Saturday, July 31, 2010

Shakespeare's Secret by Elise Broach****

Broach plays out a mystery concerning the true identity of Shakespeare, with modern-day people trying to solve it. The characters find clues little by little, and even try to find an expensive jewel hidden in Hero's family's new house. The storyline was interesting, if a little predictable, but the plot was well thought out. My main qualm was that Hero continually went behind her parent's back, disobeyed some household rules, and hid things at school from them. The book ends before her parents find out about all of this, but I think it is implied that she does not get into trouble because the 'ends justified the means'.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Demigod Files by Rick Riordan***

Riordan presents some of Percy's short adventures. The book also has short interviews with some characters, a word search, a crossword puzzle, and other interesting things.

I've noticed the worldview in the Percy Jackson series before (in this post about morality), and in these short stories it still didn't hold up- the messages young readers take away are not always the best. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


from the journal I sometimes remember to write in:
"(7-24-10) I finished wishing I could understand, read, and predict the weather. It is a wish I've had for at least three years. I finally took initiation and began learning. I made a barometer to measure the air pressure. I made index cards of the different clouds, and the weather they generally mean. I researched online, and read a few books. I even have a book on hold at the library. Hopefully all this will help, and I will be able to predict weather soon. And hopefully it will be useful knowledge."

I have no idea if my barometer is accurate (or even useful, for that mater), and so far I stink at identifying clouds, but its been fun trying to predict the weather. I'm taking several books when I leave for Michigan for a week, and at least one of them will be a non-fiction on predicting weather. Maybe I'll come back with stories of how I saved the day by knowing it was going to storm, or (more likely, I think) funny ones about how I completely misjudged the weather!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Be Intolerant: because some things are just stupid by Ryan Dobson and Jefferson Scott

Dobson and Scott wrote about how moral relativism and tolerance is not good, and how it is infiltrating the church. When we see someone sinning, or messing up their life, or going around professing some untruth, we should not be tolerant, like our society tells us to be. There is, in fact, absolute truth, so we need to confront that person and show them (gently and with respect-- in love) what the truth is.

A few quotes from Dog-Eared Pages:

"If you have a moral relativist friend who says "There is no such thing as absolute truth," he's laying "out a truth that he believes will never change.H should put it this way: "It is an absolute truth that there is no such thing as an absolute truth." Isn't that just crazy? It's self-refuting. It's like me saying, "This sentence does not exist." p 52

"Can you do this kind of thing too [ stand up for Christ and absolute truth in a morally relative world]? Absolutely! And you know what? You have to. God has placed you right where you are and in just this time in human history because He needs you to stand up for truth." p 111

"Christians are the only thing holding back the decay of our world. If Satan cam make us dump the Bible and live by a philosophy that says it's wrong to stand up to evil- or even to call anything evil- then we're all set up for the rise of a great world tyrant. The Bible calls him the Antichrist." p 119

Monday, July 26, 2010

Worldviews, in Media

Your Worldview is how you see the world. It is your framework for understanding existence. Everyone has a worldview, even if they don't realize it (some things I learned from Worldview Academy).

And I've realized that worldviews are especially present in books. That said, readers need to beware. We need to pay attention to the worldviews our favorite books are presenting to us, and evaluate them. If we don't, society may begin to shift our worldview into some skewed perception of reality.

So, in my future reviews, I hope to focus more on the worldview of a book I read, and not just if I liked it or not.

Worldviews are in our television, too. And because most people turn on the TV, and then turn off their brain, these worldviews seep in little by little. Its like the trojan horse" you turn on the TV, but you put your guard down by switching off your brain, and the next thing you know your worldview is being skewed into some skewed perception of reality.

So turn on the TV, but don't turn off your brain when you do. 

And another thing. We get all these rating to see if the movie is kid friendly, or how many times people swear, or and who much of what alcohol is presented... but I have not found anywhere that rates the worldview presented and its consistency with Christianity. I think that that is as or even more important than the things most people rate, and that is what I want to determine if I watch the movie/ TV show or not. If you know of a site that rates the worldview of a movie, please let me know!

What worldview have surprised you in the media you read or watch?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

New Blogs

This summer I've begun following a couple new blogs, and I thought you might be interested in who they are.

Erin, from A Sunny Little Spot

Robbie, from Clio

J.M. Roberts from AgapeFish

what about you? Any interesting blogs you've recently found?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

On the Death of the Romance

Romances bug me. I don't just mean those paperback romance novels in the adult section of the library, I'm talking about YA books that about teen relationships, about movies, old and new, about lovers. I usually try to avoid them, for a couple reasons.

- it makes not being in a relationship a lot harder. Its hard enough with friends "pairing off" and it being pretty much a central topic among girls, but it hard in books, too. Because I love books. And because I read a LOT of books. And because a lot of books have THAT topic. And when I see the relationships in books, its just one more reminder that I'm not in a relationship, and I don't know what its like, and... you get the picture.

- romances are never "painted" realistically in books an movies. So when I'm bombarded with these messages from the culture about what my love life should be like, sometimes I start to believe it. And then I have unrealistic expectations about what should be happening in my life now, and in the future. When, in reality, Hollywood and Publishing Houses are just trying to get an emotional response from me and other teenage girls to sell more tickets and books. They don't care about 'realistic'. They don't care about how they are shaping young minds. All they care about making money.

- there are plenty of other good books out there to read. I could never read another romance book, and be perfectly satisfied. Really and truly. It may be hard to believe, but it really is possible.

there are more reasons, but those are my big three.
Agree? Disagree?

Friday, July 02, 2010

Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter

Two of my sisters drove to the book store to get this book the weekend it came out. Throughout the day I heard squeals, laughs, and gasps. Within 24 hours both of them had read the book. And then I read it in ,four hour sitting.

Lots of questions from the previous three books in the series were answered. Lots of things suddenly became clear. But the book didn't answer ALL the questions. It kind of left you hanging. But in a weird way. There are still a lot of loose ends, but I think that the series could end with that book.

There were more spy-ish things in this book than the other ones, which made me like it more. But there were also more boy-related things in this one than the other ones. And I don't know if that makes me like it more, or less. Its confusing.

If Carter happens to write another book in the series (which, believe me, she left plenty of room for) I might read it. The books are great with all the spy stuff and Covert Operations, and how they are so hard to put down, and how my eyes keep trying to read faster than my brain can so they sometimes try to skip narrative and read only the dialog. But there is a little too much boy drama for my taste, and I don't know if I could sit through another one. So I might just have my sisters give me the readers digest version so that all the loose ends are tied.

from the inside front cover:
"When Cammie Morgan enrolled at the Gallagher Academy, she knew she was preparing for the dangerous life of a spy. What she didn't know was that the serious, real-life danger would start as soon as her junior year. But that's exactly what happened two months ago when she faced off against an ancient terrorist organization dead set on kidnapping her.
Now the danger follows her everywhere, and even Cammie "The Chameleon" can't hide. When a terrifying encounter in London reveals that one of her most trusted allies is actually a rogue double agent, Cammie no longer knows if she can trust her classmates, her teachers-- even her own heart.
In this fourth installment of the New York Times best-selling series, the Gallagher Girls must hack, spy, steal, and lie their way to the truth as they go searching for answers, recognizing that the key to Cammie's future may lie deep in the past."