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Mind the 40 day Gap of the Resurrection: Jesus was on the earth for 40 days following the resurrection, why doesn the church say more about this? Just what is this 40 day gap all about?
Mind the 40 day Gap of the Resurrection: Jesus was on the earth for 40 days following the resurrection, why doesn the church say more about this? Just what is this 40 day gap all about?
by Rev Chris J Graham
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.84

5.0 out of 5 stars Why was Jesus still on Earth for 40 more days?, 2 July 2014
A great book.

The author takes you through the eye witness accounts of Jesus' resurrection and his appearances in the 40 days afterwards, and asks the question: what was he still doing on Earth?

It's fascinating, because even though I've been a Christian for many years, it's not something I've heard anyone talk that much about. You find yourself reading and saying, 'oh yeah, why did Jesus do that? What was the purpose of that? How does it all tie together?'

I really recommend this book, and also for people who don't know much about Jesus or the Bible. Often when you read theology you need a whole load of background knowledge before you begin, and the style of writing is fairly complicated. This book, however, is written in a really easy-going style, as if you're listening to a simple talk on the subject. And yet at the same time it's packed full of detailed theology and interesting ideas which will get you thinking.

An inspiring read!

And all profits from the book go to a good charity.


Mind the 40 day Gap of the Resurrection
Mind the 40 day Gap of the Resurrection
Price: 4.65

5.0 out of 5 stars Why was Jesus still on Earth for 40 more days?, 2 July 2014
A great book.

The author takes you through the eye witness accounts of Jesus' resurrection and his appearances in the 40 days afterwards, and asks the question: what was he still doing on Earth?

It's fascinating, because even though I've been a Christian for many years, it's not something I've heard anyone talk that much about. You find yourself reading and saying, 'oh yeah, why did Jesus do that? What was the purpose of that? How does it all tie together?'

I really recommend this book, and also for people who don't know much about Jesus or the Bible. Often when you read theology you need a whole load of background knowledge before you begin, and the style of writing is fairly complicated. This book, however, is written in a really easy-going style, as if you're listening to a simple talk on the subject. And yet at the same time it's packed full of detailed theology and interesting ideas which will get you thinking.

An inspiring read!

And all profits from the book go to a good charity.


Atlas Shrugged (Penguin Modern Classics)
Atlas Shrugged (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Ayn Rand
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.69

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Some brilliance, some sickness, 3 May 2014
I read three hundred pages or so, and then I decided I wouldn't read any more of it. The description of a collapsing society is brilliantly done, and has so many parallels with the socialist, liberal governments of the west today. The way Rand shows heroic industrialist geniuses being blighted by moronic, politically correct liberal fools is stunning at times. She reveals the flaws of the modern age powerfully. However, her answer to the problem she diagnoses, is a failure.

It was her view of people and sexuality which made me decide to stop reading. Rand applies the same strict materialistic view of economics to all human relationships, sexuality, and indeed the soul. It is a sick description and utterly misses the point of why society needs free enterprise and unhampered industry and small, small government in the first place. Not to function like machines, but as free people, able to worship God, have meaning, have purpose.

Rand crushes the liberal, atheistic post-modern view, yet then replaces it with an inspiration destroying atheism of her own. She misses the point. She diagnoses the problem, but gives a solution just as crippling.


Magic Casement
Magic Casement
by Dave Duncan
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.72

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Deus Ex machina, 26 April 2014
This review is from: Magic Casement (Paperback)
This is literally the story of a stable boy and a princess - yet after all the rape and incest that modern fantasy writers increasingly depend on, The Magic Casement actually feels quite original and refreshing.

However, the story doesn't really go anywhere, just away on a short journey and then back again. The characters become annoying because they are all so completely influenced by magic, with no will power of their own: it is magic that makes every character decision rather than any sense of the character themselves. And after reading the whole book and seeing events move to a cliffhanger situation, what happens? (SPOILER!)

They happen to discover a magic window and all escape - just like that. You're left feeling, 'what was the point of investing all that time reading if the writer is just going to cheat and avoid meeting the challenge of every plot point and the narrative direction.

Not a good book.


The Martian
The Martian
by Andy Weir
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 6.00

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Science, but the Form Fails, 11 April 2014
This review is from: The Martian (Hardcover)
This is very much Apollo 13 but on Mars. An astronaut tries to solve problems using limited materials while NASA people fret back on Earth. The science is well researched and the solutions to problems are inventive. It's a great idea and the ending is very exciting. However, there are big problems with the writing, mostly connected to it being written in first person narrative.

Loads of writers seem to opt for first person these days - because it means they can talk in everyday spoken English, use a limited range of vocabulary and have a very limited scope on events. Compared to third person writing it often seems easy. However if you use first person well, you still have to have skill, and too many of these writers don't. There are rules. If the character is talking directly to the reader then he's got to have a plausible reason for doing so and it has to be stylistically believable.

In The Martian Andy Weir has the astronaut talking to us via his mission log that has been typed into the computer. Yet from beginning to end the character talks with spoken English and no sign of professional language for a formal NASA document. This is a record, yet the astronaut is continuously having to explain basic details for non-experts (us readers) that any NASA guy would have known without thinking. It never reads like a mission log - just like a bloke talking to you. The whole storytelling style fails to be believable.

