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Rodge (Ontario, Canada)
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Kept
Kept
by D J Taylor
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 18.24
26 used & new from CDN$ 0.91

4.0 out of 5 stars Superb Victorian-like literary mystery, Sept. 1 2014
This review is from: Kept (Hardcover)
This tribute/pastiche of a Victorian novel is one of the most engaging works of fiction I've picked up in a while. It's an imitation Victorian novel in one sense with subtle modern commentary on Victorian-era fiction integrated. The plot itself is quite complex and turns frequently throughout the novel. There's a madwoman locked in an attic somewhere whose whereabouts are difficult to determine and there's a scheme being developed by a gang of thieves to pull off some complicated heist. The two are tied together at the end in a mostly satisfying manner.

I was frankly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book - once I got through the opening chapters I found it difficult to lay aside and read the last 2/3rds of it on an admittedly lazy Sunday afternoon. Still, when you get this much pleasure out of a book, you have to give it it's due.

The Complete Writings of Menno Simons
The Complete Writings of Menno Simons
by John C. Wenger
Edition: Hardcover
9 used & new from CDN$ 10.96

5.0 out of 5 stars Translations of Menno Simons, Aug. 27 2014
Menno Simons perhaps was not at the top tier of theological writers. Too repetitive and unsystematic in his approach, it can be frustrating to read multiple works of his back to back. Nonetheless, this book brings to life in the most accessible way what kind of a man Menno Simons was and what truly made him think life worth living. He was passionate about Christianity being a way of life, a way of obedience over against the corruptions of Christendom in his day - a generation of people who were "Christians" because they were baptized into the church as infants. And of course he risked his very life to hang onto these beliefs.

Simons spent too much time defending his eccentric view of the incarnation, and his views on excommunication will likely be seen as extreme by many. Nonetheless, this translated collection of works is immensely valuable for placing Menno in his time and helping us to see the real man behind the name

Precious Remedies against Satan's Devices - (Puritan Paperback)
Precious Remedies against Satan's Devices - (Puritan Paperback)
by Thomas Brooks
Edition: Paperback
27 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Deep and right thinking about resisting the devices of Satan, Aug. 20 2014
This is an old book with some much needed wisdom for a modern world. When we think of Satan's strategems we tend to think of some dark, secret conspiracy. We forget the everyday "devices" he uses to trip us up and keep us from becoming who God wants us to be, or perhaps even dooming our souls.

Brooks lucidly and clearly takes us through many of Satan's devices and provides thoughtful remedies to counteract them. Needless to say, this is a book to provoke thoughtful reflection and one that will be helpful to anyone who takes their Christian life seriously.

FaceOff
FaceOff
Offered by Simon & Schuster Canada, Inc.
Price: CDN$ 16.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A gimmick that works out better than expected, Aug. 20 2014
This review is from: FaceOff (Kindle Edition)
This is a perhaps gimmicky book that is perhaps more fun to think about than experience. Nonetheless I think the combinations worked out better than anyone would have a right to expect. Out of 11 stories I'd say 7 or 8 were at least good or very good. There were only 2 stories that I really disliked - the 2 lawyers story and the story with the past lives - I can't be bothered to remember the authors of those.

If you like thrillers and you are after some short samples from (mostly) good thriller writers, this collection doesn't disappoint.

Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw: Travels in Search of Canada
Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw: Travels in Search of Canada
by Will Ferguson
Edition: Hardcover
38 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Funny and informative stories from across Canada, Aug. 16 2014
This tour of Canada is suitably idiosyncratic, hilarious and informative in turns. Some chapters worked better than others. The first chapter on Victoria was merely ok, but the book just got better from there - the chapter on Newfoundland was superb in every way.

Will Ferguson is a funny writer, but he's also a great writer period, which is what makes reading this book such a pleasure. In this book he gets us in touch with the many unexpected things that make Canada so wonderful.

