Tuesday, May 29, 2018

"Isaiah's Daughter" by Mesu Andrews

As a long time fan of the kings and queens stories in the Bible, I was very excited to read this book.  Add on the fact that Isaiah is one of my favorite prophets and that I adore the references to Hephzivah ("my delight is in her", which is also my Hebrew name), I was hooked on this book from the start.  Isaiah's daughter Ishma (Desolation) is renamed Hephzivah and eventually marries King Hezekiah, King of Judah.  There is much drama in the book as human sacrifice is tackled.  Hezekiah is actually the second born of King Ahaz.  The only reason he becomes king is because his father sacrifices Bocheru (Ahaz's firstborn son and Hezekiah's brother) to a pagan idol.  Hephzivah has her own family issues, as well.  She is not daughter to Isaiah by blood.  Rather, she is an orphaned refugee whose parents were killed in a war when she was barely five years old.  The story gets even more suspenseful when an Assyrian army invades Jerusalem and the royal Judean family struggles with infertility.   I could go on and on about this book.  I encourage readers to find out for themselves how great of a read this is.  Prophecies from the book of Isaiah will come to life as readers understand how they could have had real meaning in the physical time period of which Isaiah lived in.  Don't just study the Bible.  Live the Bible and understand what the characters back then had to go through.

Monday, May 14, 2018

"You've Got 8 Seconds" by Paul Hellman

This book is all about how to succinctly and effectively communicate to one's audience.  From elevator pitches to sales talks to presentations, readers will learn how to get to the point and hold attention.  There are copious tips in this book, from reducing the number of acronyms one uses to weaving stories into discussions.  With attention spans getting shorter and shorter, it is harder than ever to get one's point across.  In the business world, a talk can make or break an employee.  How can you sell your idea when your boss is zoned out on his phone?  How can you convince your team to try a new process when they don't even understand why they are in your meeting?  I am going to use the tips in this book to better communicate with others both at home and at the office.  Remember, you've only got 8 seconds!

Friday, May 11, 2018

"Wherever You Go" by Joan Leegant

This book tells the story of a few different characters in Israel.  Each of their lives are detailed in first-person over the course of about a month.  None of the characters interact with each other until later in the book when all paths cross.  Amidst political and religious extremism, the war between Israelis and Arabs rages.  The tale gets even more interesting as a bomb is detonated and fingers are pointing every which way to determine who did it.  The characters are all very unique.  There is the woman visiting her sister in Israel.  The woman who had an affair with her sister's fiance 10 years ago and who continues to sleep with married men.  There is the man who is a Talmud scholar.  The man who no longer feels his connection to the divine and shaves off his hasidic beard.  There is the man who dropped out of college and disappoints his parents.  The man who can not control his impulses and hurts others in the process of trying to find his own pleasures.  There is the woman who overdoses on drugs because she never got over the fact that her ancestors were murdered in the Holocaust.  The woman who could have a fulfilled life but can't see those who love her past those who deal her drugs.  Leegant goes into the mind and thoughts of all these characters.  While the plot was very good, there were parts I wish were omitted.  There are various instances of swearing, as well as a scene in which a woman is molested and nearly date raped.  This book is not recommended for children.