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my very original book blog *woot*

I'm a slow reader but I love books. I hope to read more every year. 30 Books this year!

Currently reading

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
Arthur Conan Doyle
Galatians for You: For Reading, for Feeding, for Leading
Timothy Keller
Life In A West German Town
Robin Sawers
Shepherding a Child's Heart
Tedd Tripp
Concise Theology
J.I. Packer
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
C.S. Lewis, Pauline Baynes
Proverbs: The Tree of Life
Graeme Goldsworthy, Paul Barnett
Stirrings Of The Soul: Evangelicals And The New Spirituality
Michael Raiter
The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection
Arthur Conan Doyle

Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins - Mary Shepard, P.L. Travers If I had read this as a child I'm sure I would have fallen in love with it. As it was I was very entertained but unable to love it because it's more like a collection of short stories so it required effort to keep reading. You don't get pulled through by a continuous plot. Still, I will read it to my daughter.

Battle Magic

Battle Magic - Tamora Pierce I've never been as big a fan of the 'Circle' universe stuff as opposed to the 'Tortal' universe stuff. Across the board I find the characters, plot and writing style lacking. I read them simply because, they're Tamora books and one day they might catch up to something good.
For me, this book has done that. I like Rosethorn and Evvy as characters and even Briar is starting to warm on me.
My memory is pretty useless so I kept thinking, 'Why is it that we're not talking about the fact that this is the second heart of a mountain Evvy has found? And what happened to the last one?' Once I grasped that it was the same mountain it all started to come together.
I still don't think it's Tortal material (debate all you like) but I enjoyed this one. Not because it's better, just because I've found some voices in this universe that I find interesting and care about. Sandry and Daja and Lark bore me to tears. Tris is a little more interesting. Maybe good things can happen down the track.

Transforming Grace: Living Confidently in God's Unfailing Love

Transforming Grace: Living Confidently in God's Unfailing Love - Jerry Bridges If ever there were an all encompassing book on grace, apart from the bible itself, I would imagine that this would have to be it. While at times the painstaking detail of this book can be a little slow, the 'a-ha' moments are frequent and valuable.
Since I started reading I have been seeing God's grace everywhere and also seeing how much I fail to live by grace even though I have always claimed to. Bridges highlights how we truly underestimate the full power and extent of God's grace in our lives and so will take you on a humbling journey to remind you how much God loves you and how much God has given you - and how much we can do through that grace.

Darkfall Book 1 of the Legendsong

Darkfall - Isobelle Carmody What must be a long time ago now I had a Borders voucher and wanted to get 'bang-for-buck' on an Isobelle Carmody book. I was up to Ashling in the Obernewtyn series, but Darkfall was such a thick and inviting book I had to go with that option. And though it has taken a couple of years (and two trys) to get through it, I'm glad I did.
This is not a light, easy read. It's complicated, emotional, deep and at times a little confusing. The first time I read it I got half way before I needed a break and then forgot about it. The second time round I found I understood the deeper hidden meanings a little more and though it took me a few weeks I got all the way through and enjoyed it immensely.
What Carmody does best is fusion genres that blend a little of something with a little fantasy. She does it in a way that is both believable and enchanting. Darkfall is no different, the blend between the real life drama of the word we live in and the epic fantasy of a whole other world with three moons and a sun named Kalinda is just breathtaking.
The characters have such a rich depth (more so even than Obernewtyn, I think) and the story is so well thought out and woven together that I can imagine the following books being just as amazing.
The only fault is that it is long. It's hard work to get through. I think if it was a third shorter that would be idea. But this isn't that much of a big deal because although it's hard work - it's good hard work. If I could give it an extra half a star I would.

