Richard G. (ralegh) - , - Reviews

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101 Reasons to Be Episcopalian
101 Reasons to Be Episcopalian
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 10/19/2016


Much more than I expected, to be honest. This book provides thoughtful as well as whimsical reasons for being Episcopalian. I will turn to it again and again.


Abraham : A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths
Abraham : A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths
Author: Bruce Feiler
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 23
Review Date: 12/9/2016


A personal exploration of the role Abraham has played in Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, written shortly after 9/11, which motivates the author to look for hope in the reconciliation of the three faiths. He gets a mixed response and comes away realizing the difficulties ahead but still committed to doing what he can to move us toward that worthy goal. While not a deep theological study, he does bring forward a lot of thoughtful questions to ponder.


Amazing Grace
Amazing Grace
Author: Kathleen Norris
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 13
Review Date: 3/11/2016


A collection of short essays, organized by words or phrases that Ms. Norris describes as "dauntingly abstract to me, even threatening" as she made a return to Christianity. I found this resonated with me, for I too spent many years as a practicing agnostic/atheist before I felt called to return to a faith-filled life. As I made that transition some twenty years ago, I relied on her earlier book, "Dakota," for guidance. It is thanks to her that I ended up as an Episcopalian, returning to the roots of my baptism.
This collection is equally insightful and helpful. She is not a theologian, but someone who has thought deeply about faith and spirituality, that of others as well as her own. I recommend her as an able companion for your faith journey, as well.


Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey
Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey
Author: V.S. Naipaul
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 6/8/2017


A personal look at Islam at the time of the Iranian revolution.The author visits Iran, Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia at this time of great change and finds primarily people dreaming for an Islamic paradise which seems impossible to create.


The Anchoress
The Anchoress
Author: Robyn Cadwallader
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 12/1/2016


The book feels authentic. Ms. Cadwallader obviously knows her topic and spent a great deal of time on research. The story is interesting, and if you've ever wondered what the life of an anchorite would be like, this is a decent way to find out. I wondered if a modern sensibility wasn't seeping in toward the end of the novel, but I don't want to nitpick. The book entertained me and taught me a lot as well. Enjoy!


Anything We Love Can Be Saved: : A Writer's Activism
Anything We Love Can Be Saved: : A Writer's Activism
Author: Alice Walker
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 8
Review Date: 6/3/2017


This is a collection of letters, speeches and essays reflecting Alice Walker's life as an activist. Some are absolutely beautiful, while others seem naïve or simplistic. But she is an incredible writer and admirable for her courage. I agree with her on almost everything.


Arc of Justice : A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age
Review Date: 8/11/2017


A story that has been too soon forgotten. A black doctor moves to Detroit in the early 20th Century from the South, hoping to find a community where he can advance and lead a better life than what would have been possible where he grew up. All goes pretty well, until he decides to move into a white neighborhood. A mob threatens his new home and his family; Violence follows. This journalistic book is thorough and fascinating. Soon famous figures are crowding the stage as a trial reveals much about white/black relations in Detroit. The book concludes with a what-happened next to each major player. Highly recommended.


Be Still and Know: A Study in the Life of Prayer (A Cowley Classic)
Review Date: 8/22/2017


One of the best, most thoughtful books on prayer I know. Wonderfully helpful and worthwhile. He begins with looking at Jesus' prayers and those of his followers as revealed in the Bible. Then he proceeds to thoughts on prayers for the reader, calling on St. Teresa, St. John of the Cross and others for guidance.


The Best of the Spirit
The Best of the Spirit
Author: Will Eisner
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 11/8/2016


Will Eisner was an incredible artist, and this book provides numerous examples. Each story is an experience to read, and the Spirit's occasional goofiness adds humor. There are some dated, racist depictions of blacks, so be forewarned if that is a problem for you. There also is a fair amount of violence, the Spirit occasionally kills the bad guys when he has no other choice. But it would be a shame to miss out on Eisner's brilliance, so I still recommend the book.


Beyond Charity: The Call to Christian Community Development
Beyond Charity: The Call to Christian Community Development
Author: Dr. John M. Perkins
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 2/15/2017


The book is twenty years old, but Dr. Perkins speaks in a timeless manner. His advice is still relevant, and there is still plenty of work for Christian churches to do. Dr. Perkins tells all you need to know to get involved in a way that can make a real difference in communities in need by listening to the people you will help and also to God for strength and guidance. An inspiring book by an inspiring man.


The Bible and the New York Times
The Bible and the New York Times
Author: Fleming Rutledge
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 7/23/2015


Fleming makes me look at scripture with new insights. Each sermon collected her provides me with a new perspective on the Bible. This book is almost twenty years old, but remains relevant and thoughtful. I read it because of my love for the New York Times, but am thankful it led me to the powerful mind and soul of Fleming Rutledge.


