Archive for best of 2008

TBR Challenge: Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller (2003)

Posted in Christian, Gina, Non-Fiction, Religious, TBR Challenge with tags , on April 15, 2008 by Gina

Blue like Jazz was a breath of fresh air for me. It has been the best book of the year. Probably one of the best ever. Miller takes Christian spirituality and puts it in a different perspective than mainstream Christianity. He breaks the mold. He takes on the Christian right and introduces us to the Christian left. I am not one to quote huge sections of books; however, the author’s note is worth a large chunk of text. So here it goes.

I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn’t resolve. But I was outside the Bagdad Theater in Portland one night when I saw a man playing the saxophone. I stood there for fifteen minutes, and he never opened his eyes. After that I liked jazz music. Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way. I used to not like God because God didn’t resolve. But that was before any of this happened.

I hope this is true for my life that I can show someone–anyone– that I love God and that it affects my being and my life. Anyway, back to the review. Awhile back, I was sent a link to a review of this book. It was a good review. It made me want to read it. However, I keep coming back to the problem that the review was wrong. The review was based on the fact that the reviewer didn’t consider Miller Christian. This is untrue. Miller is a different type of Christian–but he is one just the same. It is bothersome to me that the reviewer could be so close-minded. Although, it is more bothersome to me that many Christians would agree with her. You see Miller is politically liberal. He lived with dope smoking hippies in the woods. He cusses openly. He is a sinner and not perfect. Many in Christian society find this to be unacceptable. They believe that Christians must act a certain way, behave in a particular manner, and only show the positive sides of their lives to the world. This is the way they choose to set themselves apart in order to bring others to Christ’s love. This is not Miller’s way nor is it mine. I will state it right here for all to see in the great chasm of the internet. I am not perfect. I sin. I have problems. I don’t always do what I believe is right thing. On occasion, I don’t even try. I am human. But. I also love Jesus Christ. I believe in Him. I trust the movements of my spirit and my heart. I trust the answered prayers so prevalent in my life. I love Jesus and not in that bumper sticker way. Miller has challenged me to go even deeper with this love that I have for Jesus.

I wanted to briefly include parts of a favorite passage of mine. This passage follows a time when Miller and a few fellow believers set up a confessional booth at Reed College’s Ren Fayre festival in Portland. They were confessing the sins of Christians against the world to the students.

I felt very strongly that Jesus was relevant in this place. I felt very strongly that if He was not relevant here then He was not relevant anywhere. I felt very connected to God because I had confessed so much to so many people…I had been forgiven by the people I had wronged with my indifference and judgmentalism…I was out of the closet now. A Christian. So many years before I had made amends to God, but now I had made amends to the world. I was somebody who was willing to share my faith.

If you are a Christian, then you should read this book.
If you are a non-Christian, then you should read this book.
If you can read, then you should read this book.

It is funny. It is refreshing. It is honest.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Posted in Fiction, Lisa with tags , , , , on January 17, 2008 by Lisa

Wow. Just Wow. How does someone possibly come up with this stuff? People have been telling me to read The Time Traveler’s Wife for months, and I was a bit intimidated by the popularity of it. Just look at my review of Twilight to see how that turned out last time for me! (Please note the lovely comment that review got!)

Here’s the summary of the book:

A dazzling novel in the most untraditional fashion, this is the remarkable story of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who travels involuntarily through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare’s passionate love affair endures across a sea of time and captures the two lovers in an impossibly romantic trap, and it is Audrey Niffenegger’s cinematic storytelling that makes the novel’s unconventional chronology so vibrantly triumphant.

Everyone was right-  this book is so good!  If it’s on your list and you keep putting it off, move it up to the front. It’s not science fiction-y at all. There was only one incident that made me question how the time travel followed the rules she had set and I was able to figure out the answer.   Henry is the perfect hero and clearly madly in love with Claire.  I had a few minor quibbles with just how many people knew about his condition, but other than that, no problems with the book at all. I finished it last weekend, and I’m still thinking about it all the time, which hasn’t happened to me for a while now (A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Book Thief being the most notable from 2007.)  It seems odd that the second book I read this year will be one of the best, but it seems likely that it’s going to happen that way.  If you haven’t read it yet, or find yourself intimidated, please, go get it now. It’s really worth it.  If you started it already, and got a bit confused by the beginning, stick with it- you eventually get into the flow of it.

 Review cross posted at Books. Lists. Life.