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review 2018-01-26 00:07
A Brief History of Seventh-day Adventists (Adventist Heritage Series)
A Brief History of Seventh-Day Adventists (Adventist heritage series) - George R. Knight

Condensing over 170 years of history of a religious movement and denomination into a readable 156-page book seems daunting and the recipe for a sketchy history.  Yet George R. Knight, one of the foremost historians of the Seventh-day Adventist church, produced a very readable summary of the Sabbatarian Adventism in A Brief History of Seventh-day Adventists that is meant for an Adventist audience of both long-time members and those new.

 

Knight divides the book into 8 chapters that focus on different eras starting with the pre-Great Disappointment Millerite Roots of Seventh-day Adventists and with the maturity of the Church from 1955 to the present day with its achievements and challenges.  Focusing on high-points, both good and bad, and trends in each “historical” era, Knight gives the reader a barebones yet informative look at history and those who influenced the Church on both large and small ways.  Given the audience Knight is writing for, the book is filled with Adventist nomenclature but Knight ensures that newer members of the Church have an understanding of the terminology that is even helpful for those that have been Adventists all their lives.

 

If one is looking for an in-depth look at doctrinal developments and how the Church was structurally organized, this is not the book.  While both elements are discussed as part of the overall history, Knight makes it clear at the beginning of the book that those looking for emphasis on either need to turn to the other two book of the “Adventist Heritage Series”, A Search for Identity and Organizing for Mission and Growth.  Yet this book is an excellent first read to understand how each of those specific topics tie into the history of the Church in an overall scope.

 

A Brief History of Seventh-day Adventists does not pretend to be more than it is.  George R. Knight gives the reader an overview of the history of Sabbatarian Adventism in a very readable and quick format.  However, Knight does not leave those readers wanting more information hanging as at the end of each chapter he provides numerous books that go more in-depth in relation to the topics covered.  This is a highly recommended book for Seventh-day Adventists interested in understanding how the Church came about.

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review 2018-01-08 17:54
The Oregon Trail: An American Journey
The Oregon Trail: An American Journey - Rinker Buck

This is Rinker Buck's account of how he and his younger brother, Nick, (and Nick's dog, Olive Oyl) traveled the Oregon Trail, from Missouri to Oregon, by covered wagon and mules, in 2011.  It hadn't been done since 1909.

 

 

Buck seems to have been inspired by a combination of a deep melancholy and a desire to recreate the best summer of his childhood, when his father loaded up all his children (he would eventually have eleven) onto a covered wagon and toured New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  Their trip even made the pages of Look magazine as "Covered Wagon Days - 1958."  His father hung a sign, reused in 2011, apologizing for the inconvenience, but they wanted their children to "SEE AMERICA SLOWLY."

 

 

Rinker was lucky that his brother Nick came along, as Nick is both an expert horseman and apparently can fix anything, both skills much needed on this journey.

 

Also included are historical accounts of the pioneers and the origins of the Oregon Trail, from George Washington to Brigham Young, and a map, which is not quite as useful as one would hope.  Many places are mentioned that aren't marked.

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review 2017-12-31 12:36
Wooden Cut Outs with an Agenda.
The Silent Companions - Laura Purcell

 Now and again I like a good bit of creep but it is so hard to find, the more books you read, the less creepy they are but his story had atmosphere. This is your typical gothic horror novel that has been done to death over the years - it has supernatural elements, a grieving widow, a crumbling mansion, hereditary insanity, villagers that won't go near the big house and a mysterious 200 year old diary written by a witch in the mid 17th century. What puts it above the others for me are the 'Silent Companions' themselves. They remind me strongly of the weeping angels in Doctor Who - take your eyes off them for a minute and you're a gonner.

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review 2017-12-30 23:19
16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 16 - New Year’s Eve / St. Sylvester’s Day: Prophetic Bells
The Chimes: A Goblin Story of Some Bells that Rang an Old Year Out and a New Year In - Charles Dickens,Richard Armitage

Well, well -- nothing like ringing in the New Year (albeit a day early) with Charles Dickens: What he did for Christmas in the story about the old miser Scrooge, he did again a year later for New Year's Eve with this story; which is, however, quite a bit darker than A Christmas Carol.  Once again, a man is swept away to see the future; this time, however, it's not a miserly rich man but a member of the working classes, a porter named Toby (nicknamed Trotty) Veck eeking out a living near a church whose migihty bells ring out the rhythm of his life -- as if Dickens had wanted to remind his audience that the moral of A Christmas Carol doesn't only apply to the rich but, indeed, to everyone.  Along the way, the high, mighty and greedy are duly pilloried -- in this, The Chimes is decidedly closer to Hard Times, Our Mutual Friend, A Tale of Two Cities, and Bleak House than it is to A Christmas Carol -- and there are more than a minor number of anxious moments to be had before we're reaching the story's conclusion (which, in turn, however, sweeps in like a cross breed of those of Oliver Twist and Oscar Wilde's Importance of Being Earnest).

 

Richard Armitage's reading is phantastic: at times, there are overtones of John Thornton from the TV adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South, (or in fact, both John Thornton and Nicholas Higgins) which matches the spirit of the story very well, however, since workers' rights and exploitation are explicitly addressed here, too, even if this story is ostensibly set in London, not in Manchester.

 

In the context of the 16 Festive Tasks, The Chimes is an obvious choice for the New Year's Eve holiday book joker, so that it is going to be.

 

 

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review 2017-12-26 18:15
16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 6 - Sinterklaas / St. Nicholas’s Day / Krampusnacht: Can you say angelic?
Little Lord Fauntleroy - Frances Hodgson Burnett,Johanna Ward
Little Lord Fauntleroy - Frances Hodgson Burnett

Youtube: 1980 TV adaptation trailer

 

Book themes for Sinterklaas / St. Nicholas’s Day / Krampusnacht: A story involving children or a young adult book.

 

I was introduced to this story by its 1980s TV adaptation starring Alec Guinness and Ricky Schroder, which was a runaway success in Germany when first broadcast on TV and has long since become a holiday tradition -- it just isn't Christmas without it.  I've long since read (and reread) the actual book, which I love almost as much as the movie adaptation ... I admit this is one where I actually prefer the movie, thanks in no small part to Sir Alec, though possibly also to some extent simply because it was the first version I experienced. -- That said, this year for a change I decided to listen to the audio version read by Johanna Ward, which I also enjoyed tremendously.

 

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