Allegiant (Divergent, Book 3)

Allegiant  - Veronica Roth Allegiant is the 3rd (and final) book in a young adult dystopian series now making it's way into the cinema.  I started reading the first book (Divergant) because I was able to pick it up at a publishers warehouse for $8.  It took me a while to get into because the gaps in the world building and the stiltedness of the writing made it hard for me to lose myself, but by the end I was intrigued with where the story was going and the themes that were being raised, enough for me to buy the second book and put up with the haphazard writing style. It was just like reading a little online fan fic or something.  I have since given both books away and was not willing to purchase the 3rd (I love library ebooks).
I won't sport with your time by giving you a plot summary - just read the back of the book.  What I will do is give you my opinions.  I will start with the negative..
What I have a big problem with is writing that enflames the passions of teenagers who already have enough pressure on their hormones.  It's irresponsible role modeling that is unkind and unhelpful to kids and young adults who are trying to stay in control of a body that most of the time feels like it's working against them.  It encourages stepping over that line, letting your hormones take over past the point of control where anything can happen.  Even if a person spouted the idea that teenaged sex is okay when exercised responsibly - this book doesn't talk to kids from an ethical or logical viewpoint.  It engages their hormones.  I think it is realistic to expect that some of the scenes of this book could be in young girls minds as they meet up with their boyfriends and search for dark secluded corners.  It could lead to big regrets. But this has nothing to do with the writing itself...
If possible, it's even worse than before. There is a quality to the writing that is both mundane and overly perfect.  I know it seems like a contradiction but this is what I mean: the plot and interactions aren't written in an interesting style (I would say stilted and bland are two good descriptive words), instead the style is specific to moving the points of the plot along.  Things are said like, "I can explain the rest of the details later."  It's not a real thing people say, it's just too much to write down in any other way.  The characters say the 'perfect' thing, which many writers do but they hide it in such a way as the reader isn't aware of it.  It smacks of amaturism to me, rather than a published book.
I also feel like logical reactions in the characters are replaced and sculpted to the plot which leaves you wondering... why don't they care more?  Where's the inner turmoil?  The shock defiance?  They watch people being killed because they believe in something that's not real and yet aren't demanding for freedom and truth.  They do feel these things, but not all the time.  Only when it's convenient to the plot. There are so many gaping plot holes. Every single character has twisted motives.
At the end of the day, it was the promise of a big reveal that made everything makes sense that kept me reading up to the third book. And it was a massive let down. While genetic purity vs genetic damage is an interesting idea it was executed so poorly that it makes me wish I had all those hours of my life back. I wish I hadn't bothered.
What I do like are some of the underlying themes in the relationships.  There are some possitive messages in there that aren't often attacked by modern authors such as love being a choice.  I like the way Roth doesn't feel the need to pull out the angst between her hero and heroine but allows them to heal their relationship in a more normal time space than other books would for tension purposes.
And, for the most part the plot has pretty good pace.  I can feel myself being pulled along, chapter by chapter. But there were stagnent portions where nothing really happened... didn't make sense to me. Why would you sit around and do nothing while your friends and family are engaging in civil war?
It's also good being split in narrators between Tobias and Tris.  It adds a little variety to the end of the series, though as the book goes on it gets harder to tell the two characters apart.
I would NOT recommend this book to anyone.  I would particularly warn parents from letting teenagers read this.  While not all the content is "smut" it's just not worth sifting through anyway.  There are much better books for young adults out there. (Maria  V Snyder's Inside Out and Outside In, for example).
I say good on Veronica Roth for turning out 3 books, but I am dubious about what it says about us as a reading society that they can be loved to such fanfare.  We are not as discerning readers as we once were.

Pride and Prejudice (Modern Library Classics)

Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen, Anna Quindlen I've always loved the BBC mini series. I have watched it so many times - but I've always been put off reading the book for two reasons. 1) I find it hard to read a book I've already seen the movie of. 2) I had to read Emma in school and could barely get through it.
However, Pride and Prejudice I have devoured. It helps that this particular novel has a much more relateable heroine than Emma (while she gains a little substance at the end of the book you have to put up with her shallowness the whole way through).
Jane Austen has so much wit and depth. I love that by reading on my kindle app I can easily define words I don't know and am always delighted to learn - there's so much potential with the English language for expressed meaning that we have forgotten and ignored. Sad really....
Now I'm sure I will get through the rest of her books over the course of my life (Sense and Sensibility is next)

The Transfer: A Divergent Story

Four: The Transfer: A Divergent Story - Veronica Roth I've heard that the audio version for this book is quite good... I imagine it would be better than just reading the words. It's not that there's anything bad about it, it's just that for someone who's already read the books it offers no new or interesting information.
It was nicely paced and finished in a good place. That's as much as I can say really.

