Ron’s #34: Candide by Voltaire

December 23, 2012 // 0 Comments

I reread this novel before teaching it again in my 10th grade class. I love this unit, as it allows for discussions on the problem of evil and the nature of God. Here’s my past review. In a satire against the optimism of Leibniz, Candide has its young philosopher traveling the world searching for his love and attempting to see if his tutor Pangloss is correct in that this world is the best of all possible worlds that God could have created. The story begins as Candide is expelled from the Edenic castle in Westphalia for his scandalous kiss to the baroness, the fair Cunegonde. He travels across continents meeting a variety of common people and royalty; priests and sinners; wealthy and poor. Candide continues to struggle with the question of whether Pangloss (and ultimately Leibniz) is correct that this world, the one filled with greed and murder and hypocrisy and cruelty, is the best possible one out of the mind of God. He fights with what he believes and what he sees, and cannot justify the two. Candide is left to “cultivate his garden” rather than waste any more time thinking through these issues. For the Christian, this book […]

Ron’s #14-20 (I’m back…sort of)

August 6, 2012 // 0 Comments

In my third year of reading a book a week, I stumbled. As we adopted our second son in May, I decided that I couldn’t keep up with the reading and writing that this project demands. I’m still reading as much as I can, but it is not as much as I used to or would like. For you who have two or more children, please assure me that I’ll read again! I’m behind, but I’m still trying. Here is a wrap-up of the books I’ve read but have not reviewed. I hope to give longer reviews on upcoming books. #14: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson           This was my first time reading this classic. Here is John’s review from this site. #15: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe I read this again as I taught through it a second time this year. A wonderful novel with lots to discuss. Here is my former review. #16: The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs I read this Puritan classic as a devotional in the morning. A needed reminder for me to be content in all things. #17: A Walk Across the […]

Mark’s #28 – A Walk Across The Sun by Corban Addison (2012)

August 2, 2012 // 1 Comment

In 1852 a diminutive girl’s school teacher from Maine wrote a story that captured the attention of the world.  The novel was the spark that set on fire a movement that changed the course of American history.  Exposed to the first hand stories of savage brutality, and compelled by her Christian convictions, Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote  Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  Her story unveil any new insights, but rather it put forth a human face  in the midst of the national tragedy which was slavery. Similarly, now in 2012 most people are at least vaguely aware that slavery still exists in various forms worldwide.  Some are surprised and shocked to hear that an estimated 27 million people are in slavery today.  Others are equally surprised to hear that slavery still exists in America today.  Yet, in spite of the evidence, most people remained unmoved.  Where’s the outrage? Where’s today’s widespread abolitionist movement? Perhaps the movement simply needs a spark to set it on fire?  If so, A Walk Across The Sun by Corban Addison may just be that spark. This is an excellent book on several levels.  First, it is a deeply compelling human story full of angst, hope, fears, joys, uncertainties, […]

Ron’s #2: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

January 29, 2012 // 0 Comments

When I was in Mrs. Neidz’s 9th grade English class, I tried to bluff my way through discussions using only the Cliffsnotes version of reading Huck Finn. I hoped it was good enough to help me pass the quizzes. During the class, I found myself interested in the story and actually wished I had read the book. Never enough to actually read it, though. It took me over ten years to actually read it for myself. I earned a D in 9th grade English, by the way. Huck Finn is a classic for a reason: it is really, really good. Part adventure down the Mississippi, part friendship between Huck and Jim, part social commentary on the treatment of blacks in the South. It is an important book, and no high school student should graduate without reading it. Sadly, many teachers today shy away from it because of the overabundance of the use of the N-word, a hyper-reaction to political correctness. Most educated readers will quickly see that this is as racist as Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” is cannibalistic. I’ve taught Huck Finn many times, and I still find new aspects to appreciate and enjoy about the book. And for […]

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