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The End of Many Books

Beneath a Scarlet Sky

A friend recommended this book to me almost three years ago. I affirm that it is fabulous, and almost unbelievable. Having read Unbroken and having just finished The Boys in the Boat, the former about WWII and the latter right before it, this tale about Pino Lella is as brutal as it is surprising. I think I would have preferred the straight narrative rather than the “novel” and “filling in the gaps” approach by the author, but I’m still glad I listened to the story.

4 of 5 stars

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The End of Many Books

Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos

The only time it would be better to read this book than RIGHT NOW is to have read it long before now. The text is a few hundred years old, but the biblical principles for recognizing tyrants and then how to resist them as Christians are evergreen and ever needed. If the church, and her shepherds, and her members, understood this book perhaps our republic wouldn’t be crashing so hard.

Living in 2021 requires wisdom, and courage, and this is a book that is protein for building those kinds of muscles.

4 of 5 stars

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The End of Many Books

How to Take Smart Notes

Yes, this is a book about note-taking. I read it last year during the global lockdown, because I was interested, and because it was about something other than a virus. Mentions of it swelled among the productivity bloggers for a while, and it seemed as if it might be profitable for efficient capturing and curating. Even more, it claims to offer a way to think better, especially for sake of making connections between ideas.

The book examines the workflow of Niklas Luhmann who wrote hundreds of articles, and considered his copious output as a result of his system of input.

I haven’t implemented all of the workflow, but I keep thinking about ways to make progress in organizing and writing. My reading of the book also had a serendipitous connection with the beta of an app called Roam Research. It is perhaps the ideal digital tool for the Smart Notes approach, especially as it focuses on a network rather than hierarchy of notes, as well as on blocks rather than pages or documents. Roam makes it easy for the same block to be referenced in multiple places rather than tucked away in only one place.

If you are still reading this review, you are probably the type of person who would be interested in the book as well as in Roam. 🙂

4 of 5 stars

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The End of Many Books

Knowledge and Power

I read this while prepping a message on economics, and Gilder didn’t disappoint. I won’t say that I understood everything he was talking about, but I definitely get that at this point in the life of our government’s overweening overreach we are threatening what little we have left of economic health.

It made me thankful for the generous and entrepreneurial men I know, and by God’s grace maybe we’ll return to more problem solving than regulation writing.

4 of 5 stars

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The End of Many Books

The Boys in the Boat

I had heard from so many of my reading friends that this was a great book. Now that I’ve listened to it, I can also say that it is a great book.

The numerous details definitely built anticipation, but I think I could have gotten the same goosebumps with a third less details. Whatever. Many of the races brought me to joyful tears. If you enjoy sports at all, this is a true and good story.

4 of 5 stars

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The End of Many Books

Epitome of Copernican Astronomy & Harmonies of the World

I chose this as one of the textbooks for our college astronomy class. It was excellent, and touched all four parts of the quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy), but more like an excellent workout rather than an excellent wrap up. Much of Kepler’s work was before his time, and above my head.

Published in 1618 Kepler didn’t even have the word “gravity” to work with as he tried to explain the movement of the planets. He did have theology, and the praise He gives to God throughout his work is a fantastic example of acknowledging the Creator while doing science.

Probably don’t read this one first in your astronomical aspirations.

3 of 5 stars

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The End of Many Books

The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution

If you know anyone who lives in the sexually immoral morass that is 2021, have them read this book. Read it for yourself, too. I recommend letting these ideas bounce around in your mental hopper, especially if you’re a pastor or teacher.

It is, however, highly repetitive. It is also proffered as a “surprise” that our cultural problems go back a couple centuries, as compared maybe with the 1960s. Trueman does a good job of demonstrating that our problems do go back that far, but it’s more surprising that he doesn’t mention the wayback of Genesis 6, or Genesis 18, or Romans 1. The absence of connection with Romans stands out because he recommends that the current church learn from the 2nd century church.

More than anything, I do not understand why Trueman never mentions the gospel. Like, no joke, there is not even one reference to the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no mention of the cross, either for sake of showing the judgment sinners deserve or showing the forgiveness that Christ offers to any who repent and believe. I know that Trueman knows the true, and only, solution, to sexual immorality, but he does not point to it anywhere in this book. He must have his reason(s), but without Jesus we are without hope.

Again, I appreciate how well Trueman shows the desperate and degenerating nature of a culture without transcendent truth, and how in fact that sort of culture, our culture, is more of an anticulture. But ironically there is a significant lack of the transcendent God’s Word in this book, both in terms of Bible and the Son.

4 of 5 stars

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The End of Many Books

The Pastor’s Wife

I’d heard about Tortured for Christ, but this was my introduction to both Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand. It is a brutal autobiographical account, similar in some ways to Unbroken, except the Wurmbrands suffered for and in the name of Christ rather than finding Christ after their sufferings. I do not share all the same doctrinal understandings as Sabina, but I hope by God’s grace to share her loyalty to loved-ones and perseverance for Christ’s sake.

4 of 5 stars

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The End of Many Books

Ecochondriacs

My wife just finished listening to this and loved it. I liked it. I enjoyed the spy-like suspense, the climate-change jabs, and the idea of a Hummer running nonstop outside of an office building. I cared about the main characters, and it also seemed like there were a lot of characters to keep track of, especially since I read it in pieces as posted on Blog and Mablog over a couple months. The story could have been a lot longer, especially as the plot wrap-ups were finished like the ink was running out. Overall it was more good, hearty, fun fiction from Mr. Wilson.

3 of 5 stars

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The End of Many Books

Irreversible Damage

This was one of the least enjoyable, least hopeful, more quotidian nightmarish books I’ve read (listed to) in a while. I learned some things about the transgender contagion/cult that I wish I wouldn’t need to know.

It also increased my commitment to encouraging image-bearers of God in the glory of being either male and female (Genesis 1:27), including my own son and daughters, as well as the young people in our church and school. Though the author is only conservative in comparison with the gender activist ideologues, and though she’s primarily just asking for people to slow down and ask some questions, even she has been tagged as a hater by some. There is little left to imagine how much contempt there is/will be for consistent Christians.

I do not recommend listening to this book with your young kids around. I do recommend that dads and moms do better than simply affirming every doubt and dysphoria their kids bring up, and perhaps hearing Shrier’s collected stories of loss and angst and dereliction by parents and “professionals” would be a wake up call.

4 of 5 stars