Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Book Notes: Three Books

I have been behind in posting about the books I've been reading, and before I dive into several books this week, I wanted to put out some quick reviews of three books I've read recently.  I read the first two while I was on my 10-year wedding anniversary trip to Cancun in May, and I am working my way through the third one right now with my family.

Book #1: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
Marilynne Robinson won the Pulitzer-Prize for this fiction book in 2004.  I had heard some great reviews by other pastors who read it, so I picked up a used copy before I left for vacation.  The book is a compilation of first-person letters written from an elderly dying pastor to his young son.  The letters cover a wide range of topics - everything from family history to his professional life as a pastor to personal struggles.  I really enjoyed this book - probably more than most since I could relate to many of the ups and downs that the pastor faced over the years of his ministry and because I loved the quick interludes of American history throughout.  The writing is beautiful and moving throughout, and Gilead made me want to write a yearly letter to each of my children on their birthday so that I could leave them with something from me when they get older.  I don't know if I'll do it, but I should.

Book #2: With the Old Breed by EB Sledge
EB Sledge's memoir of his fighting on the front lines in the Pacific during WWII has been out for almost three decades now.  The book continues to sell well and has been introduced to a new generation of readers as the basis for HBO's WWII series called Pacific.  I have read several books about the World War II era, so nothing in Sledge's book was new to me, but his close personal encounters with war, death, disease, friendship, and honor made for incredibly gripping reading.  As we just celebrated Memorial Day 2010, book like this remind me of how blessed we are for the freedom that we enjoy.  Men like EB Sledge and many others who did not come home have served our country so bravely and sacrificed so much.  I am thankful to EB Sledge for writing his story down for generations to read.

Book #3: Training Hearts, Teaching Minds
I have always struggled to know the best tool to use to help my kids get an accurate understanding of God and His ways.  We have used different kids' Bibles and devotional books over the years, but this one by Starr Meade is my favorite (by far!).  Training Hearts, Teaching Minds is a daily family devotional guide that gives six devotions for each question in the shorter catechism.  The catechism questions are updated into modern English (which is great), and the daily devotionals are short (which is also great).  The devotionals guide your family into one or two passages each night that help the family understand the question that you are current studying as part of the catechism.  If you are in the midst of raising up kids to know and love God, I would highly encourage you to pick up this awesome tool.

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