Gospel-Powered Parenting: How the Gospel Shapes and Transforms Parenting

Compiladores: princípios, técnicas e ferramentas - Alfred V. Aho, Avi Sethi, Jeffrey D. Ullman Gospel-Powered Parenting is the first parenting book I've read so I have little to compare it to. I turned to it in a state of desperation that I think every parent feels from time to time... the 'I have no idea what I'm actually supposed to be doing here' moment. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. Anyway, I digress...
Tim Challies wrote an excellent review (see it here) and I promptly ordered it and read it with gusto - highlighters out and at the ready.
Farley brings parents back to the heart of the gospel not only in regards to their parenting but in their lives and marriages as well, reminding us that they are all connected. He tackles the hard truths in the bible with humility and honesty - not worrying at all about being politically correct, reminding us that we should fear God and his opinion of our parenting rather than the mothers in our play group who watch us with judging eyes.
I am convinced that the contents of this book is biblical, practical and essential - if at times a little difficult to swallow. I have begun to feel a weight lift off my shoulders as I place my failures as a parent on the grace of God and seek to follow his will through his word - knowing that I will fail and be able to model God's grace for my daughter my seeking forgiveness and trying again.
In reading this book I feel like I have not only understood my role as a mother better but also as a wife and a christian as well. I feel like I understand the cross more and have a deeper sense of the reality of it all that I hope lasts.
This is a book anyone could read, parent or not, and gain a wonderful understanding of the gospel and how we are to practically apply it to our lives.

Faithfully Fit: A 40-Day Devotional Plan to End the Yo-Yo Lifestyle in Chronic Dieting

Faithfully Fit: A 40-Day Devotional Plan to End the Yo-Yo Lifestyle of Chronic Dieting - Claire Cloninger I love the principle of this book and the idea behind it and many of the ideas running through it. I love that it's meditative and it takes the application of the gospel - our dependence on Christ for everything - into the nitty gritty of every day life in an area that so needs the voice of the gospel ringing out.
However, there are points in this book that offer TERRIBLE advice. Judging from the rest of the book, I'm sure the authors did not mean to give such bad advice - but it is there none the less. Putting a picture on the fridge of your ideal weight from a magazine or even an old picture of yourself as a motivator might be okay for some people but for many it is a sure fire path to depression and self-loathing.
Apart from a few small blunders I think for the discerning reading this book could be a helpful starting point to change the way you think about dieting and exercising.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone  - J.K. Rowling My Aunty got me reading the Harry Potter books. At the time the first four had been released and I was on holidays in Townsville with nothing to read. In that last week of holidays I disappeared into the world of Hogwarts and Diagon Alley, only to resurface a week or so after returning home and having to post back the last two books to my Aunty.
It almost seems pointless to rave about the joys of Harry Potter at this late stage, surely by now everyone who is likely to read them has heard their praise and given them ago... but then again maybe not.
J.K. Rowling has a beautiful turn of phrase and humour that mingles beautifully in the most believable and loveable kind of urban fantasy I've ever read. It brings the magical realms into our modern day and makes me feel like a kid again with the feeling in the pit of my stomach that magic might just be real.
She also creates vivid and interesting characters that grow and develop throughout the series, exposing faults and character flaws that make you love them all the more.
This is definitely a series I'll be reading to my children... one day... when I have them.

They Never Came Home (Laurel leaf suspense)

They Never Came Home - Lois Duncan Well, I’m continuing my Lois Duncan bent by reading through the books that I don’t remember very well first. All I could remember from this one was basically what it says on the front cover… two boys go camping and they never come home.

To be honest, I can see why (comparatively speaking) this book didn’t stick in my memory as much as the others. It’s not as…. what’s the word I’m looking for… relatable? No, that’s not it. I think maybe the word is just interesting. It’s not as interesting as all the others. BUT (and this is a big but) that’s not to say it’s not interesting. I promise you, it is interesting.

With her teen thrillers Duncan likes to look at families and relationships and see how they hold up under pressure. Where do the cracks show? What makes a person strong or weak? Where can a young person find the courage and resources to handle unimaginable situations? They Never Came Home is no different.

