April 2010

Ron’s #16: Columbine by Dave Cullen

April 16, 2010 // 3 Comments

Why would anyone want to read a 400-page book on the Columbine High School massacre? Several friends have asked me, “Why are you reading that?” and I don’t know. I cannot answer this question for myself, but I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading about this difficult subject. As for most, the events of April 20, 1999 are still vivid in my memory. I was student teaching then, and I came home after work to watch the newsreels. I was beginning a career in a place where something like that could happen. Over the years, I can’t say that I paid much attention to the facts and theories surrounding the tragedy beyond an article or two around the anniversary dates. After reading Columbine, I see how much I didn’t know about it, or, the facts that I did think I knew were wrong. The journalist Dave Cullen sifts through 10 years of police records, evidence, testimonies, court cases, and interviews to offer readers a complete picture of what occurred on that Tuesday morning at 11:17 a.m. It was more terrifying than I originally thought. This book alternates between chapters showing the planning of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold before […]

Ron’s #15: Son of Hamas by Mosab Hassan Yousef

April 16, 2010 // 1 Comment

Son of Hamas has been discussed on several of the blogs I follow, and I was eager to read it. This book did not disappoint. It offered more insight into the Israel-Palestine conflict than anything else I’ve read. It offered a better face of Palestine, reveals problems with how Israel handles the occupation, and shows the power of the Christian message. Mosab Hassan Yousef is the son of Hassan Yousef, a founding member of Hamas (the acronym of Islamic Resistance Movement) in Palestine. The younger Yousef describes his father as a good Muslim with a love for his people. However, he begins to question the terrorist actions that Hamas is involved in, and works with Israel’s Shin Bet—the equivalent of our F.B.I.—as a spy. Imagine the son of Hamas passing on key information to Israel to thwart future attacks. The story is more than a spy tale; it’s an account of the crisis of conscience that Yousef undergoes as he wants the best for his people while realizing that bombs and guns are not the answer. He is a man between two worlds, and he no longer belongs to either. This alienation is complicated further when he meets a British […]

Ron’s #14: Life, the Universe, and Everything by Douglas Adams

April 16, 2010 // 0 Comments

I’ve slowly been working my way through the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series over this past school year. Science-fiction is not a genre I typically like, but this series seems to be written for readers like me. It focuses more on humor and ridiculousness than it does on the fantastic nature of futuristic events. The main story of the stolen Heart of Gold ship and Arthur Dent’s reluctant traveling through time and space is not nearly as interesting and enjoyable as Adams’s small side notes and descriptions. In this book, the pieces are weightier than the whole. Here are a few tidbits: “He just won an award at the Annual Ursa Minor Alpha Recreational Illusions Institute Awards ceremony [for]..the Most Gratuitous Use of the Word ‘Belgium’ in a Serious Screenplay. It’s very prestigious.” “…pausing at a bar on the way back for a quick glass of perspective and soda.” “It’s all right,” she said in a voice that would have calmed the Big Bang down. Life, the Universe, and Everything was a quick read and a good distraction, but I was impatient for its end. I’m sure I’ll finish the series, but it may be a little while before […]

Mark’s #15 – Stuff Christians Like by Jonathan Acuff

April 14, 2010 // 1 Comment

This book just came out this month.  As a way of promoting the book and building a ‘buzz’ ChristianAudio.com is giving the book away free during April – I took advantage of that offer. Is it wrong to count an unabbridged audio book as part of my 52 books? – Of course not.  Christians like audio books This book is hilarious.  I read (ok, listened) to most of it while waiting in both the Bangkok airport and the Nagoya airport.  Often I could not control my laughter (at one point, other Japanese people were laughing at me for randomly laughing out loud in public). If you’ve been part of the American Christian sub-culture for more than 5 days, you should get this book… It’s that funny… Jonathan takes on a wide variety of things Christians like – for better or for worse – and then points out how silly we Christians can be sometimes.  It’s good to laugh at yourself (I’ll laugh at you if you can’t). Here’s just a few tidbits of the humorous jewels of the book: ———- “Sometimes, we fall in love on mission trips even though we know we’ll break up when we get back. Sometimes, […]

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