Monday, April 12, 2010

Eye of the Red Tsar

Pekkala is a confidante of Tsar Nicholas Romanov until the brutal murders of the Romanov family in 1917. After years in a Soviet camp, Pekkala is called back to solve a mystery, with the promise of his freedom as the reward for success. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and read it straight through in one sitting. It kept a fast pace and had enough twists and turns to keep me interested. Was it great literature? No. Was it supposed to be? No. If you are looking for a fun read with some history thrown in, this book is for you.

Note: I received a copy of this book through LibraryThing Early Reviewers program in exchange for this unbiased review.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Voice of Psalms - A reivew

A Dubious Translation - The Voice of Psalms

This book contains the entire book of Psalms in The Voice translation and includes reading plans and  reflections for selected psalms.   The distinguishing feature of this book is its use of The Voice translation, described by its authors as “a literary project…created for and by a church in great transition…(this) uniquely represents collaboration among scholars, pastors, writers, musicians, poets, and other artists.”  The goal seems to be to make the Bible “more beautiful” in the eyes and ears of the authors, and while the text is lovely, they are less successful in maintaining the accuracy of God’s word.

I adore the book of Psalms and was anxious to read this book.  However, the more I read, the more uncomfortable I became with The Voice.  I feel that it takes great yet unnecessary and perhaps incorrect liberties with the Bible.  I have read from many types of Bibles, from King James to NIV to The Message, yet they all fundamentally stay true to God’s word.  This translation adds or changes words that change the overall meaning of the text.  The authors claim that this is necessary to reach the post-modern church, but I feel that doesn’t give people enough credit.  Making the stories more accessible and understandable is one thing, changing the meaning to make people feel better is another.  While I think anyone will benefit from spending time reading and meditating on the Psalms, this book goes down a slippery slope with its translation.  Those truly interested in the Psalms will be better served by reading a more traditional translation.

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for this review.  My content was in no way dictated by Thomas Nelson Publishers.

The Rewards of Simplicity - A review

The Rewards of Simplicity
A Practical and Spiritual Approach
By Pam and Chuck D. Pierce

This book is described as a guide to simplifying life from a Christian perspective.  The authors discuss how to clear mental, physical and spiritual clutter from our lives and reclaim our peace.  Their key premise is that “Every aspect of simplicity can be viewed from these three perspectives: faith, focus and function.”

As a veteran reader of many organizing/simplifying books, I can honestly say this book doesn’t break much new ground.  While it does remind us to make faith-based decisions as we de-clutter, there are no real “aha” moments.  For those seeking a biblical basis for decisions on slowing down and eliminating the unnecessary, this is good book.  For those looking for a to-do list for simplifying, not so much.

(This book was provided to me for review by Bethany House Publishers.)