Monday, December 30, 2013

Super Graphic

by Tim Leong

A creative bit if waiting room material, Super Graphic is a collection of graphs and charts that illustrate all sorts of comic book trivia. Some we're interesting, some were cheap jokes. Altogether it made for an hour or two of fun reading.

LibraryThing link

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Alas, Babylon

by Pat Frank

This was a blast from the past. ... Er, let me rephrase that. I grew up in the 60's and 70's, when the idea of a nuclear war was part of the cultural background. Nowadays, we're much more worried that we'll be done in by a suicide bomber from Tehran (to use a stereotype) than an ICBM from Siberia. So when I read this book, an science fiction tale about a nuclear war occurring in 1959, I felt downright nostalgic. Cities destroyed, technology rendered useless, slow death by radiation: Alas, Babylon has it all. While sometimes the plot gets a bit too convenient, it's an interesting story.

Check it out.
LibraryThing link


Sunday, December 15, 2013


by Francis Spufford

I've picked up a number of books over the years that make the case for why you should believe that the Bible and Jesus are true: Evidence That Demands A Verdict, Mere Christianity, What They Need to Hear. Each have their own way of approaching the truth, each have their own reasons for why Christianity is rational, if not compelling. But Unapologetic brings one thing to the table that the others lack: the F-word. No, I'm not talking about faith. I'm talking about #^@$! (Gotta watch my language. My mom might read this.) Mr. Spufford does not approach the truth with pleasant gentility. He speaks plainly and honestly, with a bit of snark. He describes a world from which vulgarity arises and presents a situation, our sinfulness, which certainly warrants such language. (In his opinion, at least.)(And mine.)

But then, in his own words, Mr. Spufford also tells the story of Jesus, in all its wonder and wackiness. No vulgarity there, though he paints a picture of an earthy, utterly human messiah. Not in the Jehovah's Witness sense, but in the "true man, born of the Virgin Mary" sense. He then takes on arguments/objections that have been raised against Christian beliefs, as well as those against Christians. I love the wit and honesty that he brings to bear on the subject.

All in all, I'm hoping to add Unapologetic to my bookshelves. It's not a perfect book--it's lacking a clear declaration of the Gospel, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, etc. But then, that was never Mr. Spufford's intention. His hope was to present the reasonableness Christian faith to those who had never experienced it. Not being in that category, I can't judge how well he's succeeded. But I can say that he's presented my own faith in a voice that rings true and is well worth hearing.  

LibraryThing link

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

A History of the World in 12 Maps

by Jerry Brotton

I love maps, and don't mind wasting time poring over one. However, I've never given much thought about them--how they're made, why they're made, and all that. So this book ended up being a nice little voyage of discovery for me. As a combination of history and maps, it seemed natural to put it on my reading list. Like Tom Standage's A History of the World in 6 Glasses, Professor Brotton's book takes a single concept, in this case maps of the world, and follows it through history. For each map, he sets up the scene of the society in which the map was created. He looks at why the mapmaker(s) created the peace, and what it tells us about the culture. I'm quite glad I checked it out.
LibraryThing link

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