Joan is living in teenaged bliss. She has a loving family and a handsome boyfriend that adores her. In the fall they will go off to college together and have the amazing lives they’ve always dreamed of. When her boyfriend (Dan) and her brother (Larry) don’t return home from their camping trip things start to fall apart. Joan becomes the new head of the house, caring for her mother’s crumbling nerves and keeping her father stress free so as not to put strain on his heart condition.

When a strange man calls her house claiming that Larry owed him a lot of money, Joan takes the responsibility upon herself and confides in Dan’s younger brother Frank. Together they try to protect Joan’s crumbling family and get the money to pay back the mysterious Mr. Brown.

As always the pacing is brilliant. Duncan steps your through the story bit by bit, revealing just the right amount of plot and uncovering little by little just the right amount of character. This would make a great daytime movie. That sounds like a bad thing but really it’s not. I don’t think there’s enough action to be a blockbuster but I do think it would transfer very well to film.

The thing I love most about Lois Duncan’s young adult books as that they tackle mature themes without the need for smut or violence or foul language. These days even books aimed at young teens have people falling into bed with each other or detailed descriptions of dismembered limbs. I think all that does is cloud and pollute the mind and takes away from important themes that run through books, themes worthy of serious thought.

As I read through this book I thought to myself, what is the glue that holds families together? Why does a tragedy strike two families, one it pulls apart, the other pulls together? What is grief? Where does it end and become something more akin to selfishness? A heart-tingling love scene or edge-of-your-seat violence would have pulled away attention from those themes. It would have been a good read, sure, but it wouldn’t have had any real value.

So, in summary, no I don’t think this particular book is as interesting as most of her other young adult novels BUT it’s a high standard and it’s still pretty brilliant. Re-readable, pass-onable, gripping, throught-provoking and as always impeccable writing.

Four stars.

Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God's Will

Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God's Will - Kevin DeYoung
"We walk into the future in a God-glorifying confidence, not because the future is known to us but because it is known to God. And that's all we need to know. Worry about the future is not simply a character tic, it is the sin of unbelief, an indication that our hearts are not resting on the promises of God."

For me, this quote sums up the book. Encouraging, admonishing and truthful. It reminds me of the promises that my God makes to be faithful to me so I can lead a life without fear or anxiety.
Easier said that done, thus this is a book I will have to return to again.

Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung is divided into ten easy to read (if slightly repetitive) chapters. It is DeYoung mission to deprogram the mindset so many of us have where we wait around seeking God's specific guidance, thinking ourselves to be spiritual, instead of using our God-given minds to get out there and lead godly lives.

DeYoung starts out general and uses scripture to address the actualities of Gods will and how it affects our lives. He also includes many practical examples of where the problems lay in treating God like a magic 8 ball and culminates in very practical specific advice about two of our trickiest decisions (job seeking and getting married).

By the end of the book readers will have a clear biblical understanding about what it really means to live in God's will and know how to please God with the way we live our lives and make decisions.

There were a couple of negatives, one of them being that the book was quite repetitive but that can be a positiver depending on how you look at it. Hard-headed readers might need the repetitiveness.

Another issue that I had with the book was that when it came to the end with the practical advice for getting married, it left single women who want to get married but can't find anyone up the creek without a paddle. DeYoung has lots to say to young men who put off asking out girls or getting married and rests the delay squarely on their shoulders but little to say for women. The piece of advice I think is missing is that if there is no looming marriage proposal hanging on the horizon, don't just sit around waiting for it. Go on camps, get involved in ministry, do what you want with the many opportunities you have before you as a single woman and pray that God will either send you a suitable husband or give you satisfaction in Him if singleness is what he has in mind for you.

On the whole though this is a very helpful book. One that I would recommend everyone read, especially all school leavers/ uni students. Four stars.


