Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Secondhand Souls:

Secondhand Souls By: Christopher Moore
Fiction: Mystery, paranormal, humor 335 pages 
Physical Book Count: 4
Book Count: 11

This book is the sequel to "A Dirty Job" review here.   And you might want to read "Coyote Blue" too before this book as it is mentioned too, review here.  

The story picks up about a year after the end of the last book, and has all the same main characters as last time, with a few new ones.  Charlie is living in his squirrel person body with Audrey, the nun.  Sophie lives with her aunt Jane and Cassie in Charlie's old building.  Mrs. Ling and  Mrs. Korjev treat her like a grandchild.  Lily is working for the suicide prevention hotline after a short time that she was dating Minty and they were running a pizza/jazz store. Minty is running a used music shop, and Rivera is now a death merchant with a book store, but he hasn't been collecting.
The story starts with the Emperor walking into Rivera's shop looking for a journal and a number 2 pencil to record the dead of the city before they get forgotten, then a banshee shows up with a message of doom and ends up stealing a stun gun.  The hell hounds go missing, and Charlie needs to get back in the picture (which is quite hard to do when you look like a 14 inch tall crocodile wizard. )  Along the way we meet Mike, a painter on the Golden Gate Bridge; Concepcion Arguella, a ghost; Helen, a racist old lady that speaks French;  Jean-Pierre Baptiste, a death merchant with an on-line store, W.C., who need a cheez; and a mysterious man dressed all in yellow, who's identities will be important.   Also Bob changes his name to Theeb, but Steve is more logical.  And the Ghost Thief needs to be found.  

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Under the Mantle: Marian Thoughts from a 21st Century Priest:

Under the Mantle: Marian Thoughts from a 21st Century Priest By: Fr. Donald H. Calloway, MIC
Non-fiction: religion, 273 pages 
Physical Book Count: 4
Book Count: 11

I wanted to like this book, I really did want to like it.  I heard the author talk about it over the radio and put it on my private Amazon list to buy sometime, luckily I ended up finding it at a library before I spent money on it.  

The main idea of the book is that it a book for all the people that the author can not do parish missions and talks for, due to physical limitations of time and space.  It is a book on Jesus through Mary,  with many quotes from saints at the end of each section on Mary and the topic.  And that it was written for the "Joe-six-pack in the pew."  And that last part is where the problem lies. 

The book started out fine,  it might of had some phrases that I wouldn't expect in a religious book, but nothing where I stopped reading and went "what?!"  But then we got to the part on the priesthood.  I would like to state now I don't disagree with the Church having a all male priesthood, I have heard many well written arguments with theological, Biblical, and nuanced reasons for why that is, but not from this book.  His main argument used, made me want to disagree with him for how bad it was.  As although there were a number of good points that he made, his main one is that only men are priests because it is a soldier/warrior job.  (With the implied, only men can fight idea.) But it is a Marian book, so it then adds that God gave priest Mary to help them in the battle and in the quotes section (and maybe in the main section, as it was a library book I couldn't highlight parts, and I didn't see it glancing over it,) it deals with the idea that Mary is the leader or general of God's army.  So that kind of nullifies his whole argument.  Again, I am only disagreeing with his poorly thought out metaphor here and not the idea he was using the metaphor for.  

After that section things went back to okay for a while, he clearly doesn't understand complex mathematical ideas, and is of the belief that yoga stretches (when called that) are inherently worshiping of Hindu gods.  (He didn't get into it enough to be like most people in the all yoga is evil group to say that when you do any of the exercises that copy a yoga move exactly and then rename it, it then becomes okay.  Which is my main issue with the yoga is evil group, they are fine with Pilates which has a number of the exact same stretches or the various "Christian" stretching exercises, which again copy yoga moves exactly but change the names and add Christian pray and/or music to it.) 

But, then he gets to the sections on "Manhood" and "Femininity."  Where I learned many "gems" that sound like they were written by a less racist Archie Bunker.  All men love; hunting, fishing, sports, and war games, and if you are a male that doesn't, there is something fundamentally wrong with you.  It might be that you were raised by a single mother, who was overprotective, and as a female could not teach you the importation mainly hunting, fishing, fighting traits, and because of this you are gay.  If you are a female your main goals in life should be:1 being a pretty, pretty princess, 2. getting married (there was nothing about nuns/religious sisters in that section, although we were informed that all women love "Chick Flicks" and it did mention Mary being married to God,)   3. being a mother, he did note that there is physical and spiritual motherhood, but didn't get into it a lot, as that section was mostly on the science of fetal microchimerism (how some cells of the child remind in the mother for life,) and why he doesn't think Mary died.

In closing, if you skip any section of this book where gender is a main point it would be a fine book.  

Friday, April 22, 2016

Curiosity House:The Shrunken Head:

Curiosity House:The Shrunken Head By: Lauren Oliver & H.C. Chester
Fiction: Mystery, Children's, 362 pages
Physical Book Count: 3
Book Count: 10

This is the first book in a series about a group of 4 children that have special abilities and work and live at Dumfrey's Dime Museum of Freaks, Oddities, and Wonders.  Sam is a strongman, but doesn't look like it. Thomas is able to fit into almost any small space (he often travels using the vents and duct work in the museum) and is a genius. Philippa is a mentalist, but she mostly can tell what is in people's pockets. And Max, the new girl, can throw knifes and pickpocket amazingly well.  
There is a new object at the museum, a shrunken head.  It was billed as the head of Chief Ticuna-Piranha from the Amazon, and a cursed object, but it was meant to just be hype to get people into the nearly bankrupt museum, but then the head is stolen and people started dying.  The four kids work to solve the mystery and end up also finding out more about themselves as well as the people around them.  

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Everyday Worship:

Everyday Worship By: Chris Voigt
Non-fiction: Religion, E-book, NYR,
E-Book Count: 8
Book Count: 9

This shorter book is about how worship is not just what you do on Sunday morning, but should be a complete way of life for Christians.  It has many Biblical and personal stories to showcase different parts of this idea as well as questions and sometimes things to pray about at the end of each chapter.  

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Revelations of Divine Love:

Revelations of Divine Love By: Julian of Norwich
Non-fiction: Religion, NYR, E-Book
E-Book Count: 7
Book Count: 8

This book is apparently the first book written in the English language and published by a women.  Maybe if there wasn't 86 chapters there would be more early English books by women.  (And the paperback versions are between around 200-300 pages so these are reasonable length chapters, and I read the long version.)  Also as an early modern English book, there are a ton of words ending with th, and with weird spellings, and even a few words that the e-reader dictionary looked at and said "that's not a word."  

Now about the book itself.  This book is a collection of visions that the author had, when she was deathly ill in 1373.  It was apparently one of the most popular religious books of England during the Middle Ages.   Although it is a very old book,  many of the thoughts and theological ideas that are in the book connect well with modern readers.  In fact I picked this book to read, not because of the long history or importance of the book, but having read a short bit of the book in a class, almost all of the women in the class picked it as their favorite reading out of the whole class, and everyone seamed to enjoy it.  There are some things in the book, besides the archaic wording, that show the age of the book; however, the majority of it has a timelessness about it.