The characterisation is also very poor. The Astronaut is on Mars for about two years yet his writing is unchanged from start to finish - always the same bloke down the pub, jokey style, no development or deterioration. There is nothing to make us care about him really - no experience of the isolation, only science facts which often get boring and tedious. Also, many of the plot points you can see a mile off and they happen right on cue to make it difficult for him to make his journey across Mars.

It's a good idea for a story, but the execution doesn't work and as a novel it's poor.


Dark Eden
Dark Eden
Price: 3.59

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An Ugly Infantile Novel, 5 April 2014
This review is from: Dark Eden (Kindle Edition)
The premise is great: some humans living on a dark planet without a star, their only light from geothermal trees, and no idea of the world around them. It's a great sci-fi set-up with all kinds of exciting directions a writer could take a story - but Beckett doesn't go in any of them.

It said a lot when I read that this guy is a Social Worker who actually writes text books on the subject; it says a lot about the state of modern Britain. Because he clearly has little clue about human psychology or society at all. In his story the human descendants of a few original survivors now number five hundred and have been stranded for 160 years. Supposedly they have been living in a Communist-like hunter gatherer community without murder or theft. And it's all rooted in extreme feminism, guided by wise matriarchal leaders - as soon as some men start taking the lead we're warned that society will break apart into war and division. There's also a sick envisioning of sexual relationships. Women sleep with any man they want to, and there are no intimate bonds between men and women, and furthermore no men really care about who is or isn't their child. There is no love or jealousy. The whole thing is sick nonsense. And this is a guy writing sociology text books.

I mean come on! This kind of Communist society has fallen apart, or rather been torn apart from inside out, every time it has been tried, because it takes no account of human nature. Humans always strive for more. People with strength and talent always rise above the rest and draw followers. Society always develops some kind of class structure. People always strive for more than they have. Men and women have always fallen in love and naturally wanted marriage bonds. Infidelity always causes pain and division. Chastity of women has always been crucial in society (apart from the messed up present day) especially in a society where people live in huts and can hear exactly what's going on in the hut next door. People always argue and fight about truth and the direction to take. Chris Beckett is wrong about almost everything.

It took only one generation of humans until Cain murdered Abel. That is accurate. In Beckett's story it takes 160 years, and about five generations before anyone even has a big quarrel. Beckett hasn't got a clue about human psychology and nature.

This novel is also full of glaringly heavy handed analogies about religion and the development of society. The humans are looking up to the stars waiting for the return of the spaceship (and this is bad!) and thinking of their holy mother Angela (this is bad too!). They need to dismantle their religious spaces and embrace change and development. (The riding alien horses thing was obvious a mile away.)

Also, if a writer decides to tell the whole story in first person narratives, he's got to give a reason to explain why the characters are directly talking to us. But there is none.

An annoying, stupid, ugly book, with nothing beneficial to say.


The Dragon and the Raven
The Dragon and the Raven
Price: 0.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, 5 April 2014
This is a really well told story and refreshing compared to much of the writing of today.

The writing style can take a little getting used to at first because it's quite exact and straightforward story telling, but after a while I really enjoyed it. Gentry simply tells the story, giving historical detail from time to time - good old fashioned, honest story telling.

The protagonist was a solid, decent hero you could always root for and there is a sense of fighting for justice and goodness throughout, yet the author still treats the enemy, the Danes, with respect. All that modern novelists seem to deliver is gritty (immoral) realism, and characters torn apart by their own faults, but here you have people who actually aspire to something worth telling.

A classic adventure story. Accurate history (no changing historical facts to suit the author's ideas as writers of modern historical-fiction so often do) and an interesting, exciting read.


Far from the Madding Crowd
Far from the Madding Crowd
Price: 0.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Written Like a Classic, 6 Mar 2014
A really well written novel, which makes you remember what good writing is like. The descriptions of nature are beautifully done and the characters are all crafted with lots of narrator's insight into their failings and successes.

It shows (spoilers) the devastation that a woman who simply doesn't have a moral direction nor think through her actions can cause. There's a sense that the characters are victims of their innate failings rather than having a willful say in their decisions, which I disagreed with: it takes moral responsibility away from Bathsheba and Troy and is too kind to their evils. The story also becomes too neat by the end, tying up as you know it must, and delivering all to a hero who actually did nothing other than wait and be faithful and decent - but it makes a rare change to read. The nice guy finishes first.

And so it makes a charming, exquisitely written story, spoiled just by its author's moral abdications.


Inversions
Inversions
by Iain M. Banks
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Socialist Tedium, 18 Feb 2014
This review is from: Inversions (Paperback)
This book begins with humanist, contradictory nonsense on the first pages, and is based on the notion that nonsense Marxist, Socialist ideas are the inevitable and best future. I'd long put off reading Banks' novels because of the whole Culture idea, but thought I'd finally have a look. But the 'Culture' as a concept is just unworkable nonsense; the characters even in their medieval setting drone on in left-wing leaning nonsense with no connection to reality; it's just not believable. And the writing is very slow, with over-long conversations and little plot movement. Not good.


Lucky Jim (Penguin Modern Classics)
Lucky Jim (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Kingsley Amis
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Smug and Obnoxious, 18 Feb 2014
At first I was enjoying this and finding it funny. But before long I'd had enough, as Jim was established as nothing other than a cynical man who mocks and disdains everything. Sure, the pretentious world of the university professors is laughable, but the book is written with a self-satisfied superiority and Jim is actually more pretentious then those he mocks. There's little goodness about his character, just disregard, and that goes for the writing in general.


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