"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Friday, October 30, 2009

October Books

The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen -- a fiction book I got from the library. Cute story of a young lady living in a small village in London in the 1800s. I enjoyed reading about life in this village, the job as an apothecary, how people viewed epilepsy and the interactions of everyone. Really enjoyed this book; light reading.

The Arabic Alphabet: How to Read & Write It by Nicholas Awde and Putros Samano -- I have been taking my time reading this book which explains the pronunciation of each letter (as best you can do while writing a pronunciation) and how to write them. I made flashcards for each letter (most have four forms) and have memorized them now! The tough thing is sometimes trying to read the letters in words. Just as we do in our own handwriting, people don't always write their letters in "proper" form so it's harder for me. I will definitely be reviewing many things in this small book. It's packed with good tips and it's stated in easy-to-understand ways.

A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam
by I.A. Ibrahim is a full-color, easy-to-read guide touching on a few basics of Islam. Chapter one covers evidence for the truth of Islam which includes the Qur'an on human embryonic development, mountains, the origin of the universe, clouds and such things. It also mentions the "great challenge to produce one chapter like the chapters of the Holy Qur'an," biblical prophecies that supposedly speak of Muhammad, the simple life of Muhammad and the growth of Islam. Chapter 2 tells of benefits of Islam such as "the door to eternal paradise," "real happiness and inner peace," forgiveness of sins and "salvation from hellfire." The final chapter touches briefly on Islam's position on women, terrorism, justice, the family, the elderly, the day of judgment and how to become a Muslim. This book was a nice general overview of Islam, but didn't go into great detail especially in the third chapter. No mention of any controversial issues surrounding Islam today.

The 10 Dumbest Things Christians Do
by Mark Atteberry -- the author delves into topics such as church hopping, slinging mud on the Bride of Christ, living below the level of our beliefs, fighting among ourselves, missing golden opportunities, settling for mediocrity, allowing wolves to live among the sheep and so forth. Quite challenging!

The 19th Wife
by David Ebershoff is a novel I found in the new section of the library. I hesitated to get it because it was over 500 pages and I didn't want to commit myself to a book that size if it were boring. However, I found it quite interesting. There is a fiction part to it, but interspersed is much about Ann Eliza Young, the 19th wife of Brigham Young. Through the book I learned some about the beginning and early years of the Mormon religion as they made their way from New York to Ohio, Illinois and on to Utah. I was appalled by the hand cart method some of the immigrants were forced to use as they made their way to "Zion" (see pages 196 and following). I already expressed my dismay at the horrible practice of polygamy that was excused by the early Mormons as given by God. Attributed to Chauncey Webb as he approached his first wife about taking another wife (his third), after telling her "'we both know this is our duty to God'" -- his having plural wives, the book records, "I had probed Mrs. Webb's most tender spot. She could not deny that the Prophet had made this clear. Her faith was always pure, while I layered mine with expediency. I am ashamed of many things, but none so much as when I excused my passions in the name of God." (pg. 205; also see pg. 213). Granted this is likely a made-up saying by the author, but I thought it greatly summed up how men have justified their own lusts with saying it was God's will. This is what angers me about plural marriages. If you want to marry a woman because she is a war widow that's one thing. But when it's simply because you see another pretty face and lust after someone's body, PLEASE don't give me that junk about it being God's will! That's what angers me so much! The frequency that the Saints and Firsts would take new wives just because they wanted a variety of sexual experiences -- honestly, it makes me think of men as no more than animals. After expressing some of this to my husband, he joked the following evening, "Are you still reading that man-hating book?"

A Mile in My Flip-Flops
is a lighthearted book by Melody Carlson which I borrowed from the local library. It describes Gretchen's house flipping adventures.

Finding God in the Questions by Dr. Timothy Johnson (physician and journalist for GMA on ABC News) -- I found this at the local library and thought I'd read Dr. Johnson's personal spiritual journey. Although I didn't agree with everything he wrote, I found I agreed with most of it. I enjoyed reading why he preferred being a "follower of Jesus" rather than a "Christian." Part of this was because of how the Council of Nicea relegated the wonderful relationship of God and Jesus into a "basic biology lesson." He claims this set in motion a practice of a church which "increasingly defined its beliefs and practice through highly intellectual creedal statements" and where "it would become a political and even military-like force that would often elevate itself to the heights of secular power and prestige but all too often at the spiritual expense of distorting the original message of Jesus." (pg. 134)

I liked reading his thoughts of the term "being saved" or "being born again" and how in his view "'being saved' is a lifelong process" (pg. 143.) Also his views of John 14:6 were interesting. (see pg. 144). I previously wrote about an interesting part re: serving others.

Escape by Carolyn Jessop with Laura Palmer -- I've written a couple posts about this book earlier in October. It's a story about a woman's life in the FLDS cult and her eventual escape with her children. Besides the things I mentioned in my previous posts, I will add only these few things. Warren Jeffs, the so-called "prophet," outlawed the color red which meant many followers threw out anything that had red (e.g., children's clothes). Something I found interesting is that this cult is unlike the mainstream Mormons in that drinking tea, coffee and alcohol are not forbidden. In fact, Carolyn tells of an event she attended where nursing mothers were drinking alcohol. I don't believe getting drunk was the norm only that alcohol is not forbidden. This greatly surprised me since they are so strict about many other things. One thing I found horrendous is how Warren Jeffs would make a man leave his family and assign another man to that family or how he would reassign women to marry new husbands. Also hugging, kissing and cuddling your children was frowned upon in this cult. Such a truly rotten place altogether!

The Moon Looked Down by Dorothy Garlock -- a fiction book I found in the new section of the library; told the story of a German family unwelcome in their Midwest community during WW II. Main characters were Sophie, Cole, Ellis, Graham and Riley. Light reading, but not my favorite.

Going Home
by Wanda E. Brunstetter -- a fiction book about an Amish lady, Faith, who comes home with her young daughter after living in the English world for ten years as an entertainer; light reading


Louai said...

woww ... very interesting books!

Laila said...

I still can't believe how much reading you do... wow! I am so slow :(

Congrats on mastering the Arabic alphabet, yay! I think I used that same book to learn it. People certainly take artistic liberties with handwriting, more than we do. It's very pretty I think. Have you written all your family members' names in Arabic script yet?!

Susanne said...

Louai, yes, especially since one was on Arabic and the other on Islam, right? ;)

Laila, no, you aren't slow. You just have WAY more to do than I do, I'm positive! :)

Yes, the artistic writing of Arabic IS beautiful. Unfortunately for me, it makes it hard to pick out all the letters. I think I've written most of my family's names in Arabic. My friend Samer helped some because you know English names have different vowels than the Arabic language has .. so I had to improvise a bit. :)

Thanks for your comments.