Birth of a Dynasty: Behind The Pinstripes With The 1996 Yankees
Birth of a Dynasty: Behind The Pinstripes With The 1996 Yankees
Author: Joel Sherman
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 8/12/2013


Nice book detailing the ups and downs of the Yankees that season. This is the start of the dynasty through 2000, and after reading this you may wonder how they ever did it. Cast-offs and replacement players played a big role, and Joel puts it all together for you. Sometimes, I got a trifle confused when he shifts gears and delves into the history of an individual player, but all in all a fascinating picture of the 1996 Yankees.


Black Swan Green
Black Swan Green
Author: David Mitchell
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 43
Review Date: 8/18/2015


"Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" set in 1980s England. Jason Taylor spends a year, beginning as a rather hapless and picked-upon thirteen-year-old, who stutters and must hide his talent in poetry. By the end of the novel much has changed for the better, including his relationship with his sister and the opposite sex in general. In spite of Jason's incredibly poetic view of the world, he still sounds like a real thirteen-year-old. A welcoming introduction to David Mitchell's writing.


The Book of Margery Kempe: The Autobiography of the Madwoman of God
Review Date: 7/5/2016


I will begin by saying that I'm glad Margery doesn't go to my church, but if she did, I would hope we would be able to welcome her.
The book is an incredible accomplishment, and Tony Triggs' translation is very smooth and effortless to read. It gives an incredible picture of England and Europe in Margery's time. You have to give her credit for her travel and her faithfulness in face of all the criticism she received. She manages to face her accusers with wit and forgiveness.
And yet I think she would be a challenge to be around with the weeping and yelling and collapsing. So congratulations, Margery on an incredible accomplishment, but I think I'll just stay over her out of your immediate area.


The Cloister Walk
The Cloister Walk
Author: Kathleen Norris
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 55
Review Date: 8/12/2016


Kathleen takes us behind the scenes on retreat with Catholic Benedictine monks and sisters, exploring her own spiritual development along the way. She posits that perhaps the monks and sisters are living the real life while we are caught in the fantasy world of everyday "reality." Her descriptions of the monks and sisters are especially insightful and touching. I was particularly taken by the elderly monk who has fallen and seriously injured himself. Kathleen and another monk go to visit him, and when the nurse tells him that he has two visitors, he replies, "It's a sweet life."


A Common Life: The Wedding Story (Beloved Mitford, No. 6)
A Common Life: The Wedding Story (Beloved Mitford, No. 6)
Author: Jan Karon
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 238
Review Date: 4/25/2017


I tend to gobble any book about Episcopal priests I can lay my hands on, and I've read most of this series. It's well written, but can get a bit too cloyingly sweet at times. This book apparently exists because faithful readers requested a book around the wedding. Would have liked a bit more about Dooley's feelings and perhaps some resolution there. As it is, there's a general sense that it's going to work out, but his feelings have the potential to be more fully worked out.


Consuming Jesus: Beyond Race and Class Divisions in a Consumer Church
Review Date: 8/17/2016


Excellent book aimed at Evangelicals, but all Christians and other people of faith can learn from Prof. Metzger's faith-based call to us to reach out to our neighbors who suffer from poverty and prejudice. Continually refers to Biblical sources for justification and motivation for us to move beyond our parish communities and make our faith dynamic as opposed to comfortable. God calls us all to mission, and Prof. Metzger shows us the way.


Review Date: 8/26/2015


Having just read Spong's "The Fourth Gospel," I was interested in a more "traditional" interpretation. The book is friendly to those of us without theological backgrounds, but doesn't shy away from deep discussions and theories. You want to know more, the author provides plenty of suggestions for further reading. An excellent introduction to more serious examination of the gospel.


Danubia: A Personal History of Habsburg Europe
Danubia: A Personal History of Habsburg Europe
Author: Simon Winder
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 1/18/2017


The author is engaging and having a lot of fun as he goes through the history of the Habsburg dynasty. I must confess I got lost sometimes in the sea of names, but I always found it interesting. If you're into European history and not too sacrosanct about the subject, this book could be for you!


Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World (New Press People's Histories)
Review Date: 5/30/2014


The writing is a bit scholarly and dry, but the information is difficult to find anywhere else. Vijay provides a thorough reporting of the various efforts the Third World nations took to free themselves from major power domination. The efforts ranged from dictatorships and socialist states to far right economic models and religious fundamentalism.

If you want to know the details of the struggle, I recommend this book as a first-rate resource.


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