Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Last Christian

What should be a bright future turns bleak in this look at the life of a young Christian who steps into a world ruled by rationalizations that claim God is a myth no longer needed by humanity. As Abigail Caldwell steps from the jungles of Papua New Guinea to find help for the tribe her family came to preach to before she was born, a tribe that had become her family, she finds herself immersed in a culture she is not prepared for. The USA she travels to in hopes of connecting with her cousin, the only family she has left now, is one fueled by technology and looking for greater leaps in science. Such as the ability for artificial brains that one can has transplanted in replacement of their own, limited biological ones. Abby has come tot he country with the hope of finding other Christians or leading more to God, but instead she finds a country that has turned it back on religion altogether.

I really enjoyed this unique twist on a Christian and futuristic book. Gregory took what most would view as an amazingly bright, hopeful, future, one that we can look forward to with anticipation, and turned it into a frighting look at how things could turn upside down for Christians. And I do not believe the threat ends with Christians. Anyone of any religion should be afraid of this kind of future. One in which humanity decides that their connection to technology and rationalization is better than one with spirituality and a higher power. I found this to be a scary look into how mankind seems to be going, and pray that Gregory gets it wrong.

I liked Gregory's writing, as his characters uncover a vast conspiracy along with the reality of God's gift of eternal life. I must say that non-Christians should be aware that throughout the novel the Christian gospel is preached, as it should in a Christian novel. And I believe if the reader can tolerate these revelations of spirituality, they will uncover a great story. As someone from a different faith, i found myself enthralled with this story. I look forward to finding more of Gregory's works, and hope that some of you will take a chance on his writing as well!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 is the story of a fireman, Guy Montag, who makes a living going into homes, discovering books, and burning it all the ground. His whole world is thrown upside down when he meets a teenager who questions everything, making him slow down and take a second look at his line of work and society in general.

I am a bit ashamed to admit that at the age of 27 I am only just now getting the chance to read this book that may be considered a must read for any avid reader. I simply never had the opportunity! (Plus, if you have read any of my other reviews of classics, you know that I detour around them on my To-Read list as I am not always a big fan.) I expected to like this book about book burning, but I was a little afraid that I would not, becoming a disappointment to readers and writers everywhere. However, I did enjoy it.

I won't go so far as to say that I loved this book, that it changed my life, how did I go all those years without reading it! No, it wasn't that grand. It was however a fascinating, if slightly terrifying, look into how things could be. Imagine a world where people choose to stop reading books! Because that is how it started! Fire Chief Beatty tells Montag that it all started when people began burning the bits of books they didn't like or agree with. People closed down the libraries. The government simply took it to a wider scale and made it more efficient with the redirecting of the firemen. People did this to themselves!  This could effectively be the best horror story a reader could come across! Imagine this as our future! Forget 1984, at least they could read under the watchful eye of Big Brother! But to have no books at all!

I was also intrigued by the story of Montag. Not just with his fight against the government he once worked for so devoutly, but also with his inter struggle of being fascinated with the books. He truly tries to be just like everyone else. But he couldn't keep out the curiosity for ever!

All in all this book was fascinating. It was well written, even up to the end that is a bit teasing. And frankly it gave me pause as I sat reading it, listening to the large screen TV in the next room. Are we closer to the future that Bradbury hinted at? *Shiver* I hope not. I will pick up another book in my hope of delaying this horrific future.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

Major Pettigrew is a retired military man living in a quiet village in England. He plays golf at the local club, tends to his garden, keeps up appearances, and covets the Churchill rifle his brother inherited from their father, one gun of a pair that the Major felt should never have been split up. But when his brother passes away, the Major is not only faced with the dilemma of how to get the gun back from his sister-in-law and niece, but also with the changing world around him. Suddenly the Major is trying to find reasons to see the local shop owner, a Pakistani widow facing her own family drama, and realizing the village is full of delicately balanced loyalties.

I have to admit that I loved the Major for so many reasons! Not only because he is the main character, but I also think he and I would get along so well. His old English manners are wonderful! So many times during the book I found myself feeling exactly what he was as people spoke or acted. I felt for him as he tried in vain to understand and relate to his own son who seemed completely clueless as to how badly he was behaving! And the other members of the golf club! Oh my goodness, this book was filled with some of the worst personalities a person could be stuck among, and yet there was the Major, trying to figure things out!

I loved following him as his own flaws began to change as, even though he was an elderly man, he began to learn and mature. Watching him navigate all the relationships that he was in with such a delicate touch was fascinating! And it was amazing to see all the outcomes.

Have you figured it out that I really enjoyed this book? It was very well written by an author who did a wonderful job at making all the characters believable and fitting. The story was not rushed, taking its time to show the reader exactly how everything should fold out in its own time. All in all it was a great book through and through! I highly encourage everyone to pick up this book and read it! It was amazing on so many levels, that I am sure everyone will love it!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Almost Moon

The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold is the story of Helen Knightly who has just reached the end of her rope. Years spent taking care of her elderly, agoraphobic, and slightly senile mother have pushed her to the end of the line and slightly over it. The entire book takes place over the course of twenty-four hours as Helen comes to terms with her past, her horrible present, and her elusive future. Sebold once more makes an astonishing story come to life for readers who may or may not be ready for the harsh realities this family has faced.

When I first picked up this book I was not entirely sure what its plot would contain, only that it was written by a spectacular writer who had captured the world with her previous book The Lovely Bones. I was not disappointed by her amazing writing style that kept me entranced in the book even as I was slightly appalled at the subject matter. Once more Sebold takes a close look at a situation not many of us think about, a family disturbed just enough by mental illness to ruin the lives of those immediately touched by it. For those looking for a book unlike any other, this would be an excellent choice, but I warn that it is not for the faint of heart.