Justin’s #43 – Unlikely Warrior: Memoirs Of a Vietnam Combat Medic, Mike Dingman, 286 pages

August 31, 2015 // 0 Comments

This really is a special book review for me because I know the author! Mike Dingman has served the military community in Virginia Beach, Virginia for almost 10 years. It was at a small coffeehouse ministry on Little Creek Naval Base in 2012 that I met him. I was attending the Musicians Basic Music Course at the Naval School of Music that, on a whim, I attended the Sunday night coffee house where Mike taught on occasion. He mentioned that he was meeting with young men for discipleship and I asked him if we could get together. From then on, we would get together most every Saturday while I was at the school for breakfast at Ihop. I have very fond memories of these times together. I remember one meeting he was asking me questions (the subject is a little fuzzy) and he told me that through all his years no one had given him the correct answer. It was around this time he asked me if I ever considered a career in ministry, to which I say to him today that I am well on my way. Mike is a Vietnam Veteran and served as a Combat Medic and […]

Justin’s #37 – Gifted Hands, Benjamin Carson, 224 pages

August 12, 2015 // 0 Comments

Maranda Francisco lives today with half a brain. She experienced up to 100 seizures a week early in her life and doctors were at a loss on what to do. Until Dr. Ben Carson of John Hopkins intervened and decided to try a unique surgery that removed half of her brain. The operation was successful and Maranda lives a normal life today. Dr. Ben Carson is probably most known today for his Presidential Campaign and of his witty closing statement at the Republican debate last week, where he said, “I haven’t said anything about me being the only one to do anything, so let me try that. I am the only one to separate Siamese twins. The only one to operate on babies while they’re still in their mother’s womb. The only one to take out half of a brain, but you would think if you go to Washington, that someone had beat me to it.” But 10-20 years ago, he was more known as an extremely talented and smart neurosurgeon. “Gifted Hands” is his attempt at his own autobiography that goes from his early childhood through his medical career; the culmination of this was the separation of two conjoined twins from […]

Thirteen Ways to Read More in 2013

January 1, 2013 // 2 Comments

I did not make 52 books this year, but I’m OK with that. For the past three years, Mark and I have read and blogged about a book a week here. It’s been one of the best goals that I’ve set out and accomplished. I loved reading so much and talking about those books with others. This year was slightly different. We adopted our second son Josiah in May. When he came, I knew that there was no way for me to continue reading at that pace, but I still wanted to read and blog what I could. I made it to 38 having two young sons, a busy time traveling in the States, and teaching five advanced English courses with lots and lots of essays to grade. With all that, I’m happy with 38. With all this going on, I still wanted to carve out time to read not just to meet a self-imposed goal, but because reading is valuable. Books are important, and reading them adds to our quality of living. Many people say, “I’d love to read more, but I can’t because________.” This blank is filled with reasons that are legion. If this is you, let me […]

Ron’s #38: Beautiful Boy by David Sheff

December 31, 2012 // 0 Comments

 Beautiful Boy is subtitled “A Father’s journey through his son’s addiction.”  I first saw this book for sale in a Starbucks several years ago, and it sounded compelling. I saw it in Entertainment Weekly magazine, and I read about it in a few other places. Our school library had it in a featured section, and I took another look at it last month. The topic hit me more than before now that I have two sons. What if one of them became a drug addict? How would I react? Just reading the jacket blurb made me feel that ache in my heart over losing one of my two boys to a destructive habit, so I decided that it was time to read it. I’m glad that I did. Sheff is a master at this format, taking the reader through many aspects of addiction, especially in addiction to methamphetamines. He writes the account in present tense, an odd decision as most stories are commonly told in past tense. Shaff’s present tense makes us going along the journal with him. This technique helps the narrative feel more important and uncertain. The strongest aspect of this story is a father’s love for his […]

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