Ransom - Lois Duncan Ransom by Lois Duncan is the best book I've read this year (Get it? Because I've only read to books? Anyway...)
The thing to remember about Ransom is that it was originally published in 1966 so some of the conversational language does feel a little old fashioned. If it was in a modern book perhaps you might roll your eyes and sigh, but when you remember when it's set there's something nice and comforting about the language. I enjoy reading someone say "Oh gosh," instead of "Oh *&%$!".
I think the first chapter of Ransom reveals Lois Duncan's skills as a writer and story teller. The first chapter is when we are introduced to each of the five character that are kidnapped. As the focus jumps between characters you don't feel confused but instead you feel as if you know something of all of them. Within the first few pages they all have a feel about them, you care about them and are interested in them.
Jesse is shy and aloof, Dexter is rude and independent, Glenn is charming and proud, Marianne is feisty and stubborn, and Bruce is kind and trusting. Already I know I'm going to read to the end.
Ransom is not just the story of a kidnapping. It's not just a thriller for a thriller's sake. It's a story about individuals and families and what happens when people with different values and morals are thrust together in a life threatening situation. There is an unsensationalised truth that runs through the entire story.
I enjoyed reading this story so much because it reminds me of all that reading I did as a young teen and how I fell in love with reading and writing. I plan now to go back and read all of Lois Duncan's young adult fiction again as in a modern world where almost anything can get published it's nice to remind yourself of what good writing is and get lost in some really excellent stories.
Five stars.

Uglies (The Uglies)

Uglies  - Scott Westerfeld Let me take a deep breath before I begin so this review doesn't turn into a long boring rant about everything I was disappointed with (yes, I'm sorry to say there was much disappointment).

Okay, so as I have mentioned in a previous post I had heard good things about the Uglies series and so downloaded the sample on my eReader and loved it. I was so frustrated I couldn't start reading the rest right away, but I quickly went on Booko to find the cheapest print copy and order it ASAP. The first few chapters sets up an intriging dystopian world where everyone is born ugly. At the age of twelve they leave their Pretty parents and live in boarding schools to wait for the day they turn sixteen and get the 'operation' and go to live in what's known as NewPrettyTown.
The book follows Tally as she deals with her best friend Peris getting the operation before she does. She misses him so much and he didn't write to her like he promised so she sneaks into NewPrettyTown to see him.

What ensues is a wonderful adventure as Tally tries to reach him, only to suspect he doesn't really want to see her, and then has to escape in a terrific way, setting off fire alarms and jumping of a roof with a bungee jacket on. On her escape Tally discovers another Ugly girl trying to get away. So, at the end of this sample I was left with so many questions... what has happened to Peris? Will him and Tally eve be friends again? What will happen to Tally for causing such a scene? Who is this new girl and why is she trying to get into NewPrettyTown?

And then the book goes on for a while of Tally and her new friend (Shay) just hanging out. First fifteen pages good, next hundred and fifty.... boring as bat poo. I'm sorry to say it but I couldn't help myself feeling like I was watching some low budget pre-teen attempt at drama on the ABC. It wasn't until I got a third of the way through the book that something interesting happened. And even that wasn't all that interesting.
The last hundred pages or so to get better, and the last fifteen or twenty are very good. But everything in the middle is just absolute rubbish.

I hate to say that it feels thrown together and not thought through, because for all I know the author spent a lot of time sweating through all the details and polishing it to perfection. But I just can't see it. Every plot twist or major decision seems forced. There are moments that just don't make any sense. For example, Tally all of a sudden feels sick at one point when she sees how many trees have been chopped down. But why? She doesn't ever show a strong love of nature preceding this and it doesn't fit in with her supposedly shallow character that just cares about being pretty. There's lots of little moments like that.

The thing I really hate about this book is that a romance is thrown in just for good measure. It's very forced and completely unbelievable. If at the end of the series these two people end up together it will be ridiculous. You'll know what I mean if you read it.

I could go on and on with all the things I didn't like but will stop and just say that mostly I didn't. But what did I like about it? The idea behind the whole world is very good, and I actually liked the ending. But the ending is only a couple of pages long. So, I like the premise, I like the start and I like the end. But you can pretty much chuck out everything in between.

In the back of my book there was also the first chapter of Pretties and of Leviathan. After reading both of those I have pretty much decided I will never read Scott Westerfeld again. Sorry Scott. Perhaps younger readers will have a better time with these books, I really didn't.

