Literary Insights

Literary Insights: A Book Lovers Review

Monday, June 30, 2014

The City by Dean Koontz

It's not where we live, it's the people we live for.

”The city changed my life and showed me that the world is deeply mysterious. I need to tell you about her and some terrible things and wonderful things and amazing things that happened . . . and how I am still haunted by them. Including one night when I died and woke and lived again.”

An exciting and moving story of Jonah Kirk, son of an exceptional singer, grandson of a formidable “piano man;” a musical prodigy beginning to explore his own gifts. The unforgettable account of a young man coming of age within a remarkable family and a shimmering portrait of the world that shaped him.  The City is a place where enchantment and malice interweave, and courage and honor are found in the most unexpected places, and to find the way forward is buried deep inside the heart.

The City seemed slow at first but the intrigue kept me reading to see how Jonah comprehends the power of his music, art, and enduring friendship, of everyday heroes. It is supernatural, magical, and suspenseful, a very good summer read and I recommend this book.

I received copy of eBook from Random House Publishing Group - Bantam Dell and Net Galley for my review.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You by John Ortberg

 In Soul Keeping, John Ortberg explains why our souls matter, what they actually are, and how we can help keep them, and ourselves, healthy and whole. While the book is ostensibly about the soul, the friendship between Willard and Ortberg is what drives the book along and gives it its most touching moments.

Ortberg explains the nature of the soul as the part of a person that coordinates and integrates the others: body, mind, and will. When the soul is whole, everything else runs smoothly. Each one experiences: peace in the midst of chaos, ease during challenges, and hope in living. When the soul is damaged, body, mind, and will are at odds, working against each other. When our souls are damaged, our minds believe an action is good, but our bodies do another; we eat the ice cream knowing the kale is better

Essentially, this book is a study on how we care for the most important part of us our souls Once he establishes what the soul is, he moves on to reviewing what the soul needs and eventually how the soul is restored. Often in church we sing, "It is well with my soul." But how do you know if your soul is well? And what do you do if your soul is not so well? Ortberg helps the reader to discover what the soul is, what the soul needs, and what the soul restored becomes. Ortberg does this by sharing intimate glimpses of his own soul and life lessons learned from Dallas Willard about the soul.

Some quotes from the book will start you thinking seriously about your soul: 1."Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life." 2. "If your soul is healthy, no external circumstances can destroy your life. If your soul is unhealthy, no external circumstances can redeem your life." 3. "What matters is not the accomplishments you achieve; what matters is the person you become."

The lessons the author learns are instructive for the reader. It is a eulogy, where Ortberg tells of how he struggled, sometimes failing and sometimes succeeding, at living out the wisdom of Dallas Willard. He addresses anxiety, depression, fear, loneliness of people. Many times, not always, these are symptoms of a soul that has lost touch with its source of life.

I love the way he uses stories to make a point and illustrate the truth. The three sections of this book are: What The Soul Is, What The Soul Needs, and The Soul Restored. Caring for our soul means cleaning out the things that have become more important to us than God and finding our center in Him, not in our stuff or our accomplishments.

 So many refreshing, encouraging, and challenging sections of this book. If you are looking for something to deepen your walk this is a good place to start.
I received copy of eBook from Thomas Nelson Publishing in their BookLook program for Bloggers.

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Monday, June 9, 2014

Hacker Outlaw Chronicles Series #3 by Ted Dekker

Ted Dekker’s latest offering is a story about a young girl named Nyah, who is a computer genius and hacker, who runs into financial difficulty trying to provide for her mother’s medical needs. Nyah makes the decision to attempt the biggest hack of her life; this is where everything turns on a dime. Hacker, a modern-day parable that examines the staggering world around us, the seen and the unseen, and reminds us that there's far more to who we are than meets the eye.
Hacker is a story that addresses current issues that we are facing across the globe and spiced it up with morals, bravery, and tough decisions. If you know nothing about hacking, this book will give you a sense of the possibilities and as usual Ted Dekker will get you to thinking about the future.

Ted Dekker is known for novels that combine adrenaline-laced stories with unexpected plot twists, unforgettable characters, and incredible confrontations between good and evil. Dekker seamlessly weaves real life faith and hope into an addictive thriller. I highly recommend this book for the thriller and fiction fan. There are story twists and plot turns that you would never see coming and it keeps the pages turning faster and faster until you reach the end. This is a fast thrilling read and you will stay up reading until it’s over.
Excerpt of Interview questions with Ted Dekker:
1.       Your main character in Hacker, Nyah, makes a living by cracking the firewalls of major corporations. What role does technology play in her development as a character?
TD:  Nyah roots a great deal of her identity in technology. In doing so she defines who she is by what she does. She even says so at the beginning of the book. I am a hacker. We all do this. For her, technology is what she knows, it’s what defines her, and provides the comfort zone. But it’s also her prison, which she comes to discover later. 
2.       Why do you consider Hacker a modern-day parable?
TD: Parables are meant to re-frame the world differently so we can experience it again for the first time. Hacker takes a simple concept that many people already believe, that there’s another reality so near to us that we’re unaware of its presence most of the time, and puts it center stage. The story doesn’t have a moral or try to make a point per se, because that’s not what parables are for, but it does ask you to look at the world through new eyes—Nyah’s.
3.       The central question in each book in this series is, “Who am I?” What prompted you to explore that question?
TD: The question of identity is central to all of life and, in fact, most of my own striving and struggle can be traced back to it. We define ourselves, almost without thinking much of it, by what we do. I’m a mother, a father, a man, a woman, a writer, an accountant… The list is never ending. But strip that all away, as death will one day for all of us, and what remains? Are you, at your core, really a mother or a father or an accountant? Or are you something far more and we’ve only bought into the notion that this costume, which we call the body and our careers and talents, is really who we are?
I received a copy of the book from Worthy Publishing in their First Look Blog Tour. I have a free copy to give away, just make comments on my blog/Facebook page and leave email, I will pick someone at random and contact the winner.