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Thursday, May 21, 2015

"The Hiding Place" with Elizabeth & John Sherrill

World War II hits Holland like a ton of bricks as Corrie and her religious Christian family must decide how to help their Jewish neighbors who are being hunted down.  With a large estate, the Ten Boom family converts a large bedroom into a small bedroom and a small hiding place.  There, Jews hide from the police.  All is well until the Ten Boom family is found out.  Corrie and her family are first sent to prison and eventually to concentration camps.  As a children's edition book, this story does not get incredibly graphic.  However, there is still enough information to convey the suffering--inadequate food supplies, poor sanitation, flea infestation, etc.  Amidst all the tragedy, there is hope in the book.  Corrie learns to forgive a soldier who she hates, and even fulfills her late sister's wish for healing concentration camp survivors.  There is an ending in this book.  Whether or not readers will find that ending happy is something that only they can decide.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

"A Human Error Approach to Aviation Accideent Analysis" by Douglas A. Weigmann and Scott A. Shappell

This book focuses on the human factors analysis and classification system as is relates to aviation.  While commercial aviation and general aviation are discussed, there is more research provided on military / naval aviation.  Both fixed-wing and helicopters are studied.  This book does not cover light sport aircraft, hot air balloons, gliders, etc.  The text is written in such a way that the information is conveyed without being too messy.  There are less tan 200 pages in the book, and the figures are quite easy to follow.  Respected authorities in the literature are cited frequently.  The authors are free from bias and honest when critiquing their own methodologies.  Readers will learn about visual flight rules, instrument flight rules, crew resource management, controlled flight into terrain, modeling, simulation, training, and more.  Overall, the book was interesting.  My favorite part was the case studies that took students right to accidents as they learned what went wrong and what could have been prevented.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

"Seven Spoons" by Tara O'Brady

This is a fun cookbook with lots of recipes.  It is not my favorite, but the recipes are pretty good and versatile.  I made two cakes from this book, and they came out rather well.  This even included me swapping out ingredients and halving the sugar.  I made the coconut plum cake and the blueberry poppy seed cake, and both were delicious.  As to why this is not my favorite cookbook, there are a few reasons.  Firstly, there is a lack of pictures--I mean, there are pics, but just not as many as I would like.  Additionally, this cookbooks has paragraph steps in tiny font instead of numbered steps.  This makes it incredibly difficult to follow along, especially after going to the cupboard and then coming back to try and find where you left off.  Also, some recipes I found unusual.  There was a grape dessert in the book.  The pic and directions had the cooked dessert with the grapes still on the vine, even though the grapes were cooked to the point where pulling them off manually would be messy.  That was a bid odd, but who am I to say?  :)

"Thief of Glory" by Sigmund Brouwer

Many books are written about European concentration campus, but this is the first I've read about the camps in the Dutch East Indies (now known as Indonesia).  The protagonist Jeremiah writes the story in first-person.  Readers travel with him from his pampered upper-class life to his starving destitution under Japanese rule.  We go from a luxuriously open home to a house crammed with twelve families and an overflowing sewage system.  Hygiene and compassion go out the window as the Dutch succumb to cruel soldiers.  Throughout the book, Jeremiah writes of his childhood love Laura and his quarrels with Georgie.  The book is not graphic but can get sad at times due to the historical context.  The end of the book has a twist that readers did not see coming as Jeremiah is in his eighties looking back on what happened post-World War II.  Beautifully written, this book is a masterpiece.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

"Shadow of the Mountain" by Cliff Graham

The Biblical account of the Exodus and desert wanderings does not mention Caleb much in terms of life history.  Very little is known about this courageous warrior.  This is where Graham comes in and dramatizes the life of Caleb with fascinating back-stories.  The author is careful to note that much of what is written in his book is purely fiction to help readers understand the culture of ancient Egypt and soldiering.  The book currently has Caleb as an old man.  The story of life in Egypt, the plagues, and so forth is set up as a series of flashbacks.  Caleb's nephew asks his uncle about his past during a rainy day, and so the tale begins.  Where the Biblical account is sufficient, it is quoted directly as Caleb says something along the lines of  "read what Moses has already written."  Since the author is a veteran, the battle scenes tend to be graphic.  They are not vomit-inducing descriptions, but I will say they give more detail than one may be comfortable with.  That being said, I do think this book would be a good gift for men.  Many biblical fiction books are geared towards women, and this book shows the aspect of warfare that men may enjoy better.