The Sign of the Four (Sherlock Holmes)

Judgment Calls (Samantha Kincaid #1) - Alafair Burke I am forming opinions about this Shelock fellow and his friend Watson. I am beginning to think that they are in fact two sides of the same person, their creator. I get the impression that Mr Doyle has a proud side, a clever side, that desires nothing more than to rave at it's own importance (perhaps this is a side we all have to some degree). This is a side that he longed to express and exaggerate in Sherlock Holmes. But, as in real life, he needed to subdue this side of his character with his more humble and romantic side, enter Dr. Watson. Which explains why Watson is constantly fawning over Sherlock and telling him what a clever boy he is.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. I love the Sherlock/Watson duo as they certainly make each other much more palatable, perhaps even delicious.
I liked The Sign of the Four much better that The Study in Scarlet. But I still liked them both a lot. I'm reading them on the kindle app on my phone as I rock my little girl to sleep, and I end up sitting in her dark room for much longer than I initially intend because I just can't stop. I love that feeling.
There was a bit of racism in this book that I didn't expect because the characters seem so sensible you don't expect them to hold such prosaic views, but with time that ACD lived it's not really surprising that there would be an published text that considers a whole island of people "savages".
I'm halfway through the first volume of short stories now, which is still only 15% of the way through the entire collective works regarding Sherlock. Normally I would find this overwhelming, but instead I'm quite pleased. I hope they last me a long while.

Apocalypse Now and Then: Reading Revelation Today (Reading the Bible today commentaries)

Revelation: Apocalypse Now And Then - Paul Barnett I've never read through Revelation on my own before, and the talks I've heard on the book in the past have never really stuck with me. But there's something mysterious and controversial about this book of the bible that calls me to it and makes me want to uncover all its many secrets. I'd had my eye on this commentary by Paul Barnett for a while, after reading one of his other books on Mark (click here for a short review/opinion). Revelation: Apocalypse Now and Then is a part of an "evolving series committed to brevity, and academic integrity for busy people" says the blurb on the back. I couldn't think of a more apt description for the book, and indeed the series as a whole.

On days when I had only a small window of time to do my reading I was able to complete one short section in 10-15 mins, including reading the bible passage. But, the writing flows as such that on days when I had an hour or so to spare I was able to comfortably keep reading without needing to look up at the clock at all (impressive for a commentary I would say).

My main goal in reading this book was to have the mysterious codes deciphered for me so I could potentially read through the book on my own again in the future and find it fruitful. This, I feel the book has achieved for me. In clear and succinct language it presented me with reference points for the codes used by John and also cultural background that influenced the imagery throughout the book. I now know (for example) that the number seven is code for God and eternal perfection, while the "sea beast" is symbolic of the Roman emperor and his government. These are things I never knew before.

Beyond just this though, Paul Barnett does a wonderful job of illuminating truths in the text. Let me share a couple of my favourites with you:
Upon reading through the section Revelation 4:9-11 Dr Barnett makes the comment "Worship is the expression of agreement by the people of God about the truth of God." What a simple and wonderful statement. It has spoken volumes into my prayer life. When we express to our God that he is worthy to receive glory and honor and power and so on and so forth, we are not simply pandering to his ego, but acknowledging essential truths about the creator of the universe, and are thus worshiping and bringing glory to him by stating such truths and agreeing with them. Epic.

If I was to say anything negative about this book is that it doesn't have any study questions as suggested on the back cover. Very disappointing. I really found the study questions helpful in the book on Mark and was looking forward to having them again. I don't know whether they were left out on purpose due to the difficulty of the subject matter or if they were just over looked (I wouldn't be surprised as I have come across numerous grammatical and spelling errors that I thought were quite obvious and should have been picked up in editing.)

Also, I found that a few of the sections less than illuminating and more just rehashing in almost the exact same words as the passage. I guess this is because the author thought they were fairly self explanatory, but to me they weren't.

Summing up:
An easy four and a half stars. While I was disappointed about the lack of study questions but the book clearly stands on it's own without them. To quote J.I. Packer, "Revelation is a complex piece of writing that has mystified many, and it is no small achievement to write a simple commentary on it that dispels the fog. Dr Barnett, however, has done just this." I couldn't agree with him more. Dr Barnett is more than qualified to write such a commentary and his vast knowledge of Roman culture and the apocalyptic writing style is communicated simply and effectively. This is one of those books you fill with scribbled notes and highlighter marks, then put on the best shelf to be pulled out whenever anyone so much as mentions the book of Revelation at a dinner party. Oh, and it's not too long either (a two inch think commentary on Revelation would be rather daunting.)