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Books I Did Not Review
August 19, 2005
I try to review every book I read. But sometimes I read a book that I feel does not merit a review, or I read half of a book before giving up on it. Today I’ll present a wrap-up of books that either I have read and not reviewed, or that I have tossed aside when only partially complete.
I sometimes feel guilty about not finishing books, yet with a reading list as extensive as the one I have, I suppose I can afford to be at least a little bit picky. At this very moment I have between fifty and fifty-five books stacked on my “to-read” shelf. They are an eclectic mixture of books that look good (Jonathan Edwards by Iain Murray) and others that look really bad (Invitation to Solitude by Ruth Haley Barton). Just for fun, I’ve included a photo (scroll down) that shows the bookshelf that sits behind my desk. The photo was taken a couple of weeks ago, but shows the volume of books I am dealing with here. The top shelf is the “to-read” pile. The discerning reader will notice that the bookshelf is actually a CD rack which I drafted into service when I ran out of space on my existing bookshelves. He may also wish to laugh at the collection of cassettes directly beside this shelf.
What follows is my list of unfinished and unreviewed books.
Islam: What Every Christian Should Know by Bassam Chedid.
Amount Read: 140 pages (50%)
I gave up on this book when I was almost halfway through. The book is an attempt to teach Christians who are ignorant about Islam the fundamentals of the religion. Unfortunately I found it just did not succeed. The book was written in a question and answer format that seemed completely illogical. For example, the first three questions in the first chapter are “Who is an Arab?,” “What religious life was there in Arabia before Islam?,” and “Where did the confusion in Islam about the Trinity come from?” I don’t see the flow from the first two questions to the third. Questions were often asked and answered before the underlying concepts were introduced. Eventually my frustration grew as I realized I was learning very little for all the work of plowing through it. I put it aside.
Why Does Being a Christian Have to be So Hard? by Peter Golding
Amount Read: 68 pages (50%)
This book is a series of sermons on Hebrews 12:1-13. While the sermons were quite well-done, I just did not enjoy reading the book. Because I received it on the same day as forty other books I decided to put it aside and move on to others.
Overcoming the World by Joel Beeke.
Amount Read: 28 pages (15%)
This was a book I thought I would enjoy. It is a book on worldliness, and that is a topic that interests me. Yet in the first couple of chapters Beeke condemns birth control, rock music, drama, dance, film, and so on. I would be far more interested in a book that dealt with wordliness a bit more in the abstract, rather than in a way that simply condemns whatever the author does not approve of. He seemed awfully cranky.
Beyond the Shadowlands: C.S. Lewis on Heaven and Hell by Wayne Martindale
Amount Read: 108 pages (45%)
Beyond the Shadowlands is very well-written and even quite interesting. However, it assumes a lot of knowledge of the fictional writings of C.S. Lewis, and this is knowledge I simply do not have. While I enjoyed what I read, I grew frustrated by the constant references to characters and circumstances that meant nothing to me. It is a book I will return to when I have read more of Lewis’ fictional works. If you have read many or most of Lewis’ books this is a book you may want to pick up.
Carrying the Flag by Gordon Rhea
Amount Read: 100%
My father gave me this book when we were at the cottage a couple of weeks ago. It is an excellent account of the military career of Charles Whilden, whom the author suggests is one of the Confederacy’s most unlikely heroes. Whilden lived a life noteworthy for a series of near misses. It seems that he failed at everything he attempted. When he enlisted in the Confederate army he was old, bald and epileptic. Yet he played a pivotal and overlooked role in a great battle. It was a fun read and one I’d recommend to anyone with an interest in Civil War history.
The Great Omission by Trevor Harris
Amount Read: 100%
This is the only Christian book I have completed this year that I chose not to review. I realized after I completed it that I had no idea what it was about or what the author was trying to tell me. Rather than express such negativity in a review I thought I’d just let it go.
Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose
Amount Read: 100%
This is an excellent book that I read for the second time earlier this year. The HBO mini-series is also very good. This is a must-read for anyone with an interest in the Second World War.
And for your viewing pleasure, here is the poor, overburdened CD rack / bookshelf.