of thing. At times, it reminded me of what it was like to be fifteen. Highly rec...
Mr. Monster
5 of 5 stars true
Very engaging series. Can't hardly put it down. Funny combination of a violent, gory serial killer plot but totally clean content in terms of language and sex. The kid is endearing and creepy all at once. Start with book 1, "I am not...
Compassionate Living: A Road to Emotional Growth and Healing
4 of 5 stars true
Jackie Hudson is a counselor in Eugene. She blends biblical theology and contemporary psychology to promote a model for emotional growth and healing. The book contains helpful conceptual diagrams and simple practices for working throug...
Mockingjay
4 of 5 stars true
I heard a few reviewers of this final book in the Hunger Games trilogy were not so impressed. I had a different experience. Perhaps it came from reading it almost in one sitting, or blowing through the trilogy over a few days, but I wa...
Catching Fire
5 of 5 stars true
Another page-turner. Some of the reader angst from the first book is paid off in this one. There's more outrage and rebellion against the Capitol and the Games.
The Hunger Games
5 of 5 stars true
Added this edition so my reading history stats would be accurate.
Shadowheart
4 of 5 stars true
As an unplanned, but necessary, 4th book of a "trilogy", this final volume is almost non-stop action, with plot lines coming together and tying up satisfyingly. I enjoyed this book much more than the first three. It really paid off the...
Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know
3 of 5 stars true
Enjoyable book. Nice for a change to read a dog book that doesn't end with a dog's death, although the author does reflect on losing her dog of 16 years. Definitely falls in the category of dogs as our companions, contra Caesar Milan's...
The Neverending Story
4 of 5 stars true
The film version comprises only the first 1/2 of this fun & touching read. Bastian's well-known adventures continue deep into the land of Fantastica (no chasing bullies on Falkor's back like the movie). By the end of the tale, Bastian'...
What Americans Really Believe: New Findings from the Baylor Surveys of Religion
3 of 5 stars true
Some interesting myths are exposed re: Americans & Religion...
American Gods
4 of 5 stars true
Interesting concept: what happened to the gods people believed in before moving to America? What kinds of gods have emerged in America? (Technology, etc) What do the old gods do when people no longer feed and sustain them with their be...
Towers of Midnight
4 of 5 stars true
And it all comes down to the 14th...
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
4 of 5 stars true
A very satisfying conclusion to a good series. The trilogy really gets better throughout...
The Magicians
4 of 5 stars true
Grossman's imaginative story is like a nihilistic Narnia, a postmodern Potter. The tale is R-rated and profound in the ways the underside of magic and the reality behind childhood fantasy is explored. The magical childhood fantasy worl...
The Girl Who Played With Fire
4 of 5 stars true
I liked this one much better than the first. Lisbeth is such a fascinating character - made even more fascinating by comparison to blah Blomkvist. Can't wait to kick the hornet's nest next...
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
3 of 5 stars true
A slow narrative wind-up that drops off a demented cliff about 200 pages in and falls into a fastish-paced, dark thriller...I enjoyed the detective work, but never connected with the male protagonist emotionally - what makes him tick?. ...
Travels with Charley: In Search of America
4 of 5 stars true
Steinbeck and his faithful poodle Charley hit the road for a loop around America. Along the way, the author comments on a changing country and meets many interesting people. The premise for the trip is that Steinbeck, noted as a keen w...
Roverandom
3 of 5 stars true
Tolkien wrote this tale over several years, initially in response to one of his sons losing a beloved toy dog at the beach. This delightful children's tale follows the adventures of Rover, a real dog turned tiny toy dog by a magician. ...
Silence
5 of 5 stars true
The heart is not silent after reading this absorbing tale of faith in the midst of horrors; faith that finds Christ to be the martyr who will bear even our apostasy and yet continue to speak, by speaking through us.
Stranger in a Strange Land
3 of 5 stars true
After reading this sci-fi classic I feel like I better understand the 1960s counter-culture mentality. What began as an interesting and fast-paced story hit the free-love swamp about halfway through and the plot dropped off for the sake...
Tinkers
4 of 5 stars true
A beautiful meditation on life, loss, death, fathers/sons, and the majesty of nature. A man lies dying and his thoughts drift back to his childhood, his father, and his father's own experiences. The dying man was a clock maker/collecto...
The Necromancer
3 of 5 stars true
Fast-paced plot continues, almost zero character depth or development, but that's not the style of these books. Call it "projectile mythology"....

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