January 2012

Ally’s #9: The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells

January 31, 2012 // 0 Comments

This was a thoroughly creepy read. The book follows Edward Prendick, and Englishman who thrice managed to be adrift in the Atlantic in the course of one year. The first was due to a shipwreck that would leave anyone with PTSD, the second due to being the unwanted guest of a drunkard captain, and the third was self-inflicted out of utter desperation to get back to “humanity.” Just when you think poor Edward’s troubles couldn’t get any worse, they get significantly worse. From nearly dying of thirst and starvation on the seas, to being on the brink of offering himself to the sharks after just two days back on land, the reader witnesses several occasions where Edward is ready to toss in the towel and prays for his own death. There is a great deal of death in the latter half of the story, though Edward comes out unscathed. Some of the death is caused by him directly, but much of it is a result of the island instinctively imploding on itself. Dr. Moreau, an infamous biologist and megalomaniac, has sought refuge on a tiny island in the Atlantic where he can find peace and privacy for his progressive experiments of “re-shaping” […]

Mark’s #4 – 1984 by George Orwell

January 30, 2012 // 0 Comments

First published in 1949, George Orwell’s dystopian novel increasingly seems less like a work of fiction and more like a prophetic vision.  This book was disturbing to read on many levels.  Thankfully society as a whole has not yet reached the level of totalitarianism that the book’s ‘Big Brother’ oligarchy has imposed on Oceania (think present day U.K. and the Americas), yet there have been pockets in history and in modern life that do come eerily close to the vision. For instance, Stalin’s communist Russia, or China’s Mao Tse Tung’s gangs of youth lynch mobs, or Pol Pot’s systematic annihilation of the urban and educated classes of Cambodia, in North Korea, every person is property and is owned by a small and mad family with hereditary power, all of which mimic elements of 1984‘s IngSoc (English Socialism).   Or, for example, when I went to school in Prague after the fall of communism and stayed in a dorm room with a built in speaker (for disseminating information/propaganda) and microphone (for listening in conversations).  Even today there is the ubiquitous ‘tele’ which controls and ‘watches over’ the people, or the gross infringement of privacy at the local airport with full body scans, all […]

Ally’s #8: The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

January 30, 2012 // 1 Comment

After the emotional roller-coasters of my last two books, I decided to give my brain a rest by turning to my old favorite, Sherlock Holmes. This collection of twelve short stories of the adventures of Sherlock and Watson ends with a bang–or rather, a plummet–where Sherlock defeats the most dangerous criminal he’s ever crossed. What makes Professor Moriarty the greatest danger to society in Sherlock’s mind is the fact that he has so many secretly doing his bidding that it’s nearly impossible to trace any crime back to Moriarty without finding yourself dead somewhere along the way. It’s unusual to catch Sherlock demonstrating fear, as he can typically smell danger from a mile away, but with Moriarty, we see Sherlock a little more vulnerable than usual. What really struck me when reading this portion of the series are the uncanny similarities between Sherlock Homes and character Gregory House of the medical diagnostic series, House. From the mysteriousness of their skills of deduction, to their need to use assistants as sound boards as they walk through the facts, to their lack of “people” skills, the two seem to have been formed from the same mold. I think my favorite story from this […]

Ally’s #7 So Long, Insecurity by Beth Moore

January 30, 2012 // 2 Comments

For a while, I was too insecure about what people might think of me reading this book to actually buy it. I knew I really needed to see what Beth had to say, but made excuses because I didn’t want what I read to force me to deal with some of my junk. But God knew my tendency to hide, and gave me grace and the opportunity to go through this study in a group setting where I could not ignore or avoid what was uncomfortable. Our group at PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel–Fort Riley) hasn’t even had a chance to discuss chapter one yet, and I’ve already plowed through the book. That’s how good this book is, and that’s how much I needed to hear what Beth had to say–all of it. Several things hooked me right off the bat. First, Beth’s writing style is witty, powerful, and encouraging. A number of times, I felt like her words were hijacked straight from my brain…from somewhere in the deep recesses where I really don’t want anyone to venture, myself included. I felt exposed, yet empowered. Second, Beth said this is the closest things she’s ever written (or ever will […]

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