Tuesday, May 30, 2017

This Life I Live by Rory Feek

Just so you know, I had never heard of Rory Feek or his wife Joey. Rory is a country writer/singer who came from an unstable childhood involving multiple moves, with a father who was in and out of his life, and a mother who struggled to raise him and his siblings. This led to Rory’s own unstable adulthood--until Joey came along, bringing with her a firm belief in God, rooted in the Bible. Since Rory was in his late 30s when he met Joey, he had a lot of life experiences behind him. Rory came into relationship with God (although he is not specific about how that happened) a few years before meeting Joey. He wished and was ready for something different, weary of a history of his own making. Joey brought a new kind of relationship and a new life to Rory. Life wasn’t perfect, but it became healthy. Rory and Joey had a love that transcends everything. They built a stable home and life by facing themselves, down to the core, and changing the parts of themselves that didn’t work well. For 14 years, they contributed their best to their marriage, and it paid good dividends as they faced Joey’s terminal illness. This is a biography worth reading. It is filled with hope. I received this book for free in exchange for my unbiased review through the Thomas Nelson BookSneeze Program.

Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes

This narration of Hillary Clinton’s loss, written by two authors sympathetic to her, provides the very long division, from before the start to the end of the presidential campaign, of an insider’s close look at the minutiae that contributed to that “tragic” outcome. (That word “tragic” provides the lens through which the authors look, as there are those who would say it was “fortuitous”.) This 400+-page tome hammers home the points that Hillary’s campaign staff was both tone deaf and overly focused on analytics, to the exclusion of providing necessary resources on the ground in state after state, and, perhaps the biggest flaw, Hillary Clinton failed to clearly articulate her vision for her presidency. Couple those factors with the mistake of having the wrong staff members making major strategic decisions and the outside forces working against Hillary (Russia, the FBI, Congress and the Benghazi and e-mail server issues), and you have the formula which, according to the authors, brought Hillary down. The elephant in the room, though, was Hillary herself. Her personality, character, judgment and history worked against her. After 24 years on the national stage, Hillary was a known quantity. No voter needed to be confused about who they thought she is, as she has an entrenched reputation for being cold, aloof and secretive; for being less than honest; for being slow as molasses to face up and ‘fess up when caught; and for choosing the wrong side to defend when faced with evidence of being married to a sexual predator. Yet Hillary Clinton thought she could play the American public against itself, certain that it would never choose her bombastic, egotistical, impulsive, unpredictable, lewd and crude opponent over measured, prepared and qualified her. Clearly this was a no-brainer. But it wasn’t. In the end, the slow drip of 24 years of watching this very careful candidate led enough voters to cause the electoral college to turn away from her and risk it all on a more unknown quantity. The inexorable pull against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election seems inevitable, according to Shattered. It lays out the downhill course step by step. If you are interested in every last detail about what should be Hillary Clinton’s last race, you want to read this book. If that would be too much information, then take a pass. I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Monday, May 15, 2017

What Happens After You Die by Randy Frazee

This book is straightforward in considering the Bible’s teachings about heaven, hell, being with God, and separation from God. The writing was clear, and I found nothing that contradicted the Bible. The first three chapters were a little slow, as there was some repetition. The author’s consideration of topics was thorough, as he addresses subjects including ghosts, purgatory, degrees of hell, rewards, pets and animals, marriage in heaven, guardian angels and cremation. This is a good basic book covering a broad range of topics related to life after death. I recommend to those who have not considered this topic deeply. I received this book for free in exchange for my unbiased review through the Thomas Nelson BookSneeze Program.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Known by Dick and Ruth Foth

Subtitled “Finding Deep Friendships in a Shallow World”, this thoughtfully written book makes a compelling case for prioritizing relationships in a fast-paced world now seemingly driven by social media. The authors advocate using conversation, especially the telling of our personal stories, as a tool toward friendship as an antidote to the great loneliness that is rarely helped by current methods of personal interaction, whcih emphasize the exchange of information. The authors outline specific qualities of friendship, including praying for each other, talking deeply together, resolving conflict, doing good and reaching out. The personal dynamics they encourage include commitment, spending time face to face, telling each other the truth, and pursuing each other, all of which contribute to an active, vibrant relationship. The book’s style is conversational and engaging. I recommend it to anyone who wishes to consider friendship as a serious topic. I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.