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Reviews Written by
Rodge (Ontario, Canada)

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The Dying Grass: A Novel of the Nez Perce War
The Dying Grass: A Novel of the Nez Perce War
by William T Vollmann
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 46.49
28 used & new from CDN$ 46.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, not for everyone, Feb. 10 2016
It's "immersive" and it's definitely too long. The writing style is experimental to be sure, but doesn't take too long to get used to. The recreation of the Nez Perce flight from the "Bluecoats" chasing them works pretty well for the most part, and has it's advantages over a more typical novelistic treatment. The novel takes place mostly in the conversations and thoughts of the characters involved. We spend most of our time with O.O. Howard the general in charge of the army chasing the Nez Perce. We also spend a great deal of time with the fleezing Nez Perce as well.

This book is 1300 pages are so ~ because of the layout there aren't as many words on a page as in a usual novel, but it's still an awful lot of reading. This novel could have had the same effect trimmed back by 300 pages or so. There's enough time spent retreading the same mental ground that we can justifiably say this novel is excessively long. This novel is fascinating, but not for everyone.

The Many Faces of Christ: The Thousand-Year Story of the Survival and Influence of the Lost Gospels
The Many Faces of Christ: The Thousand-Year Story of the Survival and Influence of the Lost Gospels
by Philip Jenkins
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 31.14
30 used & new from CDN$ 24.63

4.0 out of 5 stars The lost gospels that weren't lost, Feb. 8 2016
"The lost gospels were never lost." This is the early framing of this historical account and with this Jenkins subtly undermines the accounts of Christianity outline in Dan Brownish type sources. The non-canonical gospels weren't suppressed, in fact they thrived in various places. Jenkins takes us on a tour of where and how and when, including a surprising (perhaps) chapter on the possible influence of non-canonical gospels on the Quran. Jenkins is not ultimately suggesting that the non-canonical gospels were superior to the canon - they all were written later, most quite a bit later. But the nonsense about suppression, even the idea they were "lost" - none of those things were true and their influence continues to the present day in surprising ways.

Fool's Talk
Fool's Talk
by Os Guinness
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 21.43
22 used & new from CDN$ 21.42

5.0 out of 5 stars Guide to effective modern apologetics, Feb. 8 2016
This review is from: Fool's Talk (Hardcover)
Os Guinness is back. This book stands with his best, I believe and is certainly the strongest of his recent books. Here we have Guinness analyzing the state of current apologetics and mapping where it needs to go, as only he can. He brings in the telling and surprising anecdote, from a variety of sources. Some of them have been used before, some of them are new. Those who desire to have a stronger grasp on how to witness effectively or how to develop an effective apologetic will definitely enjoy and be able to use this book. This book is more about tactics and strategy than arguments; Guinness points the reader to several effective sources of apologetic argument

Stanley 1050 Garage Door Remote Transmitter
Stanley 1050 Garage Door Remote Transmitter
Offered by Moving Up Garage Door Company
Price: CDN$ 18.03
3 used & new from CDN$ 18.03

5.0 out of 5 stars Replaced old opener with ease, Feb. 2 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
It works - i replaced my old Stanley garage door opener with this. Just had to adjust the switches to the same pattern as the old opener and it worked as simple as that. If you don't know what I mean by "switches" just google "replace Stanley garage door opener" or some such and you should be able to find a diagram.

We Cannot Be Silent: Speaking Truth to a Culture Redefining Sex, Marriage, and the Very Meaning of Right and Wrong
We Cannot Be Silent: Speaking Truth to a Culture Redefining Sex, Marriage, and the Very Meaning of Right and Wrong
by R. Albert Mohler Jr.
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 27.59
27 used & new from CDN$ 21.09

4.0 out of 5 stars A call to action, Feb. 2 2016
This call to action focuses on the sexual revolution, it's latest achievements in terms of same-sex marriage and where it may go from here. Mohler walks a fine line, expressing urgency without descending into paranoia. Those who do not accept the premise of the importance of Biblical Christianity will not find this book to their liking. This is not a book that seeks to persuade, it rather seeks to motivate and inform those who are already persuaded. Mohler does not endorse a particular political agenda, but rather keeps his mandate in the social, religious and cultural sphere, which is to the good I think.

