Wednesday, November 10, 2010

November 2010 Book List

37. God, the Devil, and Harry Potter by John Killinger

I initially chose this book because I thought it would give me insight into how Christians who like the Harry Potter books view the series. It started out nicely, though there were numerous summaries of some of the plot lines of the books. That led me to believe it would be a good book for Christians who are curious about Harry Potter but don't feel inclined to read the books. The further I read, the more I realized that Killinger often mixes his Christian perspective with a worldly one. It didn't bother me that he points out similarities between Rowling's characters and those of the mythology of different regions. What concerned me was he not only quotes from the Bible, but he also relies heavily on other gospels as well as the Apocrypha. To evangelical Christians, that's a huge red flag, and that would put off many Christians who question the series.

I don't recommend this book to evangelical Christians who want to know more about the Harry Potter series, but I'm sure there is a book out there written by an evangelical - for evangelicals.

38. Making Rounds with Oscar by Dr. David Dosa

I'm a sucker for a good cat story, and this one was a gem! Dr. Dosa is a geriatrician who makes rounds on the dementia floor of a large Rhode Island nursing home. Rumor was that Oscar was always present for residents' final hours of life. Dosa was skeptical and began a quest to find out just what Oscar's "gift" is - how does he know when it's a patient's final hours, and how is he always right?

As Dosa talked with past patients' families about their experiences on the floor and with Oscar, he began to realize Oscar's importance to both the patients and their families. Generally aloof, Oscar would curl up on the bed beside a dying patient, would purr and allow himself to be petted by grieving family members. More than one family member called him a comfort. Dosa's appreciation of Oscar grew, as did his understanding of what his patients' families needed. He learned how the medical community was failing families of patients with dementia, how families felt a range of emotions but had no help, and how he could be a better doctor in bridging those gaps.

Dosa never really found answers to his questions about how Oscar "knows" the end is near. There have been scientific explanations about a "sweet smell of death" and animals having a keener sense of smell than humans, but none of those explain why only Oscar makes his rounds. He does realize the importance of animal therapy for the elderly, especially those with dementia. There's something about animals (and music, as he also learned) that reach into the deepest parts of a person.

Life Without Limits by Nick Vujicic

I can't count this book because I didn't finish it. It's good, but not what I want to read right now. I was expecting an autobiography with some inspiration thrown in, but it turned out to be quite the opposite. It's a Christian "self-help" book with short biographical highlights included every so often. Needless to say, I was disappointed.

39. Family Organizing Handbook by Amy Knapp

The subtitle is "314 Mom-Tested Super Tips, Tricks and Secrets to Take Care of Everything with Time Left for What Really Matters". (An older version has only 312 tips.) Quite a mouthful, but an overall quick read.

I don't think each numbered tip should've been a tip unto itself, since many of them piggy-backed on a previous one. Still, there were some good ideas here. The biggest thing that was emphasized for me was the importance of two things: calendars and lists. I already knew that, but this just drove the point home a little more, especially where lists are concerned.

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