Law Man: My Story of Robbing Banks, Winning Supreme Court Cases, and Finding Redemption
Law Man: My Story of Robbing Banks, Winning Supreme Court Cases, and Finding Redemption
by Shon Hopwood
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 18.77
36 used & new from CDN$ 1.09

4.0 out of 5 stars A memoir too outrageous to be fiction, Aug. 13 2014
This story of finding redemption in prison would be ridiculous and laughable as fiction . . . but it really happened. The subtitle tells the broad strokes pretty much - Shon Hopwood robs banks, gets thrown into prison and finds a latent talent for the law. The tale of his prison experiences and unlikely triumphs are mixed with flashbacks to the choices that got him into prison in the first place. This is a near-unbelievable tale of redemption but it keeps it's feet firmly planted in reality all the while with an excellent tone. Hopwood is a fortunate man and he knows it.

Mission Flats: A Novel
Mission Flats: A Novel
by William Landay
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.00
31 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A morally complex thriller, not for the faint of heart, Aug. 8 2014
This review is from: Mission Flats: A Novel (Paperback)
This thriller is a gut-wrenching and twist-filled journey. Starting with the discovery of a murdered DA in a cabin beside a Maine lake, we follow Ben Truman, the police chief of the small town near the lake, as he starts looking for answers. There's a lot that's hidden from view at the beginning, and as we learn more, our view of Ben changes. The twists keep coming until the very end, in the best traditions of thrillerdom. The novel teeters on the edge of misleading us too much, but Landay steers away from that hazard, even as he exposes the moral compromises and grey areas that plague law enforcement. A good cop will do bad things for the right reasons, indeed.

Menno Simons and the New Jerusalem
Menno Simons and the New Jerusalem
by Helmut Isaak
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Short work that profoundly deepens our understanding of Menno Simons, July 30 2014
This little gem of a book condenses a lot of scholarly work into a very useful "spiritual biography" of Menno Simons. Isaak looks past the obvious by working through earlier editions of Simons' writings to compile a compelling and believable portrait of the evolution of Simons' beliefs through time. This book definitely supplements and challenges the image of Menno Simons I had before. It shows both his humanity and his integrity in new and profound ways.

The Duel: The Eighty-Day Struggle Between Churchill and Hitler
The Duel: The Eighty-Day Struggle Between Churchill and Hitler
by John Lukacs
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.34
27 used & new from CDN$ 5.60

4.0 out of 5 stars A critical showdown between important figures, July 14 2014
This book's one big weakness might be it's over-emphasis on the two persons of Hitler and Churchill over against other factors in the Second World War. But you can tell that from the cover already. As a study of the two men as they faced off in the critical period from the fall of France to the Battle of Britain, this book would be hard to top. Lukacs clearly has a deep understanding of his subject and provides us with profound insight into the importance of the "eighty days" and the critical decisions undertaken by both Churchill and Hitler at this time. Hitler was not yet at war with Russia, and Roosevelt had not yet committed himself to supporting the British war effort, never mind taking the US into the war. So a different tack by Churchill, trying to negotiate a peace, for example - or if Hitler had simply plunged into invading Britain without entertaining hopes that Britain would accept German hegemony - either scenario could have made for a very different war, although it is highly speculative to say what those differences would have entailed.

In short, an excellent study by an excellent historian. Makes for a good supplement to books like Ian Kershaw's "Fateful Choices" which is somewhat superior in my estimation.

The Restoration Of Rome: Barbarian Popes And Imperial Pretenders
The Restoration Of Rome: Barbarian Popes And Imperial Pretenders
by Peter Heather
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 28.22
20 used & new from CDN$ 7.12

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A top-notch entertaining interpretive history, July 14 2014
Peter Heather's account of what happened after the fall of the Western Empire is entertaining and, by necessity, is forced to make educated guesses based on scarcity of facts on the ground. Heather essentially posits 4 attempts to re-establish the Roman Empire, the first by the Goth Theoderic, the second by Byzantine emperor Justinian, the third by Charlemagne, and the fourth and by far the most successful - the establishment of the modern papacy.

Undoubtedly Heather's interpretations will generate dispute, trying as he does to unite 800 years or so of chaotic history under a more-or-less constant theme of trying to re-establish a Roman empire. Nonetheless this book is pretty much a must-read, as it gives the modern reader an essential and clarifying vision of what happened in between the fall of Rome and the Middle Ages. In short, it was a lot, and Heather makes as much sense of it as anyone.

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