In Search of Promised Lands: A Religious History of Mennonites in Ontario (Studies in Anabaptist and Mennonite History)
In Search of Promised Lands: A Religious History of Mennonites in Ontario (Studies in Anabaptist and Mennonite History)
Price: CDN$ 39.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent historical account of Mennonites in Ontario, Jan. 26 2016
The only misfortune is that this book is priced outside the range of a typical personal library budget. Library/Interlibrary loan will be the best option of getting a hold of this book for most. And this book is most definitely worth getting hold of. Steiner gives us the most thorough overview of Mennonite history in Ontario that exists and that we are likely to get again for some time. Steiner covers pretty much every possible strand of the Mennonite experience from settlement up to the present day and it is fascinating to see the various strands diverge and move in quite different directions in many cases. In the final analysis Steiner splits Mennonites in Ontario into four main groups, the Old Order, Separatist Conservative, Evangelical Conservative and Assimilated Mennonite. This categorization makes as much sense as anything.

Steiner is from the Assimilated stream, but he does his utmost to give a fair and balanced portrayal of each aspect of the Mennonite story. He does about as well as it is possible to do in that respect. He also writes well, which makes this long-ish book quite readable. Buy it if you can afford it or get it from your library if you can't

The Crossing
The Crossing
by Michael Connelly
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 30.26
32 used & new from CDN$ 11.43

4.0 out of 5 stars Average for Connelly, which means pretty good, Jan. 25 2016
This review is from: The Crossing (Hardcover)
This is an average thriller from Connelly, which means it's pretty good. Haller and Bosch team up to investigate - Haller has a client he is sure is innocent and Bosch doesn't have much to do now that he's retired. He's extremely uncomfortable working for the defense, but he nonetheless finds himself sucked in. Definitely worth reading if you're a Connelly fan but his "teaming up" novels never seem to be quite as good as others he's written.

No Safe House
No Safe House
by Linwood Barclay
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.67
12 used & new from CDN$ 3.44

4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, typical Barclay, Jan. 6 2016
This review is from: No Safe House (Paperback)
By now, I've read enough of Linwood Barclay to know what to expect and he doesn't disappoint. An "everyman" character faced with an unbelievably tangled mystery and then frenetic non-stop action to the finish line. Basically, if you start reading one of his books before bed, you'll be going to bed too late. Don't say you weren't warned.

This book is a sequel to No Time for Goodbye although if you haven't read that earlier book it doesn't matter that much. The psychological consequences of the previous book are apparently grievous although Barclay's character development skills don't really extend to giving us a believable portrait of someone's psyche. No matter, as the daughter of the tale decides to hang out with some lowlife kid that convinces her breaking into a house is a good idea. What happens in that house sets off the dominoes for the rest of the story, which I will leave you to discover for yourself. Not all the developments are convincing, but the pace is such that it just doesn't matter. You probably won't read a book like this more than once anyway.

The major achievement is that Barclay is entering Lee Child territory (or pick your consistent thriller writer here) for producing reliably entertaining thrillers using the same format. Consistency is nothing to sneeze at.

The Lost Highway
The Lost Highway
Offered by Random House Canada, Incorp.
Price: CDN$ 13.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Not his best, but glimpses of his better writing instincts come through, Jan. 6 2016
This review is from: The Lost Highway (Kindle Edition)
This morality fable has two major weaknesses. It's a hundred pages too long and by nature of it's mythic and archetypal devices it's not as believable as many of Richards' other novels. There's really just one story here - a lottery ticket that is seemingly up for grabs, a murder associated with the lottery ticket and the attempt to escape the consequences for the murder. Certainly echoes of Crime and Punishment here. I personally found the story compelling but that was in spite of the book's weaknesses. I can't in good conscience call this a must-read or even an above-average read. Richards has written better books, although his moral sense comes through palpably and powerfully throughout. He's one of the most honest and brutal assessors of the human nature I've ever come across, and for that even his worst writing retains much power.

Montcalm and Wolfe
Montcalm and Wolfe
Price: CDN$ 0.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and literary nineteenth century history, Jan. 6 2016
This is a fine old-school history narrative with pretty good readability. Parkman gives us an account of the Seven Year's War from a North American perspective. Parkman's account is pro-British - he has respect for Montcalm but other French figures get painted in pretty dark colours. So this is a good guy-bad guy account that's pretty entertaining and informative, if you keep watch for the obvious bias and compare with other accounts. Probably the most unforgivable moment of bias is his attempt to put all the blame for the Acadian deportation on the French; the British and their colonies clearly bear a large portion of blame as well (see John Mack Faragher's "Great and Noble Scheme).

By the time we get to the main narrative though, Parkman's strengths shine through with a strong finish, an account of all major battles culminating with as good a literary account of the Battle of Quebec as you're likely to get anywhere.

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