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Sunday, April 27, 2014

"The Israeli Solution" by Caroline Glick

Full of history, politics, and research, this book will explain to readers what Israel is all about.  From pre-World War I to modern day, Glick explains what international laws have been passed and ignored through the ages.  Other countries' political makeups are also detailed.  Readers will learn about Egypt, Syria, Iran, and other places.  Leaders and terrorists are detailed.  Media broadcasts and educational propaganda in other cultures are expounded upon in translations / quotes.  Broken up into three sections with an extremely useful table-of-contents, this makes a great reference book.  There are terror events recorded and hateful quotes inserted.  This is not a book for the faint-of-heart but it does give an honest account of the news surrounding Israel.  Glick also gives chapters where she discusses what she predicts for the future in Israel.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"Man's Search for Meaning' by Viktor E. Frankl

Written by a Holocaust survivor, this book is a must read.  It chronicles his sufferings, his triumphs, his freedom, and--most importantly--his soul.  We read how Frankl decided to stay in Germany at the rise of the Nazi party when he could have accepted a visa to America.  Why did he stay, you may ask?  Because he did not want to leave his parents alone to face what was coming.  Even more beautiful is what Frankl thinks of when he in the concentration camps.  He remembers his wife, whom he calls his beloved.  In a very philosophical moment, Frankl writes that love is what really keeps one going in life.  This book is full of great words that you'll want to quote to your friends.  It is the story of a decent man who cared for others and did not let the monsters of indecent men ruin him.  After the memoir aspect of the book, there is a second section on the author's psychological theories.

"Twirl: A Fresh Spin at Life" by Patsy Clairmont

Full of encouraging tips, this book is a nice read for those who want to add more oomph into their lives.  The author encourages readers to stop and smell flowers, both literally and figuratively.  The notions of dance, art, writing, reading, studying, loving people, loving animals, and more are covered.  Each chapter is also full of inspirational quotes and thought-provoking questions.  There are Christian undertones in this book as the author speaks of Jesus and quotes Bible verses.  However, it is not too pushy or overwhelming for the reader.  Overall, this book is about being happy and--let me just say it--stop being uptight.  Life is too short to not enjoy it.  What I love is the back cover where the author is smiling.  She is not some twenty-year-old but rather a wise woman with life experience.  

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Josephus IV Jewish Antiquities, Books I-IV

Rich in history and literary devices, this is a must read.  The reader feels like they are getting a tour of Jewish history.  In these works, Josephus essentially sums up the Torah in his own words.  There is a lot of paraphrasing and even accounts that are slightly different from the Torah itself.  For the reason of that, I will let each reader arrive at their own conclusion.  Needless to say, this book is very interesting.  We read of how Moses wasn't the only one to part a sea.  Josephus writes that this isn't a made-up story since even Alexander the Great is written of as having parted a sea.  The footnotes in this work are also fascinating.  When the topic of manna came up, a footnote had me learn that Arabs have long found an edible substance that emanated from tamarisk trees.  There are even some phrases that are familiar to the New Testament and even predate the New Testament.  This gives evidence to the idea that much of the phrases and cultural references in the New Testament was derived from contemporary sources such as this work.  All in all, I found this very work very interesting.  It really made me about the history of manuscripts.  The footnotes do note where discrepancies between manuscript lie, and that really was great.  There was no covering up.  That isn't to say that a book with discrepancies should be ultimately dismissed.  After all, even my great grandmother's birth year is different on several documents from ancestry.com.  The discrepancies in Josephus' work prove that his book is not divine (he never claimed it was).  But still, it is a great peek into a historical time that is worth the read.